Practice Acquisition: New Staff is Negotiating Benefits, What should I do?

“I acquired a practice this week, and inherited 4 employees. The previous owner did not offer any benefits besides PTO and a paycheck. I matched the compensation package and PTO offered to the staff, some who have been with the office for more than 30 years, but they are collectively trying to get more benefits from me that I did not expect to offer since the seller did not offer them. We are are going into week 2, and none of the staff have signed the new hire agreement and Employee Handbook. The offer letter expired. What should I do?”

Congratulations on acquiring a new practice! It’s an exciting journey filled with opportunities and challenges. One of the key challenges you might face as a new owner is handling employee expectations and demands that arise during the transition period. In your case, it seems you’ve inherited a team that is collectively seeking additional benefits beyond what was previously offered. This can be a tricky situation to navigate, but it’s essential to approach it with a clear and strategic mindset.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to handle these demands and ensure a smooth transition:

  1. Have Individual Conversations: The first step is to have individual conversations with each of your inherited employees. This allows you to understand their specific concerns, motivations, and expectations. It’s crucial to create an open and honest environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns.
  2. Evaluate What’s Fair and Possible: After listening to their concerns, carefully evaluate what benefits you can offer while keeping the business’s financial stability in mind. Consider factors such as industry standards, your budget, and the overall health of the practice. It’s essential to strike a balance between employee satisfaction and the business’s viability.
  3. Negotiate Responsibly: You have the power to negotiate with your employees. While you should be willing to meet their reasonable requests, it’s also crucial to set clear boundaries. Negotiating doesn’t mean you have to agree to everything they ask for. Be prepared to explain your decisions and provide rationale for why certain benefits may not be feasible at this time.
  4. Consider the Power to Replace the Team: As the new owner, you have the authority to make changes to the team if necessary. If you believe that certain employees are leveraging the situation against you or demanding excessive benefits, you can consider replacing them with individuals who align better with your vision for the practice. However, exercise this option carefully and thoughtfully, as retaining experienced staff can be valuable.
  5. Time to Show Value: It’s essential to communicate with your employees about your vision for the practice and how you plan to add value over time. Encourage them to be patient and allow you the opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of your leadership. Building trust and demonstrating positive changes can help alleviate employee concerns.
  6. Be Mindful of Future Hires: When considering new hires, be aware that they may also have expectations regarding benefits and compensation. It’s vital to maintain consistency and fairness in your offers. Ensure that any benefits you extend to new employees are in line with what you’ve negotiated with your existing team. This consistency can help prevent future conflicts.
  7. Avoid Emotional Reactions: It’s natural to feel emotional when dealing with employee demands, especially when you’re adjusting to your new role as an owner. However, it’s crucial to remain calm and composed during discussions. Emotional reactions can escalate tensions and make it more challenging to find common ground.

In conclusion, handling employee demands after acquiring a business requires a careful and strategic approach. Individual conversations, fair evaluation of requests, responsible negotiation, and thoughtful consideration of future hires are all key factors in managing this situation. Remember that you have the authority to shape the team and the practice’s direction, but it’s essential to balance employee satisfaction with the overall success of your business. By following these steps, you can navigate this challenging transition and set the stage for a successful ownership experience.

Sincerely,
Grace Rizza, CEO, Identity Dental Marketing
January 2024

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The Pitfalls of Pay Per Lead Marketing: A Warning for Dentists

In the ever-evolving landscape of dental marketing, dentists are constantly on the lookout for strategies to attract new patients and grow their practices. One marketing model that has gained some attention in recent years is Pay Per Lead marketing. While it may seem like an enticing proposition on the surface, we, at Identity Dental Marketing, feel compelled to warn our fellow dentists against the dangers of signing up for this model.

Pay Per Lead marketing agencies often promise low-cost and even free dentistry advertising to get your phones ringing off the hook. They claim to provide a steady stream of new patient leads at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing methods. However, as the saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” and Pay Per Lead marketing is no exception.

Here are some of the key reasons why dentists should be cautious when considering this marketing model:

1. The False Promise of Free Patients:

Pay Per Lead agencies often lure dentists in with the promise of low-cost or even free patient leads. They make it sound like a cost-effective way to grow your practice, but the reality is quite different. These agencies may generate leads that appear promising on the surface but don’t always translate into actual patient visits.

2. No-Shows and Hidden Costs:

One of the biggest problems with Pay Per Lead marketing is the high likelihood of no-show patients. These patients, who were initially attracted by the low cost or free offer, may not be genuinely interested in seeking dental care. As a result, dentists end up paying for leads that don’t convert into paying patients. It’s a classic case of quantity over quality, and it can be financially draining for your practice.

3. Dubious Tracking Methods:

Another alarming aspect of Pay Per Lead marketing is the use of tracking numbers on your local listings and website. Many of these agencies claim leads that weren’t necessarily generated by them. Instead, they capitalize on the fact that existing patients often visit your website or listings to find your phone number. When these existing patients call, the Pay Per Lead agency takes credit for the lead, even though they had nothing to do with its generation.

4. Damage to Your Reputation:

Perhaps the most significant danger of Pay Per Lead marketing is the potential damage it can do to your practice’s reputation. Patients who respond to enticing offers for free or low-cost dentistry may end up feeling deceived or dissatisfied with the quality of care they receive. This can lead to negative reviews and word-of-mouth publicity that can harm your practice’s image.

At Identity Dental Marketing, we’ve seen countless clients who initially fell for the allure of Pay Per Lead marketing, only to realize the true cost and pitfalls associated with it. They come to us for real, reliable marketing strategies that focus on building their practice’s reputation and attracting genuinely interested patients.

In conclusion, while Pay Per Lead marketing may seem like a tempting shortcut to growing your dental practice, it often leads to disappointment, financial losses, and damage to your reputation. We strongly advise dentists to approach this marketing model with caution and to consider more sustainable and reputable marketing strategies that prioritize the long-term success of your practice.

Remember, in the world of dental marketing, there are no shortcuts to building a thriving and reputable practice. It takes time, effort, and the right strategies to attract the right patients who will contribute to the growth and success of your dental practice.

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Hiring for Your Dental Start Up: A Comprehensive Guide

Author: Grace Rizza

Are you in the exciting phase of opening a new business or practice, but feeling the pressure to find the right staff before the grand opening? Don’t worry; you’re not alone in this endeavor. The key to success lies in creating a system, careful planning, clear communication, and making informed decisions. In this blog post, we’ll share valuable advice on how to navigate the process of hiring your dental team before your opening.

1. Start Early

First things first, start your hiring process well in advance, ideally 1-2 months before your opening date. This gives you ample time to identify suitable candidates and ensures that you don’t rush into hiring decisions. It also allows you bring in an administrative support person sooner than later to support in scheduling, choosing and setting up software, credentialing support and more. It will show you if you’ve hired someone proactive and communicative or if you need to keep the door open for a stronger leader. After all, most applicants say all the right things in interviews, but their true work habits shine only after they’ve started in the position.

2. Create a Clear Timeline

Develop a detailed timeline that outlines the key milestones leading up to your opening date. This can include tasks such as licensing, facility setup, and marketing efforts. Sharing this timeline with potential employees provides them with a sense of the overall plan and your commitment to a structured approach. It also allows them to be a part of an exciting new venture. Make sure however that you don’t fall into the trap of getting approval from every employee before you make decisions. Your success partly on your ability to make wise decisions, quickly. Stopping for approval at every turn will slow you down and may cause problems. Consider a person’s true credentials and expertise before eliciting their opinion.

3. Craft Comprehensive Job Descriptions

Each role you’re hiring for should have a well-defined job description. Clearly outline the responsibilities, qualifications, and expectations for each position. This clarity helps candidates understand the role and whether it aligns with their skills and goals. Include expectations in regards to communication, your core values, and your unique selling proposition. You’ll want to attract employees with similar values, which will improve retention. We recommend posting the jobs on Indeed as it has the biggest audience for active job seekers. Also, don’t make overly creative job titles for each role, as your best candidates may not find those job titles as easily as the more recognizable titles. Make sure before presenting a formal offer letter and agreement that you’ve considered things such as a non-compete, non-disparagement, non-solicit, as well as benefits and processes for requesting time off.

4. Thorough Screening and Interviews

During the interview process, conduct thorough assessments of candidates’ skills, experience, and cultural fit. For positions like administrative support, prioritize candidates with strong organizational and communication skills. Test their ability to think on their toes while under pressure. Ask a question such as, “What would you do if a patient came in while in front of other patients and demanded a refund. I’ll be the patient, you be you.” If the applicant won’t play the role and gives a vague response such as “First I would ask the patient if she has an appointment.” Gently remind her that you’d like her to respond exactly how she’d respond as the office manager if you were the patient, in first person language. If she can pivot and play the role, you’ll be able to gauge if she’s stumbling and tripping over words or keeps her composure while professionally setting boundaries.” It’s important to see how a patient interfacing employee communicates when under pressure, so putting them on the spot is important. Listen not only to their answer but their ability to stay composed and professional. Perfection is not expected, but seek the person who is coachable and can keep her cool.

5. Provide Information and Updates

While you may not have all the details finalized, be transparent during interviews. Share your progress and expected timelines with candidates, reassuring them that you’ll keep them informed as things develop. This transparency builds trust and maintains their interest. Ask them how quickly they’re looking to make a change and how soon they’d be available to start. Gauge if the timing works for you both before putting your eggs in that basket.

6. Set Firm Start Dates

Based on your timeline and progress, aim to set firm start dates for each employee. This demonstrates your commitment to the hiring process and allows candidates to plan their transitions accordingly. You must always honor your financial commitments with employees. This includes PTO and any benefits your promised. If you tell someone there’s potential to earn more in 6 months, make sure it’s in your calendar to discuss the raise potential in 5 months. Empty promises will cost you good employees, even if your intentions are good.

7. Leverage Administrative Support

Consider having an administrative employee available before your opening. They can assist with setting up your practice, answering calls, and supporting marketing efforts, easing the initial workload when things may be hectic.

8. Prioritize Training

Once you’ve hired your staff, ensure you have a training plan in place to get them up to speed quickly when they start. This investment in their development pays off in the long run. Additionally, having an accountability plan in place is crucial. You can train a team with perfect guidance but if their work is not being evaluated and reported upon, they will not likely keep the skills shared in the training you’ve provided. We use a digital delegation system (project management system) that allows for total accountability on every task delegated. It requires a great deal of administrative support, but has allowed our marketing agency to grow without losing any attention to detail for each and every client.

9. Maintain Communication

Finally, maintain open and regular communication with your new hires. Provide updates on your progress and any changes in the plan. This keeps them engaged and invested in the success of your practice. Keep a spreadsheet with your list of applicants and their status, link to notes from the interview. Do not rely on your memory. Allow yourself at least one night of sleep before making a hiring decision. This allows you to avoid rash decisions which can cause pain later. In the same sense, give yourself a hiring deadline. Don’t expect perfection, but truly consider which weaknesses can be strengthened and which attributes are more difficult to coach. The number one quality of an excellent employee is coachability.

In conclusion, hiring staff before your opening can be challenging, but with careful planning and effective communication, you can build a strong team to support your business or practice from day one. By following these steps and staying proactive, you’ll be well on your way to a successful launch. Subscribe to our newsletter for our next blog about the best interview questions for dental professionals!

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Eliminate No Shows

Strategies for Dentists

Introduction

No-shows are a common challenge for dental practices, leading to lost revenue and wasted resources. However, by implementing effective strategies, dentists can significantly decrease the number of missed appointments. In this article, we will discuss three valuable tips for dentists to reduce no-shows.

  1. Confirmation Verbiage

One of the key factors in decreasing no-shows is the way you communicate with your patients. The confirmation verbiage used when scheduling appointments plays a crucial role. It should be kind and direct, conveying the importance of the reserved time slot. Let the patient know that their appointment has been exclusively reserved for them. This creates a sense of responsibility and commitment, making it less likely for patients to forget or cancel at the last minute.

Example: “Dear [Patient’s Name], we are looking forward to seeing you on [Appointment Date] at [Appointment Time]. Your appointment has been reserved exclusively for you, and we are here to provide you with the best care possible.”

  1. No-Show Fee and Credit Card on File

To further discourage no-shows, consider implementing a no-show fee policy. Inform patients that there will be a fee associated with missed appointments, which can serve as a strong incentive for them to keep their commitments. Additionally, require a credit card on file to hold the appointment. This can be collected at the time of confirmation or through a secure texted link, simplifying the process for both patients and your practice.

Example: “To ensure the availability of our services, we kindly request that you provide a valid credit card to secure your appointment. Please note that a no-show fee may apply in case of missed appointments.”

  1. Dismissing Repeat Offenders

While it’s important to be empathetic and understanding with your patients, it’s equally crucial to maintain the integrity of your schedule. If a patient consistently fails to respect your time and misses appointments on multiple occasions, it may be necessary to consider dismissing them from your practice. Train your team to exercise discernment when making this decision and communicate it in a compassionate manner.

Example: “We appreciate your loyalty to our practice, but we have noticed that there have been several missed appointments. In order to maintain our commitment to all our patients and efficient scheduling, we believe it may be best to part ways. We can recommend another dentist who may better suit your needs.”

Conclusion

Reducing no-shows is essential for the success and efficiency of any dental practice. By implementing these three tips, you can improve your appointment attendance rates while maintaining a respectful and patient-focused approach. Effective communication, clear policies, and a willingness to take action when necessary can help you achieve a more reliable and punctual patient base, ultimately benefiting both your practice and your patients.

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The Most Common Mistake When Purchasing a Dental Office

Considering the service mix is crucial when purchasing a practice for several reasons:

  1. Patient Retention: If the selling doctor offers services that you can’t provide, you risk losing patients who specifically seek those services. This can impact the practice’s revenue and the overall value of your purchase.
  2. Business Reputation: If the selling doctor has different values or standards of care, it may be challenging to maintain the business’s reputation. Consistency in care and values is essential for retaining patients and building trust within the community.
  3. Transition Smoothness: Aligning the service mix with your skills and expertise ensures a smoother transition. Patients are more likely to continue their care when they perceive little disruption in the services they receive.
  4. Financial Viability: The services offered can significantly impact the practice’s financial stability. If certain services are more profitable, they may contribute significantly to the practice’s overall revenue.
  5. Regulatory Compliance: Different services may require compliance with various regulations and licensing requirements. Ensuring that you can meet these obligations is essential to avoid legal issues.
  6. Competitive Advantage: Tailoring the service mix to meet the needs of the community and stay competitive in the market is essential for long-term success.
  7. Staff and Training: If the service mix changes significantly, it may require retraining or hiring of staff with the necessary expertise, which can affect operational costs.

In summary, considering the service mix when purchasing a practice is critical to ensure patient retention, maintain a good reputation, achieve a smooth transition, and ensure the practice’s financial viability and compliance with regulations. It’s a key factor in the success of the acquisition.

Schedule your Complimentary Marketing Planning Session to learn the best way to market your new practice, even if the service offerings have changed.

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Strengthening Professional Relationships: A Dentist’s Guide to Gift Giving for Referring Doctors

Dental Marketing Gift Giving Guide for Specialists, Identity Dental Marketing

As a specialist dentist, building and maintaining strong relationships with referring doctors is essential for the success of your practice. One effective way to show your appreciation and foster these relationships is through thoughtful gift-giving. In this blog post, we will discuss when the best time to give gifts is, offer some gift ideas, and share tips on how to keep referrals flowing in.

1. Timing is Key: When to Give Gifts

Timing plays a crucial role in the art of gift-giving to referring doctors. While there is no hard-and-fast rule, here are some key occasions and situations when giving a gift can be most meaningful:

a. Holiday Season: The holiday season is a classic time for gift-giving. Consider sending personalized gifts to your referring doctors during this time to show your appreciation and spread some festive cheer.

b. Special Occasions: Celebrate special milestones in your professional relationship, such as anniversaries of referrals or successful collaborative procedures. Acknowledging these moments can reinforce your bond.

c. Personal Events: If you know of any personal events in your referring doctor’s life, like birthdays or graduations, sending a thoughtful gift can demonstrate your genuine care and interest in their well-being.

d. Random Acts of Appreciation: Don’t limit yourself to specific occasions. Surprise your referring doctors with unexpected gifts to show your ongoing appreciation. These small gestures can go a long way in strengthening your relationship.

2. Gift Ideas for Referring Doctors

Choosing the right gift for your referring doctors can be challenging, but the thought and effort you put into it will be greatly appreciated. Here are some gift ideas to consider:

a. Personalized Gifts: Personalization adds a special touch. Consider engraved pens, custom-made stationery, or even personalized dental instruments with the referring doctor’s name or practice logo.

b. Gift Baskets: Thoughtfully curated gift baskets filled with gourmet snacks, chocolates, or fine wines can make for delightful surprises.

c. Continuing Education: Invest in their professional development by offering to cover the cost of a relevant conference or seminar registration. This not only shows your appreciation but also helps them enhance their skills.

d. Spa or Wellness Packages: Everyone deserves a bit of relaxation. Gift certificates for spa treatments, massages, or wellness retreats can be a fantastic way to help your referring doctors unwind.

e. Technology Gadgets: High-tech gifts like the latest tablet, noise-canceling headphones, or a smartwatch can be impressive and practical choices. If you’re looking for a more cost-effective gift for the whole team, you can give a wireless charging dock with your logo imprinted.

3. Fostering Long-Term Referrals

While gift-giving can help nurture your professional relationships, it’s essential to maintain a consistently high standard of care and communication. Here are some additional strategies to ensure a steady flow of referrals:

a. Effective Communication: Keep referring doctors informed about your patients’ progress and treatment outcomes. A detailed report, timely updates, and a friendly demeanor can instill confidence in your collaboration.

b. Networking: Attend local dental conferences, seminars, and events to connect with potential referring doctors and strengthen existing relationships. Networking can help you expand your referral base.

c. Collaborative Approach: Foster a culture of collaboration by seeking their input and expertise when necessary. Demonstrating that you value their opinion can strengthen your partnership.

d. Gratitude: Express gratitude regularly, not only through gifts but also through simple thank-you notes or phone calls. A heartfelt “thank you” can go a long way.

In conclusion, gift-giving to referring doctors is an excellent way to acknowledge their support and strengthen professional relationships. By choosing the right time and thoughtful gifts, you can demonstrate your appreciation and keep referrals coming in. However, remember that genuine care, open communication, and a collaborative approach are the foundation of successful long-term partnerships in the world of dentistry.

If you’re a specialist looking to grow your dental practice, we highly recommend setting up a dental marketing planning session. More general dentists are becoming “super GP’s” and insourcing work, leading to a downward trend of referrals, even to the best specialists. Learn ways to compete and grow, despite this growing trend.

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Two Paths to Success for Dental Start-Up Businesses

Starting a dental practice is an exciting venture that offers the promise of helping patients while building a profitable business. However, success in the competitive field of dentistry requires careful planning and strategic decision-making. Depending on your budget and marketing capabilities, there are two distinct paths to success that you can consider when launching your dental start-up.

Grace Rizza Identity Dental Marketing Start Up

Path 1: For the Risk-Averse on a Limited Budget

This path is ideal for those who are risk-averse, operating on a limited budget, and looking to establish a strong foundation for their dental practice. Success through this method may take longer, but it ensures steady and sustainable growth over time.

1. Business Naming: Choose a name for your dental practice that is memorable, easy to spell, and relevant to your values and services. Ensure that the name is not already trademarked by another business in your industry.

2. Tagline: Create a concise and meaningful tagline that encapsulates your practice’s mission and values. It should resonate with potential patients and set you apart from competitors.

3. Logo: Invest in a professional logo design that reflects your brand identity. A well-designed logo will make a strong first impression and help with brand recognition.

4. Website: Build a user-friendly website that showcases your services, team, and patient testimonials. Ensure that it is mobile-responsive and optimized for search engines (SEO). A clean, informative website will help patients find and learn about your practice online.

5. SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Implement basic SEO strategies to improve your website’s visibility in search engine results. Optimize your website’s content with relevant keywords, maintain an active blog, and encourage online reviews. This will gradually increase your online presence and attract organic traffic.

Path 2: For Those with a Strong Marketing Budget

If you have a substantial marketing budget of $5,000 or more per month and are willing to invest in your practice before it becomes profitable, this path can accelerate your growth. However, it requires patience, a willingness to offer a meaningful special, and a mental readiness for financial investment.

1. Comprehensive Marketing Strategy: Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes online and offline advertising, social media marketing, email campaigns, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Allocate your budget strategically to reach potential patients through multiple channels.

2. Meaningful Special Offer: Create a compelling special offer for new patients to attract attention and encourage appointments. This could include discounted services, free consultations, or bundled treatment packages. Ensure that the special offer aligns with your practice’s long-term goals.

3. Patience and Investment: Understand that it may take 3-6 months or more to see significant results from your marketing efforts. Be mentally prepared to invest in marketing before your practice becomes profitable. Monitor your marketing campaigns’ performance closely and make adjustments as needed.

4. Measure and Analyze: Implement tracking mechanisms to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Use tools like Google Analytics and social media insights to analyze user behavior and adjust your strategy accordingly.

5. Professional Guidance: Consider hiring a marketing agency or consultant with expertise in the dental industry. They can provide valuable insights and guidance to maximize your marketing budget’s impact.

In conclusion, the path to success for your dental start-up business depends on your budget, risk tolerance, and marketing capabilities. Most start-up practices, especially those with limited experience and budgets, are better suited for the first path, which focuses on building a strong foundation and brand identity. However, if you have the resources and patience to invest heavily in marketing, the second path can lead to faster growth and a competitive edge in the market. Regardless of your chosen path, remember that consistent dedication and exceptional patient care are key to long-term success in the dental industry.

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Reflecting on 2023: Dental Start Up Success Depends on Mindset more than Marketing

Author: Grace Rizza, CEO Identity Dental Marketing

In the realm of dental practice growth, the year 2023 proved to be an invaluable learning experience for me. Our rapid ascent in the startup space was primarily driven by word-of-mouth referrals, a testament to the stellar reputation that Identity Dental Marketing has cultivated over the years.

Historically, our clientele primarily consisted of well-established dental practices spanning various specialties and niches. With a track record dating back to 2009, our extensive experience has exposed us to a myriad of dental practice scenarios, solidifying our well-deserved reputation.

However, the landscape for startup practices presents unique challenges. As a (once) startup business owner myself, I intimately understand the difficulties associated with gaining momentum during those crucial initial years. New practice owners require patients promptly, often on a shoestring budget, with limited time to invest. Many are juggling associate positions while pursuing their family and business dreams in tandem.

For many of them, business education has been limited, and the concept of effective branding may seem elusive. The learning curve is steep, and the stakes are high. I have dedicated countless hours to educate potential clients, elucidating the nuances of the industry, cautioning against potential pitfalls, and setting realistic expectations.

However, the harsh reality is that nothing can fully prepare you for the challenges of business ownership except living through it. On countless occasions, I have attempted to infuse my 14 years of experience into the business plans and marketing proposals I developed for each ambitious dentist. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts to prepare them for this journey, setbacks exist.

Even well-intentioned practice owners often expressed dissatisfaction just a month or two into their marketing initiatives. Despite referencing comprehensive notes, reminding them of the time required for results, and illustrating budget compromises I did not approve or agree upon, emotions often overshadowed logic. In truth, their operational limitations, such as limited operating hours, absence of enticing special offers, and a modest budget, compounded the issue. Some mistakenly believed that success was guaranteed as long as they hired the best marketing company, without investing the time and money necessary for growth. The biggest, most painful culprit for delayed growth was often a combination of unrealistic expectations, and a total lack of a meaningful differentiator in the branding process. Most of these doctors did not want our opinion when it came to brand positioning and simply believed that their brand should simply represent their personal design taste, which is the most superficial way to go about branding, and often the least effective.

A successful business is positioned at the intersection of:

  1. The doctor’s skill level
  2. The demand/need of the community
  3. The doctor’s desire to provide the services he/she is skilled in

When I say “demand”, I’m referencing to an underserved demand. This means you have to say more than, “We care about our patients.” Patients are not seeking that. It’s not bold enough to turn heads and build a brand. You need to differentiate. You should be able to say, “We are the only _____ dentist that _____.” At least be able to say, “We are one of the only _______ dentists in the area that provides ______.”

Allow me to provide an example, “Identity Dental Marketing is one of the only marketing agencies that doesn’t mandate long-term contracts, allowing dentists to choose to stay with us because of our excellent service, honesty, expertise, and results.”

Marketing, however, transcends websites, photography, and ad spend. It hinges more on likability, the willingness to be vulnerable, and the dedication of time to the business. A glaring gap often exists in articulating their unique value proposition (differentiator mentioned above) over competitors. These fundamentals of marketing are often overlooked or disregarded by dentists starting up practices.

In reality, those who can attend dental school and secure loans to open practices hold a position of privilege, yet they frequently underestimate the demands of not only surviving but thriving in this competitive field. Business ownership is far from easy, let alone simple.

My journey to success is credited to three pivotal elements: faith (God-given opportunity), resilience cultivated through a background with limited resources (DESIRE), and an unceasing commitment to learning (PASSION). Sales, distinct from marketing, emerged as a critical aspect of my career during my initial position selling high-end gym memberships in downtown Chicago. This experience laid the foundation for my entire career, highlighting the importance of developing sales skills for aspiring business owners.

As an early-stage business owner, answering the phone is imperative, as there is no luxury to disengage after 3 PM. Business ownership means dedicating oneself entirely to the endeavor, yet entitlement often misguides individuals into unrealistic expectations, such as a refusal to work nights and weekends or to provide discounts for new patients. Success does not manifest merely from an impressive degree, experience, or state-of-the-art equipment; entitlement is a deceiving force.

Colleagues on social media may boast about their success, concealing the factors contributing to their achievements, such as personal investments or advantageous market conditions. Salespeople, too, often exaggerate their role in clients’ success stories. Marketing undoubtedly plays a substantial role, but mindset ultimately determines success.

While marketing is undeniably important in the long term, shortcuts and scams abound, particularly in the dental marketing sphere. A plethora of self-proclaimed experts lack the necessary competence or commitment to represent clients effectively.

My most significant misjudgment was assuming that startup practice owners would readily appreciate my accumulated knowledge—15 years into my career and 14 years into ownership. In reality, startup practices require more than realistic expectations; they demand firsthand experiences and a relentless commitment to learning from every experience, especially the painful ones. Have you seen a dentist post about the completely unfair contract that they signed? I have, and on a weekly basis! Have you seen a dentist post about their wildly successful start up, without talking about the marketing time and financial investment? I see this almost daily!

This would be like a patient posting “I go to Dr. Smith’s dental office since I was a child and I’ve never had a cavity in my life!” Now, imagine every other patient in the practice expecting to never have an oral health issue, without paying any regard to at-home care, genetic predisposition, diet, gut health, and health conditions.

Impeccable processes and systems are crucial for sustainable growth.

My new position going into 2024 is this: Unless you have a very wealthy spouse or parent, you’ve started a business before and this isn’t your first rodeo.

As a start up practice, your paid marketing, while vital, should be introduced gradually as the practice builds sufficient cash flow. Investing in marketing before being financially and emotionally prepared can lead to disillusionment and hinder long-term growth.

In my early days as an entrepreneur, I relied on networking, phone calls, and 12-hour workdays to build my brand and reputation, emphasizing personal investment of time over monetary expenditure. Over time, my confidence in the value of branding and brand recognition strategies grew. This journey underscored that while marketing is essential, it does not encompass everything; one’s mindset is paramount.

Believing in one’s worthiness of success leads to innovative approaches that stand out and provide value to the target audience. The path to success often involves stepping outside the norm, extensive networking, and an unwavering commitment to personal and professional growth.

Business ownership is not for the entitled; it is a humbling experience that can transform lives. To succeed, one must acknowledge that there is no shortcut to hard work and that marketing is just one piece of the puzzle.

For these reasons, Identity Dental Marketing is now highly selective in working with startup practices, ensuring a measured approach to marketing investments. We understand the panic that can accompany initial marketing efforts, and we’re amending our approach to meet the emotional and psychological needs of 95% of start up business owners. In short, we’re doing more to meet you where you are. When you’re ready to dial it up, we’ll be ready too!

We now advocate a minimalistic yet professional approach to startup paid marketing, prioritizing the establishment of a solid foundation, professional branding, and online presence. Only when cash flow or the bank loan permits, should practices consider larger marketing budgets.

In conclusion, marketing a startup is not a chicken-and-egg dilemma; it requires a balanced and measured approach. Identity Dental Marketing stands as your strategic partner, committed to helping dental practices thrive through a well-calibrated marketing strategy and a focus on the long-term journey toward success. We understand the challenges, and we are here to empower you to overcome them. Business ownership may be challenging, but it is also an opportunity for growth and transformation, and with the right mindset and support, success is within reach.

Learn more by setting up your complimentary marketing planning session.

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Staying Ahead By Staying Informed in New Optimization Opportunities

Dental Marketing Agencies need to stay up to date with the latest advancements in technology and online marketing is crucial for businesses looking to thrive. Google, being the dominant player in the search engine market, continually introduces new features and options to help businesses connect with their customers. One such feature that has gained significance recently is the Social Media Links section on your Google Business profile. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the importance of keeping up with Google’s latest options and explore the optimization opportunities provided by the Social Media Links section.

The Ever-Evolving Digital Landscape

Google, as the most widely used search engine globally, plays a pivotal role in connecting businesses with their target audience. To maximize your online presence and visibility, it’s essential to keep pace with Google’s latest options and features.

The Power of Google Business Profiles

Google Business Profiles, formerly known as Google My Business, is a free tool that empowers businesses to manage their online presence across Google’s various services, including Google Search and Google Maps. This platform enables businesses to provide accurate and up-to-date information to potential customers, such as location, operating hours, contact details, and more.

Why It’s Crucial to Optimize Your Google Business Profile

  1. Enhanced Visibility: An optimized Google Business Profile increases your chances of appearing in local search results when potential customers are looking for products or services in your area. It’s a powerful way to improve your online visibility.
  2. Credibility and Trust: A well-maintained and complete profile enhances your business’s credibility and trustworthiness. It reassures customers that they are dealing with a legitimate and reliable entity.
  3. Customer Engagement: Features like reviews, posts, and Q&A sections enable you to engage with your customers directly, answer their questions, and address their concerns, fostering a sense of community and trust.
  4. Analytics and Insights: Google Business Profiles provide valuable insights into how users interact with your listing, helping you refine your marketing strategy and target your audience more effectively.

Exploring the Social Media Links Section

One of the latest additions to Google Business Profiles is the Social Media Links section. This feature allows you to connect your business’s social media profiles directly to your Google listing. Here’s why this is a game-changer:

  1. Expanded Online Presence (Dental SEO): By linking your social media profiles, you extend your online presence beyond Google Search and Maps, reaching potential customers on their preferred social platforms.
  2. Strengthened Brand Identity: Social media platforms offer a unique opportunity to showcase your brand’s personality, share content, and connect with your audience in a more interactive way. Linking your profiles helps reinforce your brand identity.
  3. Enhanced Engagement: Social media is all about engagement. When customers discover your business on Google and can easily access your social media profiles, they are more likely to follow you, engage with your content, and become loyal customers.

How to Optimize Your Social Media Links

  1. Keep Profiles Updated: Ensure your social media profiles are regularly updated with fresh and relevant content. Consistency across platforms is key to maintaining your brand’s image.
  2. Cross-Promote: Use your Google Business Profile to promote your social media profiles and vice versa. Encourage your followers to explore your Google listing for accurate information and reviews.
  3. Monitor Engagement: Pay attention to how users interact with your social media profiles through your Google Business Profile. Use insights and feedback to refine your social media strategy.

Conclusion

In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, staying informed and embracing the latest tools and features is vital for business success. Google Business Profiles have become an integral part of online visibility, and the addition of the Social Media Links section offers new avenues for engagement and brand promotion.

By optimizing your Google Business Profile and leveraging the Social Media Links section, you can enhance your online presence, connect with your audience on multiple fronts, and ultimately grow your business in the digital age. Keep an eye on Google’s latest options and adapt your strategy to stay ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

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Why Grace Rizza Writes Blogs in 2023

Grace Rizza Dental Marketing
Best Dental Marketing Agency

“Does anyone really blog anymore? I haven’t heard about blogging in years! It’s that outdated?”

In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for success. Grace Rizza, the owner of Identity Dental Marketing, understands this well. In 2023, she continues to invest her time and effort in crafting informative blogs for her website. Why? Let’s delve into the reasons behind her dedication to blogging and the value it brings to her clients and subscribers.

Enhancing Long Tail Search Term Results

One of the primary reasons Grace writes blogs is to enhance her website’s visibility on search engines. Long tail search terms, those more specific and detailed keywords, are essential for attracting highly targeted traffic. By consistently publishing quality blog content, Grace ensures that her website ranks well for a wide range of long tail keywords related to dental marketing. This strategic approach not only increases the chances of her website appearing in search results but also helps potential clients find her services with ease.

Adding Value to Subscribers

Subscribers to Grace’s newsletter receive a unique benefit from her blogging efforts. She has implemented a feature that auto-populates her email newsletter with the latest blog posts. This ensures that her subscribers stay informed about the latest trends and insights in dental marketing without any extra effort on their part. It’s a win-win situation, as subscribers get valuable content delivered to their inboxes, and Grace keeps her audience engaged.

Building an Audience for Retargeting

Blogging is not just about attracting new visitors; it’s also a powerful tool for building a qualified audience for retargeting. Grace understands that not every visitor converts on their first visit to her website. To re-engage potential clients and keep her services top of mind, she uses the data from her blog readers to create custom audiences for retargeting on social media platforms and Google’s display ads. This strategic approach allows her to maximize her marketing efforts by targeting users who have already shown interest in her content and services.

Don’t Worry, We Blog for You!

But what if you don’t enjoy writing or simply don’t have the time for it? Grace and her team have you covered. As part of Identity Dental Marketing’s SEO campaign services, they offer blog writing for clients. This ensures that even those who lack the time or inclination for writing can still benefit from the power of blogging. It’s all part of their commitment to helping clients rank for not just some key search terms, but all of them.

In conclusion, Grace Rizza’s dedication to blogging in 2023 is driven by a desire to provide value to her clients and subscribers, enhance her website’s visibility, and maximize the effectiveness of her marketing efforts. By consistently publishing informative content, she not only attracts and educates her audience but also sets the stage for successful retargeting campaigns. And for those who prefer not to write, Identity Dental Marketing offers a solution to ensure that every client can harness the benefits of blogging in their SEO strategy.

To learn more about how you can achieve professional marketing support, schedule your complimentary marketing planning session here.

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