The past couple weeks, I’ve shared stories of recent conversation I’ve had with dentists. And those stories have received quite a positive reception. I’ve heard comments like “Wow, I’m not the only one in this situation!” or “That story really inspired me to make some changes,” and “There is hope after all!”
So, I’d like to share another conversation this week. One that was quite eye-opening to me. And one that I believe may be especially eye-opening to many dentists out there.
This past week, I was speaking with a dentist (we’ll call him Dr. Jones) who has owned his practice for about five years now. Overall things are going quite well for him. He’s producing about $750k and has a great team to work with. His goal is to gradually increase his production to the $1M mark within the next 2-3 years. He certainly has the capability and facilities to do it. However, he has one major obstacle that is holding him back. And that is his marketing.
He has worked with multiple marketing companies over the past five years since opening his practice. He has purchased their various packages and gone with their “can’t miss” solutions. And each time with a renewed since of hope that ‘this will be the one’! But, each time….the results have failed to produce.
During our conversation, he said to me “Kent, honestly I’m just incredibly skeptical that anything you or anyone else can do, will give me results. I mean I’ve tried every different combination of new websites, SEO, pay-per-click ads, social media, mailers, etc. that’s been recommended to me. And none of it works. I just keep spending money on the same stuff and none of it works. So, I just don’t see how you can help me. How are you going to get better results doing these same things?”
I was floored by his statement. I literally thought to myself….
“My goodness….is this really how dental marketing companies have trained dentists to view marketing?”
And unfortunately, here’s the sad truth….the answer is yes. Today, the dental marketing industry has, by and large, trained dentists to view marketing as pre-packaged sets of offers. It’s like walking into a McDonald’s and selecting from Value Meal #1, #2 or #3. In other words….it’s something like “Okay, you would like Value Meal #1…..a website with SEO and PPC. Can we also offer you a side of social media to go with that? Okay, that is going to be $x”.
And here’s the thing….this model completely makes sense for these marketing companies because they service many, many clients and need the economies of scale and cookie cutter approach to make the economics of it all work for them – just like McDonald’s does in food service. They don’t do ‘custom orders’ or allow you to order ‘off menu’. And they certainly don’t have a five star chef in the back creating a unique culinary delight for each and every customer. What they do have is a simple menu….with a handful of options that you can choose from…. and hopefully you end up liking what you order (meaning it produces new patients and increased production).
I explained all of this to him and then said ….Dr. Jones, you have to change the way you view your marketing. It should NOT be the exact same as the last dentist that walked in and just placed an order. It may be faster and cheaper that way. But it doesn’t equate to quality….and ultimately results.
The truth is….high quality marketing that produces great results is much, much more complex than this. It requires dedicated focus and a custom approach for each unique situation. And that is sorely missing in today’s dental industry.
I continued and said to him…..No, I’m not going to just put a pre-packaged option on your plate (SEO, PPC, and social media) and say ‘Here you go. That will be $x. Okay, now who’s next in line?’ In absolutely no way am I trying to replicate what these other companies provide. The McDonald’s model is simply not my approach.
My approach is different. I start with an in-depth analysis of your unique situation – your practice, your patients, your market, your competition – to understand where your unique opportunities are for growth. Based upon this, I then build a custom marketing plan to deliver the right solutions, at the right time, and in the right sequence to grow your practice and achieve your goals. Great marketing needs to be tailored to the individual situation. Sure, we might focus on SEO, PPC and social media as individual components of an overall plan. But, we’re also going to leverage the myriad of other marketing solutions and initiatives out there, as they best fit your unique situation to optimize your results and your return on investment. And this goes well beyond just new patient marketing. It also means looking at your internal marketing efforts, as well as your internal systems and processes to ensure that the new patients you’re bringing in the front door are going to stay and become long-term, profitable patients, instead of being ‘one-and-done’ patients who just leave you needing more new patients the next month. It is truly a custom marketing plan created for you….and only for you!
I’m offering a completely different approach and level of service for your marketing. You shouldn’t expect Happy Meal quality any longer. This is a fine dining experience!
I concluded by saying…..Dr. Jones, I really appreciate you asking this question. The current model in the industry is broken….and it needs fixing. And that’s what I’ve set out to do. I’m providing an alternative approach that is more honest, more engaged, and ultimately more successful. It takes time and explanation for this shift in approach to be understood. And I get that. So, I appreciate this conversation.
How about you…
Does this story sound familiar? Is this how you’ve viewed marketing? Are you frustrated with the lack of results you’re getting?
If so, don’t let yourself be stuck in this situation any longer.
Look, I absolutely love marketing and working with dentists to grow their practice and improve their financial well-being. So, of course, if you’re looking for more out of your marketing, I’d be more than happy to talk with you and see if there’s a good opportunity to partner together.
Whether you choose to work with me, or somebody else (and yes, there are plenty of good dental marketing companies out there)….my guidance is simply this….don’t continue to let yourself be stuck in a bad situation any longer. Life moves fast. And there’s very little time to sit idly by and WAIT for things to happen. You have to take charge and MAKE them happen!
About Kent Sears
Kent provides over 15 years experience in consulting and marketing strategy. His work has spanned the globe, in both public and private sector, with leading companies such as Microsoft and T-Mobile. He brings his corporate experience to help private practice dentists realize their full business potential through more effective marketing strategies to stay competitive in the rapidly changing world of marketing and healthcare.