A top 10? From us? Yep! In this episode of Dental Marketing Mastery, we answer the question, “what tanks your dental marketing strategies?” We then discuss understanding data can help you set realistic expectations with your marketing and produce great results.

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Podcast Highlights:

#1: Expecting everything… TODAY (time)

  • Market penetration
  • “A 27 year overnight success!”
  • Understanding the marketing bell curve
  • How many impressions do you need to make?

#2: Transparency with what works and what doesn’t

  • Feelings vs. statistics
  • The start and stop mentality
  • Result tracking, call tracking

#3: Having unrealistic expectations

  • How to set realistic expectations with data
  • Understanding market penetration
  • Quality of patients vs. quantity of patients

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 to our weekly podcast. This was, Hey Mark, did you see we got a whole bunch of new podcast listeners from down under, Australia and New Zealand? So, we welcome those guys and gals.

Mark: Yeah, welcome from Australia and New Zealand. I’d like to pre-eminently thank whoever it is who’s distributing our podcast URL in foreign lands. Thank you. We don’t know who you are. So, you can just send us an email.

Howie: But we love you.

Mark: Yes, we but we love you. Yes.

Howie: Alright. Today’s topic is actually several kinds different subjects. But it all comes under the heading of a top 10 ways that you might be destroying the results of your dental marketing strategies.

Mark: And you know, I usually cringe I, you know, I usually cringe when I see an article in dentistry that starts with the top 10 or top five or top, top four and a half or whatever, I just kind of automatically don’t read it just because I don’t like the title. But so, I was kind of cracking up and we came up with this title. But nevertheless, there, we try to spend our half hour with you taking little pieces of an overall properly done properly designed orchestrated dental marketing plan and feed it to you with the testing the research, the numbers, the you know, everything that we have at our disposal. And a lot of times, it ends up with some of these things are out of our hands.

So, Howie and I discussed it, and we said, you know, let’s look over the questions that we get. And I’m going to say 90% of the questions are in this top 10 list. So, we said you know what, let’s just do what we hate. Well, let’s do a, you know, top anytime you see top, anybody advertising, like in an email or something that says top 10 you can almost assume that, you know, there’s a some kind of an odd reason why they would say, you know, top 10 cause they were trying to it, it’s called “eye candy,” right “click bait” Right? Is normally what those ad headlines are, we assure you, that’s not what we’re doing to you. Okay.

So anyway, so let’s go through, we’re going to get through these in as few podcasts as possible, it may take two or three. So, let’s go through number 1 now is time. Now what about time Howie make dentist get in the way of their own dental marketing strategies?

Howie: Yeah, you know, it’s a, I guess you could also call it expecting everything today.

Mark: There you go.

Howie: Right.

Mark: Right.

Howie: You know, a properly done marketing campaign has to take some time, it just does. There’s a thing called market penetration if you’re just starting your complete unknown, to your to your target market. And you may be a complete unknown even if you’ve been in business for 15 years. There, there’s that penetration, how far are you? How far have you sunk in to people’s minds in your target audience in the area around your practice? And that takes some time to happen. I don’t care who you are, it just takes time.

Mark: Right. Sort of like planting a seed. Right? And then, you know, being impatient that I don’t get to pick my tomatoes. Yeah, exactly.

Howie: Where’s my apple I just planted the tree?

Mark: Exactly. Exactly. And we get it, don’t we, Howie? Like we’re not, what I want everybody that’s listening to this when we go through this top 10 we’re not making light of this. This is.

Howie: No.

Mark: We may sound like we are and it but we’re not we’re right with you. We would, we would like to take our advertising dollars that promote our company. And we would like to sit there by the phone right when we apply them to the dentists. and wait for the calls come in. Or wait for the you know, online dental office website inquiries to come in. Or wait for people to schedule dentist appointment online or what have you. Right? We would love to be able to do that.

But like we say to everybody, we’re a 29 year old overnight success. Right? We’ve been applying those dollars. And trust me when I say many more dollars than any of you listening to this spend on a you know, on a consistent, reliable, very measured way over all those years. So that’s how dentists got to know us. Right?

Howie: Yes.

Mark: They didn’t get to know us because of our last ad, they got to know us because of our previous 431 ads. That’s my point. Right?

Howie: That’s a good way to look at it, yeah.

Mark: Yeah, you know, um, so with now with time, let’s delve down a little bit, dive down a little bit here and give people a little bit of a better expectations snapshot with time. Like, if everybody on this listening to this podcast has ever heard the word the term bell curve, you can see a bell in front of you. And at the very bottom, that bell to the left is when you started. And when you started, there’s a certain period of time where you’re going to kind of like, don’t feel like it’s working.

You know what I mean, like and then all of a sudden a couple calls come in you go, “Okay, that’s still not enough. It’s still not what I expected. It’s still not what I hoped. But it’s a couple more calls and I had yesterday,” right? And then it turns into four, and then it turns into six and then it turns into eight. And what Howie and I are telling you is every marketing medium, whether it’s online, offline, internal, external, we were telling you, they all have a bell curve and that lower left hand side of the bell curve always takes time. There is no such thing. I mean, the most instantaneous result you can probably get I’m just trying to think here. I mean, AdWords.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Probably, you know, the most instantaneous instant gratification you can get with your advertising dollar. But you might not be real gratified at the you know, that the total number of conversions when you first start at the bottom of that bell curve, it takes investment month over month over month in order for that bell curve is start moving up. The top of that bell curve is where you want to be, but you have to invest on the way up. That’s our that’s our point.

Howie: Yeah. And you see this happening, you know, dentists who do try this, try that. Right? What they’re actually doing is they’re restarting that bell curve over and over and over again.

Mark: Right.

Howie: Each new effort that they’re engaged in, and the beginning of the of the bell curve is hardly ever where the revenue pole comes in. And it’s always the most expensive.

Mark: Right. It’s always where the biggest costs are.

Howie: So they keep starting it over and over again, and their costs go through the roof, cause they’re they they’re not giving you enough time to actually, you know, go up that curve and extend it and then get all the benefits of that part of the bell curve.

Mark: I think a really good understandable, applicable example would be radio. Yeah, the first time you’ve ever you heard a radio ad, you did not respond to you just didn’t, unless they said, you know, call this number and we’re going to give you a free Toyota, right? There, nobody responds to something they’ve heard or seen or watched or listened to, you know, one time. But the magic number is 11. Those 11 impressions. However, they come in throughout through whatever media types they come through, specifically with radio.

It’s amazing how consistent that 11th impression is the 11th time that ad runs during the same hour of the talk show or what have you. It’s amazing how the response numbers jump after the audience has had an opportunity to at least to be familiar with you. And it takes usually 11 times on a reasonably done radio ad. So meanwhile, you have to pay for all those impressions, the radio company doesn’t go “You know what, it’s going to take you a little while. So, we’re going to give you these first 11 ads for free.” They don’t do that they charge you exactly the same amount for the those initial ads right Howie?

Howie: Yeah, pretty much. Oh, you might be able to swing a deal. But yeah, that’s the idea. You know, they’re very well aware of the bell curves in their market area. So.

Mark: Exactly. Yeah. So, all right, so time, not giving your advertising enough time. Now Howie and I will also tell you that we’ve run into dentist who had been hanging on to advertising that wasn’t working probably for two or three years. And they just, it’s kind of like there woobie you know, they’re kind of just holding on to it. “No, I’ll never let go with the yellow pages.” No, you should have let go five years ago, “no, but I wont let go.” You know, so there’s also the other side of that, like, sometimes you kind of need to get away from an advertising medium, just because you’ve always done it doesn’t mean you should continue to do it.

But for the most part and it’s on the opposite side. They give up too soon. And I think that’s number one.

Howie: Yeah

Mark: Number one is, they’ll give up a little too soon and like Howie said, you just spent your money for the ramp, and then you weren’t even you weren’t even in the game to get the result. You just bailed. Right? So that’s, that’s number 1, I think number 2.

Number 2, this really applies to everyone listening to this because that well not. If you’re our client and you’re on our AdWords campaign probably doesn’t apply to you. But if you’re almost anybody else on the planet, not having transparency to the actual results of what’s working and what’s not working, is absolutely destructive to the results of your dental marketing strategies. So, the scenario is, is your phone rings, or you get inquiries on the internet. Or you get online dental scheduling or what have you. However, the however, the dental consumer is connecting with you and making appointments. So there’s a certain number of those people. So the logical question from an advertising sense is where do they come from.

And for the most part, I’d say, you know, probably 70% of the dentists out there just go up to the front desk, and they say, “hey, Jane, how do you think our x advertising is working?” And Jane looks at the doctor and says, “I think it’s working good.” Or, “I don’t know, phones been pretty quiet today.” Right? These totally and completely non associated, non associated 100% subjective, sometimes even destructive comments, come back to the doctor and the doctor says, “Okay.” And then what happens the really destructive part of that is the doctor says, “Well, I guess that didn’t work. I’m going to try something new.” Okay, which is what Howie said about time. So these two things, you know, there’s top 10 ways to destroy your dental marketing strategies, these two are very much intertwined.

Howie: Right. Because if you don’t know, if something’s working or not, then you’re not in a position to make it an expensive decision on whether to continue it or curtail it. Right. It’s, it’s like, back in the old days, when the Yellow Pages people would call you up and say, well, the deadlines in three days, sorry, we didn’t call you sooner, you’re gonna have to re-up now and so you know, it’s gonna cost you 20 grand, you know, you’re gonna make a $20,000, $50,000 decision. Oh, and depending on the medium you’re using, it could be a much bigger decision than that.

Mark: Right.

Howie: Based on no data, no reliable data other than how somebody feels, right? You know, what I’m saying? It’s just not it’s or, or the, the data in the practice management software, which is very often incorrect or just missing, doesn’t give you an accurate picture, either. So, it’s tough for you to make a decent decision based on scenario.

Mark: Now, we don’t blame you, the doctor, we don’t blame the staff. We don’t know, we don’t really blame anyone. Okay, it’s just, this is more of a realization, okay, I there, there is an inherent flaw in result tracking of dental marketing strategies. We also understand that none of you know exactly where all your patients came from. And none of you can trace back all the dollars from that were generated from a certain advertising campaign, none of you can. So, we go into this with the understanding that perfect is unattainable, and that’s okay. But we also go into it understanding that not knowing hardly anything is terrible.

Okay, so our goal is to simply learn as much as we can about the true results of the advertising that we’re doing. And we use tools to do that, called tracking as a tool. Basically, I’m not going to say that’s all it is. But it’s certainly a tool to help you quantify the direct responses to an advertising media, let’s say you have one on your dental office website, or you have on an AdWord landing page, or you have one on a mail piece, or you have one on your Facebook, whatever, okay? You have them all over the place. And at least, you know, those people who call that number were the direct responses off of that ad. That doesn’t mean that ad, that that’s all the ad generated.

Notice. Notice, I didn’t say that that’s the extent of the benefit from the ad. What I said was, is that’s what those are their direct responses. In other words, those people didn’t go anywhere else and call from anywhere else. They use that number. And that number only exists on whatever ad that was whether it’s all online, offline, internal, external doesn’t matter. That phone number is nowhere else on the planet Earth except for whatever advertising that was ok. call tracking is a big, gigantic help in getting you from “Hey, Jane, how’s our advertising doing?” To, “Hmm, now I can count now I can measure,” right? I still can’t see the revenue; I still don’t have transparency to the revenue.

But at least I can listen to the call and determine whether these patients became new patients or not. Or I can determine whether my staff is doing a good job at handling the tougher questions on the phone or not, right? There’s a lot of things I can do with a very affordable tool called you know, we just call it call tracking. Okay.

Howie: Right.

Mark: That’s available to everybody listening to this. I mean, there’s no reason why all of you couldn’t implement this almost immediately. Now, having said that, you have to watch yourself, you have to be careful, just because you’re making an improvement. Don’t, don’t assume that the direct calls from this advertising are the only is the only benefit to your practice. Because we we’ve proven it’s only about 35 to 40% in most cases. Okay. And specifically, what I’m talking about here is mail.

Howie: Let’s hold on right there for a second, Mark.

Mark: You got it.

Howie: We’ll take a short break. We’ll be right back. We’ll talk about what Mark just brought up here. Don’t go away.

Hello, everybody. This is Howie Horrocks and along with me is Mark Dilatush the President of New Patients Incorporated. How you doing Mark? Hey Howie, how are you? This is the part of the podcast where we get to brag about our company. Yay. So sometimes it gets lost in all these podcasts what New Patients Incorporated actually does. We have, I don’t know how many podcasts 75, 80. One a week for well over a year. And all of you listen to these a half hour at a time and you might lose sight of what we do. So here’s the short answer.

We do everything we’re talking about in these podcasts on behalf of our clients. Okay, the podcasts are there for our clients, of course just so they understand what the heck we’re doing, but also for the doctors who are do it yourselfers. If you’re not a do it yourselfer, and you want someone to do this for you. New Patients Inc dot com, there’s an icon in the dead center at the top of our homepage where you can get a complimentary marketing plan, a series of questions will need to be completed.

And once you complete that, we will analyze your market area, develop a marketing plan and get on the phone with you discuss all the sections of the marketing plan just to make sure you understand a couple of things. What you’re up against, what your expectations should be, and what Mark and Howie would do if we owned your dental practice.

Howie: Okay, we are back. Yeah, let’s talk about that we’re talking about call tracking. And go ahead Mark.

Mark: Just having, being able to track the advertising cost to a call to a patient to hopefully at some point in the future revenues. Call tracking helps that. But a lot of dentists get into a trap with call tracking as well. So that’s what we’re trying to help you through is through that trap. So, they’ll look and they’ll say well, only 100 people called my office from this advertising and they assume wrongly that that’s the max number of people that called.

No, that’s the minimum number of people that responded to that advertising, not the maxim. Classic example is whatever postcard, tri-fold, magazines, any offline promotion could be radio, television, print ads, could be any offline promotion with a call tracking number on it. How many of those, the ad design is purposely listing your URL, the goal behind the offline promotion is to drive the fence sitters from your ad to your website for them to call there. The only people that called with that call tracking number that’s on that ad are the people that did not go to your website.

First. You have no idea how many people went to your website call from there. Okay. Then they came into the office and they told Jane, the last thing they did was go to your website and Jane put website in the referral field and your practice management software. And all of the sudden you think your website is like you know, the second coming. When it’s really not. Right. Okay, so you see how this see how this starts to, Right. So the first step is call tracking for sure. But don’t let it don’t let that morph into other poor decisions understand the difference between the primary responders and secondary responders because it’s normally especially with mail normally the primary is about 40% of the total 60% of the total has nothing to do with that, that mailer call tracking number. So yeah, so that’s, that.

Number 2 is gaining game transparency, understanding of your truer results. Notice, I didn’t say you know, perfect, because none of us are going to get perfect at these results, right. But 80% accurate is better than 20% accurate any day. And if you’re making decisions based on 80% accurate data, you’re going to be a much more successful dentist. You’re going to have much less stress in your life when it pertains to advertising dentistry, much less. You’re going to spend far less money in the long run on your advertising, if you’re not starting and stopping starting and stopping and paying for the beginning of that bell curve endlessly until you retire, trust us. Okay. So that was number 2 was result transparency of dental marketing strategies.

And number 3 is tied into number 2, which is number 3 is, number 3 is is one of the top 10 ways to destroy your dental marketing strategies are to have just ridiculous unrealistic expectations. Right?

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Okay. Now thinking remember number 1 was time. You know, not giving it enough time. So maybe one of the unrealistic expectations is that it’s not going to take long as I think, what do you think Howie?

Howie: Yeah, yeah. And it, and it is and it’s tough, you know, to we run into this all the time is, say, we do get a spectacular result with the client on the, you know, the first thing we do for them, well, then that.

Mark: That becomes the norm now. Right?

Howie: Yeah, that becomes the norm. Okay, how come it’s not happening with you know, with this next effort.

Mark: Right.

Howie: Okay, we got, we swung the ball and we swung the bat, and we got, you know, the sweet spot, and we hit it over the fence.

Mark: Right.

Howie: You know, you don’t have to do that all the time. In fact, you’re not going to do that all the time with any advertising effort, what you are going to be doing is getting a lot of singles, doubles. Right, that and that is more than enough, usually. So that that’s what we say with you know, align your, your expectations to what, what kind of barriers you’re looking at, you got people out there in the marketplace that don’t know you exist. So how long is it going to take for you to achieve that market penetration? And, and then, you know, you’re going to have to be aware of who you’re promoting to, as well. And with each market segment comes its own, you know, with that comes its own set of rules and problems.

Mark: Right, and you have competition, then does is your message the same or similar as your competition? If so, what are you doing?

Howie: Good point. Yes.

Mark: What are you doing? You just we just, you know, you know, just because your postcard is orange, and blue doesn’t mean anything. Right? Just you just it might be different to you, but the people receiving is no different. Right? So, what’s different about you? Right, so when you go into these with unrealistic expectations, you say to yourself, “well, well, how do I get realistic expectations?” Haha, good question.

Howie: Oh, yes.

Mark: Right. So, so I don’t know if you know this or not. But you know, we’ve been tracking this stuff for 28 years or so. And the majority of our data is, is centered around and refers back to doctor patient ratio.

So you say, Okay, if I’m going to deploy this, let’s, I’m just going to use this website, in this kind of a market, if I’m going to deploy mail, if I’m going to use an ad, or try to promote implants, in the obituary, you know, area of the newspaper in this kind of a market everything refers back to the doctor patient ratio for us, okay, so we have a pretty good idea we’ll be within 10 or 15%, 95% of the time, we have a pretty good idea of what’s going to work what’s not going to work in a specific market, not based on whether you’re not you have palm trees.

But whether or not there’s 900 human beings running around for every dentist, versus let’s say, a market that might have 2000 people run around for every dentist. Their targets are largely the same, they’re largely the same because we always go after the moms who will, for the most part, not choose a dentist based on a price incentive.

Actually, it kind of turns them off. So that’s our kind of our Well, one of our claims to fame is we go after those people. And it’s amazing, our clients really like those people. So, so when somebody comes to us and says, “Hey, man, I need 50 additional new patients a month.” And I’m, I look at him and I look at the data. I say, “Well, how many? What do you got two, three doctors in the office?”

Howie: Yeah what are you gonna do with all of them?

Mark: Yeah, “no, just me.” Like, okay, well, do you have a practice now? Or is this a startup? No, no, no, I’ve been here for 15 years. Why do you? Why am Why do you need 50 additional new patients a month? Well, because my hygiene is not busy. Everybody’s getting the picture here. Okay. There’s unrealistic expectations. So let’s, how do you get realistic expectations?

I can tell you what we do. When someone comes to us and says, “Hey, you know, I’m thinking about maybe hiring you guys to do your work,” I say, “All right, let’s take a look.” Let’s do let’s basically, look, we I at that point, we’re kind of like dentists, we want to take an X ray, we want to use an explorer, we want to look at the market, we want to diagnose what we’re dealing with, right what the doctors up against. Part of that is the analysis of the market, the targets the competition. The competition side is really what sets our expectations.

So really, for number 3, unrealistic expectations. The real question that would help everybody listening to this would be well, heck with dentists, what does NPI do to set their expectations? They’ve been doing this for 28 years. Right? Okay, good question. We always look at the doctor patient ratio. And we have result data for every media type throughout the US and four other countries for all these years, and hundreds and hundreds of offices. So we have a really good idea of the minimum we should expect. And we have a really good idea of the maximum we should expect. Right.

So, and again, with the backdrop that we really 95% of our work is promoting dentistry based on the benefits of dentistry, we’re not promoting dentistry based on a price incentive to come into a practice. That’s not how our clients get their patients. Okay. So it’s tougher to do it, that it’s tougher. That’s a tougher market segment to penetrate.

Howie: Yeah, much.

Mark: Much more difficult. Right? So how do we set our expectations? Almost every new person that engages us has expectations that are too high. Not because they don’t I mean, it’s not because of anything other than maybe they’re just starting, maybe all the other stuff that they’ve tried has kind of failed, right? And they’re just like, they all they really one is just results, they don’t really know what those results should be. They don’t really know what their expectations should be not logically not based on numbers, not based on anything rational. It’s almost all subjective and emotional.

So, we always use the doctor patient ratio in a given market to adjust the actual results generated in similar markets throughout all the years and all the offices, right, on a gigantic spreadsheet. Yeah, so we can pretty much look and we can say, okay, in that kind of a demographic in that kind of a market, we should expect, whatever, let’s say 4 new patients a month off of the website, and the SEO, we should expect this much through AdWords, we should expect this much through mail.

Some of these mediums require, you know, an initial analysis to really get a good dig in to really get close to the expectations. But how do bad expectations destroy your dental marketing strategies? Well, if you expect 50 new patients a month, and you get 10, you’re disappointed. But if you’re focused on 50, and you look at 10 as a disappointment, what if those 10 costs you two grand a month to get but they return 2000 apiece? In the first year?

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Make sense?

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Okay. So.

Howie: That’s why a doctor thinks he needs 50 new patients because quality of the patient is, is low. So, he needs more of them. Right? When you when your target market is already a better, better demographic or better, better quality of patient then you don’t need as many.

Mark: So here’s the bottom line with unrealistic expectation. Here’s and anyone who knows Howie and I knows he is absolutely the creative genius on the staff. There’s nothing creative about me whatsoever. Okay. But I’m a big on the data guy. Right?

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: So, you know, the data tells us what your expectations should be. So, don’t let unrealistic expectations on your end, whether you’re using us or somebody else, okay. This is not about NPI. Okay? This is about you going out and setting your expectations where whatever marketing company you use can hit or exceed them. Okay? Because here’s what happens. You end up being happy. You end up with an ROI, the company that you’re using is happy. And, you end up staying with them for 3, 5, 7, 10, 21, 23 years. Oh my god. How awesome would that be? Right? You don’t have these crazy decisions to make based on unrealistic expectations every year. So yeah, let’s, let’s close it up, Howie.

Howie: Yeah, that’s we got a little long. Thank you for hanging in with us. We’ll be back next week with some more of these, these topics on how you can avoid.

Mark: More of the top 10 ways to destroy your own dental marketing strategies. I’m so embarrassed we’re doing a top 10.

Howie: It’s real quick, baby, but we don’t care. It’s for it’s for fun. Thanks a lot you guys, 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.