As the founder and CEO of a near 10-year old dental marketing company, I have had a unique perspective within the dental industry. I get the opportunity to watch it unfold from the inside of thousands of dental practices across the globe. As a result…
I’ve seen trends come and go.
I’ve watched innumerable practices open, then fold.
And I’ve seen doctors discover the secret of running a successful, profitable dental practice…then rest on those laurels like they discovered the key to an endless fountain of wealth…
…then the fountain dries up, they lose their mojo, and after 6-8 months (or even years), that same “magic formula” stops working. The doctor is forced to cut costs. When that doesn’t work, he/she purges staff. When that still doesn’t work, the doctor makes the tough decision and eventually either shuts down the practice or (if she/he is LUCKY), sells the practice for WAY under market value for pennies on the dollar forcing them to continue to work instead of retire.
However, if you want to dig even deeper, there’s a moral to the story…which is that dentistry is not an isolated industry as many will tell you.
This phenomenon of “evolve or die” happens to every vertical in business.
Don’t believe me? Well, you don’t have to look very far to find other industry-disrupting parallels.
Let’s take the most obvious one — mass retailers, like Sears. Back in the day, this industrial Goliath had a market cap around $18.47 BILLION (yes, with a “B”)*. Now, having fallen in about 10 years to less than $1 billion throughout the entire company, you can’t even give their stock away.
And which tiny little website has led the charge to dethrone this titan?
Yup…this upstart Internet retailer represents the same disruption we’re now seeing in the world of dentistry. They watched consumer trends, tastes, and desires, and then leveraged new tools and technologies to deliver products faster, cheaper and more effectively to hordes of gleeful consumers.
Meanwhile, Sears sat on their thumbs, cross-eyed…dumbfounded…and wondering why profits (and stock prices) were tumbling out of control.
The message here is quite simple…if you don’t stay ahead of the curve (or at least read the writing on the wall of that curve), it will pull you under and eat you. Whether it’s Sears, Kmart, Blockbuster Video, Kodak…all represent the vested protagonists in cautionary tales of woe and defeat, all of whom believed they would stay on top forever, doing what they did to get where they were.
Changes in The World of Dental Marketing
The undeniable truth is that our industry is evolving every day.
The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) has reported that fewer dentists own practices now than a decade ago. Large, corporate behemoths and their boundless systems and marketing budgets are changing what a dental practice even looks like. Couple that with decreasing demand for dental services and an increase in the number of dentists, you better differentiate your practice fast, or you might be more like Sears than Amazon.com.
But that’s not the half of it. My friend and client, Dr. Brian Gilbert of Las Cruces, NM, just shared with me a terrific revelation. (And you should listen, as he’s one of the top docs in his area, despite fierce and unrelenting competition.)
He related that, after owning his own practice for multiple decades, that the market is getting even more competitive and cutthroat. He is now seeing new, Millennial-aged docs jumping in, investing heavily in technology, specifically the internet, and they’re innately already in tune with the NEW dental economy and with the way consumers behave and how they choose their “go-to” dentist .
This new breed of savvy and aggressive doctors are making in roads without the same experience and know how, and are trying to usurp patients, one-by-one.
However, after so many years of running a successful practice, Dr. Gilbert related the secret that has kept him alive and thriving for so long; he takes his ego out of the equation and never settles for “what used to work” when it comes to patient acquisition and retention.
Dr. Gilbert saw the writing on the wall a long time ago and realized that patient and consumer behavior were shifting. We helped him see, along with our other successful and top-grossing clients, that antiquated techniques like word of mouth, Yellow Pages ads, etc. had a shelf life, and that shelf was quickly collapsing on itself. These smart doctors come to us to learn what’s working right now, as to avoid getting swept under.
Savvy, in-the-know practice owners have seen that they need to have a trained keen eye on current dental marketing strategies…
- Positive Google reviews, you absolutely need to have you and your entire team strategically soliciting 5 Star Google reviews. It will impact your production, new patient flow and referral rate like you can’t even imagine. (at the time of publication, Dr. Gilbert’s review count was nearing 500)
- Consistent branding across web properties (and no…not just your website) like Google, Google Plus, Instagram, YouTube (which is Google owned) and Facebook (which is NOT the same platform it was a year ago…)
- The use of video on your own site and powerful channels like YouTube and Vimeo, plus the use of proper branding, and SEO-ed keywords and appropriate meta descriptions that reach your intended market. Any 10 year old these days can load a video online, so for a dental practice, ranking and branding these videos is critical.
- The ability for your patients to book appointments and communicate with your practice instantly via Facebook, Google and your website.
Tactics such as these represent the winds of change and success, and are helping doctors like Brian and our other clients dominate their crowded and ever-evolving markets. Take these four strategies above and implement all of them immediately.
The bottom line? Don’t let your practice get “Amazon-ed”. Stay on top of what is working now…and always expect what’s working to change resulting in a long term successful practice that is bulletproof in any economy. The bigger overall lesson here is “inaction and indecision”. Remember more harm is done by indecision than bad decision.
The Modern “Word Of Mouth” Referral Has Moved
From Offline to Online!
Trust me… you are 100% losing referrals, production, market share and PROFIT (pure cash flow) to other doctors down the street who have their “Google House” in order, with loads of FRESH AND CURRENT Google reviews, videos of their best patients bragging about them, blogs, photo websites and other online reputation marketing that they’ve been doing for over 10 years, while you might be relying on “outdated” marketing methods, like a “website” (which is just a glorified brochure in this day and age), word of mouth, playing on Facebook, or worse yet, you’re doing NOTHING to attract referrals and new patients.
Please allow me to explain, let’s say Kelly, a great patient of yours refers you to Suzy down the street because she just moved into the neighborhood. Does Suzy ever call to book an appointment? Maybe, maybe not. Data from Comscore tells us that 93% of the time she is going to Google you and your business. If she goes on Google and sees that you’re branded as the best dentist in town, using the tools I referenced above, then she’s going to call. There is instant trust. I was just talking about this with Dr. Nathan Ho, who is a tremendously successful dentist in the Dallas area and influencer in the industry to over 6,000 dentists on his podcast, called Dental Win-Win. He consistently gets large cashing paying cases because the patients already come in trusting him because his “google house” is 100% in order. In the modern era we live in, you have NO CHOICE but to do these things or you will go the way of the “dodo” bird and become the next Kmart or Blockbuster…EXTINCT. And I don’t say this to scare, the data backs up my statement, you simply will not survive, and I’ve seen this all too often over the last 15 years!
Instead, your patients and their families are searching for your services through different means. Forget meaningless coupons or braggy, boastful commercials. Instead, they are first turning to the world’s largest and most trusted media outlet…Google Search. And believe it or not, you actually have the power to control the way your potential patients are perceiving your office. In fact, by claiming and managing your Google listing (and related properties, like your YouTube channel), you are doing more to build your brand than anything else.
If you want to have a dog in this fight and battle for your own survival, I URGE you to RIGHT NOW to focus on getting your Google house in order.
There’s no better time in history to create a windfall of business for your practice through Google. Instead of falling victim to public suspicion of dentists and other doctors in the community, use Google to build an aura of trust and quality. Plus, the entire thing is free!
Patients don’t understand the difference between a respected service provider and “the cheaper, easier alternative.” That is unless you actually show them why and how there’s a difference.
Too many doctors believe that
“What used to work will keep me successful forever”.
This is why it’s so essential that you control the conversation between you and your prospective patients. And the best way to do that is through your own powerful marketing, led by loads of FRESH and NEW beaming Youtube videos and Google reviews from real patients of yours bragging about how you impacted their lives and made everything simple and easy.
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take and it’s time to take action and let me, someone who’s helped 1000’s of dentists all over the world systematically improve profit and cash flow via more quality fee for service patients…
If you’d like to learn more about how to utilize Google and other online platforms to attract more highly qualified Fee for service patients WITH MONEY…click here for a proven practice specific dental marketing game-plan => https://www.localsearchfordentists.com/game-plan
Have Fun & Do Something Great!
Graig J. Presti MBA
CEO Local Search For Dentists ®, The ONLY 4-TIME Inc. 500/5000-Approved Dental Marketing Agency
CEO New Patients For Life™ Podcast
#1 Best Selling Author
Dental Economics and Dental Products Report Magazine Author & Contributor
PS- Life does get in the way but THIS is the simplest way to keep patients on track, reactivating patients and SPARKING that REFERRAL fire all in one fell swoop with almost ZERO effort what so ever….
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One of my private clients using this action plan (who will remain nameless) is already breaking his competition in half … taking market share and just killing doctors who won’t change.
So, if you’re struggling with making heads or tails of what to do that can specifically help you grow your practice then this action plan is a “glove fit for you”.
Check it out by clicking the link below: