You want your phones to ring, so you put out some ads. You create a brand-new website, rent some billboards, and spend tons of money on everything possible. So, why isn’t it working? For that answer, Kirk Behrendt brings back Xaña Winans, founder and CEO of Golden Proportions Marketing, to explain the marketing funnel, the biggest problems dentists have in this process, and how to fix it. A new website alone will only go so far! To learn what you’re missing in your dental marketing strategy, listen to Episode 581 of The Best Practices Show!
Links Mentioned in This Episode:
Take Xaña’s self-diagnosis quiz! https://www.goldenproportions.com/practice-marketing-checkup-act-dental
Xaña’s course on (June 16-17, 2023): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/discover-your-dental-marketing-dna-the-six-steps-to-success-tickets-274942178457
Start With Why by Simon Sinek: https://bookshop.org/books/start-with-why-how-great-leaders-inspire-everyone-to-take-action-2c622935-8c0c-4d97-9e9a-4fd6286d8336/9781591846444
Best Practices Show Episode 546 with Shelley DeGroff:
Jackass Brewing Company: https://www.jackassbrewingcompany.com
Have a strategy.
Focus on branding.
Know your lead conversion.
Measure your lead generation.
Constantly optimize your marketing.
Make your new patient experience excellent.
“Every single doctor, when they call us, they might start out with something like, ‘I think I need a new website,’ or, ‘I’ve got a friend who’s been doing television commercials, and I want to do that.’ And what they’re failing to see is that just going after a single strategy is not going to solve the bigger problem. But us telling them only gets us so far. It’s kind of like if someone tells you how to solve the problem, you’re like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever. I can figure this out on my own.’ But if you go through the journey and you diagnose the problem yourself — and that’s what this quiz does — you can’t unsee all of the things that it reveals that tells you, okay, your weakness is not just that you don’t have a great television commercial. Your weakness in your marketing is like 16 other things.” (4:15—5:03)
“Most doctors focus on lead generation. They say, ‘I want the phone to ring. I want more patients. I want a certain kind of patient.’ But all they care about is the phone ringing. What they fail to realize is that to get true return on investment out of your marketing, you’ve got to start at the top of the funnel, which is your brand awareness and your brand message. And you’ve also got to pay attention to everything that comes after lead generation because that’s where the return on investment comes from, is looking at are you converting the leads? Are you retaining those patients? Did you give them a great experience? Are they advocating for you and sending more people in? So, this quiz takes people through all the stages of the funnel, both things an agency that would do and that your own team could be doing or you could be doing to help improve your own marketing.” (6:04—6:51)
“The data tells me everything. And the data that we collect really correlates to everything that we ask in this quiz because it’s not just measuring how often the phone is ringing but, is it being converted, and are these patients being retained in the practice, and are you getting reviews and referrals? The part that I love about it is that it connects directly to your practice management software over 50 different platforms and it will measure your return on investment in real time. So, there’s no hiding behind something that isn’t working. It forces my team to get better because if the ROI isn’t there, we need to pivot strategies or we need to change something about what we’re doing. I can also see if there’s something on the doctor’s end, the team’s end that they can improve to help have an impact on their ROI. But if you’re not measuring that bottom line number, it’s just a guess.” (7:33—8:24)
“As much as I love marketing and the art and the creativity that goes into it, it’s got to produce. And you’ve got to have some transparency in, ‘What was my end result in this thing?’ so you’re not just throwing money down a black hole. But if you don’t have that transparency — and I will tell you, this has become a big thing. It’s funny, when I started this about eight years ago, nobody was automating ROI. Now, it’s catching on. There are other groups that are starting to do it. But a lot of them still ask the doctors to run the report every single month. They say, ‘I need you to run a report, and I want you to match up these phone calls that we tracked that came in and try and find them in your patient reports, and then you’re going to put this all on a spreadsheet so we can calculate your ROI.’ No doctor does that. No team does that. You know they don’t have time. It’s a complete obligation. So, automating it and having that information at your fingertips has been a gamechanger for people.” (8:47—9:47)
“I think the biggest problem is [dentists] have a very narrow point of view as to what they need to be doing. They are not thinking big strategy.” (9:58—10:08)
“[Dentists] are focusing on the “what” and what “how”. The “what” is they’re a dentist. The “how” is they’re general, or they’re using a piece of technology. But none of them are focusing on why they do what they do, and that is why their patients are only buying based on who takes their insurance, or what the cost is, or, ‘Can you get me in on a Saturday?’ So, this big other thing that I think is the biggest problem is dentists don’t know their branding message, which is their “why”. And so, they are just one of many in their community, and they don’t truly have the competitive advantage that they should in their marketing.” (10:23—11:01)
“Inefficiencies in marketing are, again, because there isn’t a bigger strategy. And so, you might be putting all of your money into just one part of the marketing funnel. Often, they’re putting it all into the lead generation, but it’s completely inefficient to spend all that money to make the phone ring is nobody is listening to the phone calls. If nobody knows the questions that the patients are having, and why they’re choosing not to come into the practice and choose somebody else, or that your team doesn’t know how to explain your “why” to these callers on the other end. So, these inefficiencies, I wish it was just one. But they’re absolutely everywhere, following all the way down the process.” (11:58—12:41)
“Every doctor that I work with, they don’t want quantity. I can get you quantity all day long. But they want a patient who comes in “preheated” that says, ‘Yeah, I looked at a bunch of dentists. Your vision, your values, the way that you take care of patients, that connected with me, emotionally.’ They come in; they already have trust with you. They move forward with treatment faster. They are bigger advocates of what you’re doing, sending their friends and family because they get — it’s almost like a soul mate between a dentist and a patient when you can find the right doctor who shares your values and your vision. That really goes all back to that branding message and being able to put that out there in the first place.” (13:32—14:19)
“Trust comes from authenticity. That comes from truly being yourself and not creating this marketing message, this persona of something that you don’t actually live by when the patients come into the practice. It’s about figuring out who you authentically are, why you love dentistry, why it’s so important to you, and then sharing that with people. And those are the people, that trust is going to be there because they’re going to know it’s real and it’s authentic because it’s coming from you and not just some marketing created message.” (15:32—16:03)
“We have this broken down into sections that are related to the marketing funnel. And the first section, and this is almost universally the lowest score for every single person, is strategy related. So, we’re asking questions about things like, ‘Grade yourself one to five. Do you create annual smart goals about your practice growth?’ . . . Very few dentists have ever sat down and created goals for their practice unless they’re working with somebody like you or I. So, we ask them about their goals. We ask them to grade themselves on, ‘Do we have an annual execution calendar and a budget? Are we sitting down as a team once a week or at least once a month and regularly reviewing the strategies and making sure that we are doing the things that we agreed that we’re going to do in order to be successful?’ We ask them, ‘Are we actually dedicating time each week in our schedule to do the marketing tasks, not just to have a plan but to actually put the plan into action?’ So, it’s all on a grade of one to five for each one of these questions, five being, ‘I’m killing it. I do this without thinking. I do this in my sleep.’ One is, ‘Oh, crap. I haven’t been doing this at all.’ And the strategy is universally where people get like 25% out of 100% on their scores, as a general rule. It’s pretty low. Big opportunities for improvement there.” (16:30—18:02)
“Branding has been the biggest thing that most practices are missing. So, let me set this up for you. Let’s assume you’re a patient. You’re like, ‘I’m new to an area,’ or, ‘I just broke off a tooth and I don’t have a dentist.’ They go online and search “dentists near me”, which is the first place almost everybody starts. They’re going to see a couple of ads, and they’re going to see the local listings in the Google Business Profile, and a whole bunch of opportunities under that. So, first, they’re overwhelmed with a lot of information, trying to figure out who to pick. They are not picking a practice based on insurance, at that point in time, because they’d never even made it to your website. So, how do they decide who they’re going to stop at and say, ‘I’m going to click on this site’? Because they’re not going to click on the 15 different links that are going to be on that page. Yes, reviews are a big part of it. But if they are completely unfamiliar with your practice name and what you stand for, you’re just one of the 15 on that page. If you’ve got a really strong brand and good brand awareness, and someone sees you and they go, ‘Oh, I’ve heard of that practice. I know what they stand for,’ there’s instant trust and they are far more likely to click on it. So, you put in all that energy and effort to make sure your website is ranking number-one on the page. But you can get skipped if you’re basically brand-new to them if they’ve never heard of you before. So, that brand awareness is hugely undervalued, in my point of view, because that’s the thing that drives them to pick up the phone in the first place.” (19:31—21:08)
“If you stop and look at the practices in your community that are really successful, like the people that you almost envy because they have got it all going on — they’ve got a great social media presence, they’ve got great reviews, people talk about them a lot — I guarantee, if you go look at their marketing, there is a very clear message about who they are, what they stand for, and how they treat people. Their brand message, their tagline, however you want to be using it, is crystal clear. You probably didn’t even realize it because you’ve been exposed to that same kind of message over, and over, and over again in all these different mediums, and it just felt right. It feels like that soul mate connection. You go, ‘Okay. This is why this guy is so successful,’ or girl, because they’re clear on who they are and why people want to come to them.” (22:02—22:53)
“Once we get through strategy and branding, we get to the part that everybody is most familiar with, and that’s lead generation. The first question that’s on here is, we meet our new patient goals every month and they grade themselves one to five. And you know what? I get such an interesting response to this one because most of the time, they haven’t set a target. There’s no goal for how many new patients I want to get per month. They’re like, ‘Well, is my schedule full? Then I think I’m getting enough.’ So, first, they have to understand how many new patients they’re getting a month.” (25:02—25:34)
“We’re also asking them, ‘Is there a clear, digital marketing plan in place that is comprehensive — from SEO, to reviews, to social media, to paid search? Is there a plan, or are you hoping one thing is going to do all of it for you?’ Because again, back to the branding, that branding gets shared across all of the strategies and platforms that you’re using. So, you can’t just do one thing. We’re also asking them, ‘Is there more than one predictable new patient source that you’re getting people from, aside from referrals?’ We all know those ought to be coming in. But there should be a minimum of two or three different lead generation sources, because if one of those lead generation sources goes dry, you’re up a creek. Maybe your SEO is killing it and you’re getting a ton of new patients in. But you have somebody who comes in who’s a competitor who’s really hitting it hard, and your SEO gets pushed down because maybe you’re riding that wave of how well your website is doing, and so you don’t keep up with it, or you go, ‘I don’t have to invest as much money in SEO because I’m getting so many people.’ It’s really easy to lose traction and lose new patients very quickly if you don’t have multiple sources that are regularly bringing you new patients. So, don’t rely on just one. That’s a really fast way to get bumped off.” (25:36—26:56)
“The other thing with lead generation, how the heck are you measuring it? Don’t tell me, as a doctor, ‘We ask every new patient that schedules.’ That does not tell me where your leads are coming from because it’s the halo effect, especially if you’re doing your branding right, they’ve seen you on social, they’ve heard about you from a friend, and they read your reviews. There could be any number of different things. You’re going to have to have some level of call tracking in there to get more accurate data about how well your lead generation is working.” (26:58—27:27)
“Somebody has to have seen or had some interaction with your brand a minimum of seven to nine times — not before action, but before their brain even notices it and goes, ‘Oh.’ So, I could hear about ACT Dental seven to nine times from other people in a variety of things, but it doesn’t really stick. It doesn’t click until I’ve had that level of saturation. And then, you might make it into my consideration process. So, there’s a lot more that goes into it before they’re ready to take action.” (28:03—28:36)
“If you’re clear on your brand message, they come in, they’re pretty much going to agree with your treatment plan. They’re not going to argue with you or go shopping for other doctors because they’ve got that trust, because they’ve seen your brand, they know who you are and what you stand for. It all works together. This is why you can’t skip the steps. You’ve got to go step by step by step through the funnel.” (29:10—29:29)
“The one that we tend to forget about is lead conversion. So, great. The phone is ringing. Are they scheduling? That is critical. Are you listening to the phone calls? Are you able to document whether somebody is scheduled, didn’t schedule, went to voicemail? It kills me, over 33% of all calls that come into dental practices go to voicemail. We have covered millions upon millions of phone calls, and I will tell you that consistently, 70% to 80% of all calls that go to voicemail hang up and do not leave a message. And they are on to the next dental practice. So, you are losing money simply because you don’t even know that your phone isn’t getting answered. The only way you’re going to know that is with some level of call tracking.” (29:35—30:24)
“I hear [practices say they answer every call]. Then, we start tracking the calls, and we have a little review. We have a special chart that’s a missed call analysis and it tells us exactly the dates and the times. And they’re like, ‘Oh. Well, that’s when we always have our Wednesday team meeting. I didn’t realize that we were missing that many new patients who were calling at that period of time.’ Or, ‘We don’t open until 9:00 on Thursday.’ So, all these people that are calling at 7:00 and 8:00 blew it. So, it’s very, very eye-opening once they see that data.” (30:38—31:07)
“We use this in our call tracking technology too. If someone hits your voicemail and you get that bounce-back text message, put in your scheduling link if you have online scheduling. Because often, they just want to make an appointment. If you can make it that much easier for them that they don’t have to wait for a phone call back and they can take care of that right on the spot, you’re going to convert that many more people.” (32:35—32:56)
“You’ve got to have the strategy at the beginning that looks at all of these stages because you’re going to keep seeing — and that’s what I love about this quiz. There are problems for everybody. Hell, my business doesn’t do it perfect 100% of the time either. But there’s going to be a little weakness somewhere. So, think of it as a constant optimization of your marketing that you can take, ‘Okay. I want to work on this one little thing, and I’m going to adjust it, and I’m going to come up with a new script for how we talk to patients. I’m going to come up with a different technology to help make sure that they get converted and schedule. I’m going to fix that problem.’ Then, I move on to the next problem, and the next problem. Nobody is going to get it 100%. But boy, if you could get your score from, say, 30% or 40% up to 70%, 80%, what kind of a difference would that make in the growth of a practice? You don’t have to do tons more marketing and spend a lot more money. It’s about tweaking each of the stages of the new patient funnel.” (34:16—35:21)
“You’ve got the new patient experience — because you put all that energy and effort into getting somebody scheduled. If they do not have an impressive first experience, whether it’s managing their expectations up front about where to park, and how you’re going to help them with their insurance if they have it, or how long they’re going to spend with the doctor — there are so many things that go into a great new patient experience. And if that isn’t good, you’re going to have a lot of one-time patients. You’re going to spend a lot of money getting somebody in for a consult and not getting the treatment moving forward. So, that part of the funnel, a lot of doctors think they’ve got that pretty good. I tend to see like 60% to 70% scores in the new patient experience. But there are always some opportunities for improvement there.” (35:35—36:25)
“Patient retention. You’ve got to get people rescheduled. We know this. Now, we’re assuming that we’re attracting at least A and B patients. We don’t want to reschedule our C and D level patients. But what is your team doing to make sure that you are measuring the number of active patients? Are you getting them back on the schedule? Are they showing up? Are they completing treatment that you’ve been recommending? It’s the constant remarketing process to them, which goes back to your branding and your brand awareness, that they want to keep seeing and hearing from you. Are you sending out email newsletters? Whatever contact you have with them to stay top of mind so all that investment that you made in making the phone ring in the first place, your ROI comes in by that patient sticking around for ten years.” (36:31—37:21)
“You are going to blow your ROI out of the water if [patients] stick around with you. Even if you’ve done the big treatment in the beginning, but you keep them in there for hygiene and the occasional restoration that needs to be done, a big part of that ROI is because they have a great experience with you, and then they’re sending their friends in, the advocacy part of the funnel. So, you can see how all of this works together. If you don’t have the first stage right, the second stage is not going to go as well. And so, you’ve got to get them all the way down to the bottom of the funnel where they think you are the bomb. You’re the best dentist on the planet, and they need to tell everybody about this.” (37:22—38:03)
2:26 Xaña’s background.
3:56 Why Xaña created this self-diagnosis quiz.
5:10 Start at the top of the funnel.
6:51 The data tells you everything.
8:25 Automate your ROI.
9:47 The biggest problems in marketing.
11:44 Inefficiencies in marketing.
12:42 Quality, not quantity.
14:20 Trust comes from authenticity.
16:03 Have a strategy.
18:03 Focus on branding.
24:54 Understand lead generation.
27:28 It takes seven to nine times.
29:29 Use call tracking to know your lead conversion.
32:33 Add your scheduling link to automated texts.
32:56 Constantly optimize your marketing.
35:21 Impress people with the new patient experience.
36:27 Retain your A and B patients.
38:55 Last thoughts and more about Xaña’s upcoming course.
Xaña Winans Bio:
Xaña Winans is Golden Proportions Marketing’s CEO, founder, resident visionary, and lead strategist. As one of the industry’s most sought-after dental marketing consultants, she collaborates with our team on a diverse group of clients to create strategic marketing solutions with measurable results. Her passion for dentistry is evident in the work that she does and in the award-winning products GPM produces to help your practice thrive.
Around the office, we all know that Xaña’s knowledge and drive extend well beyond GPM’s walls. You’ll often find her lecturing at some of dentistry’s biggest conventions and study groups as a recognized expert and international speaker on dental marketing. Couple that with over 20 years’ experience of marketing dentistry, and it’s easy to say that she’s pretty much seen it all.
Xaña’s been married to an accomplished cosmetic and restorative dentist, Dr. Larry Winans, for over 25 years. Their two incredible children, Ryder and Savannah, regularly remind their parents that they are successful adults, so now all parenting attention is delivered to two furry companions. She may also turn up courtside with Jen Bernstein at any number of Bucknell basketball games, helping cheer the Bison on to victory.