You don’t want to be the annoying guy from Wyoming taking a little bit of gold from everyone. You need to make a choice and then stake your claim! In this episode, we discuss the finding your local market and making it yours with dental patient marketing.


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Podcast Highlights:

  • “I’m disappointed with what I did previously, and want the 1 thing that will help me next”
  • Is there ONE trick that will get you new patients?
  • Staking your claim on the patients around you
  • The multiple front approach required
  • What worked in the old days vs. now
  • What’s your “marketing universe?”
  • Building the biggest, nicest, funnest practice
  • Why do so many dentists use price incentives?
  • Patients who pick price incentives vs. patients who pick quality of dental care
  • “The cheap dentist in town”
  • The bell curve on patients
  • How long until pricing-based dental patient marketing have diminishing returns?
  • How long until quality promotions have diminishing returns?
  • And, how far will patients drive to get to your practice?

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 podcasts. And we’re happy to be with you. And we’re happy that you’re out there listening to us, aren’t we, Mark?

Mark: Hi, Howie.. Yeah, of course we are. Anyone who’s exercising listening to us deserves all the content that they get.

Howie: Did you want me to ask you about your fishing trip or not?

Mark: No.

Howie: Okay. We’ll skip that. We’ll save that for another time.

Mark: That’s a good,

Howie: I liked it. I like to hear about it. But maybe not everybody’s in that same boat so to speak. Today, let’s talk about how to claim your dental market or subtitled “It’s mine. You can have it.”

Mark:  That’s right. That’s right. Is the ‘claiming your dental market’ is the nice way to put it? This is mine, you can’t have it is the six year old way to put it.

Howie: Okay, well, um, men are basically six year olds.

Mark: That’s true. That’s true. So. So here’s what we mean. And it’s, and I don’t know if we can get all this in one podcast. If we can’t, we’ll do multiple. Most of the people who engage with us, or many of them. I’m not going to say most, I’m gonna say many are, they kind of have a mindset that “I’m disappointed in what I did previously, and I’m looking for the one thing that’s going to help me next.” So this dental patient marketing thing that I just did, didn’t really work out as much as I as well as I expected. And now I’m looking for the next one thing.

Howie: Yes, the silver bullet?

Mark: Yeah. The silver bullet, instant gratification,

Howie: Shiny object.

Mark:  Shiny object. Short term grant. Yeah. All that stuff. Right.

Howie: Yeah

Mark: And all of those things, that these people are looking for are the reasons why they’re not successful with their dental patient marketing. Okay. There’s nothing in dental marketing that anybody can do in short order. Short defined as, let’s say, less than 90 days. Yeah, that’s gonna just, you know, blow your mind with incredible quality new patients or phones flying off the hook, and, and it lasts forever. Okay. And nobody has one thing. There isn;t one thing, a singular thing that dentists can do to promote their practices, to get high quality new patients forever. Doesn’t exist.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: But there’s literally tens of thousands of dentists out there searching for this. Basically, it’s a unicorn. Or Bigfoot.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Unless you’ve seen Bigfoot, and it’s a unicorn.

Howie: Well, I have.

Mark: Okay. So everybody in Seattle seen Bigfoot? So

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Okay. So. So what do we mean by staking your claim, or “it’s mine, and you can have it.” What we mean, is, in every dental market in the country, every dental office has a location, you can draw a circle around that location. Anywhere, in any dental office in the US, you draw a circle of distance, the distance, if it’s sparsely populated, will be wide and if densely populated, the circle will be small.

And when we say this is mine, you can’t have it, what we’re saying is, I’m going to use my dental patient marketing dollar wisely, to promote only to the people who I believe are going to become the best quality new patients in the circle around my practice.

Howie: Right

Mark: And I don’t care how you promote your practice. Doesn’t matter to me. But these people are mine. And you can’t have them.

Howie: Right. And if you consider that over the course of your career, that geographic grouping, this is assuming that you’re not a destination practice, there are some of those out there and that they’re always going to be people outside that area that will come to you. But in the main, this circumference, or this the circle, that’s your universe, for your career,

Mark: Yeah

Howie:  Unless you sell or move, and then you’ll have a new universe. That’s where you’re going to operate from that’s how you’re going to make your living and your staff. That’s how you’re going to pay your staffs wages, is operating in that, that little universe. And it really comes down to how are you going to dominate it? Are you going to get, you know, the word out in as many different avenues as  there are available to you? And within your budget? And how well you do and what kind of quality you put into the communication to that area.

Mark: Right. So when we say claiming staking your claim, kind of like the old days when the miners would cross the plains and cross the Rockies and hit California. And I don’t know, shoot each other a couple times.

Howie: Yeah,

Mark: And find gold, right, the Gold Rush days, they were staking their claim. It’s basically kind of – I mean, it’s a couple hundred years later, but uh, you know, it’s kind of the same, right?

You’re opening up a practice, you buy a practice, or maybe you’ve had a practice for 15 or 20 years. And maybe you’re one of those folks who is, you know, just going year to year trying this, trying that and nothing singular is really working or hasn’t worked. And you’re frustrated and just wondering what the hell? What’s wrong with me? Right?

Well, one of the keys to staking your claim is realizing, finally coming to the realization that it’s not one thing, it’s never one thing. It’s never been one thing that makes dental practices successful in staking their claim. There are many, many pieces that fit, jigsaw puzzle pieces that fit into the picture of stake of properly staking your claim. It’s the – I mean, in the old days, in the old days, Howie listened to me old days. You know, you could have a sign. Right? You could have an ad in the Yellow Pages. And that was basically staking your claim.

Howie: Yeah,

Mark: Back in the old days, right?

Howie: Yeah

Mark: You didn’t have to do nothing. Just be a dentist. Dental insurance is about 40 or 45 years old. That brought about $30 billion into the marketplace. All of a sudden, patients were willing to go see a dentist. So the market got fueled, set on fire. And dentists were fine. For years.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: And, you know, but sometime about 30 years ago. Um, a little more than that, probably 35 years ago. Uh, you know, dentist’s, cheese was moved. We had dentists who were allowed to advertise. Lots of them.

Howie: Yeah, used to be illegal.

Mark:  It used to be illegal, right. And then the advancements in dentistry created new services, new service niches, new what I call auxiliary services, new technologies, even new conveniences, were added. All of these things were totally and completely unknown to the dental consumer. And somehow, some way the dental consumer needed to learn about these things. And for, for the most part, honestly, that’s how we go out and stake claims.

Howie: Right. It’s more of an educational aspect to it, which we will continue talking about once we come back from break, so 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, 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? I don’t know how many podcasts 75 80 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 half 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, there’s an icon and the dead center at the top of our homepage where you can get a complimentary dental patient 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 market how we would do if we owned your dental practice.

Howie: All right, we are back. We’re talking about to the advancement in the in the consumer interest in and also the availability of more services, ancillary or auxiliary type services that dentists can deliver, and how to go about doing that.

Mark: Right and how it helps you stake your claim for your market. We started out with a little circle around your practice could be three miles, five miles, 15 miles, if you’re in Montana, it might be 80 miles. But that’s your circle. That’s your universe.

And how do you build the biggest, baddest, nicest, funniest practice surrounded by the biggest, nicest funniest patients? You can have the biggest, nicest, funniest team. And everybody can be successful and happy. How do you do that. And it’s really staking your claim.

In the old days, it was easy. You just put up a shingle, take a yellow page ad maybe, and people called you. And once they came in, you could educate them. But then dentistry went through, 25-30 years worth of know, some would say even a radical clinical change. Umm, for the better for the better, you know better treatment modality better everything for the patient. There’s this gigantic void of information going out to the general public. General public had no idea you could do these things. They still, for the most part, they still have no clue

Howie: Part of that is to growth of new technology, I mean, it’s even hard for dentists to keep up let alone You know, even an instant public. It’s tough.

Mark: Right? Right. So when we, when we reference all this with staking your claim. In the evolution of dentistry as a business over the years, staking your claim became more than doing one or two things. It’s now become doing six, seven or eight.

In the old days, you could mess up your yellow page ad you’d still get calls. These days, you can mess up less and be successful. It takes far more… How do I say this without sounding conceited? I’m just saying it takes a heck of a lot more knowledge, finance testing experience to not make mistakes than it used to. How’s that?

Howie: Yeah, that’s okay. accurate,

Mark: right. Um, now, one of the things in all your markets, everybody listening to this. That is sort of artificially staking your – it’s not staking your claim – it’s artificially identifying your claim. Is the sheer volume of dentists who are using price incentives to promote dentistry. And when I say price incentives, I mean primarily price incentives.

If you hear an ad on TV or see a TV ad or hear a radio ad, or you see a mail or a postcard or Facebook posts. I don’t care in online on a website doesn’t matter offline. If you see that, there’s a starburst on there that says special offer take advantage now. Order now and you get a package of sweat socks, whatever. If you see that as the primary motivator of a response, then all those people who are promoting that way are all being lumped in the same category by the consumer.

That acceleration that volume, is shaping the consumer market, it’s actually dividing the consumer market. It’s dividing the consumer market into those who will choose a healthcare provider primarily based on a price incentive. And those who will not choose a health care provider primarily based on a price incentive.

The more price incentive laden commercials, ads, mailers, whatever that consumers see – the more those practices are branded in their minds as basically the cheap dentist in town. Now there’s nothing wrong with being the cheap dentist in town, this is not a series of judgments. This is business. Okay.

Having a business model as the low price option in town is a very viable business model in dentistry. So this is not at all judgmental. But for the vast majority of our clients, they want to either build or maintain or eventually transition into more of the fee for service model.

Howie: Right, they’ve already sold them. They’ve already gone down the you know, the postcard war route.

Mark: Right,

Howie: You know, they’re tired of it.

Mark: Right?

Howie: They want an upgrade,

Mark: Right. So that doesn’t mean, it doesn’t mean that the low price model or the low price business model is not a successful one, because it is and it can be. All it really means is that if the market is split, let’s say it’s split in almost in two. Staking your claim is easily identifiable. You can either (A) promote more heavily or promote a more aggressive offer, or (B) target your market and don’t really promote offers at all.

Howie: Yeah,

Mark: And that’s, that’s staking your claim. You’re basically saying, I want to find gold and I’m going, that’s my cave over there. I think that cave is going to have more gold in it than this other these other 19 Caves over here or this river or this riverbed or what have you.

So I’m going to pour my resources into this claim, this is mine, and you can’t have it. That’s where that comes from. So you need to identify way in advance which half of this dental consumer market you want to focus on. If you want to focus on the on the price incentive side, you can do so for normally, a reduced amount of time. I mean, the bell curve, the bell curve on price incentives, especially through offline dental patient marketing will last 28 to 31 months before you start spending the same amount of money for less result.

Online dental marketing, it can last forever. But you normally have to draw in from a wider geographic region online. When you’re dealing with promotion laden advertising. If you’re going to choose dental patient marketing based on the benefits of the dentistry, you provide, the bell curve can be on nearly endless. On the geography is normally a slight wider. People looking for dentist not based on incentives. But people looking for dentists based on the quality of the office and the services and amenities and technologies and such people like that are normally willing to drive a bit further to get the right office. Umm If they’ve experienced an office, they don’t like in the past and their far, they will drive. They’ve already proven they’ll drive a lot further.

Howie: Oh, yeah. They had a bad experience. And you know,

Mark: Yeah.

Howie: You know in a dental practices is like, it’s pieces of cement stays there in their heads, they’re not gonna want to go near that again.

Mark: No. So basically, when we stay, you know, stay staking your claim. Or this is mine, and you can’t have it. What I’m saying is, is well saying two things, you got to identify: Who are you, what type of a practice do you want? Once you say the words, either big PPO type practice, or you know, eventually I’d like to have you know, a fee for service practice.

Once you identify what type of practice you want, you’ve pretty much identified which part of the market that you want to apply your dental patient marketing budget to. That is staking your claim? And if your answer is I want everyone in the market, you’re not staking a client. You’re the annoying guy from Wyoming just running around taking bits of gold from everybody’s mind, okay.

And you’re going to be a broke guy. Okay. That’s a great way to lose your money on dental patient marketing. Because basically, what you’ll be doing there is you won’t be competitive in the low end, and you’re going to be alienating the top end and you won’t be doing either of it well. So you pretty much need to make a choice, and then go stake your claim.

Howie: Awesome. Very nice. Well, thank you out there for listening to us. And, you know, we’re going to end off today and we hope to have you back next week. All right, 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, and