Launching Zoom to Growth!

With confidence growing in the dental sector, evidenced by the number of practices increasing their marketing investment, associates currently working in corporates planning to launch a ‘squat’ and practice memberships continuing to grow – all supported by the continued strong demand for aesthetic dentistry – we have developed a new service to ensure practice owners and small groups invest wisely as we begin to move out of ‘lockdown’.

We’re offering a 1:1 Growth Clinic – ‘Zoom to Growth’ – where dental owners can raise issues and talk about challenges they’re facing at their practice(s). So whether it’s lead generation – acquiring more high-value patients (Dental Implants, Smile Makeovers, Invisalign or Lingual Braces), launching a new treatment, or increasing referrals, I can provide advice or be a ‘sounding board’, potentially improving return from any marketing investment and guiding practices to the most cost effective marketing activities in their catchment area.

With more ‘non essential’ businesses opening up shortly, competition for consumer £££ will intensify and this includes aesthetic dentistry, part of discretionary spend.  So planning now and scheduling marketing campaigns – whether emailing your patient list, advertising on Facebook & Instagram, Pay Per Lead or local PR – is even more important now.

‘Zoom to Growth’ clinics are available every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon (2pm, 3pm, 4pm). They are 30 minute sessions, and are held 1:1 via Zoom (or phone if preferred).

Get in touch with Steve Davey here to find out more: https://bit.ly/3anz6xr

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The Advanced Way of Generating Quality Implant Leads

Lead generation for Implant and Invisalign patients is not a new thing. It typically involves the use of Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram and email to generate enquiries. Once provided to the dental practice, it is left to them to ‘convert’ that lead into a consultation. Success depends on three main factors; firstly, the quality of the lead, that is, how serious the enquirer is about treatment, their demographic, their state on mind (how their dental situation is affecting their life) and their expectations of price and value. Secondly, the skills, knowledge, resilience and availability of the Treatment Coordinator (or other person following up the lead). After all, for a ‘considered purchase’ like dental implants or an orthodontic treatment, some people will take their time and will need some reassurance. Thirdly, having a lead nurturing system will maximise the Return on Investment, ideally to include some automation so some enquiries don’t fall through the cracks.

Many digital agencies are good at generating leads but the quality is often lacking, which means conversion rates are very low and practice owners get frustrated. A high number of unqualified, poor quality leads also drains practice resource and the Treatment Coordinator making the calls, emails, texts and whatsapp messages gets demotivated.

Our approach is to focus on quality as well as quantity. Providing support across all 3 factors (above) ensures a ROI that outperforms the industry average, with conversion rates (new patients ‘in the chair’) ranging from 10 – 40%, resulting in happy clients. Here’s a new testimonial just in:

“I have been very happy with the Pay Per Lead service from Smile Marketing.  We received 10 cases in a very short period with a good conversion rate for treatment. I would highly recommend the service” Gary Dorman – Principal, Hartley Dental

Choosing the right Google Ads partner

Most weeks, if not days, we are offered PPC support for our business, so for dental practices who find marketing an unknown quantity and certainly not used to procuring marketing services, it’s not surprising that it can be very confusing.  

Asking the right questions is a good starting point. For example:
– What return can I expect from my investment; that is; how many high quality leads (and by this you mean people who have been qualified as being ‘in the market’ for a treatment) can I expect?
– Can a defined catchment area be set for my leads? This will vary between practices (city, region, town, rural, coastal….)?
– Can I focus on specific treatments such as Dental Implants?
– Is there a monthly management fee? If so, what does this include?
– Is there an advertising budget on top? If so, what am I likely to be paying per click and per month?
– Will I be given guidance on how best to convert the leads in a follow up call?   

You may also want to ask them if they have any experience in the dental sector because, as with all sectors, there are nuances to take account of and specific tactics that increase response.  

If in any doubt, we can advise on your best option or you may simply want to sign up for Smile Pay Per Lead which means you haven’t got to worry about all the set-up, management fees and ad budgets. You simply pay for the high quality leads we generate from selected online channels including Google Ads.  

For a chat about how many leads can be generated in your area, call Steve on 07974 748550 or Trevor on 07939 543642.  

Must Do Internal Marketing for 2021

In 2021, these are the initiatives every practice should be doing to future proof its business.

  • A Membership Plan to build recurring income – ideally a practice-branded one so you are adding equity value to YOUR brand, not a plan provider’s brand
  • Video consultations and additional online accessibility for patients – extra engagement options before patients commit
  • Even more regular contact with your patients – protect your biggest asset, engendering loyalty is paramount
  • Specific events to secure high value cases such as implants and ortho – schedule in some large cases to more than offset revenue loss from fallow periods
  • Scrutinise the patient experience to reveal the “extra 5%” – get the whole team involved
  • Reactivation of lapsed patients – there is always £££ hidden in a patient list

For an internal marketing audit, call Steve on 07974 748550.

21 Practice Growth Nuggets for 2021

Almost to the day, I’ve been working in the dental & healthcare sectors for 21 years now, so to mark this and with 2021 in mind, I’ve put together 21 top tips or pieces of insight to share.

  1. Having your “ideal patient” in mind is a vital part of your Marketing Strategy. Knowing (in detail) who you want at your practice helps to frame your practice proposition, tactics, media selection, creative approach and messaging.
  2. How many practices do not have a Business Plan? Lots. Having a roadmap to growth, acquisition or exit doesn’t need to be a long, complicated process but those with a plan seem to do better financially.
  3. First impressions count big time. From updating ‘tired looking’ signage to ensuring any litter outside is picked up at least once a day (often more often in cities), the most important impression is the patient welcome, what is said as part of the greeting and how it is conveyed (an engaging tone of voice). These make a huge difference.
  4. Build your practice brand (and brand equity) with your own membership plan, not someone else’s. Privilege Plan allow practices to use their own brand and I recommend having an initial chat with Lesley Bailey.
  5. A motivated team is as obvious to patients just as an unhappy one is. I’ve visited hundreds of practices and can ‘detect’ the atmosphere within a few moments after walking in. Is it a happy team? Are square pegs in round holes? Are there training needs? Ask your patients for feedback regularly because understanding where you need to improve is gold dust.
  6. Many owners find it difficult to create USPs for their practices. “What do we offer that is truly unique and what’s the proof to back it up?”. A closer look at your services can help to reveal a USP. For example, do you have any unique clinical skills? (such as laser dentistry), is there anything different about your patient experience? (e.g. concierge service for elderly patients); is there a convenient tool used for patient consultations? (e.g. Smile Mate).
  7. I prefer ‘patient experience’ to ‘patient journey’ as ‘journey’ suggests there’s a natural end or destination whereas ‘experience’ means the communication never stops. Aftercare and keeping in touch with patients are part of the experience. Document, review and refine each step before you invest anything in patient acquisition.
  8. Ensure practice investment focuses on the whole patient experience, not just the surgeries. Patients won’t notice the difference between a £15k dental chair unit and a £30k unit, but they will notice a scruffy or messy patient waiting area, a reception desk design that creates a perceived barrier, stained carpets or flooring, out-of-date magazines, poor WiFi and no water dispenser.
  9. Don’t be afraid to price your treatments in line with the skills, experience and service you provide. Review your price list and charge a premium if your patient experience is exceptional. Remember, some people buy because it is more expensive.
  10. The only metrics that really count in patient acquisition are the cost per quality lead and the cost per new patient or agreed treatment plan. Everything else is vanity, just as ‘likes’ on Facebook.
  11. Lead conversion always improves when there is a dedicated, knowledgeable Treatment Coordinator who enjoys calling prospective patients, follows up promptly and is tenacious. ‘Consultative sales’ skills are a given. The cost of a TC pays back quickly, and then some!
  12. Radio advertising can be very effective for launching a practice or promoting a high value treatment. Yes, there’s ‘wastage’ because targeting isn’t precise but you can reach a lot of people very quickly and it increases response from other media e.g. Facebook ads when running at the same time.
  13. The clamour to ‘get good’ on social media is similar to the rush to get a website 20 odd years ago, often without the initial thinking as to ‘why?’. If time is precious, focus on one or two channels, the obvious ones being Facebook and Insta because of their reach and popularity but also because they can be easily scheduled together on tools like Later.
  14. ‘Mystery shopping’ – this is important and I make a point of personally walking into client’s competitors to get first impressions. Take this scenario. I enquire about registering with the practice and ask for some information to take away. The ‘welcome’ I receive ranges from the receptionist/PM going out of their way to engage in conversation and answer my questions to another treating me like an irritant and telling me all the information is on the website whilst handing me a price list! ‘Walk-ins’ are often a significant % of new patient enquiries and shouldn’t be overlooked.
  15. Social responsibility includes thinking and acting on ways to engage with and help people who may have conditions that make it more difficult to visit the dentist. Ensure the team is prepared and trained for patients who may be suffering from dementia, a physical disability or needle phobia or may be autistic, hard of hearing or visually impaired.
  16. TV advertising improves online conversion – SKY Adsmart can be targeted to household level and is proven to increase PPC conversion. With the brand and practice in full view, it’s not surprising.
  17. ‘No brainer’ internal marketing includes an A board, prominent display of key treatments on your frontage and strategically positioned posters within the practice, especially your membership plan. Don’t forget the surgeries and toilets where you have a ‘captive audience’.
  18. Avoid putting all media eggs in one basket. Some practices have stopped all off-line marketing and this misses key opportunities. Local village A5 magazines have had a resurgence in the last couple of years and are a good source of high value patients and advertising is as ‘cheap as chips’. You’ll get free editorial too!
  19. Media comparison – a good way of checking value for money is to look at Cost per 000, that is the cost per 1000 target patients you reach with your ad. You may think advertising on the London Tube is expensive. It is, but the cost/000 was very low and a campaign worked a treat for a Harley St practice recruiting new implant cases.
  20. A large number of dental websites look the same. Aim to add ‘personality’ with bespoke copywriting that conveys what is fantastic and different about your practice. Bespoke photos are better than library images, whenever possible.
  21. There are always unique local opportunities in all areas– bringing in a £100k+ ROI from a £250 annual investment in a 1 metre ad board (promoting implants) on a ferry is one of the best examples I can cite

The alternative to a marketing budget

For some dental practices, having a marketing budget can be too limiting. Whilst business planning and close financial control are vital, dispensing with the idea of a fixed marketing budget represents a fundamental change of thinking. Firstly, it starts with seeing marketing as an investment, not a cost. That’s a mindset change.

So, what is the alternative to setting a fixed marketing budget each year?  

Start by calculating the average value of an “ideal patient”. That may be a multiple implant patient or it may be a new Invisalign patient. Then it’s simply a case of working out, based on the margin you need to achieve, what you can afford to spend to acquire each new patient, by treatment type.  

Smile PayPerLead is a service that enables dental owners to allocate a fixed amount of money each month that guarantees the new leads and cases they require to grow their businesses.   So for example, in planning 2021, instead of setting an annual marketing budget, principals can plan how many new cases they want and this translates into how many quality leads they need each month (at a fixed price for each) and how many need to turn into fee paying patients, to achieve the target .

For alternative ways to look at marketing planning and filling surgeries with “ideal patients”, contact us.

Smile PayPerLead – “A First” in Dental Marketing!

Ideal for high value treatments such as Dental Implants, All-on-4, invisible braces, full mouth restorations and smile makeovers, Smile PayPerLead is an alternative to the traditional way businesses pay for Google Ads; that is, a monthly management fee plus a daily clicks budget.

The service is very straight forward. Dental practices pay for high quality leads and simply request how many leads they would like per week or month.

So, if an implantologist is looking to increase their number of cases, we find patients who are searching for an implant practitioner and provide all the details for the practice to follow up, safe in the knowledge that it is a ‘hot prospect’, close to the practice (you set the distance) and ready to talk about an initial implant consultation – on the phone, on a video call or in person. 

If a practice is looking for a GUARANTEED 20 or 30 Implants EVERY month, it’s definitely worth an initial conversation.

Like to know more? Contact us or call Steve Davey or Trevor Mallon on 07974 748550.

FREE Smile Advice Helpline – Still Open

At a difficult time for dental practices we thought we could provide extra help with our FREE Smile Advice Helpline. So, just after the ‘lockdown’, we decided to offer guidance and support at this crucial time for dentists and indeed other SMEs.

So what have we been helping with?. Here’s a flavour:

– Patient communications support to help you through the pandemic e.g. ideas, content, social posts, blogs
– Advice on the planning and preparation for when your practice can reopen
– What to avoid in these challenging times
– How to turn the current negatives into positives for the future
– A ‘sounding board’ service on ‘future proofing’ your practice

Just give me a call anytime on 07974 748550.

Do keep safe.

How much should you spend on marketing your dental practice in 2020?

How much should I be spending on my marketing?” is a question we get asked regularly. 

Obviously, it’s a very important question for every practice – whatever the size or location – and is one that vexes Principals and Practice Managers up and down the UK.

With many years of experience in the dental sector we recommend that the ideal annual marketing budget should be somewhere between 4% – 8% of your annual turnover.

The reason we give this range is that it really depends on how established your practice is, the local competition, your growth aspirations and many more factors that will be specific to your practice.

All that said, using the 4% – 8% of turnover as a guideline is a great starting point for most practices.

So, the key question is – how does your planned marketing budget for 2020 stack up?

If you need advice on setting your budget and help to create a marketing strategy and plan to ensure 2020 is a great year then why not get in touch.

At Smile we also ensure clients get the biggest return for their marketing spend.  That includes advising on the ever-changing nature of the marketing world and how to use social media, internal marketing and even TV to generate the best results for your money.

How To Win Back Lapsed Patients

Keeping in touch with your patients, whether current or lapsed, is one of the best ways to keep your occupancy levels high and appointment book full.

Sure, breakthrough thinking and new ideas are the lifeblood of really successful businesses – and dental practices are no exception. But I talk to numerous practice owners and they are so busy looking for brand new, ‘out of the box’ ideas that they miss the clear opportunities staring them in the face – the “in the box” profit opportunities.

Continue reading “How To Win Back Lapsed Patients”