“So a guy walks into a dental office…” By all accounts, he’s a nice gentleman and after examining his mouth and radiographs you identify many trouble areas. You are both a thorough and caring dentist, so you take the time to explain to the man why 5 teeth need to be extracted, 10 require fillings, and 4 could be saved with endo and crowns.
You explain the required treatment in detail, and all this while the man is engaged, nodding, and receptive. He knew this was coming. In fact, he had put off his dental visit for years because let’s be honest, he wasn’t quite ready to hear the bad news he knew would be his fate. But he’s here now and he’s ready to refocus and take control of his oral health. He has to get back to work today but he’s taking Monday off next week to get as much work done as possible.
He also purchases the shiny new electric toothbrush as he heads to the front, schedules half of his deep cleaning, and the start of his treatment for the first thing Monday morning.
Monday comes with a voicemail left at 5:00 am from your patient stating he’s been called into work and can’t make the appointment today. But no worries, he’ll call back in the afternoon to reschedule.
Seven months pass with no return visit from the man until you see him on your schedule for an emergency exam one Thursday afternoon. He comes in with pain in his mouth and you see that his oral health has gotten much worse. He hasn’t been brushing and flossing as you had discussed at his last visit. The shiny new electric toothbrush helped your bottom line but it didn’t help the man because it’s still in the box. And now your conversation involves dentures.
Do you know this man? Have you seen him in your office?
Can I tell you a secret?
This man could be YOU if you struggle to make marketing a top priority in your practice.
You may have had a great first meeting with your Account Manager, planned with them exactly what to do, and made a 4-figure investment, but if you don’t make marketing a priority you are holding your business back.
We can educate our patients to be better brushers and flossers but we can’t create habits for them. The same is true for you. Marketing is not a ‘set it and forget it’ tool. Successful marketing requires iteration, fresh ideas, and maybe more time than you’ve initially budgeted.
But don’t worry, I’ve got your back. With Whiteboard Marketing’s help, we grew our practice by over 300% in 4 years (and we’re still going). We’ve made a metric ton of mistakes over the years, but here are some of what’s helped us crush it since 2017.
7 Ways To Help Your Account Manager Help YOU!
1—Answer Your Emails
I don’t know about your practice, but for us, new patients are the gasoline that fuels production growth. And we work HARD to get each and every new patient to reach out, convert, and show up for their appointments.
Your Account Manager has the same goal. Remember, you are their customer. When you’re happy, so are they.
So use that to your advantage. Make a point to devote time each month to meet with your ally, whether virtually or in person. Take notes and follow up on the plans you’ve made together.
Running your own business pulls you in so many different directions and can put constraints on your free time. However, by regularly meeting with your Account Manager, they are staying current with what you’re experiencing in the office. Patient volume, new patient trends, and things you’d like to see more of in the office are all recommended topics for your regular meetings.
But if you’re simply counting on your marketing agency to do all the work in the background, you’re losing. Sure, they’ll be working for you, but they may not be as aligned with your current goals because they can’t read your mind.
Send ‘em an email, let them do the heavy lifting, then get back to that crown prep in room seven.
2—Do Your Own Research
Bring ideas to your regular meetings. Did you hear a podcast that mentioned some marketing tactic you’re not using or see a competitor offering a new promotion? Keep a list of ideas that pop in your head and share it with your Account Manager.
This helps in two ways:
First, your Account Manager can start to learn more about how you think of marketing so they can craft the bread and butter tactics for your brand’s unique feel.
Second, your Account Manager can use their experience and resources to help your ideas perform better. For example, a stale post advertising in-office whitening will take up space on your Facebook page, sure. But a reel on your Instagram stories done in a certain way will get more interactions.
3—Incentivize Your Staff
How serious do you want to get with marketing ? We’ve gone as far as adding marketing roles into our team’s job descriptions. Our hygiene supervisor manages our Canva image creations, a dental assistant runs the business Instagram, and another runs Facebook.
I’ll have each of these folks (and more) pop into meetings with our Account Manager, Abbey, to make sure all of our efforts are aligned.
But these roles can’t just be written on a piece of paper and ignored. Each of these additional roles are discussed during regular employee reviews, and compensation and benefits are adjusted based on them. When your people see value in marketing efforts in the form of more money in their pockets, they tend to perform better in their roles.
4—See Your Marketing Dollars as an Investment Rather Than an Expense
I put off working with a marketing agency for at least 6 months because “We didn’t have the income to justify the expense.” It took me about a year to realize that marketing shouldn’t be classified as an expense—it is truly an investment.
Other marketing agencies would tell me not to focus on the amount spent but to see what the returns could be. Sean White, Whiteboard Marketing’s CEO, even tried to help me see my potential marketing spend through a more comprehensive lens, but I didn’t understand it yet.
We were just starting our business and I wanted marketing help on a budget. We literally didn’t have $1,000, let alone more, to spend. So we compromised. I kept many of our marketing tasks in-house at first and let Whiteboard Marketing handle what I thought was most pressing that I didn’t have the capacity or knowledge to do on my own.
Our efforts were aligned and constantly tweaked (see #1 above) and after about 6 months, it all started coming together. More new patients walking through the door allowed for a greater marketing budget which brought even more new patients through the door.
In the 15 months leading up to COVID, we saw an average of 125 new patients monthly. That was an incomprehensible return on investment (ROI) for those first few hundred dollars we could scrape together in the early days.
5—Share Feedback with Your Account Manager
“This Google PPC campaign isn’t working. What else can we do?” I knew that Abbey could see the data as well, but someone had to say it.
Lucky for me she was a step ahead and already had a plan of attack in mind for our pivot.
We’ve taken new photos, redesigned ads, rewritten taglines, and completely punted on campaigns for one reason or another. When something doesn’t fit your brand or isn’t working, you have to provide that feedback so that positive changes can be made.
The thing that I love is that when my ideas aren’t positive, Abbey will find a way to let me know that too. She’s brought leaders of the Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-Per-Click (PPC), and web team into our meetings to give me justification why a certain change or course of action is recommended. In fact, some of our best ideas have come from an initial disagreement.
6—Be Consistent With Your Marketing Efforts
I talk about changes and tweaks a lot (in this article and otherwise), but successful marketing takes both time and consistency.
Consistent marketing can be threatened by many factors. Here are two of the more common ones I’ve seen:
- Economic downturn (like a little global pandemic and the largest recession in modern history…no big deal)
- A lack of time or resources to devote (we’ll talk more about this below)
For now, let’s focus on tight financial times. At the time of this writing, Meta, Facebook’s parent company and the sixth biggest company in the world (as of January 2022), had recently laid off over 11,000 (13%) employees. Company CEO Mark Zuckerberg cited in a letter to the company, “…the macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and ads signal loss have caused our revenue to be much lower than I’d expected…”
When times get tough, fight the urge to reduce your marketing spend.
During difficult financial times, many businesses can quickly cut marketing expenses like the ad revenue mentioned above. But I, and the Harvard Business Review, would caution that knee-jerk reaction. “[Reducing your marketing spend]…is today’s equivalent of bleeding–an old-fashioned but once widespread treatment that actually reduces the patient’s ability to fight disease.”
As we’ve discussed above, effective marketing helps fuel growth–but one thing we haven’t discussed is that a service like SEO requires consistent effort to be impactful. When you remove the SEO efforts, you can’t just turn them right back on. It can take months to achieve your previous level of success.
7—When You Don’t Have the Time, Delegate and Follow Up
Trust me, I get it. Running a business is hard. On top of that, a solo practicing dentist is playing both the role of team coach and superstar, and that is not a long-term sustainable plan.
If you are overextended at work, it may be time to delegate these marketing responsibilities to a key employee, like the office manager who is invested in the success of your business.
However, in order to do this successfully, you hold the responsibility of making sure that individual comprehensively understands your goals and philosophy, and that you follow up on their progress over time.
If done well, new perspectives can breed better marketing.
How do I know my marketing efforts are working?
Marketing is less an achievable goal and more an ongoing practice. You’ll encounter hurdles, waste money on things that don’t work, and experience barren times. However, if your marketing plan is holistic, well-planned, and consistently executed, your practice will realize growth.
A great approach (that Abbey constantly reinforces) is to define and measure your progress. First, determine the metrics that matter most. For us, the Holy Grails are new patient visits and 5-star reviews, but we can take it a step further. We want to answer the question of which marketing avenues produce the best results. For example, Facebook may be great for spreading the word while text and email can tend to yield more positive reviews.
For more details on defining and tracking the metrics that matter most to your practice, check out this article published previously on the Whiteboard Marketing blog: Here’s Why You Need to Track Your Dental Marketing Success
The only thing left to do now is to put that marketing plan into action!
Need Help Building and Executing Your Marketing Plan?
At Whiteboard Marketing, we specialize exclusively in digital dental marketing solutions for dentists across the nation. No matter what stage you’re in as a practice, we can meet you where you are and take you where you want to go by growing both your patient base and practice revenue. Schedule a consultation call with our team to learn more today.
Written by Mike Monfredi, CEO of Monfredi Family Dental and active member of the Whiteboard Marketing Market Advisory Council (MAC). A client since 2017, Monfredi Family Dental has grown by 300% since partnering with our agency.