Dr. David Hornbrook sits down with Jake Puhl of firegang.com to discuss how the internet and digital marketing are revolutionizing the way Dental practices market to potential patients and what you can do to bring your practice up to speed. These three basic steps will lead to new, happy and loyal patients.
Let’s talk MARKETING and what that means to you, whether you’re a seasoned dental practice owner or just starting up. In this week’s, podcast ‘Dental Up’, Dr. Hornbrook get’s straight to the point with help from Jake Puhl (pronounced ‘pool’, ya know like let’s take a swim in the…you get it.) Jake is the Co-Owner of firegang.com and also has a bestselling book on Amazon entitled, How to Get New Dental Patients with the Power of the Web, and after this interview I think you’re definitely going to want to immerse yourself in it—this guy is really onto something when it comes to the ever-evolving world of dental and how you need to get up to speed, NOW.
We begin with Fire Gang’s one and only goal: getting new patients in your chair. It’s no secret that dental practice owners are now competing with corporate and group practices that are being run by MBA and business people, this group may have bigger marketing budgets and/or more Internet savvy than old school practices, so we believe this podcast turned blog is going to be an eye-opening catch up that not only benefits you monetarily, but creates new, happy loyal customers.
And so we begin, Dr. Hornbrook states that he is amazed how dentists are so far behind almost every other industry when it comes to digital marketing. He’ll get a patient in his chair from another dentist, try to Google said dentist and low and behold this dentist has no website (AKA old school). He asks Jake, “what is the importance of being found? I want you to talk about that and search engine marketing…and once they find you, how do they contact you, this being patients? Lastly, and this is something that I’m not very good at, and that’s analyzing or tracking where these patients are coming from. Let’s talk a little bit about that.”
Alright, LET’s TALK Jake… he breaks it down into Three Basic Steps:
1. Get Found – In the past, you found your patients by word of mouth, yellow pages, newspaper, but now the options are endless, so you must prioritize. Jake breaks it down between Yelp, Zoc Doc, Bing, Yahoo etc. BUT Google is the clear winner, “the stat is that about 70-80% of people will at some point or another go to Google to find a local business.”
According to Jake, there’s two ways to be found: running Google ads, which is typically a pay-per-click situation or you can be found organically, which is anything that is not paid.
Essentially, what you’re paying for is SEO (search engine optimization), so ditch the flyer if need be and put those marketing dollars into Google Ads. Before you get overwhelmed thinking that the big DMSO down the street has a better chance of being found because they’ve got more money, Jake says “there are ways that you can compete in that kind of David and Goliath scenario. If your ad is good, Google will actually charge you less per click.”
What does a “good ad” entail? DIFFERENTIATION. What makes your practice stand out? Dr. Hornbrook thinks, “The conclusion is, patients either want low-cost or they want high-end service and you need to figure out where you want to strategically position yourself.” And yes, he’s hit the idea on the head; the middle of the road practices do suffer a bit but Jake has a solution. Jake suggests, not competing on your price, but instead, using special offers like: reduced exam for internet patients, an exam and X-ray, even reduced fee consultations—all great differentiators.
Dr. Hornbrook questions if ‘Free’ is still good and the answer is, yes. Fire gang will tell you, it’s a great foot-in-the-door strategy, but you need to have a great back-end, meaning, you’re practice is good at building an emotional value for the patient i.e. an amazing FOH staff and a high-value office experience. Basically, throw out the idea of, “you get what you pay for” and show the patient you care and can be trusted, this builds loyalty and repeat patients.
Other KEY Differentiators to use in your Ads: Convenience, Financing and Reduced Pain Dentistry.
Ad copy examples:
Open on Saturdays and open two evenings a week. We’re here for your convenience.
We offer Care Credit. Why? Because we care about your smile!
Jake notes, that having flexible hours can widely set you apart from the big practices and even better, if you can make it easy for somebody to pay…ding, ding FINANCING options. All these unique points about your practice can be used in your ad copy and don’t forget, the more people click on your ad, the “better” the ad and the less Google will actually charge you for those clicks.
So, what about words that can hurt?
According to Jake, it’s not really words, but the old school ways of using the “We treat you like family” line may still be true, but it’s dated and this is not a differentiator.
So you’re potential patient finds you, now what? You need the patient to contact you! They you see your ad, click, go to your website, call and now their in your chair…this is conversion. As Jake pointed out, “the conversion is actually one of the most overlooked parts, and your website actually has a lot to do with that.” He goes on to say, “that you should aim to build a conversion-based website…which means everything on the site is really inching somebody towards getting ahold of you—this is called CTA (call to action).”
How to create CTA:
-Advertising Special offers, these offers are reflected on your website with fool-proof “Book Now” or “Learn more” followed by your office phone number, email…any and all possible ways they can contact you should be present and bold.
-Personalization, putting a face to the name and creating that trust with your potential patient. This can be done with pictures of yourself and staff on the website, a few fun facts about you along with your credentials.
“People really want to see who they’re talking to and who they’re dealing with.”
-Answer questions, what are the top 3 or 4 questions that you may get from patients when they come in for their first time? Take these questions and answer them in a blog on your website or better yet, a video!
-Financing, just to drill that idea in again. As Jake said, “Patients want to know if it ‘s going to hurt, and they want know how the heck they’re going to pay for this. Anything you can get on your website to help them feel better about that.”
Dr. Hornbrook asks, “How do I know if it’s working or not?”
According to Jake, one of the best ways to analyze your efforts is “to use call tracking numbers on your website, this way you know who’s calling and where they are calling from, so you’ll know whether that call came from the organic SEO, or if it came from ads you’re running, or, if you do it right, you can know if it came from Yelp or your mailers…on top of that, if done correctly, then you can actually listen to the phone calls.”
Two other important factors mentioned: are your phones being answered and are they being answered right? Your receptionist can make or break a call and so can missing them.
Now that you can navigate the digital marketing world and feel ready to put your practice on top, don’t forget about the details. Jake believes, “if you are an up and running practice that’s broken that $700,000 to $800,000 mark, your are ready to take off and create your own destiny with the right marketing, and if you haven’t, you need to be focusing on the real, fundamental things like your staff, getting your referral marketing down and systems in place—these are all important structural things to fix first within your practice.”
For those of you with a new practice, “the best thing to do…is to do it right to begin with.” Jake warns about taking the cheap route, you don’t want to end up hiring a company that doesn’t know what they’re doing with your SEO, you’re better off getting some sort of consulting and talking to other successful doctors for guidance.
Jake leaves us with this last piece of advice, “The practices that become new patient-centric and then actually adapt to what patients want and are looking for, are going to win, clearly, because that is what corporates are doing…Solo practices who do that, won’t have any problem competing whatsoever.”
Along with so many businesses, it is no mystery that the old-school ways of the dental world must evolve as the digital marketing world takes off. Americans are spending 11 hours per day with digital media and successful practices must adapt to this new way of marketing themselves (source: Mashable). Take your differentiators and splash them everywhere–weave them into your website design and mission statement and you have a no-fail plan.
For more information visit Jake Puhl and his team at www.firegang.com.
Download the Full Podcast at www.itunes.com/dentalup/podcast