Thursday, March 8, 2012

How “social” are you? How “social” should you be?

At a dental meeting recently, I sat in on a session about “social media” ie. Facebook, Twitter, blogging, etc. The casual observer might have been lead to believe that social media would cure all marketing problems in a practice.

Contrast that to another presentation I attended for CEO’s from around the country, in which the CEO of a major multi-media company in the southwest confessed that they had invested millions in social media to promote their business, but had not been able to measure any favorable marketing results from those efforts and investment.

So who do you believe?

The reality is this:

1. The # 1 form of marketing in dentistry remains word-of-mouth. That is how people prefer to choose their dentist. Social media is a great, additional way that you can give your patients the opportunity to spread the word about you to all their social media contacts.

2. Think of social media as an add-on to your INTERNAL marketing strategy. It can harness the power of your existing patient base.

3. As always, keep asking new patients where they heard about you. From a friend? On the internet? From a friend on the internet?! Keep digging and you’ll find out more and more of where they REALLY came from.

4. Remember that social media is not a silver bullet that will solve all your marketing problems, but just one more piece of the total practice marketing equation. Make it easy for people to talk about you in any format and they will be more likely to do it!

So, be more social. It may not be everything, but it is something!

Make sure to catch the upcoming Crown Council webinar: Social Media Fact and Fiction: The do’s and do not's of social media TODAY and how to use it the RIGHT WAY to build your practice, featuring Jack Hadley from Lava7.

For registration information, call 1-877-399-8677 or e-mail

Friday, March 2, 2012

Staying Insurance Free

It is a common phone call I receive from fee-for-service practices: “Should I sign up to be a provider with XYZ Dental Insurance?”

If you are fee-for-service only, the reason you would even consider being a provider with any insurance company would be because:

1. You want to increase production or

2. You want to increase new patient flow or

3. You want to increase profits or

4. You want to do all of the above!

In every case we have addressed this question we find that other, more important questions, have not been asked. Questions like:

1. What is our current marketing plan and the return we are getting on our best marketing sources? What would happen if we increased our marketing budget in those areas? Would it increase the new patient flow?

2. What is our “calls to scheduled new patients ratio?” Unless it is at or above 130%, there are missed new patient opportunities.

3. What is our treatment plan to scheduled appointment ratio? Are we really capitalizing on every case acceptance opportunity?

4. What is our external marketing internet strategy? How many internet leads do we get a month and how many are we converting them into schedule appointments?

5. What is our internal marketing social media strategy? To what degree are we giving our existing patients the opportunity to "talk" about us on-line?

6. What is our community marketing strategy and how many community impressions are we making throughout the year?

7. What percentage of our total practice production are we spending on marketing? A successful fee-for-service practice may need to spend up to 10% on marketing while a PPO practice may spend 2 to 4%.

8. What other fee-for-service treatments could we add to our practice that would add revenue? Modular Periodontal Therapy™, TruDenta™, Invisalign™, Six Month Smiles™, sleep apnea treatment, placing implants, etc.

That is just a start. If you have gone to the enormous work of successfully converting to fee-for-service or have been that way for a long time, think long and hard before signing on. Signing up is the solution of last resort after having explored all the other options.