“We Have Never Done any Marketing.”

Last week in Aruba at the ADCPA Continuing Education Getaway I gave a presentation about internet marketing.  I spoke about what the different options are and what you can expect from them. I warned attendees about scams and efforts that won’t produce a positive ROI. After the presentation, quite a few dentists wanted to speak more on the subject.

One very experienced and knowledgeable office manager named Sharon approached me and said, “We’ve never done any marketing and our practice does great, but now I’m considering it.”  My response, “You do marketing every day.” She looked a bit confused.

As we continued to discuss, she mentioned about 5 different marketing tasks that she does regularly.  Sharon meant that her practice has never done any advertising.  It’s important to realize that you don’t need advertising to grow a dental practice.  There are advertising methods that work, but marketing is so much BIGGER than advertising.

What is marketing then?
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I Feel for Your Patients

Have you seen the YouTube video about the little boy who was sedated after his visit to the dentist?  Almost everyone remembers “David After Dentist” even though it came out years ago.  How did that video make you feel? Many were disgusted in David’s father for recording him. Others laughed and thought it was just a really funny video.  People even felt scared for David when he asked his dad in a state of panic, “IS THIS REAL LIFE?!” No matter how it made you feel, it made you feel.

A group of scientists in California have found that all viral marketing messages have ONE thing in common —  they evoke emotion.  I’m sure you can close your eyes and picture those devastatingly sad commercials about starving children and abused animals.  I sure can. They evoke sadness and sympathy in their audience.  They are memorable and effective.  I personally hate them.

I hate them because I turn to television to help my brain take a break from worry. I personally watch TV shows that make me laugh, smile or experience joy.  The chick flick, as deceiving as it is, sucks us women in every time. It makes us feel love by how we relate to the main character.  Face it, no man is ever going to chase your plane down a runway in the pouring rain to tell you he’s sorry and propose marriage.  If he did, trust me, he’s not someone you want to date, led alone marry. But we still buy this crap because of how it makes us feel. We still watch it and enjoy it because it helps us experience emotions.
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Little Letter, Big Results

Recently, I made a trip to the dentist for a routine teeth cleaning. I was trying out a new practice in my area, and I had a good experience with them. About a week later, I received a new patient letter, in which they welcomed me to their practice, briefly described their philosophy, and kindly requested referrals. I was impressed with this, as it demonstrated their appreciation for my visit, and it expressed confidence in their
business. If you make the extra effort to send out a new patient letter, it will pay off in the long run.

A new patient letter is a great internal marketing strategy. Not only does it remind your patient that you want to continue to work with them, but is also a great way to reach out to people they know for more business. A letter is free advertising; it does not take long to generate, and you do not have to pay to have the information passed along. It also markets your business to people who will hear about you from a trusted source: a friend or family member.
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The Moments That Matter

Some days, my team will look at me and say, “I really don’t want to do this today,” or “This SEO is can be so boring!”  Of course, I get annoyed when people complain about having to do work because personally, I love it.  My response is often something like, “Well, it’s not called ‘play’, it’s called ‘work’ for a reason.”  Or sometimes I’ll say, “I know you enjoy a challenge, but we all have monotonous tasks that we have to accomplish and the challenge and fun will come.”

I’m sure you have days when you have to see that one patient. You know, the one that you dread seeing.  She’s confrontational and rude and usually just draining (“Negative Nancy”). Sometimes it’s important to step back and remember why you became a a dentist, or in my situation, a dental marketer.

I think back to when I was that scared patient that really needed dental work and how a couple small procedures allowed me to smile with confidence, something I never could do before that moment. I think back to my very first client meeting and how I sat nervously in my suit explaining, “I can do this! Just give me a chance and you won’t regret it.”

I look back today, only 3 short years later, I see how far I’ve come and how far dentistry has come in a short period of time.  No one had even heard of SEO.  Now new clients think because they’ve done 5 minutes of research that they can do it themselves.  I know they’ll think differently as I begin to explain our approach or recommended strategy.
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The Obvious “Secret” For Dental Practice Success

As a dentist, how do you define success?

  • Is it hitting your goal in sales and collections?
  • Is it creating an atmosphere in which you enjoy your work day?
  • Is it practice growth?

No matter how you define it, we can help you formulate ways to achieve your own success. The truth is that the success of your business depends almost solely on the experience of your patients.
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Small, yet Mighty!

After giving a presentation to a dental office a couple years ago, I passed around a survey. I told them, “Please tell me what you thought of this presentation. I am not going to cry about it if you have anything negative to say.  In fact, I will thank you for the feedback.”

I was overwhelmed by the gratitude and kindness of the feedback. I had very little if any negative criticisms. The team was really starting to come together.  They were also learning NEW tricks about communication that has contributed to their practice growth.

One of the reviews read: “Grace is small, yet mighty.”  She then went into how I held my own.  She explained how I gave them steps to take towards improvement. She really liked a new way to track patients without appointments and how to follow up with them.  The booking system was complete with direction, scripts and my phone number for when questions came up. They took the book and made some changes to it, tweaking it to fit their office needs.  Now, it has been a part of their daily routine for 2 years!
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10 Dental Marketing Myths

1. You get what you pay for.

Almost every dentist I work with has been burned in the past by an over priced program that has under delivered.  Price and results do not always directly correlate.

2. As a dentist, you should just walk into the operatory and go to work, without having to worry about your staff, meetings, marketing or any other facet of your business.

This ideal is unrealistic and a ploy to get you to buy into that HUGE marketing and consulting plan being pitched at that seminar. With a well-trained and positive manager, you can focus more on dentistry.  This doesn’t mean that you should ever completely let go of your business decisions including marketing and hiring.

3. Patients think that dentists who market their services are desperate for business and must not be that great at dentistry.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Marketing for dentists and other medical fields is not only accepted, it’s well received.  Patients tend to trust a well branded practice.  Patients rely on dental marketing to help encourage them to get the regular professional dental care.
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