This week, join Mark Dilatush with special guest Lee Buzard, NPI’s VP of Professional Relations, as they explain how they develop a marketing plan for dental clinic for the upcoming year.

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Podcast Highlights:

  • What questions to ask/answer
  • Determining goals for growth
  • What’s your current capacity?
  • Taking stock of current marketing assets
    • websites
    • internal marketing
    • positioning
    • external marketing
    • reviews
    • online scheduling
  • Prioritization
    • What’s not working?
    • What needs the most help?
  • Budget allocation
  • Online versus offline marketing
  • The influence of your location
  • Monitoring results

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.

Mark: Hey everybody. This is Mark Dilatush from New Patients Incorporated. And we have another podcast but you didn’t get the soft, sultry voice of Howie Horrocks, my business partner and friend because he’s not with us today. Instead, being that this is the beginning of 2019 planning season for marketing plans for many, many, many, many dentists out there. I figured we would bring in Lee Buzard. Lee is one of our senior advisors here. Lee probably works with more, probably more dentists are more clients than anyone. I think um he is campaign manager. And so, Lee, welcome to the podcast.

Lee: Thanks Mark. I feel somewhat inadequate because I don’t have Howie’s sultry voice.

Mark: No, I know. I know it’s unduplicatable.

Lee: What’s really sad though, is Howie has got the voice. And the face, I mean, doesn’t just have the voice for radio. I mean,

Mark: Yeah yeah.

Lee: He’s good looking guy too. So

Mark: We’re picking on him now.

Lee: I don’t know.

Mark: Alright, so let’s, let’s take the listeners, right into the subject matter what we’re, what we’re doing is we’re explaining to you how we create marketing plan for dental clinic for the following year. We start normally in the month of September, which is when you’re hearing this podcast. And we’re going to go through the steps that we take with our clients so that if you’re not our client, you can learn the steps. You can you can learn the right steps, and maybe do the steps yourself. Or if you’re working with, you know, multiple vendors who are handling all your dental office marketing, you can go through the steps with them. So Lee, um pretty classic, isn’t it in September to have a whole bunch of current clients coming due for their annual review and forward year planning sessions, right?

Lee: Oh, yeah.

Mark: So, give the audience, umm I don’t know, 1000 foot elevation about what you do when you do those things.

Lee: So, email, phone call comes through. And these don’t come just from our clients, they come from, you know, people seeking advice as well. So, they’re trying to figure out what they’re going to do to finish up the current year strong, and, and make the next year even stronger. The very first thing that I started doing is asking questions, where are you? Where do you want to be? Who are you? How are you, how are you perceived? And what’s the goals for, you know, coming January?

Mark: Yeah, and most of those are on if it’s not a client the most, if they’re a prospective new client, then those answer those questions are actually online on our website. So, for our clients, we would already have that information. Right?

Lee: Yes, absolutely.

Mark: Right, once you gather all the stuff that we need to gather for, you know, for us to take a look and see how marketable they are see where they are in their practice, right now the direction they’re trying to take it. Insurance, no insurance, transitions, no transitions, all that stuff. Once you get that done, then what’s the next step?

Lee: So, once that’s done, then is time to measure the assets of the practice, what do they have going on with dental internet marketing, external marketing. So internal, is the referral process, getting new patients internally, their properties of their dental office website, any other advertising that they’re doing outbound via direct mail, radio, TV, whatever it may be looking at that, and doing some measuring. Because I like to measure.

Mark: Okay, so. So, so now you have a list of assets that the client or the prospective client has already invested in. Basically, he’s already he or she has already built equity by investing in those assets. So, let’s go down some of the most common assets on the most common recognizable assets is a dental office website.

Lee: Sure. So with the dental office website, we need to, you know, look to see if its current design, how its ranking, you know, the information that’s on there, is it one of those old websites that has, you know, before and after pictures with cheek retractors, you know,

Mark: Right right.

Lee: we need to dig into that, that stuff and see how its positioning, you know, on Google.

Mark: Okay. So, um, so from a budgeting standpoint, if the website makes it through, umm scrutiny, right, then that’s an asset. That’s as an asset the doctors already paid for, it’s already generating some, some results from it. And there’s no real reason next year in 2019 to budget any money for a new website. So, you just kind of move on. Right?

Lee: Yeah

Mark: And you move on to like online reputation. Right?

Lee: Yeah. So,

Mark: How are they stacking up with their Google reviews and their Google reviews score against all their competition? Right?

Lee: You bet. You bet. It’s so important, because, you know, when we all go to, to look for a provider or purchase something, you know, on Amazon, I know how I am. I don’t know about you, Mark. But what if I’m purchasing something online, be it a product or service, I look at those reviews.

Mark: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. It’s the same thing as asking your friend.

Lee: Sure.

Mark: Yeah. Who their dentist is, it’s the same thing. Alright, so that so let’s say that the doctor is top two or three in their market area on reviews score, and the number of reviews. So that’s an asset. That’s an asset they’re already doing well. They already helped to stamp this train, they’re motivated, they have a product that’s already doing that form. God bless America. Let’s move on. Ok. Next one, that is really going to it’s going to, well, it’s almost always a no is online schedule. So, this year, when you guys and gals, all of our NPI advisors go through all of our clients. Um, you know, there’s a couple hundred, that have online scheduling already, but there’s probably a couple hundred more that don’t.

And that’s going to flow really high on the priority scale for our clients that have it’s an asset, they are, it’s already taken care of, for our clients that don’t have it, it’s going to become a need in 2019. I think 2019 is going to be the year that everybody involved with our company has online scheduling, specifically the LocalMed Connect platform. So that’s something that you guys are going to be talking to all of our clients about coming up, right?

Lee: Oh, absolutely. I mean, the power of being able to have a patient schedule, when it’s convenient to them, not only the time that they scheduled in your office, but the time of day that they schedule

Mark: Right

Lee: with you. I mean, their flexibility, you know, we’re all running around here, 100 miles an hour with our hair on fire, and especially, you know, mom, who makes the healthcare decisions in the household anyways, because if it was up to you, and I Mark, you know, and men in general, we’d all be dead. Right?

Mark: Right right.

Lee: So, so when mom is available to do that, she’s give her that tool that she can mark that off her list.

Mark: Well, and ultimately, bottom line is, what if you’re going to spend any marketing dollars in 2019, if you don’t have online scheduling, you’re just basically saying to yourself, I want to get less in 2019?

Lee: Yeah, well, you’re saying I want to drive traffic to my website, and then stop right there.

Mark: Right. Exactly, exactly.

Lee: I mean, yes, somebody can pick up the phone, right.

Mark: Yeah yeah.

Lee: But if it’s, if it’s after five or six o’clock in the evening, or if it’s before seven or eight in the morning, you know, when it’s convenient to mom going left, right or whichever direction,

Mark: Right.

Lee: You are just a stop right there.

Mark: No, I know, I know the I know anyway from people I know you and I are on the same boat on this, then for everybody listening to this, we see the appointments. Okay. It’s a no brainer, it’s the next dentist, it’s the next no brainer in dentistry. Alright, so that’s, that’s, that’s going to be on the list of things to change if you haven’t already changed it in 2019. So, you keep going down the assets. And the assets are creating the current result.

You go back to the dentists’ vision or what you know, what they’re looking for as far as growth out of the practice. And another thing you look for is capacity. Because a lot of practices this year, especially among the ones that we’re you know, we take care of their actually like anywhere from overcapacity, they are way over capacity. In other words, there’s, you know, there’s a rebound going on in dentistry right now. And, you know, it’s going to sound like I’m bragging, but a lot of our clients are taking advantage of it.

What happens, you know, so next year’s marketing plan for dental clinic, you have to take that into consideration, you don’t want to add budget into a constricted environment, that doesn’t make any sense. So you need to work, you know, work with the prospect or the client, to say, Hey, wait a second, I understand you may need more new patients.

But there’s a reason you’re not getting them right now. So if you open up your schedule a little bit, and you maybe block for your new patients, maybe 20% more than you actually want, and you have online scheduling, you put all these other things in place, then add to your marketing and 2019. Now everything will flow through. One of the big things we’re going to look for in 20, in our 2019 prep with all of all of our prospects and all of our clients is, Hey, can you fit more new patients?

Lee: And how quickly because it has

Mark: Exactly

Lee: that’s one of the questions that I asked everybody be a client or somebody you know, reaching out to us the first time. If I’m a new patient, and I need to get into the hygienist, how fast can I get in? Or how fast can I get into your chair with a toothache?

Mark: Right? And if the answers to those are next month, you have things to change before you add to your marketing.

Lee: So because it because I you know I don’t want to start a marketing campaign and do what we do and make phone light up make the people walk in the door

Mark: Right.

Lee: if you don’t have a place to put them, because there’s no opening for four or six weeks.

Mark: That’s right. That’s right. So, going into 2019 is that’s different than going into 2017 and 2018. And, I’ve been in dentistry now for 30 years, 15 here, and I’m telling you this is the most constricted up I’ve ever seen our client offices.

Lee: Well, I think I think it may be goes back to the philosophy of the doctors are telling the front desk team fill the schedule, fill schedule, fill the schedule, get it full I want it full you know and not leaving that those spots for those new patients.

Mark: Yeah, yeah. In a in a subsequent podcast, actually, I just we just did one on actually was last week’s. So, if you’re listening to this podcast, I forget what number this is like number 115 or so go back to 113 or 112 or 114. And I think you’re going to you’re going to hear a podcast about how to solve that problem or one of the ways to solve the problem of being overcapacity. Alright, so we’re still planning for 2019. Let’s take a little break right here, Lee?

Lee: Okay.

Mark: And, come back and we’ll continue our discussion, Okay?

Lee: Sure.

Howie: Hey, Mark, I hear we’ve got the hottest product since electronic claims submissions. Is that true?

Mark: Howie that is true. And let’s not keep it a secret.

Howie: Okay.

Mark: So, the what we’re talking about everyone is online scheduling. It’s real time online scheduling integration between your practices website, no matter who you got your website from, and your practice management software, and it will absolutely 100% add more new patients, add additional existing patient appointments to everyone’s scheduling system that’s listening to this podcast, we have, I think we have it’s I think it’s 98.8% compliance, meaning 98.8% of the people ever installed are still using it and benefiting from it. This is not a fad, this is not a dream.

This is not something that new patients will avoid. They love it. They love the convenience of being able to do this. If you want to take a look at it, send us an email, Howie and I or you can actually log on to New Patient Inc. and get this you can actually schedule an appointment to see it right from our dental office website. Imagine that. So do not hesitate. Take a look at this and get it integrated into your office, you will absolutely get more out of advertising every advertising dollar you spend.

Howie: You’re just gonna love it.

Mark: Okay, we’re back. Back from a commercial about us, and that’s awesome.

Lee: Was that self serving?

Mark: It’s very self serving. I feel I feel smarmy, and

Lee: And I blame Mark for people,

Mark: You blame me, right? That’s fine. Um okay. So, continuing on, gather data about the practice, and results. And then lineup assets, what’s working, what’s not working, because what’s not working is a liability, what is working is an asset. Now so once you have all your assets lined up, you know, you don’t really need to spend any new money in 2019 on those assets, where at least you know how much money it’s costing to do those things correctly.

So you pull those out of the budget, then you look over here at your liability list. And you say okay, well, now we need to go to work on the liability list. Well, every liability list is going to have a priority, a prioritization because that’s the liability list actually makes your new project list for next year very clear. You’re not going to go to work on your assets, you’re going to go to work on your liabilities. So that next year when we’re doing 2020 planning, you have a longer list of assets and a shorter list of liabilities. Right? It makes it just makes sense.

So, you just keep doing it until you have just a ridiculously well oiled machine. Online offline passive aggressive, the perfect balance, the right orchestration, the right I mean, the right mix everything. And once you have the right everything, then everything just always works. So anyway. So, let’s go through. Um, let’s go through some of the more common liability. So, I know this is there’s actually two that pop, well, you’re our star of the day of this podcast, you talked to more dentists, probably than I do. So, what are what are some of the liabilities that you’re hearing from dentists?

Lee: So, some of the liabilities is traffic to the website, obviously, that’s always I want to be on page one, page one, you know, I want to be at the top. Umm, one of the other liabilities I hear is I’ve been doing direct mail and I’m just not getting squat. And so, we have to figure out what they’re doing their who they’re targeting what their messages. So that’s where I start reputation management, of course, you know, the reviews, what’s Google, Facebook, Yelp saying about you?

Mark: Are you running into more dentists who have put all their money online?

Lee: It’s funny that you say that, because there’s some people that are just dumping everything there.

Mark: Right.

Lee: I mean, just everything,

Mark: Dumping is the

Lee: Yeah,

Mark: word.

Lee: Well in it, that that’s why we do what we do.

Mark: No, I know. I know.

Lee: We measure everything. And because there’s so many people are just throwing the spaghetti on the wall and see if it sticks. And if I throw more and more at it, it’s going to work. So, yeah, that that does happen, for sure.

Mark: Okay, so when we and I’m going to share this with I guess everyone I don’t, I don’t know if Lee would feel comfortable sharing it. But I’m I don’t have a problem sharing it. We have a formula here that we guide our advisors in order for our advisors to best guide our clients and our prospective new clients. And the guide is a general rule of thumb based on a percentage of a budget and how to allocate it. I know that sounds like a lot, but let me break this down.

Let’s say the total budget for the whole year for the dental practice is $50,000. Let’s say it’s a million dollar practice, because that makes mathematic sense. 5% of a million dollars is $50,000. Where does that 50,000 go? Does it all go online? Does it all go offline? What’s the right mix. So here’s the definition of the right mix. It’s 60-40 either way, in some markets 60% online 40% offline outperforms 40-60. But in most markets 60 offline 40 online is the right mix, not all of them. The closer you get to an epicenter, a hub, a densely populated urban center, the more it goes in the other direction, the 60-40 directions, 60 online 40 offline. If you’re in the suburbs, of almost any part this country, then you’re probably better off with 40 online 60 offline.

And that’s where we try to drive all of our portfolios for all of our clients, is we try to drive them in that direction. It’s the perfect marriage between online and offline the perfect marriage between passive and aggressive advertising techniques. Um, it’s just the right blend if you combine them with good solid online reputation, and you combine them with online scheduling that everything just basically works simpatico, right, everything. It’s at that point, it’s like, just like the Energizer Bunny. It just keeps going and going and going. Um, then the reason why Lee might not be, you know, willing to share that is because it’s an internal guidance that we give our advisors, but I’m letting everybody here know that’s, that’s what we tell our advisors, that’s where we tell them to try these portfolios, because that’s where the sweet spot is 60-40, 40-60.

Lee: Well, and I’m happy to share that Mark, it’s fine, because that’s the big paintbrush, you know, it’s the fine line details that makes these things work.

Mark: Right.

Lee: The way that we’re setting up these strategies.

Mark: So, have you ever run into a doctor who I’m sure you have actually is probably most of the doctors you run into, is they have, well, actually, let me back up. One of the one of the things that we get hit with all the time is, I don’t know, I don’t know where my new patients come from. I’m doing PPC on AdWords, or I’m doing Facebook ads or whatever. And honestly, I don’t know. Do you find that coming at you? I know I get it a lot.

Lee: Oh, yeah, every day.

Mark: Right? Okay,

Lee: every day, because part of my initial interview is that where are your patients come from, and then they give me an answer. And then I and I say how do you know this? And, and then they tell me Mary at the front desk.

Mark: Right? Right. Okay. Right. All right. So planning for 2019, one of the things that isn’t really a budget consideration, but more of a team building consideration, or management, operations and management consideration would be, um, you know, reassigning yourself to yourself being the dentist to the process of knowing, because the tools, let me give you an example, I’m going to give everybody an example. If you’re a client, and you’re doing any projects, you have a dashboard, you log into the dashboard. And first thing in the morning, first thing after lunch, look at your missed calls, call them back, see if you can get any of those new patients that hung up to a point.

And at any moment in time, you can just click on it and look and see how your marketing’s doing. That’s the level of knowledge and control that I think every dentist wants. But I think they need some encouragement to actually look at it and take action from it. It used to be hard. I don’t blame I’m not you know; I’m run a business. Like if it’s hard for me to figure out if my ads are working or not. Tell me other things I’d like to be doing, right then trying to figure that out. So, I don’t I don’t blame dentists. But now it’s so easy to just click on a URL, put your password in, and literally go see how it’s working. At least the bare bones minimum of how it’s working.

Here’s another thing I just thought of this to offer 2019, well, no, we started this back in 2017. So, the crossing compares. They were they’ve been done for a year. So the folks who are looking at 2019 we don’t have to really plan for that. And for everybody listening to this, the reason I brought that up as we do crossing compares with our offline promotions, against the new patients that came into our office to our client offices. And I’m mistaken, that was that’s not new for 2019. So everybody that is our client is going to get those anyway.

But that’s another way to know. It’s never, it’s never a good thing for a business owner, the dentist not to know, you’re never going to know everything. It’s never going to be 100% accurate, we get that question a lot. Well, how do you really know? Well, nobody really knows 100% sure exactly where all your new patients come from, or where that first trigger or that first impulse came from. But that’s the beauty of having everything orchestrated, and everything deployed and timed, and everything branded together and everything working together.

The bottom line is, is you really need to know if you’re spending 3000 a month on marketing that you’re getting nine to 10 in a month, on a relatively consistent basis. And then just go home and spend time with your family and go on vacation, go golfing, or go shopping or whatever the hell you want to do. You should have a place where you can click, look, make a decision and move on with your life. And it shouldn’t take you forever. That’s something that if you don’t have that, that’s something to aspire to.

If you’re our client, you already have it. But if you if you’re not, that’s something maybe to aspire to, with the folks you’re working with now, or if you’re doing it on your own. That way, when you talk to Lee, you got real data to talk to me about instead of Mary’s opinion.

Lee: Yeah, I like real data, and

Mark: Yeah.

Lee: I really, really do.

Mark: Oh yeah.

Lee: Because I tell docs all the time. It’s like, you know, when your patients call your office as a new patient. And Mary asked, Well, how did you hear about us? You know, patients lie to us every day in our practices, and they don’t do it intentionally. It’s just what they do. And they say, Well, I was just on your website, but they have the mailer in front of them, or I was just at Aetna and you’re a provider, but they have the mailer in front of them.

Mark: Right.

Lee: Well, whatever it may be, you know, and so that’s why we do those cross reference. And I tell the doctor on the importance of having those cross reference is to look at those, look at those numbers. But it’s also to listen to find out what Mary is doing at the front desk. Right? Is it because the doctor back of the chair saving lives 1 tooth at a time. And so, they need to have that availability to listen to Mary to see how she’s doing is she treatment planning on the phone? You know, when somebody calls and says, I have a pain in the lower right hand side of my jaw that hurts the hot and cold. And you know, when I tap on it, we don’t want Marry to say Oh, it sounds like you need come in for a root canal.

Mark: No, did you sprain did you sprain your ankle three weeks ago?

Lee: That’s right.

Mark: Yeah.

Lee: We don’t need that. So, we listened to those calls. And then when you hear Mary knock it out of the park, you bring her back, however, listen to the call and give her a Starbucks gift card and say thanks for being part of our team.

Mark: Right

Lee: But you have to you have to measure, measure. So you measure your advertising on the dashboard, how’s it doing? What’s going out what’s coming in, you know what calls are missed and measure measure.

Mark: And the point is, is that it shouldn’t be hard, and the dentists are right. In the old days. It was harder. wasn’t hard. But it was harder now. It’s now it’s a bookmark in a browser. You can even do it on your phone. So, all right, Lee,

Lee: Yes, sir.

Mark: May I have you back. You’ve been a wonderful guest.

Lee: Thanks

Mark: I know you have dentists to talk to though.

Lee: I do have a call coming up here pretty quick.

Mark: You have campaigns to solve.

Lee: Right. I’m trying to save the world one dental office at a time.

Mark: Well, exactly. Exactly. I hear you. Well, everyone. Thank you very much, much for listening to this. We hope your workout went wonderfully. If you’re not working out, we hope you will work out at some point in the future. And that’s it. Thank you very much for listening, and we’ll see you next week.

Lee: Talk to you soon.

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.