“Beyond The Chair” (Part 1 of 2): “Why Your Practice Is Not Consistently Growing & Feeling Like Your Constantly 1 Step Forward & 2 Steps Back”

Welcome to our series, “Beyond The Chair”. We discuss issues facing the modern small practice owner, and how to stay competitive in your market. Our discussion this week focuses on marketing your practice. This week, here’s what you’ll learn:

  • The real, profit-driven definition of marketing (and why most doctors get it wrong!)
  • Why you’re frustrated with marketing that rarely works or at best works inconsistently.
  • Two critical reasons why relying on your front desk staff to ask how a patient found you is THE LEAST reliable method of evaluating marketing channels.
  • Why your practice is not consistently growing and feeling like your process is constantly 1 step forward and 2 steps back.
  • And Much Much more…

Click “PLAY BUTTON” Below To Watch The Video OR Read The Transcription Below (if you prefer to read): If you’re having trouble viewing this video Click here

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Transcription of Part 1:

Benjamin: Hi, my name is Benjamin Portnoy, I am the Director of Marketing for Local Search for Dentists™ and here is Graig Presti, the C.E.O. of Local Search for Dentists™. We’re here in Graig’s backyard talking about marketing.

And this is obviously a very important topic to both of us, you are a terrific marketer and…

Graig: Thanks.

Benjamin: You’re welcome. And so, we have some fairly strong opinions about marketing, what it is and what people think it is. Let’s talk about this a little bit.

Graig: Sure

Benjamin: So, why don’t you start us off?

Graig: Yeah, when we’re talking about marketing, it’s something that you know, is all points where that people look at it as like, you need to get your name out there, you need a marketer, right?

And that’s sort of like we said at the coffee shop, or we said at a cocktail party and it’s this thing that floats above our heads that we can’t really grab and it sounds good but we don’t really know what it is right? It’s sort of this thing that’s in the ether. When it comes to marketing, I do have strong opinions about it and I think marketing first and foremost is something that you do to attract people to your business that you can do repeatedly and you can also track. Those two things are critical.

I think a lot of dentists that we talk to get a bad taste in their mouth with marketing because they treat it like a shotgun approach, right? They will one month go out and spend you know a decent amount of money on whatever it is they’re doing, maybe you know, web stuff, direct email or whatever and boom, they fire off the gun and they might get a small bit of progress in terms of actual you know new page numbers or success and then, it disappears.

And then it’s this episodic type thing that doesn’t consistently run like a machine. To me that shotgun approach; that’s not marketing. To me that’s a promotion, right? That something that is episodic in nature, does have value from time to time, but it isn’t marketing and that’s where I find the sort of the critical mistake of that is, that it’s a bad taste in your mouth.

So you do one of two things, you either a stop doing anything all together which is awful or, you start to do that regularly; that episodic thing maybe every four months you might do something, that’s episodic and that just does this to your business, it’s just a rollercoaster and that is something that you want to avoid.

Benjamin: I think you really hit on something at the beginning of what you were just saying which is that a critical part of marketing is being able to track what it is you’re doing. If you put a billboard on the highway, you may have a million people a month to see it, but how do you know those people are your potential clients and customers?

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is thinking that their service is right for everybody — everybody under the sun, zero to one hundred years old, male and female. With dentistry, obviously it’s a wider net than something that’s a little more niche specific. But speaking of niches, we were recently talking about that, not everybody is an Invisalign candidate. Not everybody is a veneers candidate. So really, knowing your market and knowing what you’re putting out there that you can track what’s working and what’s not, that was a little bit all over the place.

Graig: Yeah, well majority are not going to choose you.

Benjamin: Yeah, and that’s OK.

Graig: That’s the point.

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Benjamin: You have to pull your ego out of this. And that’s really hard to do when it’s your business.

Graig: Right. Yeah, you think everyone should love you and like you but I think if you look at it like that with back to your billboard point is if you think about that you know, you put a billboard on there, right, you should have specific ways to track that billboard or whatever it is.

Now, just so we’re clear for the record, having the front desk person ask how did you hear about this or having it on your intake form, how do you find us, that’s not will work we’re talking about here.  That’s actually not tracking whatsoever because unfortunately the data tells us that upwards of eighty three percent of people either don’t remember or don’t care to tell you. And I know I’ll go to a place of business and you go you buy furniture, whatever, they ask “how did you hear about us?” and half the time I don’t remember and if I do remember…the majority of time I think I make it up.

Benjamin: And behind there is the old adage to where people say in order for somebody to actually consider you and talk to you, you have to touch them six or seven times. And so, if you have hit somebody through a newspaper ad, billboard, a direct mail piece, all of these things they don’t remember the first time they found you.

Graig: That’s right. And I think that, we deal with that in our business where you know, we’re in a lot of industry trade journals. We’re in almost all of them. In terms of advertising our company, things like that and there’s an instance where someone might come to us through Dental Economics magazine, but then they also read Dental Products Report; they’re touched multiple different times.

Now, if we had a front desk woman that asked how did they hear about us, they may only remember that Dental Economics. But there were other vehicles that do that, and that’s where the tracking is imperative and I said you know, I hear it all the time you know, we asked the front desk and we haven’t gotten any patients from the internet or we haven’t got any patients from that billboard or that direct mail piece.

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We need something that is unbiased and not human, because humans make errors. You want specific, critical things so, a couple of things that we do with our clients, and I recommend everyone watching institute in their business, is using a phone tracking line. I mean a specific phone tracking line for each specific piece of marketing they are doing right? If you’re going to put that billboard up there, or you going to do a Google ad, or you’re going to work with us, we have a dedicated tracking line for each one of those things, so we know that billboard got fifteen phone calls last week. That Google ad got twenty five phone calls, and yet each number tracking each thing specifically, you know having different analytics, and impressions, and clicks and what people are really looking for on the web specifically to the different activities.

That is immovable, those are things that are absolutely without question valid, and those are the things where you know a fun tracking line it’s like the biggest no brainer thing you could physically be doing.

Benjamin: Yeah, and if you want to take it a step further, it’s not just phone calls but of those phone calls, how many of those Google ad phone calls converted into patient and what’s the average lifetime value of those patients.

Graig: Yeah, you can get real deep on that.

And I think that’s important because — we see it in our business and we see it with our clients — is certain medias have certain advantages over others. You know, better patients come from different medias in different ways, and you know, to be honest with you, we see a lot of high quality patients coming from direct mail activity. That is from a practice is current database of either unconverted patients or existing patients.

I mean, that’s just money just sitting in your practice that you know, you’re not otherwise exercising. We sell a 12-month marketing calendar that allows our clients to send out direct mail pieces every single month for a special occasion on that month to the existing customers that you have and you know, it’s sort of like that …, because it’s something that they can run every single month and if you don’t have some sort of marketing calendar for you, a 12-month calendar where you know, you should be sending something out every single month, whether it’s a newsletter or an offer, end of the year campaigns, Valentine’s campaigns; all those things you should be doing consistently every single month because there are people on your database list who are just sitting there who want to accept treatment or want to come in for a particular thing. You’re just not in front of them.

And that’s something that I think, back to our previous point of not being episodic with marketing, having a calendar set in place that every single year like clockwork, we know we’re running out a Valentine’s Day special and it will most likely bring in X number of dollars and we have to track the heck out of it with a phone tracking and dedicated website address or something like that, you know that’s something that is critical.

Be Bold And Make Things Happen!
Graig Presti
CEO Local Search For Dentists® A 4X Inc 500/5000 Approved Dental Marketing Agency

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