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I'm Jim Du Molin, and I've spent the last thirty years teaching dentists how to build their practices and substantially increase their production and net bottom line profit. I've spoken at virtually every major dental meeting, including the ADA and California Dental Association. I'm the founder of the Master Plan Alliance and co-founder of the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation. I've worked one-on-one with over a thousand doctors and their spouses to help increase their practice production by hundreds of thousands of dollars each. But most important, I helped those doctors achieve the personal financial security that they and their families needed to live the lifestyle they deserved, educate their children at the best schools, and helped them transition in to a secure retirement.
When I first started out I really had to try to convince doctors that they needed to actively market their practices. Instead of just opening a practice and hoping it did well, they needed to put together a structured marketing strategy and back it up with a well-engineered team management system that smoothly moved each new patient lead into the doctor's chair, maximized case acceptance, and backed it all up with a solid financial arrangement. Now after thirty years my doctor's success speaks for itself, and we manage over 500 dental marketing and team training programs across the country. My doctors are doing it in every kind of practice, from solo practices to large multi-doctor multi-location group practices. From general practitioners to every kind of dental specialist. Each of these doctors are using our systems to target high-value patients in over 27 different dental categories, from full restorative dental implants to cosmetic, sedation, sleep apnea and ortho.
In a minute I'm going to share with you the one core strategy that really fuels these practices; that drives the great practices. But first I need to warn you. There is one problem. There are some dark clouds on the horizon, and I'm seeing a lot of broken dental marketing and stumbling practices. Just looking at the dental marketing that flows into my mailbox, my inbox, and the Internet, even on TV and radio I'm thinking, “You didn't really do that did you?” Then I hear about their results, and they're not going anywhere. That's a real problem, because a broken marketing system can really set you back. It's not just a onetime oops. It can really set you back months or even years. In fact, the gap between the haves and the have-nots in the dental practice world has never been greater. Those problems are all easy to avoid, and I'll get to that in a minute.
The thing is, it's not all bad news. In fact it's mostly good news. It's mostly great news, because I'm also seeing these great marketing plans that are just crushing it. That's what this video series is all about. I want you to show you what's broken so you can avoid that. It's not hard to avoid these things. You'll see in just a minute. I want to show you what's broken but more important I want to show you what's working, so that you can have the practice and life you've worked so hard for. Not just one great marketing program, but a coordinated set of campaigns. You go from one to the next, and you're continually building more momentum and results, so that you can build a great practice, so that you can build a real practice; a practice that gives you the income, the lifestyle, and the impact that you want and that you deserve.
The reality is that you are going to market. You have to market. If you're just starting out, then obviously at some point you're going to open your doors and launch your practice. If you've already got a practice you know that you need to continually innovate both your clinical offerings and your services and benefits. You are going to market. The big question is are you going to use a well-structured, well-engineered marketing strategy, or are you going to use what I call hope marketing? Hope is an interesting word. It could save your life if you're shipwrecked at sea. It's really important that you have that hope that you can hang onto something. But in a dental practice hope is an awful word. You never want to hope that your marketing does okay. I see hope marketing when someone puts all this time into a new clinical skill. They work on it, and they work on it, and then they just sort of release it with no plan to market it. They just put it out to the world. It's like the Field of Dreams: build it and they will come. That's hope marketing, and it doesn't work. In almost every case you just sort of fade away and die. That's why you need to put thought into your marketing.
You need a well-structured marketing strategy and a well-trained team to make it work. There's this other thing many doctors focus on having the perfect clinical skills, and they end up forgetting about having the perfect Patient Experience. The Real Goal is the patient experiencing the result, the function, the beauty, the smile, the self-esteem. It is the total experience of the process from the first time the patient calls your office to the final point when you hand them the mirror and you see that look of amazement and satisfaction on their face. In an upcoming video I'm going to share with you how to set your practice on auto pilot from how to generate that initial new patient call to organizing your team to deliver maximum patient satisfaction and case acceptance.
Your goal is to make each day in your practice a joy; a low stress choreographed ballet with you your team and your patients… all satisfied. You're satisfied with the clinical results and can be proud of your practice. And your patients and your team are satisfied and happy with the total experience. This is the question. Are you going to use hope marketing and start off slow and just fade away? Or are you going to use a well-structured well-engineered marketing strategy that builds momentum for you, that gives you a surge of patients, that gives you great expert positioning in your market?
When I first started working in dentistry, I came to realize that most doctors are just five additional new patients a month away from solving almost any practice problem, and in many cases personal financial problems at home. Why five additional new patients? Well on average each additional new dental patient is worth at least about $1,200 in gross production. Now before you start to question the numbers, this is on-average. That means we are working with different fee structures from rural Iowa to downtown Manhattan. But adding five more new patients a month is not going to increase your fixed expenses, your rent, your electric and gas bill or your team salaries. You are still going to have those expenses with or without the five additional new patients. It will increase your “variable expenses” lab fees, disposables… cotton balls, etc. But out of that $1,200 you should net at least an additional $1,000 to your bottom line. Five additional patients a month means $5,000 a month in your pocket times 12 months. That’s $60,000 a year. $60,000 goes a long way to sending your kids to decent schools. It can cover the cost of that new car your spouse has wanted for the last 3 years. Or perhaps it's a significant boost to that retirement program your accountant has been pressing you to fund. Of course you're not just limited to an extra $60,000. You're only limit is your lack of knowledge on how to make it happen… and let's remedy that problem right now.
This is a phone book ad. I told you I would start with what wasn't working. Well, I think with can all agree this is part of the past. But there are important lessons to be learned here. This is one of the most sophisticated Dental Phone Book Ads ever created. And it pulled in an average of 9 to 12 new patient calls a month for about $800. That's about $70 a lead. Which frankly is a great price. But that was 10 years ago. Today, except for some very specific markets, primarily retirement communities where phone book ads for Dentures and Implants are still viable, the phone book is dead. Newspapers are dead, except for small town papers that focus on local news. If you're looking for a Local newspaper ad design just update your old yellow pages ad. TV. Well I have to say that I used to grab the local cable channel for our clients whenever we could target the doctor's community. Prices were reasonable, and we would get a decent response. And patients would come into the practice and mention that they had seen the doctor on TV. Unfortunately with today's cable and satellite distribution of over 250 channels of high definition syndicated shows, news and movies, television has become totally fragmented and the ads get lost. And with the exception of small rural areas, it's hard to make an impact. Add the fact that most families now have a DVR, a Digital Video Recorder or a TIVO system. If you're like me… you just speed through the commercials to get back to the real programming. On top of that many of the under 35 age demographic are dropping the cable packages entirely in favor of direct streaming of movies and TV shows from Netflix, Amazon and Hulu off the Internet. I think we can pretty much write off TV for dental marketing. Radio is still one of my top favorite dental marketing vectors. You can still target your market by both geography and demographic. But it is facing many of the same challenges that TV is, and in some ways its future looks even worse.
Virtually every adult in North America that can afford modern dentistry is connected 24/7 by a mobile device… smart phone or tablet. Since both my IPad and IPhone have over 4,000 songs on them. And both devices automatically sync with my car stereo… and my home media system… I rarely listen to the radio. And if I want to listen to the radio… I have almost 100 channels of commercial free music and talk shows I can tune into by satellite… with “Sirius” radio. When you combine all that with Spotify, Pandora and Amazon prime's Internet music delivery… well the future of radio marketing for dentistry is not sounding too good. Radio is dying.
Direct Mail was my longtime favorite dental marketing vector. Its success is based on repeat mailings… at least five mailings at 10,000 brochures each scheduled three to five weeks apart. This means you would print and mail 50,000 pieces over a four month period. Your response rate usually starts low and builds with the repeated mailings. I've seen response rates as high as a 100 new patients. The downside is that with today's printing and postal rates it's going to cost at least $0.50 a unit in the mail. That's $5,000 a mailing times five, or $25,000 for a complete saturation mailing campaign of your target geographical market. At 100 additional new patients at a cost of $250 each, this is still an economical strategy when your net additional contribution is over $1,000 for each new patient. But your downsides have to be carefully considered. You are committed to the upfront cost $25,000 or more for the printing and mailing. Not all doctors are ready to take this level of risk. As with any direct mail campaign there are no guaranteed response rates. Your first campaign of 50,000 mailings may not cover your cost. It can be a bit disconcerting when you may have to run a second series of 5 mailings for an additional $25,000 to get a better result through more repetition. Your front desk team must be extremely well trained in new patient conversion techniques or your direct mail marketing investment will go down the drain. Where direct mail makes the most sense is when you are opening a new practice from scratch in a different geographic market with an empty scheduling book. I would definitely budget at least 4 campaigns, about $100k over the first 18 months in the new facility.
That leaves us with the Internet and an 800 lb. gorilla and two sharks. The 800 lb. gorilla is Google, and the two sharks are Yahoo and Microsoft Bing. And this is where we are all facing a whole new world, because the rules have changed in the last 12 months. And it's a toss-up of whether you are going to be crushed by the gorilla or eaten alive by the sharks. In a minute I'm going to tell you how to beat the search engines at their own game, or at least give you an unfair advantage over your local competitors. Let's start with the Gorilla. Google controls about 80% of the search traffic. This is a standard Google page result when a potential patient is searching for a sedation dentist. In our example we are going to use Augusta, GA home of the Masters Golf Tournament.
Virtually all dental searches are made up of three words: the city where the person wants to find a dentist, Augusta, the type of dentistry they want, Cosmetic, and the word “Dentist” or “Dentistry”. This is your search phrase. There are 27 different dental search categories, each made up of about 750 different ways a patient searches for the type of dentist they want. Cosmetic, Implant, Braces, Sedation, Oral Surgery, etc. Each category has about 750 different phrases people use to find a dentist. The important thing to know is that about 50% of the people who search use the top 2 search phrases in two combinations. Either the “City Name - Keyword Phrase”, or “Keyword Phrase - City Name” The vast majority of your potential new cosmetic patients are going to use one of these four search combinations to find a cosmetic dentist in your town. Many times each of these search options will generate a different set of ranking results. In a later video in this series I'll give you're the top two phrases for all 17 dental search categories, including all the specialist markets.
The second thing I want you to notice… is that there are 212,000 results to this search. When it comes to generating new patients from the search engines, reality is that if you are not ranked on the first 2 pages of Google results, you’re toast. Next are the paid ads. This is wear Google makes its money. The top one to three listing are always paid ads. Followed by the right hand column with as many ads as they can stuff in. In the center of the page are what is called the Local Pack. This is composed of 1 to 9 winners in the Google lottery of practices that have also registered with Google Places and have gotten a pin on the map. Registration for Google Places is an art form, which I strongly suggest you leave to a search engine professional. Entry into the Local Pak Listings is also based on a scientific algorithm. This algorithm uses a combination of factors including your organic search ranking and the # of positive reviews your patients have written about you at Google places. Notice that the #1 organic listing is also repeated in the Local Pak. As we move down this page we have up to ten more organic listings. If you are looking for patients from the Internet, you need to rank on the first or second page of Google. These are usually practice websites or dental directories that Google's scientific algorithm thinks best meets the search phrase. Testing has shown that the sweet spot is one of the first three Organic listings, which will get about 70% of the searchers, with the lion's share going to the #1 listing.
Every working day since I started building dental websites in 1998… I get the same question form one of my doctor's: “Why aren't my websites getting me more new patients?” The answer to that question is three fold. First you have to rank on the first two pages of Google. Otherwise no one will see your practice listing, let alone click the listing and visit your website. Second, your website has to be designed to convert the visitor to a new dental patient lead. What is a lead? A lead is someone who calls or emails your office to schedule an appointment or ask a question about your services. There are some absolutely beautiful websites out there that never ask the visitor to call for an appointment. All the beautiful designs and all the top rankings in the world are lost if your visitor isn't converted to a lead that picks up the phone or emails your dental practice. Third, the lead is just a prospect. The lead is not a patient until your front desk team converts that lead to a patient in your dental chair. And this is often where the system breaks down. Studies show that up to 50% of all new patient leads that call or email the office are lost at the front desk. And so I'm going to walk you step-by-step through the solution for this front desk problem in the third video in this series. I'll show you how to train your team to build a relationship with your new patient leads using a series of simple questions that will convert 80 even 90% of your incoming leads into patients in your chair.
Today I'm going to work with you on ranking with Google. To make this easier for you I'm going to give you a link at the end of this video so you can download a pdf file of all the major points. There are 4 steps you need to take into consideration for your current dental website or when building additional websites for additional target markets. Understand that you are making these decisions for the sole purpose of ranking your sites at the top of the search results. Everything we talk about here is designed to give Google exactly what it wants to satisfy Google's goal of delivering the best search results to the potential new patient who is searching for a dentist. Now understand right now we're focusing just on what Google wants. In my next video we are going focus on what your website visitor wants, what their experience should be to convert them to a lead calling your office to schedule an appointment. For Google your first step is to select a Search Engine Optimized domain name.
Let's use our example AugustaCosmeticDentist.com. Your optimized SEO domain name is the first thing that google looks at. If at all possible you want your domain name to match your target market… and your geography. These are the four most frequently used combinations for the cosmetic dentistry market. Don't be surprised if all of these combinations are already taken for your city and market, because I buy about 500 to 600 hundred domain names a year. I've actually developed a program that goes down a list of eighty acceptable combination checks to see if they are available and automatically buys the highest ranked one. I'll give you a set… of the top 20 combinations of CityName and MarketName in the pdf notes at the end of this video. Step 2 is to write your Home Page Meta Text. This is part of the underlying code on your website that the search engines like Google use to identify and categorize your website. And it's easily changeable on your websites by any teenager or your webmaster.
The two most important parts of your Meta Text are the title tag and description of your practice services. This information is what is displayed by the search engines in the search results. Here is an example. You'll notice that the title tag always includes the Targeted Market. For example, Root Canal or Dentures and the geographic location, your city, in this example St. Francis, Wisconsin. The domain name also repeats this. And finally we repeat it all again in the description. Our goal here is that both Google and your potential patient see exactly what they are searching for. Now let me give you an example of what the underlying code of this Meta Data looks like so you can fill in the blanks for yourself. I've highlighted in yellow the number of times I've used the geographic location terms and the unique designators for your practice. These practice designators include your practice name, senior doctor's name and your phone number. Now let's highlight in green… all the keyword phrases that Google associates directly with our sample Root Canal Treatment market.
Here is insider tip. Most people don't know there is also a whole other set of crossover keywords from different dental-related areas that Google associates with each specific market. For Root Canals these center around a set of phrases associated with payment concerns like dental patient financing and dental insurance options. I've highlighted these in blue. One of the problems I see even with the very best website designers is that while they understand basic Search Engine Optimization they don't always have the background in dentistry to recognize the associated and crossover phrases that can make the difference in whether or not you rank at the top of the search engines.
Now here's your next insider tip. There is one last Meta tag that you must add to your home page code. This is the longitude and latitude of your practice office location. It looks like this: , and it tells Google your exact location so it can rank your practice listing relative to the distance between the person who is searching for a dentist and your office. Just go to latlong.net and enter your office address to find your location by latitude and longitude. Now, once again your local teenage geek or webmaster can pop this into website homepage in about 10 seconds. Step three is where get out of the background code… and look at the home page for the next major indicator that Google uses for ranking your website.
This is the home page for the Bal Harbour Smiles Root Canal dental website… in Surfside FL. I've highlighted the header copy for the page. This is called the H1 tag. Google checks this tag be sure that the actual copy for the site matches the title tag and the page description that we detailed earlier. You'll see that in both the H1 and below that the sub-header, the H2 tag, we repeat the term Root Canal in conjunction with the city “Surfside”. As you move further down the page, there are three paragraphs of copy containing associated keyword phrases that repeat references to Root Canal. Here's a quick insider tip. In total there are about 300 words of copy on this page. Currently, I've found the sweet spot for Google is that about 4% - 6% of these words should directly reference Root Canals and associated Endodontic keyword phrases. This is yet another moving target of the Google SEO algorithm I'm constantly updating. Remember our first and only goal at this point is to rank on the first page of Google for Root Canals in Surfside, FL. If you don't rank on the first two pages, your website will never be seen. By focusing your website specifically on Root Canals, Braces, Dental Implants or Cosmetics you have exponentially increased your chances of a first page ranking.
Step 4. Now I'm going to show you a strategy that can increase your Internet dental marketing impact by five-fold. In addition to your primary city location, you can also add up to 4 more city pages and a county or parish page to your website. This alerts Google to the fact that you also offer root canal treatment in these surrounding areas. You'll see that these additional city pages look very similar to the Home Page, but with a title tag, description and H1 & H2 tag that all focus on a completely different city. But what's even more important is that all the copy on this secondary city page is totally different from the home page, and the 3 other city pages that were added for this doctor's geographic market. This doctor now has a chance of ranking towards the top of the Root Canal search engine results for 4 additional cities and his county. What's going on here is now this doctor is reaching all the people who live, work and drive past his office from these additional nearby cities. So now this adds a total of 5 more geographic marketing pages to this doctor's website giving him a five-fold increase in his Internet Marketing Footprint.
Now I know that the majority of the doctors watching this video have no idea about what all this Internet tech talk is about, and frankly if I hadn't been following all this for the last 18 years I wouldn't have a clue either. But this is the information you need to be aware of in building your Internet marketing strategy. This is the strategy that differentiates a top ranking website from the other 212,000 listings that will never be seen. That's why this doctor's website is designed to feed the Google Search Bot detailed root canal information and his primary city markets. When you click on Root Canal in the navigation bar on the left or click on the H1 tag, it takes you to a detailed page with more info on Root Canals, which in turn leads to 9 more pages about root canals. Google loves content. At this point… the Google bot is in orgasmic root canal heaven. If you want new Dental Implant, Wisdom Teeth or Denture patients, whatever your clinical skills, “best tractice” is to set up separate web sites for each of those procedures! Google doesn't care how many websites you have… just so long as they are tightly focused on different clinical skills, look different and don't use duplicate copy. Do this and you'll be in new patient heaven.
Traditionally, Google's ranking algorithm has based about 50% of your website rank on the “On-Page” factors I've just laid out for you. The remaining 50% of your site's rank is based on “off-page” factors with the lion's share of that ranking factor coming from “links” to your website from other dental oriented websites and government and educational sources. Google's logic on site linking is simple. The more inbound links you have from other sites in your market, “dentistry”, the more Google see you as an “Authority” in your target market resulting in a higher page rank.
The fifth and final step… to bringing your websites to the top of the search engines is to build a varied set of inbound links. How many inbound links you need to rank on the first 2 pages of googles will depend on your local competition. If you're located in Chicago, New York City or San Francisco… you may need well over a hundred inbound links and maybe several hundred if your practice address is located in places like Beverly Hills, Manhattan or South Beach. Suburban and rural practices are in a much better position to rank… because they are in less competitive dental markets. Generally, 25 to 50 inbound links from other reputable dental sites can move a well-designed clinically targeted site to the top pages of the search engine results.
Now let me give you the best sources for inbound links. These are all Internet Directories. They fall into three categories of quality. The first category includes links from every non-dental generic organization you've graduated from are a member of or have donated money to short of the IRS. Start with Grade School. Work your way up through college. Then check every social organization and charity you've ever been involved with. Almost all of these organizations have an online directory of current members or alumni. Don't forget any military or other .gov directories you may qualify for. The next level of link directories includes your professional dental associations. These are very good directory links. These types of organizations include every dental school or educational seminar course you've ever attended, plus all your professional association affiliations. Wikipedia.org has a reasonably comprehensive list of dental associations organized by country. Here is a link for the U.S. to get you started: The third group are online market-specific directories… cosmetic, implant, wisdom teeth, oral surgery, sedation, etc. There are literally hundreds of these commercial listing directories. I'll show you an example of one of those directories in a minute. Most charge a monthly or annual fee, including all the traditional Yellow Page phone book directories, and various health based directories.
There are three things you have to look at carefully before signing up with these services: The quality of your listings, the number of links you'll get, and the monthly or annual cost. Let's take a look at an example. This site is part of a national & local directory set that I helped design. They have been up and running on the Internet for the last 15 years. This is 1st Sedation Dentist.com. It's what we call a National Directory. It's designed to answer consumer questions about different dental sedation techniques. Your potential new patient enters their postal code. This brings up a listing of sedation dentists in or near your zip code. As you can see each practice has its own index card listing. Now, let's look for the mother lode of links to your websites. Just click the “Meet the Doctor” button. Along with a ton of content that Google loves, you'll find up to 6 or more links to your website's home page and geo targeted city pages. So with this one Directory Listing, your practice website just got at least 6 highly targeted Links back to your dental practice website. When you combine all your generic link sources, dental association links and the vast number of commercial national and local dental directories, you can easily build the necessary number of quality links you need to rank well with the search engines. Today we've covered a lot of ground. We started with the death of yellow page ads, newspaper, TV, radio and direct mail, all dead or dying.
We talked about the 800 pound gorilla and the 2 sharks, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Bing. We laid out the five keys to designing your website to rank at the top of the search engines with step-by-step instructions from how to create a SEO friendly website domain name write critical Meta text copy to increasing your Internet marketing footprint by five-fold with multiple city landing pages. And finally, we walked you through the importance of using directories for inbound links to build “authority” for top page ranking in the search engines. Frankly, that was a lot of knowledge to absorb. You can come back to this video as many times as you need to review the material. I've also put together a complete outline of this presentation in a pdf file that you can download below this video.
Now I want you to watch your email for my next video in this series. In that video I'm going to walk you through the eight key marketing elements you need to convert a website visitor into a new patient lead. A lead that calls or emails your office to schedule an appointment or ask a question about your services. I'll walk you through setting up an Internet Practice Marketing Profile based on your personal clinical skill set. Then I'll show you how to easily evaluate your competitive position for each of your clinical skills on the Internet. And even more important, which ones you can profitably target for additional high-value new patients. Using your new marketing profile I'll show you how to find and qualify for dozens of national and local dental directories that can easily add a hundred or more high-quality links back to your dental websites. Over the last 17 years I've literally trained over a 1,000 doctors and their teams face-to-face in this next set of strategies. They work day in and day out. They work… generating the production and profits you need to enjoy the lifestyle you've worked so hard for. First, right now, what I would love you to do is scroll down hit that Facebook “Like”. Hit that share button, because everyone loves to get likes. And then what I really want you to do is scroll down and leave a comment. I want to hear from you. How would a real increase in your new patient flow fit into your life? We're talking an extra 5, 6, 7 new patients a month in your schedule. How is this going to make an impact in your life? I'd love to hear how you're going to use today's strategies in your marketing to either build up your current practice or start a new practice from scratch. I'd love to hear about that. I'm going to be reading every single comment personally myself… and I'll be responding to as many as I can. Just scroll down right now… go ahead and leave a comment.