the Prosper Practice Podcast: Season 1 Episode 1:
STRATEGY | 7 key ways you could be marketing your dental practice & finding what aligns naturally with you!
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7 Key Ways To Market Your Dental Practice
While Finding What Aligns Naturally With You
Marketing Strategy • 4/29/21
Dental offices are notorious for writing a check for “dental marketing” and then praying for patients to call. Through our years working in our practice, we’ve identified 7 key marketing strategies that really create impact for dental offices - and most of them are methods most offices aren’t using.
Join us for our inaugural ProsperPodcast episode where you’ll meet the crew and get a taste of how this podcast will help you to effectively draw new patients into your practice.
In this episode we’ll:
- Identify 7 key marketing strategies
- Explore which are naturally aligned with your practice
- Make a plan to take a key action in a new area of marketing for your practice
- Meet your hosts, Kate & Shannon
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Full Episode Transcript
I'm Kate and I'm here with Shannon and welcome to the very first episode of The Prosper Practice Podcast. We are so excited to be here and excited that you've chosen to be here with us.
All right, so before we get into who we are, we want to cut right to why you're probably here to learn about how to attract new patients to your practice with better marketing. We're going to start out today's episode with how we plan to begin every single episode of The Prosper Practice Podcast - with a question. And by the end of the podcast, our goal is to have you have a clear answer to that question and some action items to be able to implement.
Today's big question: What types of marketing practices is your dental practice naturally aligned with so that if you stuck with those specific practices, marketing could be an easy and fun part of your business. And you would attract the right kinds of new patients.
Kind of a mouthful to start us off, but we wanted our first podcast to cut right to the chase and review these top seven marketing methods for dental practices, that way you could get some real value and learn about us through the real marketing tactics that will truly help you grow your dental practice.
All right, speaking of us, we do want to tell you a little bit about who we are and why you should be taking advice from us in the first place. I'm going to turn it over to Shannon to tell you a little bit about herself. And in the next episode. I'll give you a little bit more background on me. But first, let's meet Shannon.
Hi, I am Shannon Wells and I'm so excited to be here with you on our first Prosper Practice Podcast episode. I am not going to take up too much of our time, but you should probably get to know the people you'll be spending time with and how what we wouldn't know will impact your dental practice. So the first thing to know about me is that I believe that I was born with a marketer soul.
Just this weekend, I impressed my family members by singing all 10 chords to the entire Toys R Us theme song. Something about the power of connecting companies to people has captivated me all the way back from when I learned that Toys R Us song. But it didn't actually dawn on me that I was going to go into the field of marketing until I was sitting in my dorm room. I was in my second year of pre-med. Yep, I really thought struggling through becoming a doctor was going to be my life's work. And I was sitting there late one night watching infomercials, which strangely has always been a hobby of mine. No judgment, please. And I was watching the infomercial, much of my roommate's annoyance, she said, "You know I bet you'd be great at that. Doing infomercials fits exactly with your personality, you're always trying to get people to do something."
And it was kind of right around that time that it clicked that my pre-med biology degree that I was pursuing, while really interesting, did not come naturally to me, to say the least. And my roommate was absolutely correct. I was known in my friend group as being able to convince just about anyone to do or buy anything. And my trick was is that I truly believe that I knew that a certain product or service or activity would be beneficial to them.
My sister has a saying for me, she says, "Shannon, you're not bossy, you just know what everyone else should be doing."
Fast forward 17 years later, smack in the middle of mastering the art of marketing and truly loving the career path I'd chosen, which at the time was helping small businesses stand out in their communities, I found myself at lunch with a friend whose husband owned a dental practice. And I quickly learned through our conversation that dentistry was truly a small business. And it was something that I guess I had never really thought of before.
And through that conversation, I was hired by that office and I helped to apply my marketing skills to grow their practice from producing about 1 million a year with two doctors to over 4 million a year with three doctors, and all the while I just fell in love with the dental industry because just like my original pre-med pursuit, the industry is truly fascinating to me.
And here we are seven years later and our company Prosper Practice was created to continue to help dental practices become aligned with marketing practices. And I can't wait for you to get to know my partner Kate better and for this episode, she is going to start us off by covering the first of the seven major marketing methods dental offices should be using in their practice.
So without further ado, Kate, why don't you take us through the first of the seven methods we're going to touch on today.
All right, diving right in, our first marketing method is all about getting you found online. Whether you choose to have a website or not, it's crucial that your practice has a presence on the web. Think about the last time you needed something, whether it was a physical product or a service, chances are at some point, you opened up your computer or phone and looked it up. Even if you heard about that product or service from a friend or you saw a commercial for it. At some point in your journey from needing or hearing about it to actually purchasing or scheduling an appointment, you likely use some type of web search.
So what are some of the ways you can make sure you get found when people are searching for your dental services? Probably the most common thing you'll hear marketers talking about is Seo or search engine optimization. Basically, it's all about making sure you have a good content-rich website with keywords that will help search engines like Google and Bing find your site and recommend it to users searching for your services or information. SEO is a powerful long play strategy for getting regular traffic to your website, which can also jumpstart many of your other marketing efforts like phone calls and lead collection.
One of the best ways to boost your SEO rankings is to create interesting content that addresses the kinds of topics that your patients would be looking for naturally, maybe it's a post about how long you should wait to get a cavity filled, or when your kids should start developing permanent teeth. If you're a pediatric dentist, one of our favorite ways to get this kind of info onto your site is by creating a dental blog. It's not only a fantastic way to help your SEO, but it also becomes content that you can repurpose later on your other marketing channels. And most importantly, it becomes a touchpoint at building your like and trust factor. Think about it. Would you rather schedule a consult with someone who's just another name coming up on Google search or someone who just helped you understand and feel more comfortable about the wisdom teeth you need pulled?
Whether you choose to go the blogging route or simply want to optimize the main pages of your website, you'll want to make sure you're making frequent updates to let Google know that your site is active and current. The same goes for your other marketing channels. If you want to take up a lot of real estate on the Google search results page, having an active social media channel up to date business listings and frequent reviews is a must.
The second method that we are going to go over is very important is good old-fashioned patient communication. And specifically, I want to talk a little bit about email. So the first thing to know is email is not dead. I know that a lot of doctors I talk to you think I don't want to send my patients emails, they get lots of emails, it's just one more thing. But many people, especially in corporate and business roles, check their email daily, if not multiple times a day. So it's still really a viable way to get in touch with your patients. It's really important because you want to stay top of mind with your patients so and by email, you can communicate with people who aren't on social media, and possibly even an older audience, people that are short on time because again, those corporate types are going to be checking that email. And you can view your email almost as you would on social media. It doesn't have to be a very dry, boring dental email, it can be a newsletter, it can be appointment reminders.
In fact, one of the offices I worked with had a notorious email that patients actually commented on and it's barred conversation when patients came into the office. It was a clever email and it compared current events to Office events. So like a celebrity birthday matched up with a team members birthday, or possibly a general election result with the result of an employee of the month election, a discovery of Mars with the discovery of a cavity you kind of get where I'm going with this, but it was super catchy and memorable. And we had a ton of comments about how fun and informative the newsletter was. So don't discount the power of email. All right, Kate, what do we have for the third method?
The third marketing method we swear by at Prosper Practice is a healthy budget for ad spend and making sure that a good portion of that is allocated towards online advertising. Now imagine you've just spent 1000s of dollars on a television or radio campaign and you saw a huge increase in traffic to your website. Some of those visitors turned into phone calls or online appointments. But what about the rest? What if I told you that statistically, about 96% of visitors that come to a site are not ready to buy or in In this case, ready to commit to making the call booking the appointment, or taking the next step to becoming your newest patient. But through an online marketing campaign, you can serve ads to all of those people who clearly at some point showed a level of interest or they wouldn't have taken the time to visit your website in the first place. And you can serve them ads to keep yourself top of mind in case they were planning to make an appointment but got busy, or you can even target them with a specific campaign around the services that they were interested in.
Not only can you use digital ads to target people who have shown an interest in you specifically by visiting your site or social media, but you can also market to people who have a general interest in the types of services you offer. And you can do it across so many different platforms, including Google, Facebook, Instagram, even YouTube videos and Pinterest, depending on what makes the most sense for the type of practice you run.
Now, I don't know about you, Shannon, but thinking back over the last year, there's been some pretty huge shifts when it comes to marketing online. And much of that is driven by the way that consumer behavior has evolved. We're spending so much more time online, on our phones on social media. And as a result, so many companies are going more digital with their marketing efforts. And you might be thinking that as a dental office, you don't need to have a digital marketing strategy. Maybe you've always done traditional media, and it's worked out great, but the landscape is shifting, and we really do caution that you don't discount how powerful digital marketing can be for your practice, it may not be immediate. But if you don't begin incorporating digital into how you're positioning and promoting your practice, and really into your overall business strategy, it's only a matter of time before you start falling behind. And while paid ads are an important part of that strategy. Having a good organic digital presence is also a must. This brings us to marketing method number four.
Yeah, and Kate, I think that's even more so more true than ever with COVID. I mean, people are spending more time at home than ever. And so they're obviously online. And again, yeah, that ties into our fourth marketing method that really works for dental offices that we've worked with. And we're talking about social media. And even though there are lots of different platforms that are considered social media, for dental offices, we really recommend focusing on the two big players. And that's Facebook and Instagram. Now, there are tons of offices that do social media, ICM on Instagram, specifically all the time. But there are also tons of offices who look the exact same as every other dentist on social media, they spend a ton of money on agencies to produce generic ads that have models smiling with perfectly white teeth, and a caption that just says come to our office. And this is honestly the last thing you want to do with your social media. If you don't have the time to put into social media, really putting a personality into your social media, you're almost better off not wasting your time with this marketing method. And you don't have to have one of those viral celebrity accounts either. Actually, the new trend in social media that converts really well into actual patients calling is what they call micro-accounts. And a micro account is a smaller account with 100 or you know, up to 1000 followers or less, but all of whom are very engaged and care about the stuff that you're posting, and our online course Elevate, we actually cover very detailed ins and outs of social media and specifically how it applies to dental offices and how they can be successful with social media. The method of marketing your practice via social media is what we call one of our master three, which are the three most important marketing methods that will give you the biggest return for the time and money that you spend. And we cover all these in the elevate course which we'll talk a little bit more about later.
So okay, Kate, that was number four. What do we have for our number five method?
Publicity. Publicity is the fifth method that we're touching on today. And it's actually another of the master three methods we cover in the elevate course because it's so important to include as part of your marketing repertoire. Shannon and I like to refer to this as being the lion in your community because everyone in the jungle knows who the lion is. And we want that same phenomenon to happen to you and your dental practice in your community. What kind of growth could you see if everyone in your jungle knew exactly who you were, what you did, and the noble and trustworthy reputation you carried, whether they've met you in person or not.
This is where publicity comes in. A lot of people think about public relations as something you need when things go wrong, but it can also be a valuable tool to help shape the narrative of your practice within your community when things are going right, and to get you seen for all the good that you're doing.
There's a variety of ways to kickstart your publicity powerhouse including sending out press releases Contributing to articles or news stories related to dentistry, offering free dental services, and participating in community events and functions. We go into these and many more in-depth in the elevate course. But the general idea here is to push out information and news about your practice that helps create trust builds your authority as an expert and makes people see you care about your patients and your community. And when done well, the value of this publicity is priceless. It builds up your reputation in a way traditional advertising just can't because it's so much more authentic. And speaking of Reputation Marketing, method six is also meant to help bolster credibility in that area.
Yep, absolutely. Our sixth method, which coincidentally is the last part of our master three. Again, the master three is the three most important things that we think you should be doing in your marketing your dental practice. And the last method is reviews and referrals.
This is a huge marketing method for generating new patients and keeping your existing patients at your practice because it relies on the recommendation of your community, to endorse you to your prospective patients. So getting reviews like on Facebook and Google and referrals from your existing patients is essential and growing your practice. And here's why. When people refer their friends and family, those new patients are considered qualified patients. In other words, good people bring good people referred patients are more likely to trust you right off the bat, and they accept treatment recommendations from you. They're just more valuable public word of mouth, in the form of reviews also entice people who don't know you to trust the opinions of others who do know you.
We also talk about business-to-business partnerships. So that would be like partnering with businesses who also serve as your ideal patients and creating mutual offers with those. So you want to look in your community about people that you can partner with, that have your same demographic that you want to come into your office and create mutual offers. And last but not least, when your team refers people, they champion your office, we actually call them your office champions. Having a system that trains and rewards your team as your biggest and most consistent referral base is so essential.
We have an office that we worked with to create these little cards called You made me smile cards. They were just simple and inexpensive business cards that said, You made me smile and it had their team's name and then the offices contact information on them. And their team handed them out around the community anywhere and everywhere they went. If the cards were returned by a new patient, the staff member got a reward for referring that person to the practice. And it really allowed them to reach outside of their immediate circle of friends and family and invite people to their larger circle from their grocery store clerks to check out people coffeeberry says to their mechanics, they were able to tell anybody that they ran into about their dental office, your team should be your biggest cheerleaders in your community.
And so again, referrals and reviews are one of the master three methods we cover in detail in our elevate course, we give you a specific system on how to train your team on how to ask for reviews from your patients all without pestering them or feeling awkward. And here's a good spot for a quick break to chat a little bit more about the elevate course our doors for the course are currently open for enrollment. And we are offering this seven module course only a few times per year because we really want to make sure that we can give every office that enrolls our full attention. Our goal in creating this course was that it would give you three really effective and ready-to-use methods to start marketing your office and immediately start seeing new patients, and most importantly, better quality patients. We touch on exactly how to work, how to work in the time that you have to do your marketing. And we go in-depth on the master three message methods that we just talked about social media, publicity, and reviews and referrals.
This course is for you if you want to learn the essentials of marketing your dental practice, even if you're hiring it out. So you know you're getting what you pay for and you're able to expertly direct the company you hire and know the results that you should expect from that company. And the best part is once you enroll in the course it's yours forever. So if you want to delegate the marketing efforts to someone on your team, or if you get new team members, you can always have the course ready for them to take. Go to the prosper practice.com that's www dot the prosper practice.com and click on the Elevate: the Dental Marketing Course for all the details. Enrollment is open until Sunday, May 9 and we have absolutely just loved practices. We've loved watching the practices who have taken the course grow and thrive. So check it out to see if it's a good fit for your practice.
All right, so with that, we are on to our last method number seven and Kate is going to go ahead and cover that for us.
Our seventh method is patient appreciation. And this is where if you aren't careful, you can really end up spending a lot of money without seeing a lot of impact, especially when it comes to generating new patients or retaining new ones. We've seen all types of patient appreciation methods, but the most common are things like annual events, which are meant to help you interact with your patients in a more casual kind of setting personal notes, including thank yous, or congratulations and condolences giveaways, which can be as smaller grand as you want.
We've even seen some practices giving away cars. But more often than not, they're smaller appreciation giveaways meant to be personalized Thank you Is that typically revolve around holidays or patient birthdays. Another example would be doing collaborations like featuring your patients, businesses, or events. Sharing before and after pictures and stories or doing personal patient get to know us is another way to feature your patients and your work. Patient appreciation, when done correctly, can be a big wow factor. But the trick here is to make sure you're not just going through the motions, you want to make sure that you have a clear goal and a way of measuring the effectiveness of your appreciation efforts nonsense and giving away a $30,000 car to get $5,000 worth of business.
Well, we've covered a lot today here in our first episode. And the thing about our podcast is that we don't just want it to be something that you can listen to, and then go back to your regular life with no real impact. We want these podcast episodes to inspire you to take action in your dental practice. So the format that we plan to stick to in these podcasts is presenting a new idea or method for you in 30 minutes or so and then giving you 30 minutes of action to take in your business on the new information that you've learned. So basically, we want you to be able to make progress and marketing your practice over the course of one lunch hour a week. So for today's action, we've included a worksheet that we want you to print out, after the podcast, go ahead and print out that worksheet and go through each of the seven marketing methods that we've covered today. And I want you to rank where you think your current strengths are in each area. And then identify which area you want to pursue improving in on your practice. So this will help you begin your roadmap and developing your knowledge of marketing and start you on the path of finding out which methods truly align with your practice personality. You can go through each of the seven and really think through whether or not it's something that you want to implement in your practice. All right. And last but not least, we wanted you to be the first to know again that our deep dive into the biggest three patient generating practices, we call them master three. And again, there's social media reviews, and referrals, and publicity are all covered in depth with exactly how to implement these methods in your practice, all covered in our online course elevate the dental marketing course. The elevate course is currently open for enrollment now through Sunday, May 11. And the course begins the next day on Monday, May 12. And this course is for you if you've been looking for a solution for organizing your marketing efforts. If you want to post meaningful and effective content on social media that will actually get your patients talking about you in real life and online. And if you want to really learn how to stand out and be known as the dental practice in your community, make sure to check out the elevate course we'd love to have you join the next group to level up your practice, head to www.theprosperpractice.com to get more information and get started. And the last thing we want to mention is a big thank you for joining us as we kick off the prosper practice podcast. We hope we've been able to give you some value some things to think about. And if we have we'd really love for you to subscribe, share and leave a review and for taking the time to do so we are giving away a fun value-packed thank you gift in May we are launching the dental marketing club which will be a one-stop solution for your social media and in house dental marketing. Consider it a toolkit to save you hours of time and guesswork on your marketing efforts. We cannot wait to bring this resource to you and we're gonna be giving it to the first 20 practices who review our podcast for free for one month. So leave a review. And you'll get one month free to the dental marketing club and all the awesome resources inside such a time saver and we promise to bring you so much value you're going to love it. And that's what we have for you today. Until next time, connect with us on social media our username is @theprosperpractice.