We continue our discussion of the top 10 ways to destroy your dental marketing strategies in part 2! In this episode, we discuss treating your practice like a business, budgeting, allocating marketing responsibilities, and market demographics
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#4 Not Treating the Practice Like A Business
- Not having a budget
- What percentage of your practice revenue should go into marketing?
- Budgets: spending limitation, NOT a promissory note
- Not being consistent with marketing
#5 Having Multiple Companies Handle Your Marketing
- Which assets belong to who?
- Having 5 companies for your marketing?
- Online scheduling, reputation management
- Driving yourself crazy!
- Not working thematically
#6 Promoting to the Wrong Half of the Market
- Defining the right half of the market
- Short-term patients vs. long term patients
- The difference between a shopper and good quality
- Getting caught in the volume game
- Kissing a lot of frogs to find a prince
- Becoming the “cheap dentist” in town
- Competing with corporate offices
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: Well, hello, everybody. Welcome once again to our podcast. And I’m in Vegas and Mark is out there in New Jersey land. How you doing? Mark?
Mark: Hello, Howie. I’m doing fine. Thank you.
Howie: Wonderful. What are we talking about today? I think it’s we’re going to continue our series we started there last week.
Mark: Well, we were going to do we were going to try to get through the top 10 in one podcast.
Howie: No way.
Mark: That was silly planning on our part. So, we only got through three.
Howie: Alright. Top 10 ways that you can wreck your dental marketing strategies.
Mark: Yeah, if you really are committed to totally and completely destroying your dental marketing strategies, just follow this handy guide.
Howie: And you’ll succeed.
Mark: And you’ll succeed. Yes, absolutely. So, number 1, 2, and 3. Just a real quick recap. Number 1 was not giving advert advertising enough time. And that’s true of all advertising.
Mark: Number 2 is a lack of result transparency. In other words, you don’t really know when you see most of you don’t have any way of knowing really what the true results are. So, you end up running around looking for that panacea. And it’s really actually, you probably tripped over it once and thought it wasn’t working. Number 3, having unrealistic expectations, right. And that kind of reverts back to number 1.
So that’s what we went through last time. This time, we are going to discuss treating the practice like a business. And specifically, budgets and applying them and deploying them, and so on and so forth. Having multiple people responsible for your whole campaign, that’s number 5. Number 6, is promoting to the wrong half, potentially for too long. So, we’re going to go through let’s go through, let’s start with 4. That’s a good place to start. Right? If we’re coming off a 3.
Howie: Actually the thing of the title is not treating your practice like business, right?
Mark: That’s right.
Howie: That’s a mistake.
Mark: That’s right. So and we hear this all the time, and it comes from sure it comes from solid roots, the doctor is the giver, right? The nurturer, the provider of health, and it’s all about, it’s all about providing care. You know, in most dentists minds, that’s what it’s all. That’s what it’s always been about. It’s why they get up in the morning. It’s why they do what they do.
And some for some, it’s very difficult to operate the business and think, like a business person, right, let’s just let’s just call it what it is. It’s just difficult. And we get it, we understand, you know, we understand the push pull with the emotional side. But as it pertains to completely destroying your dental marketing strategies, one of the easiest and fastest ways a dentist can destroy their advertising result is to not have a budget.
The first step just multiply your revenues times about 5% and that should be your budget, you can divide it by 12 so you have a nice monthly nut to cover every 30 days. There’s your month, that’s what you should be spending on advertising to grow your practice and almost what would you almost every market, you should be able to grow a practice, I’m not going to say any practice, but I’m going to say you should be able to grow a practice in almost any environment in the US for about 5%. If you’re over a million and a half in revenues, you can chop that down to about 4 and a half, maybe even 4 and start there.
So, the first part, the first step, to avoiding having it hurt your advertising, is to have a budget. A budget is a spending limitation. It’s not a promissory note, you’re not promising that you’re going to spend, you’re just saying I’m not going to spend over this amount.
Howie: Right. You can spend less.
Howie: You just can’t go over.
Mark: Right, right. So, the first step to fixing that is to have a budget, the second step is to have it be consistent. Now, here’s some good news, dentists like consistent monthly payments, Howie and I, as business owners, Hell, if we could and we try, we probably split up all of our expenses in even monthly amounts.
Howie: Yeah, that’d be easy.
Mark: Yeah, it makes your whole, it makes everything that much more visible. You know, as you go day to day, week to week, month to month, where your profitability lies.
Howie: Right, it’s predictable. That’s a big, big comfort and a big thing you can lean on, you have things be predictable.
Mark: Right. So, if you’re not advertising, you’re not spending any money on advertising right now. And you want to, you know, put your toe in them in the pool, so to speak. Um, then, you know, carve out a reasonable budget and divided by 12. And that’s going to be your new monthly budget, you’re going to maintain consistency, just like every other business in America does when they advertise for, in their case, customer acquisition and your case patient acquisition. Um, every business does that. They may pick and choose their spots there are there are reasons, locales, seasonality, and specialist dentist, that would have a reason not to have a good solid, consistent 12 month, exactly the same monthly budget.
But for 95, or 98% of the GPs listening to this yours should be the same every month, and get locked in. Now here’s, here’s what you solve. Here’s the problem this solves. This solves the problem of the dentist who was very slow, “oh, things are slowing down. I will ramp up my marketing.” Then they over spend then phone rings, then they begin to fill up, then the dentist pulls back on the advertising budget, then it gets slow, then they overspend.
Then the phone rings, and it gets a little busier, they feel better, and they pull back their marketing budget. Well, every time they do that they’re losing money. Every time they push hard and then pull back push hard and they’re losing money. They’re losing money needlessly, all they really had to do is establish a nice consistent dental marketing strategies, a nice consistent advertising spend. And the results would come in in a smoother fashion, they could plan their capacities in an accurate way.
They can manage their patient care in an accurate manner, they can expand and then in an accurate manner, they can do all those things accurately if it’s consistent. If it’s inconsistent, you can’t you’re pretty much reacting rather than being proactive with your budget. So that’s, that’s really the first the first one is, is treating your practice as it pertains to advertising.
Howie: Yeah, yeah, dentists have often, you know, like you alluded to, at the beginning that they have an ideal, ideal with the practices, you know, it’s, it’s that, like you said, you’re the caregiver, you’re the doctor, you’re, you know, and that’s what you conceive your practice to be and, and go ahead, that’s wonderful. But at the same time, you have to realize it’s also a small business, and it’s subject to this laws of supply and demand and customer acquisition and everything else, economics 101, so.
Mark: Yeah, I mean, yeah, if you’re, if you’re a solo GP, and you’re not seeing me 18 to 22, 19 to 23, good solid new patients a month, you’re probably plateaued. And if you look at your numbers, and you see 15 a month for the last 12 months, you are plateaued, or you’re going backwards. And if you’re not yet, you will. It’s just a, you know, it’ll happen.
So, you know, you have to maintain that level, in order to continue to grow as a, as effectively and efficiently within your limitations, your limitations of your practice are your operational hours, the number of treatment rooms and the number of dentist hours in the practice, those are the only three limitations you have. So until you maximize those and then start to begin to grow out of your walls, or, you know, or you’re, you’re growing at the seams, so to speak, um, then you, you know, you need to continue to advertise at the current level, that gets you there. And then, then you have a decision to make, which is a really fun decision to make. What do I do now with all these patients, right?
Howie: Yeah. All right. Let’s take a short break here, we’re going to come back and talk about the other two items on our list. So, don’t go away. We’ll be right back.
Hey Mark, we should tell people about this new product, we have NPI Command. Ah, well, new, probably new to the podcast listeners, but not new to the customers who use it. So let me go through on the finer points. NPI Command is a system we use. It’s an artificial intelligence system that creates decisions on where dentists, our clients, should put their pay per click money when they do Google Pay Per Click ad campaigns.
If you’re someone who’s already done them, and you’re probably frustrated by the cost of the negative clicks, well, if there’s an artificial intelligence platform, monitoring your negative clicks, you can see immediately how doing these on an artificial intelligence platform will allow for a faster build, and the faster allocation of the advertising money to the places that are bringing in good clicks. Because with every PPC campaign, there’s sources of bad clicks and sources of good clicks. And the whole idea is to throw all your money and the good ones and pull your money from the bad ones.
So NPI Command is our PPC department. And it’s not just in the department of humans, it’s an artificial intelligence platform as well.
Howie: Alright, we are back. And what’s our next topic here Mark?
Mark: Next topic number 5 of the top 10 ways to completely destroy your dental marketing strategies is to have 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10 people handling certain aspects of your overall marketing.
Howie: Yeah, people or companies?
Mark: Yeah, people or companies or yeah, sure. Yeah. This is, it’s, um, it’s kind of amazing to watch. And, and, and it’s very common to, we’ll get on the phone with a dentist, and the dentist will say, “yeah, you know, I’ve been doing this, I’ve been doing that. I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem to be working like it used to, or I need it to work better,” or you know, kind of a easy to understand conversation. And we said, “okay, well, let me let’s look at your assets.”
The first one of the first things we do when a dentist engages us is we try to look for their we try to determine what money they’ve already spent on advertising. And then secondly, we determine which of these things are current assets for a classic example is a doctor who built a website. Doctor paid a company, built a dental practice website that if it’s not, you know, if it’s not the tooth guy brushing the back of his head with an, you know, a bloody sickle in his hand, if it was put together, you know, reasonably well, we would consider it anywhere from, you know, a 50 to 100% asset when we’re trying to figure out what this dentist should prioritize for their, their marketing budget.
Well, okay, so there’s a website developer. And within that website, developers, probably two people graphic designer and a coder. If there’s not there, there’s someone that knows some kind of programming. And then sometimes those people will go and hire an outside what are called SEO firm like search engine optimization firm. Now we have a website, maybe a graphic designer, and a programmer, and an outside SEO person, and that SEO person sometimes turns into a Google AdWords person, but that’s a different department. Right?
So, they’re referred over to a Google AdWords department. So, we got, we got two people working on the website, we have one person doing our SEO and this other organization doing our AdWords. And the doctor comes in after going to a Saturday conference somewhere in Minnesota and says, “I need somebody on my social media.” So, they hire a fifth company to handle their social media aspects of the promotion of the practice. And pretty soon when you talk to a dentist and you say, “Hey, you know, who’s handling your dental marketing strategies now?” They say things like, “Well, Larry, Jen, Barbara, Bill, Stephanie, Rick, and Jerry. Okay. They’re handling my marketing.” Okay. And Howie and I go, we’re sitting there scratching our heads going, “How is that even possible?”
Howie: Doesn’t that get confusing?
Mark: Yeah. I mean, we have, we have all those people on staff. And they’re all employed by us. And sometimes it’s difficult for us to get our own people to understand, you know, the orchestration, the blending the you know, because when you promote anything, when you market anything, I don’t care if it’s dentistry or sneakers, right, there has to be a there’s a timing to everything. There’s a structure to everything, there’s a design that needs to be like, for instance, let’s just use a classic example.
We have a dentist who I don’t know, let’s say it’s a startup, we have a dentist, and they’re brand new gonna open up a practice and they need a dental practice website, and they need dental SEO, AdWords campaign. Let’s do, let’s say do a tri fold and a postcard two difference halves of the market. Let’s do this piece. That piece. The other piece, right? Well, that could be 11 people.
Mark: From five different companies who know nothing of each other. They don’t know what the overall strategy is, they just know what their dental marketing strategies are. They don’t know how it dovetails in. And wait now you add online dental appointment scheduling, dental reputation management, I mean.
Howie: Yeah, guess who has to manage all that?
Mark: Exactly. Right. Exactly. So.
Howie: That’s tough.
Mark: Right. So here’s a number 5 actually should be retitled to this is one of the top 10 ways to destroy your dental marketing strategies and drive yourself crazy.
Mark: Because these people are going to come to you with the questions.
Mark: Right. And you’re gonna you’re going to be in between patients, and you’re going to have stress and you’re not going to know exactly what the left hand and the right hands doing. And pretty soon you’re going to get tired of this stuff. So, number 5, is having multiple people responsible for your overall marketing. Number 6.
Howie: Yep. Okay. Yeah, I was just going to add, you know, the no matter what kind of dental marketing strategies you’re using, different types of marketing, you know, they all have to work together, especially thematically. You know, what I mean?
Mark: Well, tell everybody what you mean by thematic.
Howie: Thematically it’s like, well, you have you have your, your website colors, for example, you know, chosen by maybe you are the designer, and then the marketing you put out doesn’t have doesn’t look anything like your website doesn’t even look like the same person owns the two, right? Well, this can confuse your audience. That’s why.
Mark: Especially when they go from offline to online, they don’t really see anything that either smells or tastes the same. Yeah.
Howie: Exactly. And it can hurt your dental marketing strategies. Okay, yeah. Let’s go on to our next one.
Mark: Okay, promoting to the wrong half for too long. So okay, number 6. This these days, that should probably be number 1. But we’re going to put it at number 6, promoting for everyone who doesn’t understand what promoting to the wrong half means. Basically, there’s two halves of the dental market, they’re the mom’s half of the market, well, let’s under let’s all agree that moms are the dental market 90% of the calls that come into your offices are women.
So, let’s just let’s assume that. And let’s say that about half of them will absolutely choose a health care provider for the family based primarily on a price incentive, and you see them all the time. About another half, it’s actually about 48%. The other half of the market, absolutely will not choose healthcare provider for their family based primarily on a price incentive. And they would honestly look at you like you had three eyes in your head if you ask them to. This is not a judgment call this is 52/48, that’s all it is, okay.
So normally when someone is needing a quick high capacity of new patient flow, you can use deals to get the phone to ring and you can use a thing called insurance participation to get the phone to ring. And you can usually use both of those for a relatively short period of time, in order for the practice to gain a financial footing, right, in order to make sure that you know, payrolls covered, we’ve got our first dollar framed on the wall. And, okay, we’re not going to fail, right. But all too many times, that’s where the practice stays. And they never really move from price incentive promotion, and insurance participation, over to attracting the higher quality half of the market who’s really just looking for a great dental practice for the family, not necessarily the cheapest dentist in town.
Howie: Right, right. And they tend to be they tend to stick with practices that there are, I hate to use or high quality, but it’s true. They’re a better patient, they stick around longer, they’re more inclined to recall. Because they want a value for, for themselves and their family.
Howie: That’s, that’s the top half the market.
Mark: Right. Yeah, they’re the they’re the moms who call and make an appointment and don’t ask you, how much is it? Or do you take my insurance? Basically. Okay.
Mark: They’re calling for a different reason. Or maybe that’s the only question they knew to ask. And then they come in and they’d seem like a different person. But every dentist listening to this, I’m sure understands what we mean when we say the difference between a shopper and a good quality new patient, I’m sure.
Mark: So okay. So, what do we mean when we say promoting to the wrong half for too long, what happens is dentists get caught up in that volume game, and pretty soon, let’s, let’s just take this from a local market aspect. Doctor’s been promoting to the bottom half of the market deal – deal – deal takes nine different insurance plans is on nine different insurance plan lists, phone calls come in. Boy, you should be able to fill a schedule relatively quickly. And you should be able to get at least somewhat profitable, within at least a reasonable amount of time.
The problem is, is that the insurance companies are taking anywhere from 19 to 26, 27% of your fees, and they’re keeping them for themselves for the privilege of putting you on a directory that’s online. Another part of the problem is that you’re spending advertising dollars to generate patients, who not all of them, but come on, let’s face it, you’re going to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince, these patients will absolutely look for the next deal, the next time they need a dentist they are far less compliant to recare.
In other words, the return on investment with that half of the patient pool is about 11 times less than the top half of the market. So if you do that continually, and you don’t start to shift to the top half your marketing resources to the top path, what happens is you end up a practice that’s I’m getting 30, 40, 50 new patients a month as a solo GP. And I need more. Right? Yeah, they become new patient junkies, I mean, we, in our meetings here we have known that’s what we refer to them as their new patient junkies, they just can’t get enough. The problem is, is that if you keep focusing your advertising on the bottom half the market for long enough, you will always statistically get less of a result for the same cost. And that’s when they call us.
Howie: Right. There’s an there’s another problem too, if you continue to promote to the bottom half is you put yourself in direct competition with every corporate office in the area. And they have a much larger marketing budget than you will ever have. And you will be engaged in a price war with them and you will lose.
Mark: This is also true.
Howie: Sorry, you will lose.
Mark: Right. But temporarily, if done properly. You can use price promotions; you can use insurance participation temporarily to build your base. Yes, get yourself busy. Get any number of revenues coming in just to keep the bank loan person off your back right then slowly but surely begin to allocate your advertising budget more toward the top half with the things that the top half responds to which are very different than what the bottom half responds to Groupon.
The top half would never respond to Groupon. Okay, so they really respond. The two halves respond, I’m not gonna say totally differently, but I’m going to say very differently from advertising media and messages than the other group. So that’s number 4, 5, and 6 treating the practice like a business, having multiple people responsible for your dental marketing strategies and promoting to the wrong half for too long of a period of time.
Howie: And that’ll about do it for us today. Thanks for tuning in. We appreciate you out there in the audience and we will talk with you next week. Bye now.
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