Our 100th podcast! In this episode, we go over an important question: when should you focus on niche dentistry, and when should you not? Is it possible to over-niche? How does the state of dentistry, your budget, and your capacity affect this decision?

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Podcast Highlights:

  • How to keep marketing momentum
  • Over-niching
  • Budget allocation
  • Handling capacity
  • Operatories
  • Review gating

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: Well, hello, everybody. Welcome once again to our weekly podcast, and I’m here Howie Horrocks here in Las Vegas where it’s really nice and hot. And then Mark’s out there in New Jersey. How you doing, buddy?

Mark: I’m doing fine, sir. It’s actually very nice here. But our cars are all yellowish green. From the things that we have here that you guys don’t have their they’re called trees.

Howie: Oh, come on. You know what calling is? Okay. All right.

Mark: So yeah, so if I sound under the weather, I’m not really sick. I just have to work case of pollen allergy I guess, you know.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: I’m just whatever. Just go to the car wash a lot and taking lots of meds.

Howie: Good. All right. Well, today that that that we are happy to announce this is our 100th podcast.

Mark: 100.

Howie: Can you believe it?

Mark: I’d like everyone I buy here. I would like everyone who has listened to all 100 of these. To send josh@newpatientsinc.com. I want you to send him an email. Yeah. Okay, Howie and I have a special gift for you. Yes. Really? Seriously? Because you have no life and you need one. I’m only kidding. Thank you very much for listening over the Wow, what we’re are we were two years into this.

Howie: And I guess so. Yeah

Mark: because it’s one a week, right?

Howie: Maybe? Maybe it’s we who don’t have a life?

Mark: Yeah, that’s true. Yeah. Who are we to speak? Right. Anyway, so if you’ve listened to these couple of things to our listeners, one. There’s a whole I mean, there’s follow up conversations at Dental Marketing Mastery Facebook group. So if you’re listening to these, and you’re not part of that group, just ask to be part of it. And we’ll get you on board. If you are a long time listener, send an email out to Josh, josh@newpatientsinc.com. Telling me listen to the podcast, we do have a surprise for you with this is commemorating our hundredth podcast. So what are we doing today?

Howie: Well, yeah, yeah, yeah, I think we, uh, let’s take a look at how dentistry is doing so far as compared to what a year ago? Right?

Mark: Right. Yeah, the first of the first four full months of 2018. And again, we don’t, of course, we don’t know every dental office. But we do have, you know, a few hundred that we see, monitor, talk to what have you and do work for. And last year was a rebound year. This year actually is up from last year. So it’s either statistical momentum carrying through the calendar year, or this is a continuing trend. We’re pretty much looking at about 18, 19 months now. So this is this is wonderful. All of you deserve it. You live through 2008 – 2016 together. And that was a really tough time, right?

So now, you know, when if people don’t go to the dentist for five or six or seven years, then when they come around to going to the dentist, you end up with a rebound. And for all the dentists listening to this, you pretty much guess what happens to teeth. If those teeth don’t go to a dentist for five or six or eight years. So you might be dealing with a lot of emergencies. And you might be dealing with a lot. And then you might be dealing with a lot of single tooth or quad dentistry right now, which is starting to look really nice in your schedule book. So, and this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this is actually the third time since I’ve been here Howie, you probably

Howie: Yep.

Mark: Five times. Right? So

Howie: Yeah, Yeah

Mark: So we always get the question. When there’s a recession, but what do I do? What do I do during a recession? And our answer is really always the same. From a budgeting standpoint, as it is when there’s an upswing like there is right now. You stay consistent, you don’t do wild swings with your dental marketing budget. You just maintain consistency. Now during upswings, excuse me during down swings, you focus your budget on the core staples of dentistry, Family Dentistry, all the services, amenities technologies, public relations, assets that resonate with the majority of the top half of the market. You just keep doing that during a downswing because that’s the that’s the batch of minnows that are going to be caught in your net the most, right that that core family market. So what do you do when things pick up?

And if you’re listening to this podcast, and you’ve been a dentist for, let’s say, 15, 18 years, then you remember that wonderful ride that we took between 2001 in 2008, which was the eight years in dentistry when every dentist in the entire world became a cosmetic dentist, right? Yeah. And that happened? Honestly, it happened because of the availability of credit. Okay. We all live through our housing, you know, or our home values doubling or tripling right in those seven years. And we all wonder what was going on we but we didn’t say anything, because it was, you know, it was good, right?

So Meanwhile, we just racked up credit card bills, paid it off with home equity that honestly didn’t exist. And we just kept going on our merry way. Well, during that time, dentistry, a lot of the production that happened in a lot of these offices and a lot of offices that are listening to this podcast right here. A lot of that income was elective dentistry was just endless, just endless piles of money to be spent on elective dental work. So when that ended, what was our counsel to our clients or counsel to our clients was okay, pull everything back. You’re no longer a cosmetic dentist.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Okay.

Howie: You can talk about it a little bit.

Mark: Yeah. Right. Right. We talked about a little bit, but you just became a family dentist again, right?

Howie: Yeah. Yeah.

Mark: And they kicked and screamed, and, you know, cried and whatever. And but, you know, after a while, they’re like, oh, okay, now I see what you’re talking about. So, now we’re rebounding. Right. So you say to yourself, Well, if you pull back to the family, core Family Services, amenities technologies, public relations assets during a downturn, what do you do during an upturn? And the answer is you start to expand into a niche.

Now, choosing the niche isn’t always easy. Um, it could be implants, it could be short term ortho, it could be Invisalign, it could be sleep apnea treatment could be sedation, it could be, it could be whatever you’re most interested in, really, as a as a practitioner, we have a doctor who’s been doing tongue tie treatments for with infants, it could be a Botox, it could be anything that that you’re legally allowed to do.

We don’t want to do anything illegal, of course, but when you have an upswing, and the capacity of your practices filled now, with the bread and butter, it’s kind of a widely used term in dentistry, the bread and butter type patients, and you have a little more room, and you want to do more of the fun dentistry things that you like. Then now it’s time to niche because your risk is never going to be lower to niche market a niche than it is during an upswing. During this upswing, there’s more credit available than there was in 2009. I don’t think anybody can argue with that. Right. Okay, so.

So, if you’re going to move into a niche, now would be the time. Now you don’t do it. Excuse me, there’s the polling and you don’t do it all at once. You do it a percentage of your budget at a time. So let’s say this is just a random example. But let’s say a doctors 2008 to 2016 has been pretty much allocating the entire budget into the core family staple values on promoting dentistry families. And now the doctor wants to do, I don’t know sleep apnea, okay.

You don’t go take an 80% of your budget. And, and apply it to sleep apnea, you might take 30% of your budget. Assuming 70% of your budget can keep the bread and butter side of your practice full, then there’s almost no downside risk to take in 30% and allocating it to building your sleep apnea brand within your community. Right?

Howie: Right. Right. And then that might also be a perfect time, if you got an associate to unload the stuff that you don’t want on his on his or her plate. Yep. And you go off and promote the niche that you’re happiest with.

Mark: Exactly. Now, bottom line before, actually, we’ll take a break here in a second. The bottom line is your overall budget calculation always remains the same. Okay, you don’t spend more when it gets slow. You don’t spend less when it gets busy. You spend the same? Okay. Um, that’s number one. Number two, how you allocate what you’re spending is really your decision now. Okay, back in when it was retracting. I, no pun intended. I spent the same amount of money but we are focused solely on, you know, the core Family Dentistry.

That was our message was just the basics right. Now, though, now your decision is or your consideration? decision is, Can I get a little fancy with my dental marketing budget? Do I want to do I want to emphasize more x? Whatever x is? And the answer is, there’s always an answer. There’s always a way to do that for all of the niches. Okay, so we’re not even at the point of what do you do with that budget allocation? We’re just saying consider where you might want to go with it, and then we can follow up later and tell you how to do it. Great.

Howie: Alright, we’re going to take a short break. Don’t go away. We’ll be right back.

Hello, everybody. This is how Horrocks and along with me is Mark Dilatush. She president of new patients Incorporated. How you doing Mark? Hey, how are you? How are you? This is the part of the podcast where we get to brag about our company. Yay. So sometimes it gets lost and all these podcasts what new patients incorporated actually does. We have final know how many podcasts 75 at 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, without 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, newpatientsinc.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 expectation should be, and what market how he would do if we owned your dental practice.

Howie: Alright, we are back. Welcome back. podcast number 100. Part Two. Here we go. Let’s, uh, let’s chat about something that’s been kind of topical on some of the dome forums. There’s review gating.

Mark: Yes, I’m actually let’s do you know what let’s do we have three things for today, let’s do the capacity side. And what to do with the capacity because that kind of dovetails in with all your, on what to do and all that other stuff. Alright, so

Howie: Yeah. good idea.

Mark: Yeah, let me follow up with offices all over the country are busier now than they’ve been for the last I’d say 18, 19 months. Historically, but historically, for the last seven or eight years, we’ve allocated 99% of our budget, our client budgets into the core staples of Family Dentistry, it served our clients very well. As things improve. That’s the opportunity to begin to niche in other words, to begin to promote a certain service or maybe a group of services. It could be senior dentistry, you could do implants, implants, supported dentures, cosmetic dentures, you could do all kinds of things with senior dentistry. Anyway. But when things are in up tick, that’s the perfect time to allocate a portion of your budget.

Now, here’s, here’s how, you know, it might be time and that always almost always points to capacity. And for most of you listening to this, if, unless you’re listening, just started listening to these. You know, we’re I’m a huge advocate for online scheduling local med Connect. And with that platform, we can actually see the appointments coming in, and we can check our clients capacity, we can log on to their website, click on a provider, pretend we’re pretend we’re an adult, and then pretend we want to make a new patient appointment and see how far out in advanced schedule goes to find the first and second third are opening. And I’m going to say, easily 80% of our clients are overcapacity that in other words, there’s not enough openings.

Howie: Right.

Mark: So, we email the client and we you know, try to give them tips on how to open that up. Because if you don’t open it up, what happens is, is you end up spending money. And actually, in some cases, you can anger at the perspective new patient because you’re not available to them. So, you would kind of wasted their time, right, and you spent money wasting their time, which really, this is a mob, so should piss you off to.

When you’re doing this, when you’re going through this if you’re at capacity, and you have a budget, and a good portion is already allocated to the family market that you’ve been in for the last eight to 10 years. And but you’ll have a little leftover budget to begin to niche, a service or a group of services for your practice. How do you get around the capacity issue, because if you’re going to start to niche, then you’re going to want those concepts available, you want an availability for those concerts, or the money that you’re going to spend to knit yourself isn’t going to come You know, it’s, it’s not going to be as well spent. Let’s put it that way.

A patient who’s responding to your niche advertising is going to want to have an opening at least two or three options for an opening within the next eight work days. And if they don’t, they’ll probably move on. And if they move on, they’ll probably not be feeling really good about their experience with your practice, even though you’ve never seen him, you’ve never diagnosed him, he never treated him he never did anything. They were interested, they just couldn’t find an appointment. And they moved on. So how do you measure your capacity and make sure there’s room for these niche patients that you’re going to spend the portion of your advertising dollars on? That’s a really good question.

Let me give you some answers. Most of these are going to revolve around online scheduling. They don’t have to, I mean, you can do this manually with your appointment book. It is possible and you kind of have to have the right team for this. Okay, so before I say this, that’s, that’s the qualifier, you have to have the right team. If you’re at or beyond capacity, and even regular new patients can’t get in front the next week, let’s say that’s too far booked out your you need availability like tomorrow.

If you can’t obviously add an operatory or add dentists or add a hygienist or if you can’t do any of those things. And you’re really just right up against the capacity wall, so to speak. And you have the right team that’s flexible and willing to work through some busy times, because it’s going to get busier than it gets right now, some of our offices are actually opening up another call in their schedule.

Like let’s say you have four operatory, they open up operatory number five, operatory number five, it really doesn’t represent a treatment room. It really just represents all the new patients that we are getting to respond to our dental patient marketing that didn’t fit into our current schedule. Some of our offices are taking that book, and they’re blocking out the most inconvenient hours for appointment. Other words let’s say 10am to 3pm.

And they don’t even put an offer those appointments online or over the telephone to the new patients who are coming in not only for regular dentistry, but for these niche consults. And they’ll block out let’s say an hour and a half in the morning or an hour and a half in the afternoon. They’ll just, you know, they’ll just keep those hour and a half’s open for those appointments and they’ll block everything in between. and they’ll do that for at least one day a week. And then as they fill up, they’ll go to their second day, and then their third day, and so on and so forth.

And you might say to me, but Mark that’s like double or triple booking and I’m going to say yeah, you’re right. That’s why you have to have a flexible team. Okay. Now if, if you’re really that, that pressed up against the wall, and there’s just nothing anyone in your office can do, then you can’t possibly expand in any direction. And obviously, you have other decisions to make. Okay.

But in most offices, if we can sneak in because you know what, when we talk to offices about, you know, specifically about online scheduling, they say, well, when people call we always get a man, I just have to talk to them first. Well, okay, the reality is, is that you’re not talking to them, some of them, because they’re not even they’re calling and just hanging up on your voicemail that that’s what those hang ups are their new patients. Okay.

So no, you’re not talking to them. And they don’t have any way to do it online. But if you set up that extra opportunity, they would, so that, that helps, doesn’t solve your problem completely. And it’s not for an office that doesn’t have a flexible team. But if you have a flexible team, and you can do that do it. Oh, and the last thing, how he’s Google, how he’s topic, the Google review gating.

Google announced the other day that they didn’t want excuse me the review software to purposely negate less than a five star review. What we have done with our NPI Crusader, in response to that request from Google, excuse me, is give the thank you give the patient the option of going of sending their comments back to the office for follow up, or sending their comments to Google. That is not a gate, that’s a choice.

This the same automation is the same, you know, texts go out at an hour after they leave or at 7pm. This everything else basically works the same. If they click the smiley face or the front face. If they click the frowny face now they’re given two options, send the send your comments back to the practice, or to the doctor and send your comments to Google. And that’s the choice. That’s the choice that Google wanted us to put in. So that’s how we implemented it. Now you’re going to know Google is going to be let me back up a couple steps.

What Google doesn’t want is they don’t want manipulated reviews. So I’ve had dentist already call me and say well, how are they going to know that NPI Crusader has a gate on it? And I’m my answer to all those dentist is they walk? They can’t, they can’t know. And the reason they can’t know is because NPI Crusader does not have their own review platform. So NPI Crusaders not going to be a target of Google. Okay, but everyone that has their own review platform, I’m like Billy Bob’s reviews calm and whatever other review, I’m everybody listening, this knows exactly what I’m talking about.

On so the other patient communicators out there in the market that have their own review platform. Those are going to be the targets of the gating issue with Google. I can’t imagine. I, I’m not gonna say it will never happen. And, I mean, we already took care of the issue. But um, yeah, I know, it’s the review gating thing was generated a few phone calls last week, from some concerned dentists. Some of them were clients, some of them were.

But as long as you are automated, as long as those texts to requests for review, are continually going out, without your staff having to do anything, as long as there’s a happy and a frowny face. Obviously, if they click the happy face, that’s fine. They’re going to Google. We know how many people are clicking to happy versus the frowny face. So most of the people are clicking happy faces. Anyway. So this really isn’t a gigantic deal. And we’ve already taken care of RN. But it’s my belief that those with review platforms outside of Google are the ones that are the targets. So that’s it.

Howie: Yeah, yeah, that makes sense.

Mark: Well, that’s podcast 100.

Howie: 100. And you know what? coincidentally, today is my birthday. Not my 100

Mark: Really, your it’s your hundredth birthday?

Howie: No, it’s my 24th birthday.

Mark: Happy, Happy birthday, sir.

Howie: Thank you very much. And thank you to our listening audience. So we hope you will join us again next week. 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