SEO For Dentists – The Checklist

SEO For Dentists – The Checklist

Listen to the audio-only version:

Watch the podcast here:

Chris Pistorius talks about the importance of SEO for a dental practice. Chris provides some great tips for dental practices that want to rank highly on Google and other influential search engines.

View Full Transcript

Creating a Local SEO Checklist

Do you have a dental practice with a great website but still struggle with bringing in local and organic traffic? Local businesses and national ones alike depend on good search engine rankings to thrive, and a sound checklist can help achieve that. To that end, our team recommends working with an expert to create and execute a local on-page SEO checklist for your website and business. 

When you optimize your website this way, you may notice more significant search engine traffic, higher sales, more leads, and even overall business growth. Keep reading to learn more about building an SEO strategy. 

What Is SEO?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, revolves around making your website as appealing as possible for both your patients and different search engines. The goal is to have your audience find your site easily through a Google or Bing search, a listing on Google My Business, and other locations on the web. 

It’s imperative for today’s business owners to learn about SEO and how to make the most of today’s SEO tools. The following are some of the most common on-page SEO basics you should know about as you work to optimize your website. 

Internal links are links to other pages on your own website. Not only do these links help the search crawlers recognize the validity of your site, but they help customers navigate between web pages as well.

Meta descriptions, or meta tags, are short descriptions that Google and other search engines show on results pages. These descriptions give your website visitors a brief look at the services you provide before they even visit your site. 

Search engine spiders or crawlers are small “robots” that engines use to evaluate and inspect different websites. The search engines index different pages with these spiders, using algorithms to help provide you with more accurate search outcomes. 

Exterior links are links on your website that connect to other sites. Link building with external links to high-quality sites can help boost your ranking factor, as well as increase customers’ trust in your site. 

The title tag is what your customers first see when they search for your site online. Title tags are short-and-sweet descriptions of your business that appear above the meta description. 

The Keyword Research Checklist for Search Engines

If you’ve ever dabbled in SEO before, you’re probably familiar with keywords already. However, SEO efforts neither start nor end with keywords and optimizing your website goes far beyond simply incorporating your target keyword a few times. If you want to improve your website’s SEO, you should add the following terms to your complete checklist.

Long-tail keywords are a different type of keyword that changes how people find your site. While they are a bit more challenging to learn and use, the payoff can be significant if you utilize them correctly. 

Keyword difficulty has to do with how hard it is to rank on a search with a given keyword. When customers search Google for a primary keyword with a very high monthly search volume, for example, your site may rank very low. However, it may be much easier to rank for a related keyword with a more manageable search volume. 

Target keywords and related keywords are the meat of your keyword strategy: they are what your prospective customers will search for as they look for your site. 

Consider using a keyword research tool to help identify the keywords that can help your website rank better, such as SurferSEO or Semrush.

What Should You Put on Your Complete SEO Checklist? 

Just as SEO can help bring more search traffic to your website, outdated SEO and inadequate on-page optimization can hurt your rankings as well. So, in addition to improving other aspects of your website, you should also check for other issues that may require fixing along the way. Of course, a reputable SEO agency can help you identify any problems with your site, but this on-page checklist can also help you get started. 

Duplicate content on your website can be a problem for multiple reasons. Not only will it rank worse in Google’s algorithms, but it can make it more difficult for your customers to navigate your website as well. 

Broken links can lower your direct ranking factor, and they can also frustrate customers who visit your site. Therefore, it’s critical to find broken links as quickly as possible and repair them to keep your site running smoothly. 

Site speed is a crucial part of the patient experience on your website. If your page speed is low, and a patient has to wait too long for it to load, the chances are that they will move on to another site. 

Category pages help structure information on your site and let patients navigate through pages more easily. For example, it’s easier for patients to find a specific blog post on your site by navigating to the “blog” category page first.

Technical SEO is a different type of SEO that deals with the deeper coding issues of your site – specifically, its infrastructure. Bad technical practices can result in crawl errors, a poorly structured data markup, or even a bad customer experience, so it’s essential to integrate a technical SEO checklist into your overall plan. 

An SEO plugin can be a handy tool for those who maintain a blog (such as WordPress users). Many of these tools will help you integrate SEO best practices and keywords into your posts as you write them. 

Using Your Toolkit: Google Search Console and Analytics, Bing Webmaster Tools, and More

Besides the terms we listed above, you can find many more executive-level tools out there that can give your practice a more significant edge. These tools can help you identify the exact steps you should take to help your site rank better, both for customers and for common search sites. 

Google Search Console is a great place to start improving your site’s search rankings. The tool works with your site’s infrastructure to help you identify different steps you can take, such as by submitting an XML sitemap.

Google’s Analytics feature is a suite of tools that helps you improve your site’s search rankings from a customer-centric perspective. Connect Google Analytics to your site using your Google Analytics account to make use of programs such as Google Tag Manager and Google Optimize.

Webmaster Tools is Bing’s version of a tool to help you rank better on Bing’s search results. To use it, create a Bing Webmaster Tools account and link it to your website. 

There are dozens of things for website owners to learn and hundreds of tools to utilize with the goal of bringing in new web traffic – so much, in fact, that it can feel incredibly overwhelming. If you need help, consider contacting our specialized SEO management team. We can help you build your business’s online presence in new and meaningful ways.

Online Reviews For Dental Practices – Do They Matter?

Online Reviews For Dental Practices – Do They Matter?

Listen to the audio-only version:

Watch the podcast here:

Chris Pistorius, author of “The UItimate Guide To Internet Marketing For Dentists” talks about the impact of online reviews on dental practices. He also discusses the best way to get reviews, how to handle negative reviews, where you should put those reviews, and some tips on using reviews as social media boosters.

View Full Transcript

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of the dental marketing podcast. I’m your host Chris Pistorius. And today we are going to talk a little bit about online reviews and how they factor into dentistry and are they important, do they matter? Does anybody actually pay attention to those? And how do we know? It’s a question that we get here at kickstart dental marketing a lot from clients or potential new clients about their reviews and what’s the best way to get good reviews or do they matter at all?

So I thought I would address that here in the next few minutes and maybe answer some of those questions for some of you out there that are enquiring. So Here’s the thing with online reviews. You know we’ve been, our agency has been around serving the dental community for over 12 years now. And so we know a little bit about reviews in terms of how they are actually working with dental practices. And every study that I’ve seen shows that as many as 90% of potential new patients actually look at online reviews before they decide if they’re actually going to pick up the phone and call or fill out a form on your website or click the text chat button or even schedule an online appointment right then.

So I sometimes refer to online reviews as the silent killer because you don’t know how many people are actually looking at the reviews and then deciding to maybe not call you because of that right? There’s a lot of things in digital marketing that we can track. That particular aspect of digital marketing is almost impossible to track. So, you know, I think it’s important to really build a good online reputation, you know, by getting feedback from your patients. I think it’s essential not just in dentistry, but in today’s business culture.

So how do you get, you know, customers or patients, I should say to leave feedback and even more important, how do you, how do you get them to leave a positive review for you? You know, the coveted five-star review, if you will, so now you might be tempted to buy into the thought that good patient reviews and reputation management, we call it in the business are kind of out of your control. It is what it is, just let it happen organically. Right, well, not so much.

I’ve never been a fan of what I call ostrich marketing, which is kind of putting your head in the sand and just hoping that good things will happen. Right. I think we’re past that now and that strategy definitely does not work. And I think that holds true for online reviews as well. I mean, when your practice actually utilizes a structured review system, a way to send out reviews on a consistent basis, there’s no doubt that you can drive more new patients and potential new patients to the website itself and to ultimately schedule an appointment now as a practice owner, you know, where do you begin with encouraging those high-quality reviews.

How do you motivate the patient to leave a google review or a Yelp review or on HealthGrades, How do you even get them to do a video review for you? Would that be cool? So that’s what I want to talk about here is how do we do that and you know, what’s the best way to do it? And I’ll tell you how we do it as well and you know, what works well for us. Somebody is in the industry, I will tell you though, before we get into that, I know that there’s a ton of platforms out there that, you know, they do reputation marketing or they do reputation management, you know, Den tricks has it built into their system, there’s, you know, tons of evil soft, you know, everybody has the ability to do to try to get reviews from your patients.

But what I found and what we found here at kickstart is that it’s not the technology or the platform of actually sending out requests for reviews, it’s what you say, it’s the content, it’s how you, how you theme it, it’s how it’s when you send it, what’s the best time to actually send for that review and also what can we do in the office and not just rely on technology to drive those reviews. So, when I talk about online, our views here, I’m not really talking about technology, there are tons of different ways to do that.

We haven’t technology that does that as well. It’s more about the content, the personalized touch of getting those reviews. So let’s get let’s get to it. So what our reviews, what is feedback, how does it help you as a dental practice owner? Well, patient feedback as we talked about in my opinion is 11 of the lifeblood of the dental practice. I mean to start what you need to know is is that there’s dental reviews online, whether you have anything to do with about have anything to do with it or not.

And they’re largely determined by the patient’s overall experience with your practice, right? So the more knowledgeable and thorough that your staff is in delivering great service and a great experience for that patient means the greater likelihood patients are gonna feel compelled to rate that dentist. Now. Unfortunately what we see is that you know, a lot of reviews come from P. 22 things. One there even there just over the moon happy from what you did what you’ve done for them. But secondly, they’re really pissed off and they’re more compelled to leave a review when they’re pissed off than when they’re happy and that sucks as a business owner.

I’m a business owner too I get it. So it’s the patients who have a positive experience with your practice are the ones more compelled to offer good feedback. The thing is that when you can get them to leave you a good review, they automatically turn into kind of a practice advocate for you because they feel loyalty because hey, I put my brand on this practice now, I’m going to defend it right. That makes them more likely to refer friends or family members.

So when you have patients actually leaving you a positive review, you’ve turned them into almost a patient ambassador and they’re more likely to actually refer you out. So there are some, definitely some byproducts of going out and getting good reviews. But on the other side of that reviews are also a great opportunity to help correct mistakes and, and further, kind of refine your services and how you do things because think about it, you know, reviews. If you get a negative review and everybody does right, it’s going to happen.

You shouldn’t get defensive about that right off the bat anyway. You need to learn more about it, see what happened. First of all make sure it’s the right person because we see a lot of people here at kickstart that might leave a bad review for one of our clients, but it actually wasn’t our client, you know, that is similar name to somebody else. So first of all, make sure it was your patient okay. And if, if it’s not your patient, you know, do everything you can, to, to reach out to them and say, hey, I think you have the wrong, the wrong practice.

Could you take a look and you know, if not please call us and we want to, we want to try to work that out. But um, you know, so it’s, if it is a legit review and it is a negative review then learn from it, see what, see what the problem is offered to reach out. You know, give a phone number right in the review because think about when you respond to reviews like that, you’re not just responding to the person that left a negative review.

Your also responding to the people who potentially see those responses, right? So if they see a negative review, They’re automatically gonna be attracted to see what that was all about the -1 and how you responded. So respond to it say, hey, we’re gonna do everything that we can to try to try to earn your business back. We apologize for any mistakes. Please call me directly at this number. Um and let’s talk about it and try to make it good for you. And sometimes when you do that and they actually do communicate back with you, you can actually get them to review or remove that review.

So that’s what feed, that’s what the review systems are all about. That’s some ways that you could potentially respond any negative reviews. So there’s tons of websites out there that allow you to allow people to leave reviews about your practice. But I will tell you today that the top two that I would worry about would be google and facebook now google is increasing and increasing and increasing engagement with the reviews that I believe is the number one platform because people already using their platform, they’re already going to google first to do a search for Dennis near me um cosmetic dentist, dear me best dentist in whatever city.

Right, So that’s where they’re going to automatically see your first reviews. Okay, number one platform, number two is facebook and unfortunately facebook I think made a mistake a year or so ago when they changed how they did reviews, they change their star ratings. So now it’s like recommended versus a certain amount of stars, right? But people are still paying attention to facebook and guess what facebook’s about, the second best biggest used platform on the internet behind google. Right. And then there’s yelp. Okay, that’s where I would probably put number three, let me go on record as saying, I do not like yelp.

And I know there’s a lot of people probably agreeing me with this, I don’t like their business practices. I don’t like their advertising campaigns and how they set those up. Um we’ve tested multiple paid advertising accounts on yelp and we had very few that had gave any type of return on investment. Okay there review system is very strict. You could have 20 patients go and leave you a good honest review on yelp and maybe two or three or five of them would stick stick meaning they didn’t get filtered out.

They have such an aggressive algorithm to try to remove um fake reviews that it’s it’s turned up too high and even the good reviews get filtered out and they don’t ever show up. So you you do all this work to get people to review you and your patients do all the work to actually leave the review and then they might go back and it’s not the reviews are not even there. Right so to me yeah yelp people do look at it but in my in my opinion they look more at yelp for restaurants and entertainment than they do for actual dental practices.

So if it were my practice I would focus on google and facebook and then if you want to go to like a HealthGrades, you know that could be a good third option as well. The mistake that I think you can make with reviews is giving them too many options. So if you send them a review request you say, hey leave us a review google yahoo yelp. HealthGrades dog HealthGrades dog pile dot com. You know you give them like 10 different choices and that just causes confusion and they’re not gonna they’re not gonna engage because I’ll do it later. Right?

Whereas if you give them one or two options. I’ve already got a google account or yeah, I’ve already got a facebook account. So it’ll be really easy. Right? So those are the top top review review sites that I think that I would recommend using. So all right, we figured out where to we want to get those reviews now. How do we encourage positive reviews? So, I mean the average dental patient is pretty darn busy, right? You know, the old saying is with dentistry is people typically don’t like to go to the dentist because of time fear or money, Right?

Or maybe all three of those things. But you know, time is certainly a big part of it. So they’re limited with time. So not only do they not even want to go to the dentist, but they don’t like how long it takes to go to the dentist and now you’re asking them to take another what, 10 minutes or something to leave a review about the dentist. Right? So most patients who had a good experience are are happy at the thought of leaving a review. Um But not all of them will do it just from an email or a text message that’s sent to them sometimes not even it doesn’t even matter how good they’re written.

So the first piece of advice that I want to give you in terms of getting more positive reviews is first of all ask, you know, this should not be you should not wait for technology to ask for you, right? Um I know dentists as a as a kind of a stereotype or a little bit more introverts. You know, not everyone certainly. But you know, and asking a patient for a review might seem like you’re I’m crazy for asking you to do that. But it goes a long way because you as a dentist has have a personal relationship with that with that patient.

They are looking up to you in terms of their health. Um just you being a doctor. Um they really hinge on almost every word that you say. So a lot of our clients, we have actually talked to them before they leave the bay and they’ll say, look, you know, once you’re done, you’ll probably get an email or a text from us asking you about your experience here today. If you don’t mind, it would mean a lot for me if you would give us some good feedback. That’s it, that’s it.

You’ve set it up now. They’re expecting that that that email or text message and somebody of authority has asked them to help them out, help you out. And that is going to go a long way to get more reviews. Okay? So if you feel like you can do that and you don’t have to do it for every patient. But you know, just just try it out and I promise you that that that will work a lot. So another way to cultivate good reviews is to find recurring keywords of online customer reviews or patient reviews about the practice and incorporate those into the content of your website.

Um It’s kind of high level, it’s something that we do here so that when a when a patient is searching for a dental practice in your market, your practice is actually more likely to show up on google. So um it’s just a way to potentially potentially drive some more of that activity. So you some feedback as well. I mean you used the feedback that you get from online reviews to improve the practice. Um it’s a proven way to create better brand, you know and if you want to tell me that dentists don’t shouldn’t be doing brand marketing than you know you’re crazy because they should be more than anybody more than coca cola should or Pepsi or any of the huge brands because a local brand, if you can actually brand a local brand, it’s way more powerful because people resignation with local much more than they do national brands.

So uses feedback to resolve issues and identify what patients love so that you can fix what is wrong and deliver more of what they love. I mean think about it as a dental practice, you’re not selling dental products and services you’re selling solutions to problems, right? So somebody’s in pain, Somebody wants their smile to look prettier, you know that’s what you’re in business for. So also engagement, you know, engage with your patients about their experiences by responding to the to the reviews. Okay. So I see a lot of time, we talked a little bit about, you know, not responding to responding to negative reviews and how to do that, but you should be responding also to positive reviews. Okay.

I mean, it helps that a couple of different things, people are going to see that you’re taking the time to respond. It just takes a few seconds per seconds per a few seconds per review. So it’s not like it’s a big time suck and you could have somebody in the front desk easily do it now. Don’t use the same thanks bob for the great review every time, mix it up a little bit, you know, make sure it’s unique. Um you know, thank them for the business. Um, you know, just engage with them in any way.

It just shows to them it’s worth their time to leave you that that review. And then it also shows people that don’t know you yet, but they’re looking at your reviews that you are actually engaged and you appreciate what they’ve done now, I’ll tell you also that you should highlight positive reviews on your website, everybody does it right. I do it myself. Um, but just know that when you put positive reviews on your website, they are never going to be as trusted as much as actual text reviews on independent websites Because what fool would put negative reviews on their own website. Right.

It kind of makes sense. So you know you can feature some reviews on your homepage. I like to put pictures next to the reviews that just spruces them up a little bit. So if you’ve got some graphic design experience or somebody in the office that can do things like that then you certainly should try. Um I like to pretty those reviews up, put an image next to it and some creative tax and use those as social media posts as well. Those seem to go a long way and there’s tools like canvas C. A. N. V. A. That you can use um to spruce up.

So open those reviews. Um You can also send people directly to customer surveys. That’s a possibility instead of a review. We’ve tested that and yeah you get the surveys back and that’s cool. But then what do you do with the survey? It’s not like other people can see those. Right. So we typically stay away from the customer surveys and we do more of the um send them directly to the review site so that they can leave that review directly online. Okay so we talked a little bit about negative reviews.

I want to kind of cover that a little bit as well because um this just came up with a potential new client of ours. They really had um it was a worker actually that they had to let go and they went on several different review sites and just bashed him and put negative stuff all over the place. So um you know, the point here is no matter what or no how no matter how great your practices somehow somewhere there’s probably going to be some negative feedback coming around as well.

That’s not the end of the world. I mean if you look us up kick start doing marketing, you’re gonna find a bad review on google. And that’s from that same exact experience we were hiring for I believe as a web developer or something. And um when we decided to hire somebody and the person that was in the running didn’t get the job and took it out on us by actually putting a negative review on google for us. So you know, it’s just gonna happen. So you know, I would like I talked about it, I think that I would engage um positively to negative reviews if that makes sense.

I mean the first thing start, you start by responding right away. It shows the person you’re paying attention um any response is better than no response. Um a fast response is best, right, apologize for. Well, first of all make sure it’s actually your patient if you can write if you think that they’ve gotten your name wrong and they’re looking for another practice and you know, certainly respond that way. Um apologize for the experience if it is a real real review, even though you may not be apologetic in the in the situation, you’re validating their feelings, you’re making them feel hurt, right?

And the people that are looking at these reviews are seeing that as well, like I said, offer a resolution, tell them how you can correct the situation, Whether it’s to have them come in for free or whatever it may be, do whatever you can to resolve that. Because number one you could get them back in resolve the relationship. You don’t lose a patient and you can also probably get them to take that bad review down, right? Ask them to give you another chance. I know it sounds desperate and not everybody will be comfortable without, but it shows that you care about their experience and ultimately every patient experience that happens in your practice.

Um and lastly use that negative feedback to correct. And I mean, look for, you know, if you get two or three bad reviews over a year, is that the consistently the same thing is at the front desk, is it they were hung up on is that they were put on hold too long. You know, if there’s something consistent there, then we need to probably change something in the practice business wise. Right? So anyway, I’m gonna I’m gonna stop here. I mean, I could go on this for probably an hour or so, but um you know, I think it’s just to answer the question I originally gave up online reviews for dental practices.

Absolutely do matter. I’ve got studies to show it. I’ve got actual real marketing results to show it. You do need to pay attention to it. You do need to make it a priority in your practice. Um Remember it’s not the technology it’s not den trick sending them out for you. It’s not you know demand for sending them out for you whatever it may be. It’s how you put those together and what you say and how you ask and when you send them is the real connection here and that’s how you’ll drive more good reviews.

Um So anyway of course my company kickstart dental marketing shameless plug. We one of our specialties is this and helping with um online reviews. Getting more of them putting systems in place and writing the content just the way I just talked about so if you do need some help with that, feel free to reach out. Best ways just go to the website kickstart dental dot com and click on the free strategy session button. I do all of those myself. So you could talk you’d be talking with me directly and we can talk about how you do reviews now or any other marketing and maybe put you on track to make everything better.

So anyway thanks so much for tuning in for another episode and hopefully you’ve got a lot out of it and um we’ll be back next week with another great topic so yeah.

Digital Marketing Ideas to Reach Your Ideal Dental Patients

Digital Marketing Ideas to Reach Your Ideal Dental Patients

Digital Marketing Ideas to Reach Your Ideal Dental Patients

Modern consumers are always online. As a result, it is important for dental practice owners and marketers to keep up with new trends in user behaviors that will impact their marketing strategy.

The ever-changing platforms and channels of the digital world can be challenging for growing practices. From small businesses to growing businesses, keeping up with the digital marketing world can feel like a full-time job.

Here are some tips to sift through the plethora of web-based marketing solutions and create a streamlined and effective digital marketing strategy for your brand.

Marketing Strategy vs. Digital Marketing Strategy

In today’s high-tech world, the terms marketing strategy and digital marketing strategy may seem interchangeable. So let’s examine the differences between the two.

A marketing strategy is the overall game plan that helps businesses achieve their business goals through specific marketing or revenue-based initiatives. A digital marketing strategy utilizes select online marketing channels to attain specific digital goals.

A digital marketing campaign refers to the specific actions you take as a part of your digital strategy to achieve a particular outcome.

Understanding Your Audience Is Key

Who are you marketing to? To create a smart digital marketing strategy, you need in-depth knowledge of your ideal patient. The best digital marketing strategies arise from well-researched buyer personas that represent your ideal patients.

You can create buyer personas by researching and analyzing your company’s target audience.

Perform a Content Audit and Plan Your Owned Media Campaigns

Owned media is the concept at the core of digital marketing. The more owned media channels your practice has the larger your digital footprint. Any content that your company owns and controls is owned media, including:

  • blog posts
  • service descriptions
  • social media posts

Evaluate your existing content regularly, and add fresh content to keep followers engaged and attract more website visitors.

Effective content creation ensures a strong online presence for your dental office. Even better, search-engine-optimized (SEO) content boosts your search and organic traffic.

Mobile-Friendly Content

Consumer usage of mobile devices is at an all-time high and continues to grow. Therefore, incorporating a mobile-friendly website into your marketing plan should be a significant consideration in a smart marketing campaign.

Ensure that your website loads quickly and is easy to use on a phone or tablet device. Today, Google boosts sites that perform well on mobile phones as most consumers today complete their local searches via their phones.

Digital Marketing 

As a dental business owner, you’ll want to focus on marketing strategies that provide the best value for your business and most relevance for your industry.

Start by creating a digital marketing budget for your campaign. You will need to research digital pricing to get a sense of what your type and size of business requires—research digital marketing costs to build a realistic budget for your practice.

Once you launch your campaign, take advantage of Google’s free resources such as Google Analytics or Google Ads to track and measure the results.

Search engine optimization is perhaps the most important digital marketing enterprise in use. SEO aims to direct the target audience for your website, generating more leads and a higher conversion rate. You can achieve this by using specific phrases and keywords that relate to your services.

An effective SEO strategy brings more traffic to your website from members of your target market. These are the users who are actively looking for your dental services. As a local business, it’s important to attract leads from your local area. SEO is great because, when done correctly, it’s targeted to your service areas.

Other Digital Marketing Strategies

Content marketing involves engaging and connecting with users by creating content that is relevant and informative:

  • video content
  • infographics
  • blog posts
  • and more

Guest posts, also known as guest blogging, are when you contribute a blog post to another person’s site to increase your exposure and authority, as well as to add links to your own website. This type of content should not be sales-related but should provide value to users as an informative free resource.

Well-executed, relevant content is one of the most effective online marketing strategies to increase sales, traffic, and conversion rates. In addition, an effective content marketing strategy should optimize your content for high rankings with search engines, increasing your prominence in Google search results.

Email marketing focuses on retaining existing patients and gaining new patients by building brand awareness and increasing sales via email. Email marketing is similar to content marketing in that the focus is on providing valuable information to subscribers. As a result, email marketing generates about 50% more sales than other digital marketing tactics.

Social media marketing is probably the most popular marketing strategy for dental practices since it’s easy to get started and fairly easy to maintain. Social media marketing campaigns can utilize multiple platforms based on the preferences of the audience.

Social media marketing may also employ online advertising platforms. For example, Facebook Ads is a paid advertising service where you can create ad campaigns with targeted goals and objectives. You write your copy in the voice of your business to help reach its intended audience. The most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

You may have heard of “Social Media Stories,” which started on Facebook and have become so popular that they’ve extended to Instagram. Facebook Stories are images and videos that appear independent of your regular feed and disappear after 24 hours. The ephemeral format drives followers to engage with the story before it disappears from their feed.

You can utilize video marketing across multiple digital and social media channels. Its purpose is to market and promote your business and increase viewer engagement.

Lastly, influencer marketing is a relatively new type of word-of-mouth marketing by individuals with a large social following. Influencers have established a strong trust from their following and gain a reputation as experts within their niche.

Let Us Bring Your Marketing Ideas to Life

Our marketing firm is a full-service marketing agency focused on the dental industry.

We pride ourselves in building collaborative client relationships on mutual respect and trust. Our experience, knowledge, and expertise make us one of the most sought-after agencies for dentists nationwide.

Let us help you take your practice to the next level.  Give us a call or send us a message on our contact page for more information on our services. We look forward to hearing from you!

How to Get Online Reviews for Your Dental Practice (and Why They Matter)

How to Get Online Reviews for Your Dental Practice (and Why They Matter)

Did you know that over 90% of people check online reviews before they buy anything? Cultivating an online reputation by posting, which is essential to success in today’s business culture, seems like a tricky thing. How do you get customers to leave feedback? Even more important, how do you get them to leave a positive review? How do you get a coveted five-star review?

You might be tempted to buy into the thought that good customer reviews and reputation management are out of your control. Not so! When your business utilizes a structured review system, you can drive more new patients and potential customers to your website.

As a business owner, where do you begin with encouraging high-quality reviews? How do you motivate the average customer to leave a google review or better, a personal recommendation?  See below to learn how personal recommendations and positive feedback impact your online presence and how feedback will lead to more engagement and ultimately more sales.

What Is Feedback and How Does It Help?

Customer feedback is the lifeblood of your dental practice. To start, what you need to know here is that dental reviews online are largely determined by a customer’s overall experience. The more knowledgeable and thorough the dental practice’s staff is in delivering service, the greater the likelihood customers will feel compelled to rate that dentist online.

Customers who have a positive experience with your dental practice will be more compelled to offer feedback and five-star reviews. They will feel more loyalty towards your dental practice and are more likely to refer friends or family members. Reviews also give you an opportunity to correct mistakes and further refine your dental service strategy.

What are the top review sites for dental practices?

The top dental review sites are of course Google and Yelp. These dental reviews include how satisfied patients were with your dental service, how much waiting time there was, the cleanliness of the office, etc. You should also consider Facebook for reviews as well.

Google: Google reviews happen on the Google My Business platform. Once you set up your Google My Business, customers can leave reviews and read other reviews. When a potential customer does a local search for your business type, you will show up in the Google Map results. Showing up in the coveted map pack ensures your website will get more clicks than your competitors. Google is undoubtedly the most important review platform for dental offices.

Facebook: Facebook is the social site that appeals to the broadest range of ages. The first way to encourage Facebook reviews is to make sure your business is easy to find on Facebook. When customers have to hunt and search for your business, they are more likely to quit than persevere.

Yelp: With the click of a button, a customer can relate an experience on just about anything with Yelp. These reviews give customers more confidence in their purchases and reduce some of the doubt. Statistics show that positive Yelp reviews result in a 15-20% increase in the likelihood that a new customer will engage with a  business. Thus, favorable business reviews on Yelp are essential to driving small business growth. Displaying the Yelp badge lets customers know that you have a presence there.

Interacting in a high-quality way with your customers drives more positive responses from satisfied customers. Positive local business reviews bring more business your way.

Ways to Encourage Positive Reviews

The average dental patient is a busy professional with limited time so they will likely not choose to spend additional hours writing reviews for your dental practice. That said, most customers who have had a good experience are more than happy to offer up their feedback online. Here are some tips that can help encourage good reviews.

Ask: Boosting positive company reviews may seem complex, but it is really as simple as asking for them. You can do this with review requests through email, an online review site, or a marketing company. The point is to encourage more reviews without artificially inflated reviews.

Keywords: Another way to cultivate favorable reviews is to find the recurring keywords of online customer reviews about your business and incorporate those into your content creation, product descriptions, and brand wording. When a customer is searching for your services, your dental office is more likely to show up.

Use feedback: Using feedback from online reviews to improve your business is a proven way to create a better brand. Use feedback to resolve issues and identify what customers love so that you can fix what is wrong and deliver more of what they love. Consumers trust online reviews, so use the feedback to position your business for positive customer reviews.

Engage: Engaging with your customers about their experiences by replying to their ratings of your business makes them feel heard. When customers leave positive online reviews, thank them for their business, solicit valuable feedback on what could be better, highlight a change that happens because of their feedback – any interaction shows them that you care. Never overlook when customers leave positive reviews.

Highlight: Highlight positive reviews and patient feedback right on your website. Many dental practices have started featuring reviews on their homepage, and they are proven to boost customer confidence and influence conversion rates. There are many tools to help you display reviews on your site too.

Online review sites: You might feel hesitant to use online review sites, but they are a boon to local businesses. Review websites will manage your digital reputation by ensuring that you don’t have too few reviews. They will also solicit further reviews. Using a review site is especially helpful for new businesses.

Customer surveys: The use of a survey gives you an accurate, statistical measurement of customer experiences.

How Do You Handle Negative Reviews?

In the process of soliciting feedback, you will inevitably get poor reviews. A single negative review can diminish over twenty positive responses, so you can’t just ignore them. Here is what to do with those less than stellar evaluations.

Engage in a positive way with the reviewer.

  • Start by responding right away since this shows the person that you are paying attention. While any response is better than no response, a fast response is best.
  • Apologize for the experience. You are validating their feelings and making them feel heard.
  • Offer a resolution. Tell them how you will correct the situation, whether it is to replace a good or offer a free service, offer some sort of redress for what is lacking.
  • Ask them to give you another chance. This effort shows that you care about their experience and, ultimately, every customer experience.
  • Use the feedback to correct. Using feedback to correct an issue is a good policy, especially when you see a trend.

Recognize that you can’t stop negative reviews, but you can minimize them by using the information to improve your business process. Remember that an online review is a connection to your customer that you need in this digital world.

An online review weighs heavily on how people perceive your business. They are the way you will earn new customers and keep those loyal customers. You are losing valuable business when you don’t have a plan to boost your digital presence and then execute the plan.

Prioritizing feedback and online business reviews is a proven way to drive customers to your website, where those visits can convert to purchases. There are strong connections for business reviews and search engine results, so what are you waiting for? Start working on incorporating online feedback today!

 

An Honest Conversation With Dr. Howard Farran Of Dentaltown About The Future Of Dentistry

An Honest Conversation With Dr. Howard Farran Of Dentaltown About The Future Of Dentistry

Listen to the audio-only version:

Watch the podcast here:

Chris talks with Dr. Howard Farran, the founder of the incredibly popular online dental community, Dentaltown. Chris & Howard have an open and honest conversation about all things dental.

View Full Transcript

 

Chris Pistorius (00:04):

Hi, everybody. This is Chris Pistorius here again with the Dental Marketing podcast. Today we’ve got a super special guest. I’m a little star struck because I’ve been listening to and reading his stuff for years. I’m so glad to have him on the show today. This is Dr. Howard Farran. He does a lot of stuff and we’ll get into that in a second, but he’s actually the creator, founder, owner of Dentaltown, which I know a lot of you use as a major resource to help run your dental practices. So Howard, thanks so much for taking the time to be on today.

Howard Farran (00:41):

Hi, it’s an honor. We should start a mutual admiration club because I’ve been a big fan of yours for a decade too.

Chris Pistorius (00:47):

Awesome. Well, thank you. I’m going to get right to it. As you know, you’ve got tons of experience. You’ve forgotten more things about dentistry than I’ll ever know. So what I’m after here and to pick your brain is how to help my clients, how to help potential clients, how to help dentistry in general, which I know that you’re a big part of as well. But why don’t you tell me a little bit about how you created Dentaltown first and how that idea started, and just a little background there.

Howard Farran (01:16):

Oh man, you got to go back to… I got out of school in ’87 and then it was about 1994, I saw Amazon go public and I couldn’t figure out what all the hoopla was, but I kept an eye on it. Didn’t buy a share of it, and I just kept watching, watching, watching through ’94, ’95, ’96, ’97. And then about ’98, I finally realized, “Oh my God, this really is going to be huge.” I never had an original idea. My next door neighbor was a dentist. I went to work with Kenny Anderson and my dad, and my dad owned a Sonic Drive-in making cheeseburgers, and Kenny was a dentist. And I thought the x-ray machine was a helluva lot cooler than a grill.

Howard Farran (02:00):

But I was on the ESPN website and they started this message board thing. And we were talking about football and I’m like, “Gosh, darn, I wish I could be doing this with dentists and talking about root canals and fillings and marketing.” So I hired Ken Scott and then we started Dentaltown and we’ll be the first who would beat Facebook by five years. And that first mover advantage, the [inaudible 00:02:26] versus Harvard, only because it’s first. Coke was launched 11 years and for Pepsi, they’re still number one. And that first mover advantage, it’s kind of like a hall of fame website.

Howard Farran (02:37):

Then we also have Orthotown too. The orthodontist were the only specialists who wanted their own site. All of the other specialists and all of the orthodontists are on Dentaltown, but they just wanted a private community of just orthodontists. But it’s really been cool to watch social media. We had a first generation, the first 20 years and the first is always the worst and everybody’s learning how that’s going on and everything, but it did change the world.

Howard Farran (03:05):

Facebook, which owns Instagram and then Alphabet, which owns Google and YouTube, they sucked out about 80% of all the advertising dollars in America and that killed billboards, it killed radio, it’s killing TV. And that’s why these dentists got to get sophisticated because they’re competing now against DSOs. And DSOs have enough skill where they can sit there and say, “Well, let’s just get the one billboard on the corner of the two highways.” And radio, for $100 you can get an hour commercial. ClearJoy, that implant company has been served five times and now Bob Fontana of Aspen owns it because my gosh, they can do 30 minute infomercials on implants in a day. So now we’ve got this individual dentist.

Howard Farran (04:04):

And the first guys I noticed that were really, really smart about advertising was the orthodontists for a couple of exact reasons. Number one, they knew each of their new patients was worth basically 6,500 bucks and they knew where their overhead was. So if they went on Shark Tank, and if you were on Shark Tank, then obviously, the smartest man on Shark Tank is the bald guy. It’s always the bald guy. Have you noticed that?

Chris Pistorius (04:28):

I have.

Howard Farran (04:29):

And who picks your dental office, and Mr. Wonderful, first thing he says is, “Well, what’s your cost of new customer acquisition?” No dentist knows, but orthodontists, that’s an easy figure. What is the average customer value? Dentists are like, “God, I don’t know.” Orthodontists like, “It is actually 6,500.” [crosstalk 00:04:51].

Howard Farran (04:51):

So on my journey, when I got out of school in ’87, you got to remember the Yellow Pages just became Regal after a Supreme court decision where two lawyers in Phoenix said, “Well, that violates my free speech not to advertise.” It happened in Arizona first, but even by the time I got out, it was a very underused taboo thing, and the first guys that jumped out on it were the orthodontist, and it was an orthodontist who was the first guy I ever met that 3% of collections went straight to advertising. Now, I could name you 100 orthodontists where that is eight to 10% because they say, “Well, I get $6,500 for Invisalign, and here’s my marketing costs and here’s my overhead.” It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

Howard Farran (05:39):

So the orthodontists, they get their money back in tow years. General dentists, that takes about five years, and since they have a whole distribution of just a cleaning, just a filling, all the way to a big old case, they’ve always not understood their marketing. But what’s going to really bring it to their attention is when they’re no longer competing against a single dentist across the street, but now they got some DSO that’s got 1,000 locations and they’re extremely sophisticated. So dentists, if they want to play in the big leagues with the professional players, we’re probably going to have to outsource some marketing to someone like you.

Chris Pistorius (06:23):

Yeah. I think you hit the nail on the head, several nails on the head actually in that we talk with clients a lot about that, about they’re struggling with competition and it’s not just local competition. It’s a lot of pressure from DSOs. And a lot of our strategies are around how to compete with that and there are ways to compete with that without breaking the bank also. So you just have to get a little creative, grassroots about it and you can still compete and relieve some of that competition for sure.

Chris Pistorius (06:57):

Let me ask you this. What do you see as right now, other than the competitive struggles with DSOs, but what else is really threatening local dentistry right now, would you say?

Howard Farran (07:11):

Well, I think all dentists would say it’s a very competitive environment. I would say that the reason the 20 richest countries all want socialized medicine by the government is because the same government is the one that blocks out all their competition. If you’re a dentist in India, you can’t move to Phoenix, Arizona and start doing dentistry. I’m on the Mexican border, and every time a Mexican dentist comes up here and goes to Guadalupe, which is 100% Mexican and native Indians, and starts practicing dentistry on the poor, the government arrests them, puts them in jail or deports them, or whatever.

Howard Farran (07:50):

So it’s hard to say that healthcare is competitive because when I was a little kid, they couldn’t import cars from Germany and Japan. And General Motors had half market share, they were very expensive and the cars never worked. When I was a little kid, if I walked down the sidewalk on a Saturday, every third or fourth garage was a dad, his son and two uncles trying to fix this piece of crap Chevy and get it running.

Howard Farran (08:17):

So it’s crazy to say that healthcare is competitive because they block all foreign competition from entering with their immigration policy. But within the realm of United States, competing against DSOs, competing against insurance, I’d say what threatens them the most right now is the onslaught of inflation. I turned 59 this month. I hear no one talking about it unless they’re my age. I graduated high school in ’80, and in ’81, interest rates were 20 and a half percent. Unemployment and inflation was double-digit.

Howard Farran (08:56):

And so inflation is just completely back. When this pandemic, the stock market dropped about $850 billion, not quite a trillion. And the Trump buying response was $5 trillion. So you’re looking at a global economy where three out of every $4 in circulation today were printed in the last year. And people compare this to the percent of debt to GDP as in World War II, but you got to remember those bonds were paid by real money from Americans taking their money out from underneath their bed and buying a war bond, which you pay them a nickel a year.

Howard Farran (09:39):

So the deal is, I went to Creighton in 1980. Warren buffet is from Omaha, so was his partner, Charlie Munger and Warren came over and spoke to our business class. And I remember a business 101, someone jokingly said, “Creighton was known for their medical school, dental school and law school.” Someone jokingly asked him, “Which one would you go to?” And he told me to answer and I didn’t listen, he said, “Well, I would never go into healthcare because it’s very capital intensive and someone else sets your fee.” He goes, “I want to go into a business with low capital intensive.” Like if Geico insurance doubled their business, they just need to double the number of cubicles where people are dialing for dollars and typing on a keyboard.

Howard Farran (10:21):

But you double a hospital, you got all this stuff. I’ve seen dental office routinely that by the time you do the land and the building and the Taj Mahal, they’re looking at one and a half to $3 million. So I would say if you’re locked into an insurance company and they say, “You get $1 per filling,” and your costs are going up five, 10, 15, 20%, is the insurance company going to rapidly adjust the fees to keep you up with inflation? Or are you just going to start making less and less money?

Howard Farran (10:54):

So I think the inflation on a fixed third party fee is terrible. And that’s why Invisalign… If we ignore the dentistry, for decades, selling stuff to dentists, about 40% of the market is US and Canada, 40% Europe and 20% is the rest of the world. And when you look at their numbers, it’s a 200 year old profession that started with G.V. Black in Paris, France. So it just really just grows and contracts with inflation.

Howard Farran (11:26):

The only thing that’s growing double digit is orthodontics, clear liners and implants. And the reason they’re so lucrative is because a third party is not setting your fee. They tried to set fees, like remember when the insurance companies said that you couldn’t charge you more than X dollars for bleaching and it went all the way to SpringBoard in Tennessee, I think it was. You don’t even cover bleaching. How could you set our fee?

Howard Farran (11:52):

So the dentists haven’t been fighting for equality in the eyes of the consumer. I expect that will go to a different legal dimension. But that’s up to the ADA and government and things like that. But I would say that when a dentist gets out of school and says, “I don’t know what I want to do,” you got to pick one, you either got a lot of bin guts and get into implants, or are you going to get into the soft and Invisalign?

Howard Farran (12:21):

I can usually tell by looking at their x-ray, because if you’re like me, when you do a root canal and you want to get all the way to the bottom and puff a sealer out the apex, you’re an able barbarian and you just love blood. And all of your assistants, when they see a big puss thing pop, all those assistants go to, “Ooh, yeah.” If that stuff just grosses you out, you go into bleaching, bonding, veneers, clear liners, whatever. But I’m telling you that the number one goal of the species is to survive long enough to reproduce that offspring. And the way the animal kingdom is, unlike the fungi and algae, we just don’t divide into two, we split our DNA into two pairs and we got to go mix gametes with someone.

Howard Farran (13:08):

And going out there, I think this pandemic has been a huge boom for dentistry, it’s already proven, because if you’re a man like me, think about it. I brush my teeth and floss in the shower. I don’t stand around looking in mirrors all day.

Chris Pistorius (13:25):

Me too. I do the same thing. I thought I was the only one that did that.

Howard Farran (13:30):

I grew up with five sisters, man. They’d spend an hour in the bathroom before they’d go to grammar school. So now there’s all these men on Zoom and they’re looking at their face and they’re looking at their teeth and they’re like, “Oh my God.” And male makeup, which isn’t really even a thing, it’s already up 400% since the pandemic started. When I went into Walgreens, I went to the makeup counter booth area and talked to that lady. I read there, I said, “Is this true?” She goes, “People you would never expect. ‘I want to cover up this thing or this, that.’ And they’re asking me…”

Howard Farran (14:08):

So now that the pandemic’s got everyone looking in the mirror that used to never look in the mirror, like a bunch of old ugly men, they’re ripe for Invisalign. I think the ultimate close if they say, “How do you like your Zoom conference look? Are you liking what you see in the mirror?” And I used to call old dentists…

Howard Farran (14:30):

I remember when I got out of school, the big cosmetic guru was Jim Pryde, and he was sitting there in the lecture. And another one was Walter Hailey. I made this remark twice and got the same response from them. He’s up there pontificating at the Arizona Dental Association saying, “How could you not sell cosmetic dentistry? They all want to do it.” I raised my hand. I said, “Well, why don’t you do it? You’ve got some of the darkest, brownest, gnarliest, ugliest teeth I’ve ever seen and you’re a dentist speaking to dentist.” He lost it. I mean, he almost couldn’t continue. And everybody I was with were just laughing their ass off.

Howard Farran (15:11):

And then Walter Hailey, when I talked to Walter Hailey, I was with actually great cosmetic guru. I was with David Hornbrook, and Bill Dickerson, the two cosmetic legends who had started LVI, and they told him, “It’s true, Walter, and we’ll do it for free. You’ll get $15,000 veneer case, look [inaudible 00:15:34] free.” And he’s like, “Ah, I don’t care.” He’s some good old boy from Texas. Couldn’t even give a crap, and his business was lecturing to sell cosmetic dentistry to dentists and he wouldn’t even do it.

Howard Farran (15:44):

So I think the Zoom is going to make people see the truth that, wow. I remember I lost the… I was able to keep in shape the best when I used to do Bikram yoga, because you’d go into a room in a bathing suit, and they had mirrors all over the wall, and that’s the only time you ever get to stare at yourself in a bathing suit. And I’d look at that mirror and think, “God dang, you’re fat. You need to stop eating crap.” And that whole 90 minute yoga deal was this really reminder that, “Dude, you don’t know what you look like naked.” And so I think this is going to be a big… it is already a big boom for cosmetic dentistry.

Howard Farran (16:28):

And by the way, implants, the same thing. Every study I’d seen on implants, dentists always say… I’ll give you a true story of my first major implant case. Her name was Catherine. It was back in ’87, ’88, ’89. I never had asked her about implants or anything. And she told me she wanted them. And I said, “Well, Catherine, you always told me that you had no problems eating, chewing, that you can even eat an apple and all this stuff.” I said, “So what changed your mind?” She goes, “Well, you know what,” she goes, “at my age, my girlfriends just keep dying and they keep dying while they’re asleep. And I can’t wear my dentures when I’m sleeping and I’m afraid of dying in my sleep and having them find me without my teeth.” And I thought, “Yeah, dang man.”

Chris Pistorius (17:22):

Wow.

Howard Farran (17:22):

So even they, when you look at implant cases, if you really get to the crux of it and you really ask them, they’re not doing it because they can’t eat a cheeseburger, they’re doing it because there’s a missing space there and they’ve got mold and mixed gametes and it’s a complicated meeting, ritual meets like a peacock. All the animal kingdom meeting rituals are insanely complex and having your teeth not being negative and just being neutral is a good thing. If we can make them whiter, brighter and sexier and make the peacock feathers all come out, it works better.

Chris Pistorius (18:04):

Wow. Well, I tell you what, you could unpack a whole webinar just in what you just said. That’s awesome information, and it’s going to help a lot of people watching this. But I did have a question. If you had to do it all over again, the dentistry side of this, what would you change, what would you do differently?

Howard Farran (18:24):

Yeah, that’s a great question. What would I do differently? I definitely would’ve done it because you got to go back. A lot of people, they look at… All of our heroes are failed men. They think they’re a genius and they found out that some great man had a great flaw. They never said he walked on water, but you got to go back to, I was one in 62. There wasn’t any of this technology. There wasn’t computers and this and that. When I first saw my neighbor, Ken Anderson take an x-ray through the tooth, and then you got to go in a dark room with the hottest dental assistant in the world and develop this x-ray. And then I go worry my dad make a cheeseburger and onion rings.

Howard Farran (19:06):

The technology blew me away. And the other thing that blew me away, it was just like physics in the fact that… Well, look at Stephen Hawkins. He lived his whole life and he died before they even knew what a black hole is and what’s on the other side. Is it a white hole? And I realized that dentistry was bigger than any dentist that ever lived and that you could be a dentist and study your whole life and still go to the grave with unknown unknowns that you would never even have known. And it’s part of the human body.

Howard Farran (19:40):

Health is wealth. If you lose your life, you have nothing. The health, the wealth. It was so easy for me to find a real purpose and passion when we were trying to learn, discover, and help someone else stay alive on an earth where 98 and a half percent of all the species before us are extinct and they’re going extinct every year. And the chance that we will go extinct is absolutely positive. We’re not going to go through the black hole. When this whole Milky Way goes through the black hole, I doubt my teeth are going to make it, but I just had a lot of purpose, a lot of passion.

Howard Farran (20:22):

I got accepted to med school too at Creighton, and I didn’t want to do that just because dentists forget of all of the politics that goes on in hospitals. And now it’s something like seven out of every 10 physicians is an employee for a hospital, it’s about 50%, or a big corporate DSO for about another 20%. Only 30% of physicians own their own building. And the thing I liked about what Kenny Anderson did is he owned his own land and building. He was a dictator. If he didn’t want you to work there, you didn’t go. If he didn’t want to treat you as a patient, you can’t go. Just a simple life in a small kingdom where you’re the king and you’ve got a half dozen helpers and you have your own people coming in. Gosh, I love it and I can’t really think anything I would’ve done different.

Chris Pistorius (21:18):

Yeah. Well, that’s awesome. That’s great. One struggle that we see with some of our clients is especially the ones that they’ve been an associate for a little while maybe, and now they want to start their own. And the question we get sometimes is based on your experience, is it better to buy an existing practice with a a base of patients, or do you start off scratch? What do you think?

Howard Farran (21:45):

Well, that’s another great question you have. I can tell you’ve been in this a long time, but I just want to tell you about when these DSOs popped up, the first round was way back in the days in the eighties, when Orthodontic Centers of America went public and there was a dozen on NASDAQ. And what was their business model? Their business model was if you go sell a house in Phoenix, so that’s three bedroom, two bath, you’ll get a offer today. If it’s four bedroom, three car garage, it’s totally liquid. But if you’re an NFL player and you custom built a 19 bedroom house with a seven car garage, most of your professional players, their number one mistake was the house they bought because it’s illiquid. They can’t sell it.

Howard Farran (22:30):

Orthodontic Centers of America, that founder, Gasper Lazzara knew that if your orthodontic practice did a million dollars a year, you could sell in an hour. But if you built up to three or 4 million, it was a illiquid. So he was buying all the illiquid ones and that’s what Heartland was doing. So when I look back at every single general dentist that had a dental office doing three to $5 million a year, they all had the same strategy and that was this, which to answer your question, they graduated school and went to a small town that had 10 dentists. And every five years, this guy would retire. In most towns, there’s the old guy who would just sell to some new young guy with a lot of energy, and the competition stayed vicious. And these guys would say, “Well, I’m going to buy out the old man’s practice and I’m going to have him rule all this practice, and then I’m going to tell him, ‘Well, you say you’re going to retire, but if you want to stay a day or two a week,'” and they always do.

Howard Farran (23:23):

And so what they did is when they graduated school, they were the 10th dentist in their town. Five years later, there was only nine and then eight and then seven. And now they’re 65 and there’s only four dental offices in the town. But one office has five dentists and they’re doing $5 million a year. And you know what, that was the exact same strategy that Thomas Watson Jr. did of IBM. And the reason he became big is he inherited that from his dad. He drank his way through college and swears he didn’t learn a damn thing and doesn’t even know why got the degree.

Howard Farran (24:01):

But he only notice one thing. They grew up in this small town and they were three hardware stores in this little small town. And he’d go to one lie and belong, and he’d got another one lie and belong. So he’d go to this other one. One and they had two employees and he got there faster. And one day he realized there’s three locations, but there’s just four salesmen. And each salesman has a quarter of the market. So it’s not based on locations, it’s based on salesmen and nobody knows what they’re supposed to buy to fix this, what nuts to bolts they got now. And he goes, “No one knows software.”

Howard Farran (24:38):

So when he took over IBM he told his head scientist, “Look, I’m going to stay out of your way. I don’t know what you’re doing. I don’t even care. Just go to your thing. I’m going to focus on sales.” And he started with IBM sales div. And everyone six weeks, he got 20 new salesmen, and they got him a three-piece suit and a briefcase and went through the whole sales pitch. And he once said, “If 70% of all the computer salesmen in the world worked for IBM, we will have 70% of the market,” and it came true. And they asked him. They said, “Well, why didn’t you go for 80, 90 or 100?” He goes, “Well, then I knew the government would have to step in and they would grate me up. So I just thought that was about the most I can get away with.” And it’s just absolutely true.

Howard Farran (25:19):

So we only know this about a practice. Why would you go in and start a new supply when you can buy out an existing supply? In fact, let me tell you this. There’s 168 hours in a week and the average dental office is open 32 hours a week, which is 19% a week. So if you had a uber dental op where a patient said, “I want to make an appointment,” and all these other dentists uber had dental offices they can rent… 80% of the dental operatory capacity is never being used. So it’s just insane to go build another dental office when every dental office in America is not being used four out of every five hours a day.

Howard Farran (26:11):

As far as competition with the DSOs, every major DSO guy is already on the record saying, “I’m not going to the rural,” because they tried that and by the time the kids get out of dental school, they’re at the prime time to attract a mate to mix gametes, and they have better odds in the city of Phoenix than they do two hours out in the middle of nowhere in Eloy, Arizona.

Howard Farran (26:35):

So by the time they’re well put in the rule, on any given day, 10% of the officers didn’t even have a doc in the box. So you know there’s no DSOs rural. And so that’s a haven. So I would say go to the rural. And by the time you’re two hours away from where a Southwest Airlines plane takes off, they drop insurance. You’re one of only three guys in a town of 3000 and they sell you a ticket. And you could only sell if [inaudible 00:27:09]. Well, how much is a root canal? $1000. How much crown? $1000. How much partial? $1000. How much denture? $1000. Everything’s rounded off to $1000, and they all have about 40% overhead because in a small town, labor, a 15 hour dollar a job or Walmart’s considered a bank and you have to pay a hygienist $50 an hour in San Francisco.

Howard Farran (27:30):

So I would say get two hours away from the airport, go rural, buy out an old guy instead of building more capacity. And if you’re a helluva programmer, you ought to make a Uber dental lab so that patients can meet these young dentists out of school in any office they want you. They could be working for a DSO who won’t let them do that, but on their day off, they could be meeting a dentist… Like my dental office when it’s closed. It’s closed every day at 7:00 PM. It’s closed Saturday and Sunday. So I know that was a long-winded answer to a very short question.

Chris Pistorius (28:03):

No, that was awesome. That was great. We’re going to wrap up here in a minute, but to any of those that are out there, I can’t imagine there’s many that don’t know about Dentaltown. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what people get out of Dentaltown, how it works and why somebody should pay attention to Dentaltown.

Howard Farran (28:21):

First of all, all your scientific institutions like NASA, the jet propulsion laboratory, I’ve been to many of them, they only use the message board format. And social media that people are used to is called LIFO, last in, first out. And it’s just almost entertainment. But on a message board format, all 6 million posts made on Dentaltown are still there. They’re archived, they’re searchable. When we look at all the studies on Facebook and Twitter, it’s scientifically factual that everybody bulkinizes. So if I’m pro dental insurance, and you get on there and say, “Don’t take it,” they’ll just unfriend you. So everybody’s in this hardened position.

Howard Farran (29:06):

But when you go to Dentaltown, you can’t unfriend someone, you can’t delete someone. So a lot of people are very in a bubble, and they believe something like say that implants cause gum disease, you got to do ceramic and on their Facebook page they’re a guru. No, on Dentaltown, people just start popping holes in their bubble, and they either are on the scientists and want these observations to grow with, or they’re emotional and they run from it. So I just think it’s a treasure.

Howard Farran (29:41):

And the thing is on Facebook, I know who you are, but on Dentaltown, I know who you are registered, but you don’t want to call yourself Smiley Tooth… There has to be a place for a stupid question, like a specialist. An endodontist can’t get on Facebook and say, “Here’s a case of mine that failed. Does anybody know what went wrong?” All these competitors would be sending that to everybody. But he could on Dentaltown. So I want a place where, no, you’re not going to go and put yourself in some bubble. And you’re still a doctor. And you have to be aware that there’s people that think other thoughts. And so I think it’s a beautiful thing.

Howard Farran (30:22):

As far as the business on Dentaltown, I have my 30 day dental MBA. It’s free on Dentaltown. It’s also on YouTube. It’s also on iTunes. And my gosh, when I went to MBA school, I took my laptop, took notes just towards my dental practice. And then I came out, I ran it out the notes, it was 30 hours long. I call it Dr. Farran’s 30 day dental MBA. It still gets 1000 downloads a month just on iTunes. The views on YouTube are insane, but that’s what’s neat about the internet and Dentaltown. All the information you need to do a root canal or run a business is zero cost. You just need your time.

Howard Farran (31:06):

When I was a little kid, all that information was hidden in expensive universities that only rich kids went to, and you couldn’t do that in a poor town or a poor country. And now it’s all there on the internet at zero cost. So if you really want to work like no dentist has for a decade, you can still live like no dentist has for three decades.

Howard Farran (31:29):

So if you just want to get out there and work your butt off and hustle and do what everybody knows what to do, it’s all spelled out on my 30 day dental MBA. It’s all on Dentaltown. The opportunity is sitting right there, but it’s not going to be delivered to you. It’s not going to be easy. You’re going to have to do it the faster way, which is get out of dental school and work your ass off for a decade.

Howard Farran (31:54):

But here’s my last piece of advice regarding you and me. Number one, this isn’t a paid endorsement. He didn’t give me any money. But if he ever does come out and visit his grandma in Phoenix, you got to invite me. One beer, that’s all. That’s all I was asking.

Howard Farran (32:10):

But the deal is, dude, stay humble, stay in your real house. You think you’re an expert in everything and you’re not. And my gosh, you think you know everything about marketing, but you probably don’t. And I’m telling you that the DSOs, I’ve met their marketing agents and it’s a department. It’s five, six, seven, eight people, and they are not kidding around. So then for you to sit down as a dentist say, “Yeah, anybody can be an excellent marketer and understand Google and Facebook and all,” no, no, no. You need someone that specializes, all they do… You know an orthodontist can do Invisalign better than you. And you know that there’s a marketing guy that can do marketing better than you.

Howard Farran (32:55):

So stay humble, stay in your real house. I’m still always meeting dentists that run into a disaster with little things like their lease. There’s a dentist in Phoenix and on his lease, it was a triple net lease and three doors down, it flooded the whole room. Long story short, he was the only tenant in a 10,000 square foot building who had the money to pay for it. The yoga studio, everybody else just walked out on their lease and said, “Call it a bankruptcy.” So you need a lawyer before you sign a real estate lease. You might meet a guy who’s spent a decade in dental marketing before you start your ad campaign.

Chris Pistorius (33:37):

Yeah. I think that’s great advice.

Howard Farran (33:41):

Stay humble in your real house.

Chris Pistorius (33:44):

I really appreciate this. And if you don’t mind, I know you’re a busy guy, but maybe in a few months we can hook back up and tackle a couple more subjects if that’s cool with you.

Howard Farran (33:52):

Any time you want, man. It’d be a blast. I can talk about dentistry until the cows come home. I just love it.

Chris Pistorius (33:58):

That’s great, man. Well, Howard, thanks again. And thanks to everybody out there watching today. I know you got some great information out of this. Be sure to join us next week for another great episode of the Dental Marketing podcast.