Promoting sleep apnea treatment means sending the right message and tailoring that message to your audience. In this episode of Dental Marketing Mastery, we discuss how to do so, and we go over a few sleep apnea marketing mediums you can utilize to create sleep apnea patients.

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Podcast Highlights:

  • What is the conversation starter?
  • Getting the right partnerships
  • Postcards?
  • Sending the right message
  • Google Adwords
  • Humanizing the connection between the dentist and potential new patient

Podcast Transcription:

Hello, and welcome once again to the Dental Marketing Mastery series. This podcast is brought to you by 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. I think we’re up to about 95, 96 now. How are you doing, Mark?

Mark: I’m doing fine, sir. We’re supposed to get two to four inches of snow after April 1, so.

Howie: Oh, dang, that reminds me I ran out of sunscreen.

Mark: Yeah, right. Right get some sunscreen. That’s all right. It’ll be in the 60s later on in the week.

Howie: Oh, boy, yeah. Well, we just our last couple of podcasts where we were talking about how to promote a specific niches like implants. And yeah, implants, I think was the last one we did. So, we’re going to take a look at another niche here. Sleep apnea. And deal with that, we had our good buddy Kent Smith on not too long ago, and we talked about sleep apnea and what his experiences were in treating it in his practice. And so, we thought we talked about how to promote it in this one, is that okay?

Mark: Yeah, that sounds good. Yeah, Kent, Kent has a really cool story. When did we, we started working with Kent I think, a dozen years ago. But anyway.

Howie: 2005 I believe.

Mark: Yeah. Okay, about a dozen years. And he was still, he still knew what a hand piece was back then. Yeah, he’s still, he still knew what suction was. He knew it all that stuff was, you know, back a dozen years ago, and then he did a, he still does a ton of six month smiles and, and the sleep apnea. And I said, I’ve said all along, Kent Smith, he should have been a surgeon, or he should have been, you know, because he really loves the whole aspect of, you know, the possibility that you’re actually saving someone’s life, you know, from the work that you do.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Right. So, you know, over time, obviously, this didn’t happen immediately. That’s kind of insane. So I think the first thing that you realize when you’re, if you’re going to sleep apnea marketing to, to the dental consumer, is that, you know, if you want to try to be like Kent, you know, it’s going to take a while. So, I think that’s the first lesson that you can learn on this podcast. Nothing happens overnight. With, in particular to sleep apnea. There are many emotional triggers within the advertising, but we’ll talk about the media types, but I’d like Howie to talk a little bit about the emotional triggers that we use to gain the initial interest. Because it really doesn’t have anything to do with sleep apnea does it?

Howie: Well, no, actually. It has to do with marital discord, how’s that?

Mark: It works really well.

Howie: How do I get my stupid husband to quit snoring?

Mark: Yeah, exactly. That that that’s the conversation starter, right. That’s the that’s the consistent market. Reality is that if you’re a male, and you’re 45 to 50 years old, if you didn’t snore, before, you’re going to start sooner or later, right? Maybe there’s some guys that don’t snore. But maybe there’s some women that don’t snore. But sooner or later, as you age, you’re going to start to going to start to be annoying to those who sleep around you. Let’s just put it that way.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: And some of them are worse than others. And the worse, you know, the worst snores can be not always but certainly can be an indication of a deeper underlying problem. And so, it’s that emotional trigger that we use in whatever media type we’re in, we’re good, we’ll go through the media types.

But whatever media type we’re in, that’s typically the emotional trigger. It’s kind of like, you know, there’s they make spoofs out of ads. Um, you know, I’m sure you’ve heard them, you know, there, you’ll get an actor come on a video and go, “Do you breathe at night? Well, if you breathe at night, you might have blah, blah, blah.” You know what I mean? Like, “when you’re driving your car, or your eyes open, if your eyes are open, you might have blah, blah, blah,” right. So, it’s kind of as a little bit, a little bit of a spoof on, on advertising. But it’s very effective. Okay.

So, you know, people listen to these podcasts to try and skip all the bad steps, right? I mean, we’ve already bought and paid for them so you might as well skip them right along. And that’s one of the ones that would that that we, we ran into, it’s not necessarily to stop snoring. But it’s, it’s, you know, to get the eval done, right? Because what sleep apnea multiple steps, right?

Howie: Right. Right. And, and you’re going to have to form an alliance with a a sleep physician, you’re not, you have to be careful, you’re not diagnosing anything, it’s the sleep physician that diagnosis. But, you know, you take a course and you learn all of these things, you know, how to, you’ll know how to ramp up on it. Right. But then, then we can get into, you know, I remember Kent coming to us and saying, “Hey, you know, this is all I want to do, okay”. From that point, and the marketing that we built for him and deployed I think it was probably a year before he, maybe even longer mark. I don’t remember, but before he was able to ditch the handpiece.

Mark: I know, I think it was that and six month smiles, I think was probably three years.

Howie: Oh, was it?

Mark: Yeah.

Howie: That would make more sense.

Mark: Yeah, yeah.

Howie: Anyway, we can discuss some of the media types that we used or the methods that we we use to promote this. In fact, why don’t we do that when we get back from a short break? Okay?

Mark: You got it.

Howie: All right. Don’t go anywhere. We’ll be right back.

Hey, Mark, how would our audience find out about getting more good reviews? Well, first step is to understand it. There are mine fields 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 and 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, welcome back. We’re talking about promoting a niche called sleep apnea marketing and the recognition of it and how to promote it and get more of these type patients into your practice.

Mark: And then the first emotional trigger point was, you know, does your does your partner your spouse, snore? May be a sign of an underlying issue, blah, blah, blah, and you get quite the volume of responses. Um, you also get a quite a number of responses from people who are already diagnosed with sleep apnea who hate their CPAP.

Howie: That’s the other one. Yeah, I knew we were missing one. The other emotional thing here. You hate your CPAP? I mean.

Mark: If you were in a seminar with people who had a CPAP and you said how many people love your CPAP? No one, no hands would go up. There’s another consumer consistent. Nobody likes their CPAP.

Howie: Yeah, yeah. Because, go ahead, sorry.

Mark: No, go ahead Howie, go.

Howie: I was gonna say because normally, with our regular clients, we don’t we don’t deploy postcards too often. Because we were targeting the top half of the dental market. And there’s really only room on most postcards to target the bottom half with a deal of some sort. But when you start talking about niches like this sleep apnea, or even implants or dentures, you can, you can use them with success. And actually, I believe what we did with Canton and some of our other clients is we did both.

Mark: Right.

Howie: We targeted the areas around the practice geographically with postcards. And then we also did a full-blown brochure piece that that got into the subject, with a lot more depth.

Mark: That was yeah, that was when we, when Kent first started with his partner, they were just it was just Family Dentistry and we did a, you know, everything we normally did, and they built up to a certain point where we created what’s called a senior mailer. And for the folks who listen to these podcasts all the time, you’ll know that the last two podcasts were about promoting implants. And part of those podcasts mentioned, senior mailers.

Well, if you’re going to do senior mailers, and you’re going to do sleep apnea treatment, what a wonderful thing to put in your senior mailer, sleep apnea treatment. Yeah, is what you’re doing is you’re actually doing now you’re doing age targeting, income targeting, credit score targeting, you’re doing all kinds of targeting for these mail lists. And you’re basically putting together four or five or six things that your dental office provides services, technologies and amenities you provide, specifically for the over 45 crowd. And sleep apnea is a huge part of that. That doesn’t mean that people in their 20s don’t have sleep apnea, it just means that people when they’re over 45, can recognize when their spouse is getting louder. Okay.

Howie: When she moves out of the bedroom, the right that’s a good sign right there.

Mark: Yeah. Or, or, you know, they’ve been diagnosed, they’ve been doing sleep center, they’ve been to a sleep MD, and they’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, and they have their own sleep their CPAP. And if you put a picture of a CPAP in front of somebody who uses a CPAP and you put that little circle with the slash through it in red, you’re going to get their attention because they would love to have anything else other than the CPAP and honestly, so with their spouse.

Howie: Yeah

Mark: Because if you’ve ever slept with somebody with a CPAP, here’s what it sounds like. All flippin night, right. So, it’s kind of like a that clock with a tick. You know, that’s the only thing you hear that’s your head just starts to explode after a while.

Howie: And even if, you know a person is, you know, already hooked up with a CPAP and you you’ve got that going on. They’re willing to give it a shot, right? Just this mouth guard thingy.

Mark: Yeah.

Howie: If there’s any possibility they can ditch their CPAP, but now a lot of them can’t. If the if you’re if you if you’ve been diagnosed with severe apnea, then then you know, okay, the CPAP’s the gold standard. And that’s, that’s what you need to do. But, but anything less than that, you know, a sleep dentist can help a lot.

Mark: A lot. Right? And yeah, so part of the sleep apnea marketing is also, you know, your professional network, right And I’m sure Kent, you know he ran into sleep MDs, who were concerned about what he was doing, and he ran into sleep MDs who were willing to listen. And then he ran into sleep MDs who are willing to understand. So, it’s possible in your market, you’re going to have sleep MDs in each one of those categories too, and you can run into two or three of them they slam the door in your face, don’t get discouraged.

Keep looking, keep talking, maybe have a wine and cheese, maybe do us your own seminar, maybe whatever, whatever you can do go there local day of study clubs, just like you do. But your professional network is going to be really important as well to get this off the ground, because you’re going to need a place to take these people who are undiagnosed to get a diagnosis to a sleep MD who’s not going to just instantly put them in a CPAP.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Okay, someone who does also understand that, yes, we can solve this problem with this dental device, and you won’t need a CPAP and a place for them to refer their CPAP intolerant patients, of which there are many. Okay, so another thing you’ll need to learn or outsource is medical billing, because these are all, you know, most of these are covered under medical, so.

Howie: Yeah, not dental insurance medical insurance.

Mark: Right. So, you’ll need to either learn how to do yourself or outsource that to a firm that does. So there’s a lot involved with sleep apnea marketing it, though, hasn’t really been an enormous challenge normally, normally, maybe some Facebook boosts a senior mailer campaign, and every once in a while a PPC campaign, you know, Google AdWords, but normally, that’s pretty much going to max a dentist, there’s very few dentists out there who are like Kent Smith, who are going to say, you know, I’m going to close you know, my operatory doors to, you know, to everyone, but six month smiles and sleep apnea, probably only five of those in the country.

But there are lots of dentists out there who really feel the same way Kent does, and they really want to help people. And they really want to take the time to learn this. And they really, you know, they get personal satisfaction or really helping these people. Right. So, um, in order to do that, I mean, it’s this really the same thing that we talked about in our dental implant podcasts, you always start with your existing patient base. You don’t have to do anything external, with the practice. Maybe put a page about sleep apnea on your dental clinic website, but that’s not a big deal. Right?

Howie: Yeah. Yeah.

Mark: Um, you know, having, you know, have some, maybe some brochures or have an internal loop in your reception area, talk about sleep apnea, and the possibilities. Maybe talk to your patients, especially your patients who are over 45 and ask them if you have husband and wives that come into your practice, which I’m sure all of you do. You know, you might mention to Mary, “Hey does Doug snore?” Well of course Doug snores. You know, Doug snores, right. And you look down at his airway, I mean, you’re sitting right there, you can see there’s no room you say Doug snores. Yeah. Doug snores it’s a pain in the ass. Okay.

Well, you know, we might be able to help you out. And that’s the way you start a sleep apnea part of your practice from your existing patients. And then you go outward with your advertising from there.

Howie: I think also, what was extremely helpful, according to Kent was, we filmed him. We brought him here in Vegas, I believe and filmed him put a video up on his website, where it was just him talking to.

Mark: Yeah.

Howie: The patients, rather they were his own patients or, or brand new people. And that does a lot to kind of dispel any nervousness or, you know, get and also to give hope to the people that are just, you know, at their wits end with this whole sleep and snoring business, so you might want to consider that too even if you do it yourself, but get something up on your website.

Mark: Yeah. It definitely humanizes the connection between the dentist and the potential new patient. It absolutely does that. And it’s not really just for your dental clinic website, you can use that for your, your social media properties as well. Oh, yeah, absolutely.

Another thing we can tell you is, if you are going to do sleep apnea, and you are going to have a website and you are going to have online dental scheduling, don’t forget to put a sleep apnea consults as an appointment type on your online scheduling. Because these people, I don’t know how many appointments I got through, I don’t know, 75 appointments came into my inbox over the weekend.

So, I’m not just for sleep consults, you know, but our clients who do sleep, or do implants, or do any niche, really Invisalign, what have you. Um, if you’re going to have a website, you’re going to have online scheduling integration. You got to have, don’t forget, here’s my point, don’t forget that, because it’s easy to overlook. And then six months later, you go “Oh, you know, smack my head moment.” And you end up putting it on there. And then, all of a sudden, you end up with sleep apnea consults. It’s amazing how that works.

Also, on the on the online scheduling portal, put it on, you know how it has new patients, or established patients appointment types, make sure you put it on both. Because you’re established patients are going to start getting really used to using the online scheduling. And you’re going to want them to see that the office can help them with their with sleep apnea. Actually, it’ll cause questions. You know, they’ll come in say, “I was making my appointment online, and I saw this sleep apnea consult, what is that?” All of a sudden you get questions, you get a lot more questions about the things that you’re trying to promote, right, just from your own established patients at no additional cost, which is always good. So.

Howie: Great.

Mark: So that’s good.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: We got you know, hopefully, we’ll have another legion of sleep apnea dentists out there helping people save their marriage and helping people not die.

Howie: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Mark: That’s always a good thing.

Howie: That’s always a good thing. And, of course, you know, it. It’s pretty obvious you’re going to have to get some training in this and I know Kent offer courses. I don’t happen to have his URL here. But just google him and find out where you can go to learn about this. And it’s a it’s a good thing. It’s a good service.

Mark: Yeah. If you just Google Kent Smith.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Doctor dentist Kent Smith.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: I’m not even going to spell it for you.

Howie: All right, ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for tuning in. And we will be with you shortly. Probably next week.

Mark: Bye bye.

Howie: Bye bye.

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, and