Have you found yourself in a great market? Well, you might not be alone! In this podcast, we explain what you should do if you’re in a great market area, how to approach patients & dental advertising, and how to get a hold of it before your competitors do.

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Podcast Highlights:

  • Are you really in an untapped market?
  • Understanding your doctor to patient ratio
  • What to do the first 2 years of dental advertising
  • Capturing the market before others do
  • Setting your dental advertising foundation
  • Delivering the right message
  • Building marketing like a home
  • Picking the right marketing firm the first time
  • Avoiding the “try this, try that” mentality

Podcast Transcription:

Hello, and welcome once again to the Dental Marketing Mastery series. This podcast is brought to you by DentalWebContent.com and New Patients Incorporated. I’m Howie Horrocks, the Founder of New Patients Incorporated, along with me once again, as my friend and partner and the President of New Patients Incorporated, Mark Dilatush.

Howie: Hello, everybody. Welcome once again to our podcast. And with me again, on the other side of the country is our good buddy Mark Dilatush. How you doing Mark?

Mark: Hello, Howie, how are you?

Howie: I’m good. I’m good.

Mark: Good. Good. Good. It’s the end of February almost March almost time to see the boat again.

Howie: Oh, the boat?

Mark: Yes, I have to this whole winter thing is somebody has to fix this. This whole winter thing.

Howie: Oh, yeah.

Mark: Where the water gets hard and you can’t really fish in it because, you know. It’s just a very depressing time of year. But this time of year, just before the spring is wonderful.

Howie: I remember last year you, your dock got frozen in the lake.

Mark: Yeah, yeah. It’s not really a subject for a podcast. But if you want to see, if you want to see the power and the pressure of ice, leave your iron poles, holding your dock up when the water is a little too high. And yeah, it’s amazing. It’s basically just twisted it into a pretzel. So.

Howie: All right. Well, what we’re going to talk about today is see we, all of you listeners out there, we monitor the various dental forums, and we participate in them, too.

Mark: We’re watching you.

Howie: Yeah, and you know, and Facebook and all that kind of stuff. And occasionally, more than occasionally, there are some very good questions that pop up on these forums. So, and we spied one the other day. And I wanted to sort of summarize it, that the doctors basically saying “I live in a smaller town where almost no dentists advertise. There’s a corporate clinic, and there’s some fairly heavy dental advertising from that one source. But there’s no, there’s no large number of competitors that are that are vying for this market.” And he’s asking if he’s right to feel like his market is untapped. And what would what would we suggest to be the best way to advertise in that kind of a situation. That’s pretty good question, actually.

Mark: Yeah, we don’t run into that.

Howie: Yeah, usually, it’s, heavily competitive, you know.

Mark: Right. Well, it was the post itself was kind of funny, because the doctor said, “I think my markets untapped, because nobody’s any dental advertising. And then he listed out seven ways people were advertising. So that was, it was kind of it was, like, you had to read through the whole thing in order to really understand what his question was. Anyway. Okay, so you’re in a really good doctor patient ratio. And yeah, you have one corporate entity, and they’re, you know, they’re just pounding the marketing. They’re there. And it’s, it’s very predictable. What part of the market they’re going after? They’re going after the shoppers and that’s fine.

Howie: Right, and they want to wrap it all up. Right roll all those patients up into their corral. Right.

Mark: Right. Yeah. Which they won’t ever but that’s okay. They don’t know that yet. So, the doctor sitting there going, “Hey, man, I have a great opportunity here.” And really, the question is, is, “if that is the opportunity, what would you do with the opportunity?”

Alright, so the first answer to your question is to quantify the opportunity. Is that a 1 to 2000? Or 1 to 6000? You know, is there one dentist for every 2000 human beings or 1001 dentist for every 6000 human beings, because the answer to that will dictate how aggressive you are Which normally leads us to the first counterintuitive thought. Most dentists believe that if you’re in a really, really good dental market, that you don’t have to be aggressive. And Howie and I would say, if you’re in a really, really good dental market, you are not the only dentist to find it.

Yeah, you should spend the first two years of your existence overplaying your dental advertising hand in order to capture as much of the piece of that market as you want, in as short time as you can. Because, like I said, there’s brokers out there, there’s, you know, there’s people, we’re looking for startups, there’s people looking for opportunities, people running demographics on probably every dentist market that’s listening to this right now. So, you’re not the only one. And if you’re in a great market, you found one, and you want to capture as much of it in a shorter period of time as possible.

Howie: If you’re in a great market, you can be sure that somebody else is going to find it too and you will, you’ll get some company. So.

Mark: Right. So, which is fine. They’re the companies that, you know, having colleagues that serve the same markets, not a, normally an issue until it gets to be, you know, to the point where it’s a 1 to 600. And everybody’s running around asking each other if they have patients, because there’s no patients to go around. But that’s not the case here. The case is, “Hey, I think I have a pretty untapped market what you know, what should I do?”

The first answer to the question is quantify your market. Make sure you know what that number is. The second step is if it’s like grossly uncompetitive, like a 1 to 2 or 3 or 4 or 5000. Then the higher you go with that number, the more money you scrape together and pour into dental advertising your first x couple of years, however many years you are either are in the practice or starting up in that market. Or if you’re an established dentist, and you just woke up today and said, “hey, maybe I’ll market.”

You know, the number of how much how much dental advertising money you can scrape together and then add about 20%. And because the more you spend in the shorter period of time you’re, that’s going to be the greater lift off the shortest point to the bottom of the bell curve to the top of the bell curve. And it’s going to allow you to pull in that market share again, you know, before a new competitor comes in down the street.

We just opened the practice in a Kansas City suburb in October of 2017. And they’re in a 1 to 1300 market. I mean, you can do this anywhere I’m not saying he can’t. But if they had come to us and said “Mark, we’re in a 1 to 4000 market,” I would have told that doctor double or triple your dental advertising budget.

Not because I mean, the money just goes through us it doesn’t go to us Howie and I don’t sit there counting the dollars, right? We’re not going to retire if the marketing budgets higher, right. So um, but we would have that would have absolutely been our counsel to that doctor and every other doctor that happens to be in a great new market, or they wake up one day and decide they want to start dental advertising and they realize, “hey, it’s not very competitive around here.” Awesome, right? Good, why didn’t you wake up a year before. But that’s okay. You know, if you just woke up today and found yourself in a good market, then overspend at the beginning of your career and having a orchestrated, managed, cohesive, coherent marketing plan.

So just over spend. If you find yourself in that kind of a market, your risk is really low, your reward is really high. And anytime you combine those two, you end up with a with an overspend market. Beyond that and then you go right down, you just keep just like we’ve always said, what, Howie do you remember what podcast number this is? It’s like 89 or something.

Howie: Yeah, I think, I think so. Yeah.

Mark: So, for 89 podcasts at some point in, in in and among them, we’ve told you on a continual basis to pay attention to your dental advertising foundation. Your marketing foundation is where you start to exploit a really non-competitive market. You have to do your dental internal marketing properly, assuming it’s not a start-up, you have to have a solid web presence, which is a dental office website.

Dental SEO will work fine, even in a rural area. SEO will drive consumer searches to your website as a choice. Your online reviews and reputation matters in Montana, just as much as it matters in New York City.

So those are, those are two pieces of your three, those are your foundations. In a market like that, if that corporate facility is doing their own TV, radio, mail, whatever their doing, I know that they are using price to drive a response. And everyone listening to this is going to hopefully, if you’ve been listening to us for a long time, come to realize Marks going to say the exact opposite. do the exact opposite of what that corporate facility is doing. Target the exact opposite side of the spectrum, save your money, stop mailing to everyone on the planet, and do not use price to drive a phone call.

Only deliver your messages on a continual basis to only the households in your general vicinity, who are going to turn into the best revenue resources, the best revenue driving patients available to all the dentists in your market makes sense to reach out and hug the top 40% and keep your dental advertising dollars going in that direction.

Howie: Yeah, it’s the old target the top half the market like we’ve been talking about forever.

Mark: Exactly. So now we get budget now budget comes in, right? So you say all right, well, I need a new, maybe you need a new website, maybe you need a better SEO person. Maybe you need someone to handle your dental direct mail marketing, maybe you need someone to handle your internal projects, you know, we do all those things. But, you know, if you’re, if you want a robust budget, if those three things are not in place, use your budget to get those three things in place. Because those three things the internal, your Internet, and your mail, those three things are all going to work together wonderfully in a very predictable way for a long period of time.

If you ever need to jump off of that, and do something additional like, I don’t know, Facebook ads, maybe some Google PPC ads, maybe there’s some print opportunities, local newsletters, maybe there’s I don’t know, whatever, whatever or other opportunities there are in the future, we can always add to that foundation. But it’s very similar to building a home. You build your foundation first, then you build your home. If you want an addition, later you add on an addition, right? But you always have the main structure the foundation to build upon. Okay, you don’t you don’t just skip those steps and go straight to billboards that almost never work. Well, I’m not going to say I’ve never seen it work because I have but it’s like, I don’t know, twice in 29 years. So you know, it’s kind of like.

Howie: It’s very risky.

Mark: It’s kind of like betting on double zero and on a roulette.

Howie: There you go.

Mark: Just standing there until it hits. You know what I mean? Um, so for someone who asks us that kind of question it is counter intuitive to most folks, when we say be aggressive. On the flip side, we get engaged, probably 8 out of 10 people who engage us to help them are in either competitive environments or grossly competitive environments, right? In other words, it’s, like I say to everybody back here, we’re normally not the first company people choose, we’re normally like, the seventh. Because it seems like everybody who has a basement and a computer these days is calling themselves a dental marketing firm, right?

So dentists go, this person to that person. And pretty soon they end up, you know, pretty soon they end up to the point where like, “Why don’t they have one people, you know, one place to do this stuff for me.” Or, you know, they kind of disillusion with maybe the calls or the results or the patients or whatever, whatever it’s producing isn’t what the doctors, you know, ultimately wanting, then they end up hearing about us, and they end up calling us. And when they do, they tend to be in competitive to grossly competitive dental markets. They need, you know, a bit more help than the average person in their basement can provide.

Howie: Yeah, and they but they’ve already gone through the whole try this, try that routine that we’ve talked about before. You know, well, I’ll try this, that didn’t work, I’ll try that, gee, that didn’t work so well, either, right? They’re throwing all of these very expensive darts at the dartboard. They’re not hitting the mark. And it’s at that point that you know, the light usually goes on, you know, something’s not right here. It’s not working, chasing shiny objects, you know. It’s not working. Anyway, why don’t we take a break here, Mark. We’ll come back and we’ll talk more about what we can do for that group of practices.

Mark: You got it.

Howie: All right, don’t go away. We’ll be right back.

NPI Click: Hey, Mark, how would our audience find out about getting more good reviews? Well, first step is to understand it. There’s a minefields in the dental business right now. So let me give you the four keys, one has to be simple for your staff, they can actually call in sick, and it’ll still work. Two, it has to be ridiculously simple for your patients to leave Google reviews. Three, it has to be able to separate out the not so good reviews from the great reviews and only send the great reviewers over to your Google Facebook or Yelp. And four, and this is probably the most important only send reviews to platforms where your reviews cannot be taken away.

If anybody has any questions about this, it’s called NPI Crusader, you can just send Howie and I an email or actually you can log on to New Patients Inc dot com, and you can schedule your very own appointment to see it in an online meeting that usually takes 15 to 20 minutes, so most people do it over a lunchtime.

Howie: Alright, we are back. And we were talking about being in a very competitive market, and maybe not so competitive market and the differences or the similarities and how you approach that right, Mark?

Mark: Yeah, it’s, um, we’ve had, we get we like I said, Before the break, we normally we get engaged with people who are in competitive or, or highly competitive markets, because they tried this and that, or they tried this marketing person or that marketing person, and nothing really on its own worked out. And there’s a few reasons for that. Number one, like I said, before, you need that foundation. And if you have one person doing this, and one person doing that one person doing this, it doesn’t.

It’s not cohesive, it’s not, it’s not orchestrated, it’s not scheduled. It’s not, it needs, it all needs to kind of work together. Right. So that’s, that’s one reason. Another reason is, and while many times um, it is the budget only holds so much. And it’s funny when you go to a dental advertising firm, not named NPI. It’s amazing that the money that you have in your budget, the money available for dental advertising just happens to always be exactly the number that they need to spend in order to get to your phone to ring.

Howie: Exactly, is so odd.

Mark: Isn’t it? Isn’t it funny how it lines up like that? You know, and it’s actually it’s kind of sad. But anyway, so it’s, it’s counter intuitive to a dentist who’s sitting in a 1 to 900 market to hear us say, okay, we’re going to take a break, going to take this slowly and conservatively. And we’re going to plan year over year increases to your budget, but we want to get, we have to get a baseline of performance out of this market before we put you know too much of your money at risk, right? And the doctors look at us, like, “Where the hell did you come from? Because everybody else I’ve ever talked to said, Yeah, 30 grand a year is exactly what we need,” right? And it just never seemed to work out that way.

Well, here’s the bottom line. In a non-competitive market you overspend, in a competitive market you might want to take a bit more time and spend average at the very beginning just to get your baseline. Because once you get a baseline, it’s kind of like a, I use an analogy, all the time. It’s like a volume knob on a radio. If you turn on a radio station, and you’re listening to the music, whatever you’re listening to, and you can hear it, right, but you just want more volume, just turn the volume up. Okay?

Well, the same thing holds true when marketing a dental practice if you if you establish your foundation and you can see the phone calls, you can hear the phone calls you can you can listen to the phone call you can you can you have verifiable evidence all the way along the entire path from consumer to patient, to pegging patient in your chair, right, you can see that whole process unfold in front of you. Even if it’s only four new patients a month or five new patients a month, if they’re worth whatever, 16-1800 hundred bucks apiece, at the end of the year, you got an ROI building, right? So in those competitive markets, where you may only get four or five or six, you know, really good new patients a month.

Start there, get your baseline down, understand what your average acquisition cost is, understand what your first year ROI is. Now, you’ve all heard us say the first year ROI is not all your ROI is not even close. But measuring it is important. So in competitive markets, or ultra competitive markets, we may say, let’s go conservatively.

With a very few exceptions, there are dentists out there that we’ve run into over the years, I’d say more than a handful. I don’t know 40, 50 let’s say that, understand they’re in ultra competitive markets. Really understand how that impacts I mean, supply and demand impacts everything that you sell, and everything that you market, and everything that you advertise anybody that says it doesn’t, it’s basically flat out lying to you.

Howie: You can you can’t repeal that law.

Mark: It’s math. So anyway, um, so it’s very, it is infrequent, but every once in a while a dentist will engage us in a very ultra competitive market and say, “Mark, look, I tried this, I tried that. I tried this other thing. Actually, over the last dozen years, I think I’ve tried almost everything I can possibly try. Um, and you know, some of it works. Some of it worked short term, some of it worked for six months and then failed. Some of it worked for two years and then failed, some of it work. And, some of it never worked.” Right. And I’m whenever we get that question, you know, we say, Okay, well, let’s start. Let’s do this, right.

But let’s understand the first year, all we’re trying to do is get a baseline, and then we can turn the volume up. That’s that reference I use before turning the volume up. And then sometimes the doctor comes back and says, “No, hell with that. I want you to turn the volume up, and I want to keep the volume up. This is my market, I started here 20-25 years ago, these young guys came in here started dental advertising, they’re taking my patients away. I want, I want a four-mile radius around my practice to claim, it’s mine.” Every once in a while, we’ll get a doctor who says that. And in those cases, then, obviously the gloves are off. It’s time to play. And you know, nobody, nobody really wants to play in, in our nobody really wants to play it in our…

Howie: Backyard.

Mark: In our backyard. Right? When a dentist comes to us and says that because.

Howie: Sandbox?

Mark: Yeah, our sandbox. Yeah, they don’t want to be in our sandbox. So um, so here’s the bottom line there, in that situation, ultra competitive environment, Mark, and Howie would probably say, “all right, look, Doc, let’s just get a baseline,” because you can tell they’re kind of hurt. Like on the phone, they’re, they’re frustrated, they’re hurt almost by not finding the dental advertising that’s going to work for them. And they’re not going to move. They you know, there lease, they have a five year lease or they own the building, whatever, they’re not going to physically pick up their practice their family, their 25 years invested in the community and just leave, they’re not going to do that. Right.

So they’re going to stay and fight. We will almost always say start off slow. But there are a few dentists who come in and say “no, no, Mark, I read your books or listen to you guys. And I understand what I’m up against. I understand the risks, and I’m not moving. And there’s nothing these guys can do to make me move. So I’m going to stay I’m going to fight and I’m going to grab that top 40 for me, and let everybody else you know, let everybody else take a race to the bottom with their deals.”

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: We actually have actually, you know what, Howie we probably have 60,70, maybe 80 clients in that category? It’s probably more than 50. Right?

Howie: Yeah. Yeah.

Mark: So anyway, so the question from the forum was, “Hey, I think I’m in an untapped market.” That’s wrong. You’re never in an untapped market. Then he said, “we have this big corporate facility.” That’ll tell you right there it’s not an untapped market. And they see that this person sees a whole bunch of dental advertising from this big corporate facility. Now we know for sure it’s going to be price based. And we know for sure, the moms in the bottom half of the market will respond to that. And that’s fine. Those are the moms that that entity can take. We know, we know for sure that that corporate facility has an internet position.

We know from sure that the internet position is going to be you know, optimized, they may most do have some kind of Google AdWords campaign and that AdWords campaign will be based primarily on a price incentive. So there’s a whole bunch of knowns going into here to tell me that this is not an untapped market. An untapped market to me is like, remember the good old days Howie, like 15-20 years ago, doctor from Indiana somewhere would call us up and we’re like, we’ve never heard of a dentist in that part of Indiana.

Howie: They really need a dentist here.

Mark: Yeah, I know, really. And then you know, and then well, actually, you know, Lori, Doctor Cockley out in Pennsylvania was she was probably from 10 years ago, I guess, maybe 9 or 10 years ago. And, you know, she called us after the first wave, after we dropped the first wave on the market. She said, “Stop, I can’t take any more.” Right. So maybe those are the good old days. I mean, the good old days are they’re not gone by any strength, stretch of the imagination, but it’s pretty difficult to find. You know, I’m just basically an untapped dental market that that anyone would want to live. Right.

Howie: Yeah. Yeah.

Mark: With human beings that actually want, need and.

Howie: I hear the North Pole is kind of untapped.

Mark: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Right. So it’s, it’s your fewer and farther between, but they’re out there still.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: So anyway, so the guy that posted this, we wish him well, I forget his name. But if you’re out there in the dental forum land, make note Mark and Howie are watching. So yeah, we’re actually wait a second, this was a good plug, good time to plug. If you’re listening to the podcast, and you’re not a member of the Dental Marketing Mastery Facebook group, I know you probably get dragged in the nine thousand Facebook groups, and we’re not going to drag you into anything. But there are really good meaty learning conversations going on from time to time in Dental Marketing Mastery Facebook group.

So if you’re, if you if you just want to learn at your leisure, like you don’t want to listen to a half hour podcast, you just want to kind of read what’s going on with other dentists what challenges they’re having and how Mark and Howie and the rest of the team are explaining things. You know, explaining what they’re seeing, basically, is kind of what we do all day. Um, you know, join just doesn’t cost anything, just, you know, come on to the Dental Marketing Mastery Facebook group and say hello, and be part of the be part of the conversation. Some of those conversations get quite intense. We were just had an intense conversation on Google AdWords the other day, so.

Howie: Yeah. All right, my friends. We’ll see you again next time. And, actually, Mark I found out that this was the 91st podcast. So all of you out there. Tune in next week for the 92nd and on we go. Bye now.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our podcast today. You can find more podcasts on our YouTube channel, on Stitcher and iTunes. Also on our websites, dentalwebcontent.com and newpatientsinc.com.