Episode 004 – Not All About The Leads

S1 00:16[music] Hi, everyone, and welcome to the My Dental Agency Podcast with your hosts Jackie and Shawn.
S2 00:21Just in case you guys are not aware, we are a dental marketing company. We eat, breathe, and sleep dental. All right, maybe it's not our whole lives, but it's pretty close. We believe in thinking differently from other mass-marketing groups that you're probably used to and we help you stand up against corporate dentistry. Yes, you heard me say it. We help the little guys. We do this by helping independent practices like yourself build genuine relationships with patients, create and manage positive reputations by utilizing online resources, and retain your current patients. And you're probably thinking, "How the heck do you do that?" We do all this by creating custom, relatable, personalized, and distinctly different campaigns that reflect the needs and personalities of each individual practice. It's as simple as that.
S1 01:11So providing this valuable education to the dental community is a really big focus here for us and this podcast just serves as one way that we do that. So in this episode and in episodes to come, we'll be talking a lot about common frustrations dental practices have with marketing, big marketing wins we've seen, we've been a part of, and even some really big failures. We'll also be sure to share as many tips and tricks as we can and make sure you're staying up to date on how you can really just best market your dental practice. [music] On today's episode, we're going to share with you the reason why your marketing efforts shouldn't just be focused on new patients.
S2 01:49Now hear us out. We know that most of you only want to hear about new patients, but we know you're going to benefit from this topic. Here's the thing. Every marketing agency is going to have their own philosophy and own approach to marketing. We, personally, take a comprehensive approach to marketing. It's important that every practice is looking at that big picture and most practices, I'd say around 97% of the practices we speak to, when thinking about marketing, only think about new patients. New patients are a part of any good marketing strategy, but you guys must consider current patients. We say this a lot and you're going to hear me say it again. Every successful company focuses on multiple facets of marketing. Of course new customers, in our case patients; they focus on branding or online presence; and they continue to target their existing customers, again in our case patients. These successful companies like Nike or Whole Foods, Disney, are of course doing it right. Why aren't dental practices thinking like this? It's bizarre. It's because most marketing companies cater to what they think practices want to hear: new patients, new patients, new patients. It has to be. Well, honestly, I'm here to tell you the opposite. You can't ignore your existing patients.
S1 03:03That's right. I mean, you have to remember that your existing patients are being enticed day in and day out by low-cost offers from competitors right in your back yard.
S2 03:13Most of the time it's by corporate dental practices, Shawn. I mean, that's the biggest thing, and that's only one reason. And clearly we don't want our existing patients to leave us for some crappy special offer by another practice, but there are other reasons why we should focus our marketing on existing patients. Here's another reason. We have the opportunity to drive more value out of our current patients. We'll tell you more about this in just a second. And another reason is we can leverage our great patients to get in front of their friends and family.
S1 03:45So let's talk about driving more value out of your existing patients. So, for an example, let's say you treatment plan Mrs. Jones. She's been coming to your office for the last 10 years. She needs a dental implant. You spend 10 to 15 minutes speaking to her about the importance of getting that implant.
S2 04:00And I bet most of the time they're talking technical jargon, Shawn, I mean, if we're being honest, which is over their head and probably too much for them to digest in one sitting.
S1 04:08Usually that's exactly the case. So Mrs. Jones then talks to your treatment coordinator about the financial side and even if you do the very best you can to "sell her" on this treatment, she still doesn't commit. She walks out of the practice. And what do you think happens next? Most likely, she thinks about this for a few days and it ends up taking a back seat to all the other priorities she has in her everyday life.
S2 04:30I bet that's exactly what happens to some of these patients. I'm sure we could come up with at least three other scenarios of why patients don't move forward. But regardless, your patients aren't moving forward, so why stop at the treatment plan? Again, it's so bizarre. Why aren't you or why don't you reach out more regularly in a non-sales-y way? We know you guys don't like to sell. And also in a non-aggressive way to help convince them this is the right solution or right choice. I promise we're going to give you tips on this later in the episode. We mentioned earlier leveraging current patients to get in front of their friends and family. This is an important part of any marketing strategy. I'd say most of the practices we talk to, right, Shawn, have an internal referral program, but they need to expand that. Your current patients are happy patients. Well, the majority of those happy patients aren't going to be screaming about you from the rooftop. We need to help facilitate those actions and there are ways we can leverage our current patients without even having to involve them, which is pretty key.
S1 05:33Absolutely. And this is really, really powerful. I'm sure all of you have seen this firsthand numerous times throughout life. The fact of the matter is that patients are much more likely to trust and listen to other patients than listen to you guys in the practice, even though obviously other patients don't have any idea what they're talking about when it comes to dentistry, they're much more likely to listen to them. And when it comes to their specific treatment, they're certainly going to trust you, but they'd much rather hear from their peers. And I can assure you that having 10, 20, 30 patients speaking highly of your practice will do way more for you guys than anything you guys could absolutely say about yourselves.
S2 06:12So let's talk about some things you can do not only to retain your current patients, but get more value out of them and leverage them to get in front of their friends and family. So the first one is really staying in touch, right. To deepen the relationship with current patients and ultimately retain them so they don't just hop away to the next best special, as we mentioned earlier, and most likely that next best special is from a corporate practice. Hate to admit it, but it is.
S1 06:39And you guys are only seeing most of these patients once or twice a year in the office, and even then the doctor is typically only sitting with the patient for a few moments at best. We need to make sure that our patients think of your practice like family. And what do close families do really well? They stay in touch with one another. So this means that when things are happening in your office, even if it's personally related to individual team members or the doctor him or herself. We should make sure our patients are aware of it. And this can be a ton of different things, but some examples are when it's someone's birthday in the office or maybe even another patient's birthday; when you're attending any continuing education classes or courses; learning new skills; if you're offering new services; maybe you want to highlight some amazing transformations of other patients; if you guys are sponsoring any events locally or doing any charitable work in the community, that's a really good way; anything you're doing to give back to the community. We can go on and on here. Clearly there's a lot you guys can be talking about to keep your patients informed about really what's going on in your lives and making them feel like family.
S2 07:45That's all great info, but honestly, Shawn, you failed to mention where they should use this. The easiest one is in places like Facebook, but that's probably the most obvious. They could also talk about continued education courses in an email or blog. I was sitting with our creative director this morning and we were looking at a video testimonial. Those video testimonials are great for emails, just to get in front of current patients and to show what's going on there. Let your patients know what you're up to and how this benefits them.
S1 08:13Absolutely. So the next thing we want to do is educate these patients.
S2 08:18Which is truly driving more value, which means more money out of your current patients. We have to be really careful here, because when I say educate, I don't mean telling your patients a bunch of technical and medical jargon. I mean educating them in a way that makes sense to them so they clearly understand the value and benefits of what you're preaching.
S1 08:40Again, you guys are only speaking to these patients a few times a year, usually only for a few short minutes each time.
S2 08:46And honestly that's not enough to really help it sink in with your patients.
S1 08:52So as we mentioned earlier with the scenario of Mrs. Jones, you spent maybe 15 minutes, maybe a little bit longer, treatment planning. She doesn't commit. She walks out the door to "think about it." What do you do now?
S2 09:03Some practices that we have-- and then we talked to a really good about sending follow-up letters, but that's typically where it stops with most practices, don't you say, Shawn? I mean, they're not doing much after that.
S1 09:14Yeah. And there's only a very few that are doing.
S2 09:16And even when they do, why does it stop? Why not continue to stay in front of them, as we spoke about earlier. This doesn't have to be aggressive, but think about this for a minute. In Mrs. Jones' scenario, she isn't moving forward because it's not a priority to her. Let's face it. Can you blame her? You just hit her with maybe a 5 to 10 thousand dollar investment, she has a kid in college, and she'd much rather go on that vacation to Hawaii with that money. Well, what if she was getting our emails and seeing how implants have changed the lives of other patients similar to her? Or maybe seeing our Facebook posts of the benefits of an implant? I did say benefit, not features. This may not change her mind immediately, being realistic, but honestly it can't hurt our efforts. Even if one out of three patients move forward treatment based on the additional efforts, it's worth the time and investment. So how do we do this, Shawn?
S1 10:15Yeah, great question. So the easiest way is to just start out by segmenting these patients by service and targeting them via email. So pick a service you've treatment planned a lot in the last few months, whatever that is. It doesn't really matter what it is. And what you're going to want to do is pull a list of patients who haven't moved forward with that service and then draft a compelling email that outlines the benefits and shows the outcomes of similar cases and send it to those patients that haven't moved forward. Another way you could do this that works really well to support these efforts is with social media, Facebook specifically. So if you've done a good job of getting your patients to like your practice's Facebook page and follow you guys there, this can work really well also. Take that email you sent, break it up into smaller pieces of content that you can share on social media. That one email could end up being 4, 10, maybe even 12 posts on social media, depending on how in-depth it was. Remember, any time you're posting to Facebook, photos and video perform way better than just regular plain text posts, so any time you compare a photo, whether that's a before and after or any type of video with these posts that are going to do a lot better, so make sure you try and do that as much as possible. Again the goal here is that after a patient leaves to think about it, they become more and more educated and get closer to making a decision to move forward. So let's talk about leveraging the relationships we have with our existing patients. The easiest way to do this is to get them to engage with us online where their friends and family will see it. One way we can do this is, again, with social media, specifically Facebook. And this is really, really easy. You just want to encourage your patients to check in on Facebook when they're at the practice. The more great custom content you post to your practice's Facebook page, the more likely it is that existing patients will like, comment on, and share those posts, which gets your practice in front of all of their friends and family without costing a penny. So it's really, really great brand awareness.
S1 12:13Another great way is to get them to leave reviews for you practice. And we're not talking about reviews here on sites like RateABiz or Solutionreach or sites that nobody has really heard of and no other patients will be going to to look at reviews. We're talking about real reviews on sites that people know and trust. These are going to be sites like Google and Facebook and Healthgrades and even Yelp, and there's many others but those are certainly the most important. Google and Facebook by far are the priority. We need to be getting as many reviews there as possible.
S2 12:47So I know the answer to this, Shawn, but why don't you tell them why-- okay, so I leave a review today and I leave a review on my dentist's Facebook page. What does that mean when you say leveraging to get in front of my friends and family? Could you tell me maybe how does me leaving a review help my friends and family? I mean, honestly, I'm leaving the review, right?
S1 13:12Yeah. Absolutely. And the really good thing about Facebook that's different from Google or any other review site is that when someone leaves a review on Facebook, Facebook's going to tell a lot of that person's friends and family about it, right? So like Jackie just said, right, she has a great experience today at her dentist's office. She goes home, leaves a five-star review on Facebook on our dental practice's Facebook page. If I'm her friend on Facebook, it's somewhat likely that I'm going to see that review. And if I'm in the market for a new dentist or looking for a new dentist or even if I'm not, that's probably going to resonate with me, right, and, like I said, even if I'm not looking for a new dentist, at the time when I am, maybe it's a couple months from now, maybe it's a couple years from now, I might remember the fact that, "Wow, Jackie had this great experience with her dentist," and--
S2 13:52Or might've said something super impactful, and like you said, even if you weren't looking for a dentist, your wife could be looking for a dentist.
S1 13:58Absolutely. Yep. So a review anywhere is really powerful, but if you're looking for these reviews to get in front of as many people as possible in a short amount of time, Facebook is probably the best bet, but a review on Google is really just as valuable, because it appears in search results, and a lot of people are searching for dental practices and different dental services day in and day out in your area.
S2 14:23And those quality patients-- I mean, we know that the quality patients that aren't just looking for the next best special, they're looking at reviews. Whether you like it or not, they're looking online, they're looking at reviews, and if Shawn leaves a really impactful review, that's going to help me make a decision to move forward.
S1 14:39Yeah, absolutely. And even think a lot of your patients are going to be Googling your practice just to find your phone number again, right, and so if you think about-- let's pretend that we've just went through all this effort to get Mrs. Jones to move forward with that dental implant. We've sent her emails after she left the office. We've posted on Facebook and hoped that she's obviously seen it. And let's pretend now she's ready to move forward and she decides, "Well, you know what, I can't remember the number for the practice," and Googles it and sees some bad reviews there and maybe things that she doesn't like, right, all of that can ruin all those efforts. So a review on Google is really just as valuable.
S2 15:15That's a really good example. I hadn't thought about that.
S1 15:16Yep. So another way that we can leverage the relationships we have with our existing patients to get in front of their friends and family is to encourage as many of them as possible - as many of our patients as possible - to like your practice's Facebook page, and the reason that's important is because once they like the page, not only any time they engage with us their friends and family will see it, but then we can run ads on Facebook as well that target their friends and family in the local area.
S2 15:42And if you have an internal referral program in your practice that you actively promote, that's terrific too. The point here that we just discussed is that these efforts will absolutely produce referrals for your practice without having to come out and specifically ask a patient for a referral when they're visiting your practice, which we know most dentists and their team are not always comfortable asking for that. We hope this opened your eyes to other ways you can grow your practice without being solely focused on new patients. Your existing patients are and should be a focus of your marketing efforts. Don't ignore them. They technically are your low-hanging fruit.
S1 16:20[music] We hope all of you enjoyed today's podcast. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast platform to make sure you receive all of our future episodes. I also encourage you to visit our website at mydentalagency.com or email us at podcast@mydentalagency.com if you have any questions or comments. Thanks so much for listening.
S2 16:37See you guys. [music]