There are a lot of reasons why we get hired on to become a practice’s dental marketing team. Sometimes it is because they are brand new, sometimes they just added an associate, sometimes they just have been flat for a while and need a boost. But sometimes… it is because the dentist has had a great career but is thinking of retiring soon. They want to boost their practice numbers in order to increase their sale valuation. That was the case with Dr. James Heller and we are going to tell you how we went about that.
When you are trying to boost practice numbers for the purpose of a sale, some of the rules change a bit.
You can be a little more flexible with the patients you are targeting and the type of dentistry you do. After all, you won’t be doing this for much longer. At the same time, it is still important to make the entire P&L work and you can’t “throw money away” when your books are about to be included in a due diligence phase.
Dr. Heller had never done any active marketing before.
He had built his practice entirely based on word of mouth referrals. His patient base was loyal but was getting older. After doing dentures or implants, they weren’t coming back as often anymore. In addition to that, when you combined the fact that his website was really dated and you couldn’t find any new content or update anywhere about his practice, a lot of people often wondered if he was accepting new patients. We knew right away that, if we were going to be able to grow his practice quickly, we were going to need a very effective marketing plan that everyone was onboard with. We needed to move quickly.
Having The Right Team Around You Goes A Long Way
Teamwork makes the dream work, and the Jim Heller DMD practice was a definitely a team win. In order to accomplish the goals of growing the practice 25% in the next 18 months, it wasn’t just a matter of adding some marketing. We needed the entire practice to perform as a well oiled machine in order to maximize the efforts and make sure that from the top of the funnel all the way to the dental chair, things were happening as they should. Dr. Heller had financial support from Skytale Group, Hygiene consulting from Rachel Wall, a branding expert (and loving son) Matt Heller and, of course, the Pain-Free Dental Marketing team. Together, we were unstoppable.
High Communication Is key If You Want To Achieve High Goals
In order to keep everyone on the same page, we would meet bi-weekly, round-robin style, with each ‘department’ leading their respective meetings. We would talk about marketing campaigns, how calls were being answered, how effective we were being at re-appointing and how his P&L was looking. If we needed to boost spend for the month, the financial team would tell us how much we could afford. When it was time to move to “two-column” dentistry, everyone was on the same page around what that meant, and how each “department” would need to adjust to make that happen.
We Faced the Challenges Head On
Research shows that on average, unless they have more information, people tend to look for a dentist that is +/- 10 years of their own age. With females aged 35-50 making the primary decisions for dental, marketing an older dentist had its challenges. We had to brand the doctor in a way that created an appealing persona for a broader and younger audience. We had to find ways to highlight his expertise, his years of training, and the fact that he took way more CE than he needed too. It was critical that we positioned Dr. Heller in a young and vibrant way. We did that via the photography we choose and who we choose to put around him. The videos we made of him had extra attention paid to in terms of lighting and location. And even how his office was renovated – his on Matt made sure it had a modern look and feel to it that shows Dr. Heller has not been “left behind with the times”.
We Found the Right Approach
As a team, we decided on a two-pronged approach: The first “prong”? Make him more family-friendly and appealing to a younger audience. The second? Promote his expertise in implants to an aging population. The first prong would increase his new patient numbers and the second one would boost his production numbers.
When it came to targeting the younger demographics, we worked with Matt to develop the new site. The importance of the brand and it’s attractiveness to that younger demographic was key. We made sure all the supporting creative efforts matched the polished brand perfectly. The new website became the foundation of all our future marketing efforts.
What happened? The brand’s aesthetic makeover coupled with our technical SEO expertise, dramatically increased website visits.
We Didn’t Stop There
In continuing efforts to meet our goals, we leveraged Google Adwords (PPC), Yelp Advertising along with original content on this Facebook and Instagram ads in order to tell his story. This gave us a long digital reach, and an upper hand on his competition since most of them were using stock and generic content. This led to an almost immediate increase in the number of younger families that called and scheduled appointments with Dr. Heller.
When it came to promoting dental implants, we had another tailored plan for the doctor. We created custom content to communicate his immense expertise in the field to the right audience. We then utilized our detailed keyword bidding strategy for implants and related the relevant terms to drive traffic to an aesthetically-enhanced, easy-to-navigate, to-the-point landing page. That new landing page also gave us the ability to A/B test the traffic and implement our Champion Challenger Marketing Model until we found exactly what was converting the most.
The Bottom Line Is What Counts
For roughly 4% of monthly collections on marketing, the team increased the practice’s production by 57% over three years and doubled new patients over the same time period.
- The green bar represents when we started the engagement.
- The black line on the graph represents his Production numbers.
- The blue bars represent the New Patient numbers
Keep in mind; We aren’t “magic makers” or have any “Google fairy dust”. Dentistry still has seasonality and his office still had some slow months thrown in here and there. But overall, this practice grew steadily as a result of disciplined marketing efforts and a coordinated, holistic approach that everyone was on board with.
An Interesting And Unexpected Side Effect
One interested side-effect of growing his practice like this was that Dr. Heller loved this journey so much he decided not to sell! With his practice buzzing about, he found a new energy and passion for dentistry and decided to hold off a few more years before retiring.
At this point, you may be thinking…
“I can do this on my own”
Yes, you can, but you won’t. Not because you are not capable of, but because you don’t have time. We do. And even if you did have some spare time, your focus should be on training and growing as a dentist, not a marketer. Your passion is dentistry, not marketing.
If you want to talk to Dr. Heller about his experiences with us, please give his office a call.
And when you are ready to have us do for you what we do for him, give us a call at 650-835-1747.