I was listening to a podcast this past Monday afternoon. The guest speaker (who’s quite well known in the dental industry) was discussing marketing.

As part of the interview, he went into a rather lengthy and detailed analysis of best practices for SEO (search engine optimization). Among many other things, he talked about how more pictures in your GMB (Google My Business) profile can help your practice’s search rankings. How duplicate content can penalize you (but not, however, when it comes to social media generated content). And how to think about the inter-relationship of driving traffic between your website and your GMB page.

All of it was accurate and well thought out.

But, here’s the thing.

You (as a dentist and business owner) don’t need to know these fine details about the ins and outs of new patient marketing!

You don’t have time for it. And even if you did. What on earth are you going to do with this information from a practical standpoint?

I don’t know many dentists who sit around during the day with ample time looking for more things to do and/or worry about. And you’re not actually executing your own new patient marketing (at least I hope you’re not!). So, of what value is this type of information to you?

As a business owner, you need to be focused on the BIG PICTURE when it comes to marketing.

When I consult with dentists about their new patient marketing, I tell them to focus their attention towards two key, high level metrics. That’s it. Everything else is just a sub-set of those metrics, and should be handled accordingly.

What are those two metrics? (you might ask)

  1. Quantity of new patients
  2. Quality of new patients (as measured by production and retention)

Start there and drill down.

For example. Are you having an issue with the quantity of new patients? Okay, fine. Your Office Manager and/or marketing agency (aka “your team”) should be generating a report for you showing you the source of your new patients by marketing campaign, along with the historical trends.

Based on that, where are results lagging or declining? Okay, drill deeper. What’s happening with those specific marketing campaigns? Again, rely on your “team” (both internal and external) to provide you with the data and views, that you need, in order to be informed.

Let’s say there’s a sustained dip in new patients coming from organic online search. Okay, good to know. That indicates an issue with your website and/or SEO. Now, drill down yet again. Ask your “team” to provide you with historical, trended views showing the number of unique visitors to your website (this will tell you if there’s an issue generating leads to your website), as well as your website conversion rate (whereas this will tell you if there’s an issue converting those incoming leads that are landing on your website).

I won’t go further with this example, but you get the idea.

To do this type of diagnostic questioning, did you need to understand how the number of pictures on your GMB profile impacts your search rankings? No. Did you need to differentiate between which types of duplicate content are okay vs not? Nope. Did you need to think about the dynamic relationship of online traffic between your website and GMB page? Certainly not.

While all of that stuff may be interesting (and important for your marketing agency to have a solid handle on), none of it is practical when it comes to YOU managing YOUR business.

Trying to manage your marketing from the bottoms up is a losing proposition.

Start at the top. Ask questions. Rely on your “team” to provide the necessary data and answers. Then drill down further with more specific questions. Rinse and repeat until the issue has been diagnosed.

Do you need to be a marketing professional to do this? Of course not. In fact, you’ll probably ask better questions if you’re not overwhelmed in trying to sort through all of those fine marketing details.

Back in my corporate days, when I used to work at Microsoft, and then later at T-Mobile, I regularly presented to top executives in both of those companies. And I was constantly impressed at how they could so quickly and succinctly understand complex issues in even the most detailed parts of their businesses with this diagnostic questioning approach.

These were individuals who were managing teams of thousands of employees, and billions of dollars in revenue. Did they know more about operations than those they were questioning? No way. Did they know more about sales than those they were questioning? Absolutely not. Did they know more about marketing than me when they were asking me all of those marketing questions? I certainly like to think not. 🙂

But they absolutely knew how to see the big picture and solve problems from a very, very high level. And that is what I want you to start doing too when it comes to your marketing!

Going back to the podcast I was listening to on Monday. I assume this industry expert was well intentioned in sharing the information he did. But in going to this granular level of detail, he totally missed the mark on how to help and add value to all those dentists listening in on this particular podcast.

Dentists don’t need more and more trivial information on SEO, or any other aspect of new patient marketing. Heaven knows there’s already way too much of it out there as it is. And while all of that information in the podcast may have made the speaker appear knowledgeable, I’m pretty sure it did nothing more than just confuse his audience even further about the topic.

Key Takeaway: Don’t let industry “experts” confuse you. As a dentist and business owner, you don’t need to focus on how to EXECUTE your marketing for better results. Rather, you need to focus on how to MANAGE your marketing for better results.


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About Kent Sears

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.