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May 19th, 2021

3 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

“All they want to know, is can you help me with my problem.”

If your goal is to have new patients say to you, “I saw your ad and felt like you were speaking directly to me” then today’s episode is for you.

Mark Thackeray, host of the Dental Marketing Secrets Podcast joins Everyday Practices podcast co-host Regan Robertson for a candid conversation about applying simple tactics to hold your marketing accountable and avoid these three common mistakes:

  • Crafting marketing messages patients don’t care about
  • Attracting the wrong type of patients
  • Not understanding the differences in social platforms


REGAN: Welcome to Everyday Practices Podcast. I am your host, Regan Robertson, and my dutiful, lovely co host Dr. Chad Johnson is MIA today because he is currently as we speak pulling a tooth. So what can you say about that other than duty calls. I am here today with a very special guest. I was an interview on his podcast Digital Marketing Secrets just a few weeks ago, and I had the pleasure and joy of meeting Mark Thackeray. He is the owner of practice rocket. His specialty is high converting social media campaigns. And that is a hot hot topic. I was blown away on the interview that I had with you and your breadth of knowledge and your accomplishments, Mark. So welcome to the show.

MARK: Oh, thanks, Regan. It’s so fun to be here. And I think Chad was he probably jumped on and then took one look at his guests. And it’s like, I’m out of here. Cuz he was I actually had him on the show, too. And he’s great. But he’s like, not that guy.

REGAN: Again. I doubt that. I doubt that. So I just to give a little bit of authority to some of the accomplishments. I know, we don’t like to brag on ourselves, but but mark you, you have been known to increase the amount of new patients to dental practices by almost 30% year over year. And what was interesting to me about that, you know, flat numbers, statistics, that’s impressive in and of itself, is that you were able to do that with a budget reduction in marketing by 15%. That’s a big deal. And I know every business owner wants to know how to do more with less. And I know that social media overall can be extremely daunting. And I think it would be a great conversation to have today mark, to know, you know how you’re able to do this for practices across the nation. So how did you get your start in, in marketing? What what fuels you and drives you to help doctors like this? Oh, well,

MARK: Yeah, I’ve got a kind of an interesting story. You know, I actually went to school for marketing and advertising as a PR and advertising degree. Well, I did, I did two degrees that in international studies, but I was leaning towards the business side and ended up just jumping out of college. I graduated from college, and then started a photography business. Lo and behold, and I, you know, I’d always grown up taking pictures, and I thought, oh, that’d be fun to do. My friend said, hey, let’s let’s do this. And, and we looked at the competition and said, like, most people, yeah, we could do better than this, you know.

So we kind of picked up the camera and ran with it. And, you know, eventually it got to that point where I needed to figure this out, you know, I mean, I had a wife at the time, we just had our first child, we’d been doing this for I’ve been doing this for a couple of years. And, you know, through the we were doing all the right things, you know, we were hustling, we are networking, we’re posting on blogs, posting on social, doing all these things, right, that everyone tells you to do. And I went to college for this for crying out loud, you know, and so, but I still had just was at this level, you know, I couldn’t break through that plateau. But eventually I got I’m sorry, there’s some noise in the background, which is usual for life.

Totally. I know exactly. But I got introduced to these guys that talked about marketing in a different way. You know, I mean, it was all about more direct response, marketing and making your marketing holding your marketing accountable for it. So every dollar you put in, you should be getting something back. And that really resonated with me, you know, because I was hearing a lot on awful lot about branding and things like that. And one of the guys said, Hey, branding is great, but you can’t take that to the bank, you know, and I was like, huh, yeah, no kidding, I’ve dried and they don’t, they don’t do much for that, but eventually started employing or applying some of these tactics. And it just changed everything for me, you know, it really it dramatically shifted my mindset on on my whole approach in marketing. And my my trajectory just went like this, you know, just kind of hockey stick shape, really where it just shot up from there.

And, and I just, you know, I eventually fell in love, I fell in love with marketing because because of what it did for me personally in my business. So then transition now into, into helping others to identify how they could do that for themselves, you know, because we all can but it’s just a matter of understanding those principles. It’s not necessarily that you have to go to school or anything like that. It’s just recognizing those opportunities that are there and communicating them in such a way that the you know, in this case, Your patients understand, and and it resonates with them. Wow. Yeah, it’s been it’s been a fun ride, you know, because I was doing that for several years, I grew my photography business. And then really what happened was, I’m sorry.

But, but yeah, I was traveling at this point, I was traveling all over the country. Almost every weekend, I was booked up, and it was, so it’s so much fun. But then we had a, one of my daughters was born and she had when she we knew my wife is pregnant, that she had some health issues, some long term health issues. And it was going to be, yeah, it was gonna be a long road ahead. And so we, I made the decision that I can’t have been traveling way too much. It’s been it’s, it was tough too, because, you know, I built it up to this point, finally, like, I made it kind of thing, you know, but then, so we transition transition into me just just being marketing, consulting. And then that’s where I really got into dentistry.

As I had a friend started with a friend who’s a dentist, he needed help helping him and that just kind of, you know, spiraled into that direction. But I it’s been a great road, you know, for a while too. I was the DSO for or I was a marketing director for a DSO and really enjoyed that my time there, but then recognize that I can help practices even better, just one on one, you know, and so, so yeah, it’s been, it’s been great. I’ve loved I’ve loved it, where it’s taken me I didn’t think I’d ever be in this position, but so grateful to be here.

REGAN: Wow, that’s a great story. I appreciate you know, getting that getting the background background is very helpful and understanding kind of why this is important to you. What, what are some of the general like, common problems you see, from your expertise, dentists trying, when it comes to marketing and failing miserably at?

MARK: Yeah, you know, I mean, that’s a great question. And I think the first mistake that a lot of practices make is that they, they fail to communicate what they have to offer from the patient’s perspective. You know, we, as humans, we, we go through life with this, what’s in it for me mentality, we’re constant, that’s, you know, we’re constantly going through, we’re there, you know, we’re always playing our own story, you know, and just, well, what, how does this apply to me, and, you know, as, and then the other thing to remember with all this is that we are literally bombarded on all sides with marketing messages, you know, they say, I don’t, it depends on the study, you look at, but three to, like, 7000 different messages every single day, you know, and, you know, physiologically, we just can’t process that, you know, I mean, that’s just, oh, man, it’s just so much noise. And in order to cut through that, like, you have to, you have to have, you have to be able to speak directly to that person.

And most people don’t, you know, most most, most practices, most companies for that matter do this, you know, they put themselves up on the pedestal, they’re trying to highlight themselves and make themselves look good, because they think that that’s what the patient wants to see, they want they think that the patient really wants them to wants to know that they’ve been in business for 27 years, or they went to this, this, this school, you know, this, they have this degree or that degree, you know, and in reality, that’s not really what a patient’s after they’re after, they’ve all they want to know is can you help me with my problem? You know, and if you can, the great, but if you fail to communicate that from their perspective, then they’re, they don’t even listen, like they don’t even know you exist, you know, they just we’ve become so adept at just discarding that information. They just moving on, you know, and so that’s, that’s kind of the first mistake. And do you see that at all Regan to what you’re going around? You probably see that?

REGAN: Absolutely. I think, you know, what, what stood out to me there is that is a common problem, I know we see is putting authority first. So you want to justify as a as a doctor, this is why I am qualified to help you. But there is a key component missing. And that’s the hook. That’s the what’s in this for me, what problem is, is solving ever before you get to the authority stage of I’ve done this for 27 years for 1000s of patients and all in that. Yeah, yeah. So So how do you? How do you help doctors kind of get out of their own head?

MARK: Yeah, you know, it can be it can be tricky, because, you know, and I, I totally empathize with them. Because I was in that same position where, you know, you’re not really and I would school for it, too. So I even have no excuses. But they don’t, they’re not taught this in dental school, really, I mean, they’ll go over marketing a whole lot. I think they’re getting a little bit better at colleges, here and there, but they really don’t have much, much time spent studying different marketing practices or principles. And so I totally empathize with them. And you know, we just we just kind of feel like that’s how that’s that’s the approach but the table what I typically do is step back and try and honestly one of the best things you can do is to just ask your patients just talk and engage with your patients and ask questions, you know, and especially your best patients, you know, you’re you want to understand why they chose you, because they they have dozens of options out there.

You know, sometimes hundreds of options. If you live in metro area, you have hundreds of options nowadays, it’s just bonkers, but and so they can choose anyone. So ask them why, you know, ask them why they chose you what what makes them keep coming back, you know, just be upfront with him and ask him say, I love to, I love you as having as a patient, you’re like our ideal patient, I’d love to have 100 of you, you know, if I could just clone you, I would you know what, I’d love to learn more about how I could attract more people like you. So it okay, if I ask a few questions, and just be just be sincere about it. And they’ll tell you, you know, I mean, they’ll say, Well, honestly, I wasn’t really sure I had this hesitation.

But one thing that really stood out to me, it was the way that you, you explain this, you know, you took the time to educate me on on this procedure and why I needed it, you know, and what the long term consequences are, if I avoided it, or whatever the case may be, but then just go deep with that, and really understanding them as a person as a patient, but also understanding their life, you know, their daily, their daily routine, you know, I mean, understanding them, if they’re, maybe they’re a mom, and they’re, you know, constantly shuttling kids back and forth. And so for them, it’s about convenience, it’s about scheduling, everyone is a family and all that and, and then you can plug into that, you know, but it’s, it’s, it’s really comes down to understanding your patients, you know, understanding who you’re the right fit for, as well as who you’re not a great fit for, you know, because we’ve all been there too, you know, or a patient walks in, and you know, like, deep down, you know, that they’re not a good fit, you know, you just have that sinking feeling like this is gonna be a nightmare, but you sent somebody do you feel obligated to treat them, you know, and see them because they’re here and they they want to be treated. But that’s, you know, you can you can do things in your marketing to, to attract the right people, and also to repel the people that aren’t the best fit.

You know, that’s something I learned when in my photography business. And that was like, an aha moment where it just holy cow that the world like opened up to me when I realized I don’t have to ever have to deal with those people again, you know, I mean, and it was, it was so neat, because I remember, remember talking to I did a lot of weddings and events and, and so people talk to other photographers, and they’re like, oh, man, I had the crazy bride Zilla, you know, and just, you know, they’ve there’s these horror stories of brides or moms like taking over the day, and it’s just a disaster for everyone. And they, they come ask me like, oh, have you ever had that? And like, Not really, no, I don’t, I don’t get those type of people. And, and it’s but it’s the point I want to make is that you can do that for your practice, where you can really define who it is that you’re, you’re attracting, you know, who you’re a good fit for, and, and even repel those people that that’s just not, it’s just not going to be a good experience for either side.

REGAN: Let’s talk about that a little bit. That’s very intriguing, because the it’s counter intuitive to, uh, we, you know, in the industry, here, a lot attracts the patients you want to attract. And I think that that can be a difficult mindset to get into, if you are just trying to get patients in the door in general. So it can feel counterintuitive, to kind of cut off, you know, a certain audience member, but the the truth in that counter intuitiveness is that it really leads the way for abundance. So as a visual storyteller, Mark, how did you? What were some of the questions that you asked yourself, and then you looked for in clients so that you could attract that ideal audience for your services?

MARK: Oh, for me, yeah, for me, you know, one great, one good approach that you can take is, if you’re not sure who, you know, if you’re kind of new to this whole idea, and concept of identifying your ideal patient, or your ideal avatar, your ideal customer, a lot of names for it, then, you know, you can look at people that you can deliver, like if you if you had one person that you know, you know, came into your practice, for example, and you know, you could, that had a specific situation, but you know, you could knock it out of the park form every time, that’s a good place to start.

You know, I mean, if you just say, oh, man, lined me up with wisdom teeth, like, I could do that all day, and I make it amazing, like, everyone loves it, you know, I do that 24 hours a day. You know, that’s, that could be a great place to start. And one caveat with all this too, is that, you know, a lot of times when people get into this, they think, oh, man, you know, I that’s I don’t want to narrow I don’t want to shrink the size of my net, you know, I want to cast a wider net, I want more patients. And, you know, what you’re doing right now is, is you’re, you’re, you’re using a specific net, you know, to catch a specific type of fish, you know, but you eventually what you’re going to do is once you’ve mastered that, and really understood and gone deep with that audience, then you’re moving on to the next one. So you’re not in ultimately, you’re not limiting yourself, but you’re just you’re playing to that one specific audience right now. Because when you try to the problem with casting a wider net, is that as a result, your messaging has to be generic, and it has to be vague, so that you’re not, you’re not excluding anyone in that audience.

You know, and as a result, it just falls flat. You know, I mean, people don’t, they don’t pay attention to that stuff. It’s got to be very specific and address pain points and issues and desired outcomes. So as a storyteller, it really it depends. You have to, once you understand who it is that you’re going after, then it makes it so much easier. Because now you understand that, okay, these people, you know, like for going back to my photography example, once I understood that I was a good fit for older couples, you know, they were, you know, I live in Utah. And so there’s a lot of people get married at like, 21-233, which is great. And I did the same thing. So I’m in that group I can, I can make fun of it, too. So, but but I understood that I was a better fit for those people that are a little bit older, because my style was different. You know, they wanted what they wanted was a really a totally hands off experience. They didn’t want they trusted me entire completely.

They wanted me to get like capture everything from almost like a candid, you know, photojournalistic style, where it’s just hands off, it’s just very, everything’s organic and natural. I’m not up in their face, I’m not dictating or directing things to happen. I’m just there capturing it all as it unfolds. Whereas a lot of the people in this in this area, when they’re getting younger, they come to you with like a laundry list of things that here’s, here’s my Pinterest page, I want all these jobs that are on here, I don’t like oh, well, I’m just a tool here. You know, I kind of felt like just the tool at that point.

But when you when you really go deep and you understand who you’re the best fit for, it’s easier to then address some of their concerns and their pain points. So in this example, I can now say, you know, I’m not the type, if you have a, if you have a laundry list of shots that you want, I’m probably not a good fit for you. But if you’d rather if your whole focus is on creating a truly unforgettable experience, not only for yourself, as a couple, but but also your friends and family that are traveling in from out of state because a lot of times these are destination type weddings and events, then then let’s talk you know, I mean, if you want some someone who’s gonna capture every single emotion and detail without you knowing they’re even there, then let’s talk, you know, and that’s such a different message, you know, and it resonates with over with the right people.

And I remember I had a number of clients, there’s a gallon in San Francisco, specifically who said, who stopped me during one of our shoots, she said, I just have to tell you, when I saw your ad on Facebook, I knew it was like you were talking directly to me, you know, is the weirdest thing. And I knew from that point that we were that you’re going to be our photographer. And it was, and that’s the cool thing about it. You could do that with marketing, you can be that personal and that, that intimate with them once you understand what they’re going through. But it takes that time, you know, I mean, it takes a lot of investment on your part to dive deep with him and ask him questions.

REGAN: Wow. So identifying who you are getting that avatar of who you would like to have come to the practice as your step one in it. And you slid right into social media. I mean, the algorithms today that are controlled, if anybody hasn’t watched the social dilemma on Netflix, I highly recommend you watch it. I am a tech talker, I love to watch Tick Tock and it feels like they are speaking to me. And that takes a lot of effort. It’s a lot of watching, knowing and understanding my personal behavior. So. So from your perspective, I think you just hit on why this is important for social media. And when a doctor, what are some of the questions that a doctor could ask because I’m an advocate for not just because another doctors doing it doesn’t mean I necessarily should be doing it. Right? So is it important that no matter your region, no matter who you’re trying to reach a social media, one of the tactics that you highly recommend no matter what they do, or is it personal to them, just like you preferred working with older couples, is the you know, the tactic kind of to me aligns with that as well. What are your thoughts on social media? And avatar? attraction?

MARK: Yeah, that’s a great question. Right? I think for the most part, yes, I would say that it could benefit almost all practices, you know, and there’s, there’s certainly some that that don’t need, you know, when we encounter those to where, where they’re just, they’re on the tail end of their career, and they’re okay, with just toning it down, like just fading out into the sunset. That’s their dream, and by all means, that’s great. That’s tremendous. You know, but I think and then there’s also some outliers, too, that live in perhaps, rural areas where there there’s one of two dentists, maybe one dentist and that’s it, but to them to I always counsel them well, what you got to think ahead to you know, I mean, the chance that someone could always move in and that could be your your competition and they could be very active on social media and they could swoop in and almost overnight and become the preeminent leader in your in your in your area. So you also have to kind of play that game of defense a little bit as well.

But for the most part, what I love, honestly, what I love and you hit on one of one of the aspects Regan is that what I love about social media is it’s incredible ability to target the right people, you know, I mean, a lot of it comes from your understanding, but it once it starts picking up on it uses its algorithm to to do more of what’s working, you know, I mean, that’s what’s so neat about it is that it can really go for go fast and go well in a hurry. And the other thing that I love to share about social media too, is that it can work for you all the time, you know, I mean, and it can work for you in different ways.

Social media is a lot different than it’s a different than like Google, for example. And this is one of the channel one of the mistakes that a lot of practices make is when they start advertising on social media. They treat it like Google. And the reality is that the user is the user. That’s the right word I’m looking for the user intent is different on on Facebook and Instagram than it is and on tik tok than it is on Google, Google, they’re going in with the intent of finding an answer to a question, you know, I want I’m ready to find this answer. Immediately, I’ve got an itch, I want to scratch it right now. But when they’re, when they’re on social media, that’s different, a lot of times they’re on there to relax, or to veg out or to connect with other people or just stock, watch other people, you know, I mean, they’re just there to get entertained a lot of times. And so your approach needs to be a little different. And that’s where most people most practices really fall flat is that they just, they just try and do the Google approach.

But what’s cool is that it’s half man, there’s so many ways to add an egg, we could go super deep in this, but you can you can track, you can target people at every different level of this of their conversion process. So let’s say, you know, everyone kind of goes through a normal process to become a patient or become a client. And there’s different steps along the way. So some people there, they don’t even know that they have a need, you know, so they’re this far away on this side of the spectrum, whereas others are there more than Google feet, they’re like, oh, whip out their credit card, I’m ready to buy now who’s it going to be? And there’s, most people are down in the middle, you know, I mean, most people are just along the beginning stages, or starting to gather information, you know, weighing their options. And that’s where social can really come in, and do a tremendous job is is you can attract those people, you can get them to maybe opt in for a free resource.

And then you can be the one to nurture them along that path, you know, you can be provide the education, you can provide the value, they look to you as an industry authority and a leader, because you’re publishing information, you’re helping them make the best decision possible. And then when the time comes for them to make a decision, you are the incumbent, you know, I mean, you’re, you’re seen as the one who’s Well, you’ve been helping me this part, you know, I might as well just go to you. And it really, man, I mean, you’re capturing like, the vast majority of the audience, that there’s only a tiny fraction that are ready to buy now, you know, and so if you can, if you can focus your efforts on on reaching that other audience, you’re gonna have the lion’s share of of opportunity. So those are the kind of the two things that I love to share about social.

REGAN: Do you so you’re thinking of one patient, that patient may have multiple needs, like you address, they may have a family, so convenience may be important to them, they may not have insurance, so affordable payment options may be affordable to them, or bait, you know, be be attractive to them? Do you just sort of in a social media campaign? Do you kind of throw the kitchen sink and hope that you can, you know, attract them on one of those problems? Or do you tease apart problems to attract them? Like if I’m a doctor, getting ready to, you know, put the patient’s need first, and not be like Google and answer a question, what is it that I should do or focus on to be able to have the highest chance of getting their attention?

MARK: Yeah, what I’d like to do is with our approach, really is just to, you know, look back at you kind of base it off your experience to you know, I mean, if you’re getting commonly asked questions, or it can be a great place to start, you know, and so you can, you can start to address those, you know, because that’s really where people will begin that process. Once they’re, once they recognize that they have a need, they’re gonna start most likely, they’re going to start asking those questions, especially when it comes to the dental industry, you know, because those are things that, you know, we just don’t know a lot about, you know, I mean, we Yeah, we know what a crown is, for the most part, we know what an implant is. We have no idea what the process is to get an implant. You know, I actually got one this this big, huge front tooth of mine that got knocked out playing soccer. A couple years ago, I got it took took me a year, and he had been a dental for a while and I still, you know, like the ins and out I understood the basics.

REGAN: Oh, yeah. So you have to stare for a year.

MARK: Yeah. To flipper. Yeah, they extracted it. To see my face after Oh, my it looked like I was in this fight. You know, I was like, so bad, like, chipped.

REGAN: I chipped that front, That same front tooth and yeah, when I was pregnant with my first child, so I, I was very nervous and thought, Oh, my gosh, because I’m pregnant. Maybe they can’t fix my To me, this is gonna be an issue. I was so embarrassed, but they it was an easy process, but I didn’t know I didn’t know either.

MARK: Well, and that’s the thing. You know, I mean, so even someone like me, who had been in dental for a few years, actually, at that point, like, I still didn’t understand the process fully and I still had questions. And so you meet them where they are, and that’s where a lot of them will be. It’s at that stage where they’re asking questions, you know, and especially, because because here’s what happens, you know, I mean, if we, if they don’t have any of that, you know, structural information, if they don’t have any contextual information, what happens is that they just they default to price, you know, and we’re all the same, like, well, I understand money, you know, I mean, I don’t understand, like, there’s this, there’s this guy that’s charging, you know, 3030 500 bucks for an implant. This one says, 1499 for an implant, I have no idea.

You know, I mean, I understand this one’s How is this one, this one twice as good? Or, you know, in the play that like, mental game of, you know, ping pong back and forth? like God? Did it it? Uh, right. But yeah, and so if you can come in and address a question like that, you know, then you’re going to get people’s attention, you know, and you’re going to, you’re going to capture those people that are at that stage. And so I usually, our approach, and I always encourage practices to do this is just focus on one kind of issue, and make that kind of your, your message right there. And then always lead them, you always want to invite them to, to take the next step. You know, we don’t we as humans, we don’t really do things unless we’re invited to or challenged to do something, you know, I mean, so you see, like, in all the movies, you know, like, Liam Neeson is not going to go off to Europe, like chase these bad guys, unless someone took his daughter, you know, I make us just, he’s just not going to do that. And neither will we.

And so we’ve got to get challenged. And to see that as a good thing, you know, I mean, when you understand that the value that you’re providing someone, and the difference it can make in their life, and really fully grasp that, it should, it should come a lot more naturally. You know, I know that we don’t want to be sales people, we don’t want to be associated or categorized like that. But we’re trying to get them the desired benefit, we know what’s possible to them, you know, what that outcome could look like for them, and what it could mean the implications of their, on their daily life. And so it’s really our moral obligation to help them see that, whether they, whether they do it or not, you know, that’s up to them, we’re not going to headlock them or you know, put them in a headlock and make them do it, but, but we want to make sure that they’re aware of their options.

But so yeah, I just, I would pick with one, one, kind of one issue, one common question and really go deep with that. And you could do maybe a couple of questions that are that are similar to that, and then invite them to, to learn more, you know, and that could just be through maybe you put together a PDF guide, or maybe you record a video as a, as a doctor and answer these questions. And they can opt in for that. And then you can, then you can keep, keep, you know, keep nurturing them along, and keep providing them helpful information.

REGAN: So I hear connection, connect with them on a problem first, for example, they may not even a patient may not even know that they needed dental implant, or that they could benefit from a dental implant, they just know that they have a missing tooth, or a tooth that’s about to die perilous death. And then you get to educate and I like what you say there. Because so many times we get wrapped up feeling like we are having to sell and, and there’s a really interesting tug of war that goes on between business goals, and not wanting to feel greedy and not wanting to feel like it’s a it’s a money game, which I agree with you fully is a surface game, when you when you play the game of how much does something cost? It’s the wrong conversation to have.

So I think you’ve just outlined a beautiful strategy using story that pulls in connecting with them on their level, educating them, and that was interesting with the downloadable PDF, you know, educating them on the features, the benefits, why this is important to them, is that the time then after you’ve gone through those stages to bring in the authority to then outlay, you know, the the empathy and the authority of understanding where they’re at, and then why that doctor is qualified, because I don’t want to miss over that it is always important, right? That the doctor’s credentials do matter. They spend a lot of time in school and CTE programs and whatnot, is that the appropriate time to bring in the authority?

MARK: Yeah, and you can start to you can start to weave it in. And my my advice is always to, to translate that into a direct benefit for the patient, you know, so into into terms that they can understand as a direct benefit to them. So if you’ve been, while I’ve been, you know, certified and all these different specializations, then well, okay, you can always ask the question, so what? So what does that mean? So that, you know, you as a patient, it’s easier for you, we use the latest technology, we and that will make it easier, in terms of it’s less time consuming less invasive, your recovery is going to be better, it’s going to look better, more aesthetically, and just go into depth detail on what that means.

Because too often we just assume that they know what that means. So here’s the benefit, you should figure out what that means. But we have no idea you know, like, I don’t know what that means. So tell me. So yeah, that’s, that’s a great, it’s a good time to do that. And it’s always in the context of why it why it’s important to them. So always add those two, two words to it. So what you know, so that you so you make sure that you’re doing that. You’ve touched on another thing to Regan, it’s just this this element of of story, you know, and maybe we’ll we’ll dive into this in a little bit. But I think that’s so so critical as both of The point I wanted to make actually before this was was on empathy you because that’s, that’s and I was gonna tie that in the story Sorry, I get a little. But yeah, empathy is so cool.

Because once you once you can articulate and if you’re if you have that ability to articulate their situation even better than they can then there, that’s instant credibility. You know, I mean, that’s happened we’ve all had that happen, right? Someone comes to us and you’ve maybe you’ve, I don’t know, you’ve messed up somehow and someone comes over and be like, if you’re at this stage, right, you know, well, it’ll, it’ll get better, but you’re gonna have to go through this and this first, and all of a sudden, you’re like, oh, man, that guy knows what he’s talking about.

REGAN: You know, the visual that underlines like, when I you said, meet, meet doctors, where they’re at, or meet patients where they’re at. So the visual that I get when I close my eyes is, you know, somebody’s sitting on a curb somewhere, and maybe their heads in their hand, and you come alongside them and sit down next to them. Yeah, and and hear what they have to say. That’s, that’s what I hear when I see, you know, when I hear the word empathy, and what that what that feels like to that patient.

MARK: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And they’re, they’re just, this forms an immediate bond. You know, I mean, we had, so give me an example of personal example, but we had, you know, when our daughter, so she had some, some physical issues. And eventually, later on, we found out she had, she was diagnosed with cancer. And thankfully, she’s, she’s okay, now, we’ve been gone through a lot of things. And she’s okay, she’s doing great. So we’re so so fortunate.

But I remember going to people and you know, we’d have we talked to family and friends and, and it’s it. But then again, I remember one of my friends who’s whose daughter had leukemia, with having him come over. And it was early on, after we found out and just being able to talk to him, and it wasn’t anything that he said, but just the fact that he knew exactly what we’re going through, you know, it just immediately I felt better, you know, I felt like, okay, we can do this, you know, whereas I was talking to my family, I mean, my parents and siblings and, and whom I love and adore, and we have great relationship with and I respect, but it wasn’t the same, you know, like, they, they don’t know what it’s like, you know, and so, so you have that opportunity to do that same thing with your patient, you know, if you can, if you can describe that to them, and articulate that in such a way that that patient’s like, holy cow, this person gets what’s going on, like, they know exactly what’s going on, then it’s it’s night and day, you know, I mean, all of a sudden, they, they’re gonna, they’re gonna trust you, and they’re gonna listen to you. And that’s the power of empathy in there. So, just wanted to add that in.

REGAN: That’s beautiful. It’s really beautiful for the dentists that are listening. That I mean, I would say the large majority of folks listening to our podcast, in particular have social media mark, what can they do when they pop over to their social media to kind of test the waters and see if they’re using social media as well as they could be? and effectively?

MARK: Yeah, great question. And that’s another huge benefit of social media is, it’s, it’s a great way to test things out, you know, especially organically, you try out different things you can I, you know, we did this for one of our clients, where we just asked a question, say, What’s your biggest challenge, single, biggest challenge right now. And, and they man just flooded with comments, there’s like, 1314 comments, and within the hour, you know, and that’s the thing you can, you can engage in dialogue, on social and really dive deep, it’s, it’s, you can have almost a one on one conversation with these people, if you’re, if you’re commenting, and eventually, you could direct message them or whatever, you whatever, however, you want to approach that.

But you’re just you’re mining all this information, you’re better understanding where they’re at. And so I think, just having those conversations, putting those being very open, and even vulnerable, and say, Hey, you know, I mean, I’m, I want to get better at this, you know, I’ve had some feedback on this. I’ve had one, one client that did this was so cool. They posted like a one star review, and said, you know, just basically said, you know, here’s, here’s a chance for us to, to get better. And we’re serious about this is why I’m posting this, well, I want your feedback. I know and it was like, holy cow. I mean, people it was an eye opener for people. And, and it was awesome. You know, I mean, it was so revealing, and so, so endearing in a lot of ways, you know, so that’s another great thing you can do.

REGAN: So did that doctor propel and see success, because they were brave enough to post a one star review that they received?

MARK: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I mean, it was it was so cool. You know, I mean, it was very vulnerable, and opened up and shared, why, why it didn’t go so well, you know, from their perspective and things that they want to try and do better, but also encouraging input to just say, we really were sincere when we say we want to make this the best practice out there. You know, and so just just asking that and, and following up and showing, demonstrating that you’re doing that. So yeah, those are so those are some good, some good ways to get started. But I think also, once you have those conversations, making a mental note or keeping the easy to do now with with your phone or your Google doc or whatever you want to use, just start copying and pasting some of the phrases that they use or that you hear in your office all the time.

So get your team involved, have them start listening, and be like, Oh, I just feel like I’m spinning my wheels every single day, or all I do is is shuttle kids around, you want to, you want to use the same language that they’re using, you know, because that’s going to, again, that’s gonna resonate with them, it’s gonna feel like you’re one of them. Because you, you’re using the same words, you know, and so that’s a great copywriting little tip that you can you can do is just try and use those words that they’re using. So if they’re coming up a lot, you know, that’s something to take note of.

REGAN: Now, business business Facebook pages, if we talked about Facebook, for example, as the platform of choice for today or Instagram, they can I know that Facebook can work against that business algorithm a little bit. So is there advice that you would have for doctors who maybe aren’t getting the level of engagement? They may be asking questions, but it’s kind of crickets. So there’s some, is there something that they can do to help encourage and boost that engagement?

MARK: Yeah, this is, this is a tough one, you know, because it’s changed so much. You know, I mean, it used to be where your, your whole goal was to build up followers, you know, and you get people to like your page. And then as soon as what’s great about that was you post on your page, and all your followers would see it at some point. But now, that is not the case anymore, unfortunately, you know, right. It’s, it’s more of a, they’ve almost gone to more of a pay to play model, you know, where, unless you have and here’s the caveat to all that, here’s the here’s the one exception to that is, is unless you have really engaging content, so it helps to undertake a step back and look at things from Facebook and Instagrams point of view.

So their whole goal is to try and keep you on their platform as long as possible. And if they can show you content that’s going to, you know, maybe it’s a video that you watch for 30 seconds, or maybe it’s a funny post or something like that are really engaging posts could be polarizing could be not, but that’s gonna keep you on their platform, and stay there longer, rather than flipping over to, you know, my case, ESPN or, or something else, you know, or a text or whatever. And so if you’re, if you’re just posting stuff that’s not engaging, which This happens all the time, you know, in the dental world, where it’s like, this canned content that, you know, it’s like 16 different uses for Colgate toothpaste or whatever, you know, and people are like, I don’t care. Like, you can see it, or you can spot it a mile away. And, but if that’s the challenge, you know, is coming up with content that’s engaging, and it’s tricky, you know, it’s tricky, you can spend a lot of time on that, and still not see the engagement. And so it’s, it’s a, it’s a tough battle.

Um, one thing that we’ll do is, you know, videos are great way, you know, video is a great way to get started, but you have to overcome that, you have to be comfortable with that, you know, it’s a very vulnerable, a lot of a lot of doctors, a lot of team members aren’t, aren’t comfortable doing that, you know, but you can do like a video tour, or you can do have your office you can do, you know, get patients involved if you can, or you could just set it on your on your desk and do like a q&a, you know, and just say, Hey, we’re going to we’re going to do this every Thursday. And and Facebook and Instagram love video, because again, coming back to that it helps people stay on their platform longer generally. So so those are good ways to kind of do that pictures are always generally good. You there’s there’s times when you don’t want picture like you can you can break that up. Like what a bad example with where if someone were a kind of client that just asked the question, it wasn’t the review one but it’s just a question with no pictures. And that was a great, great way to break that out. Because sometimes we’re too image heavy, you know, on Instagram and Facebook.

REGAN: I’m hearing be okay with a be okay with, with testing things out. be okay with testing, if picture’s worth being brave enough to maybe post a video and see how that works. You know, should doctors if they if they post a video and they get no views or little views? Should they take it down and try cuz I think that can be one of the barriers is I just want everything to be perfect. I know that dentists often struggle with the perfectionism and you know, releasing everything and to me that is part of the vulnerability of it is is this is this perfect. So is there value in in trying different things and leaving it up and going and going forward with it? Do you think that just shares more of the realism? Or do you think that they should? It does something doesn’t work? delete it and start all over again?

MARK: No, I totally agree with that. I think it helps it helps to tell your story as a practice, you know, I mean, just just that you’re okay, making mistakes, and you’re gonna do whatever you can to obviously make those right. If it’s if it’s a clinical error or anything like that, but but also that is a human like you’re comfortable enough to share that you know, you’re coming from a place where you’re, you have self confidence and you’re okay being like, Hey, I totally messed up you know, and here’s what I did wrong and or I’m still learning Facebook, it’s okay, just forgive me, you know, people, man, people are so forgiving that way, especially what with social media.

That’s what’s so cool is you don’t need fancy fancy production gear. You don’t need a nice camera. You know, audio that audio is the one thing that’s like you should be able to hear nice, you know, you should have some, some decent audio but as long as you’re close to your phone, like, you’ll be fine. You know, and so you don’t need, it doesn’t need to be perfect. And people actually prefer that it’s not because sometimes when they see it’s overly, overly done, or you know, I mean, it just looks like someone’s coming, it looks like an ad, you know.

REGAN: It’s interesting that you bring that up, because I was just talking to our online producer, Kashmere today about another podcast that I follow that I love and adore. And I’m not going to name it because the critical feedback for it when it began, it was very raw. It was very real. I knew that the that the topic, they were passionate about the topic, they were bringing the tools right to us, it was a really very valuable thing. And I feel like at this point, it’s become overproduced.

So now it feels almost like an advertisement. And it’s it’s very shiny, it sounds like the sound quality is is higher production, the outline is clearly really well thought out. But it’s lost some of that authenticity. And I think that that is such a gift that social media does give us is the chance to be real and authentic. Dr. Andy droll, which I know I have mentioned on this podcast probably multiple times, because it was the favorite video of 2020, he just turned on his camera during during the middle of the pandemic, when he was closed and looked right into it and said, I miss seeing you not I miss seeing my patients not I miss seeing you. And he was teary and he was emotional about it.

And he was just sharing, you know, where the practice was at what they were working on. And the uncertainty around it. And and his his genuine sincerity and getting excited to see patients again one day. And it was just to me that you couldn’t beat that it was it was authenticity. And it was it was it was empathetic, it was bringing in you know, getting on their level of you can’t see us and we can’t see you. And we feel that it was beautiful. So I think that’s I think your message today is is very poignant across any tactic. And I think do you find I think patient retention goes up when you when you start the conversation that way?

MARK: Yeah, I 100% you know, and to piggyback off that out, I think what he did so well is just made it very personal. You know, and that’s one thing that, you know, as you’re getting started, a lot of people can, you can fall into the trap of, Hey, I’m writing to a group, you know, I’m posting this to the world of Facebook or my community or whoever that might be even an email, you know, I’m posting all my patients, but the reality is you want to, you want to write this, like you’re just I’m just writing Regan, you know, I’m just gonna have to sit down on my desk, I’m just gonna write make Regan a message right now, you know, and make it that make it sound like that, you know, there was a great example to where wasn’t one of my clients, but I heard about it from someone else. And I thought that’s brilliant. You know, I mean, just just a simple email. It was like one line long that said, you know, Regan? What can I do to help?

You know, something like that, you know, or what do you what do you what are you working through right now. And it was just a simple one liner, you know, that that and it opened up the door for so many wonderful conversations. A lot of patients responded to that reacted to that and it gave him so much more insight and, and again, it kind of comes back to that is it to telling the story, that of who you are and who you are as a practice because and that’s the thing, I think a lot of a lot of practices, a lot of doctors out there a lot of providers out there, they got into this because they genuinely care about people, you know, I mean, they’re, they love that service aspect of their profession. And they love those relationships. Like it just it makes them so excited. And And so yeah, just help share that. You know, I love that video. I think everyone should do that.

REGAN: 100%. You know what this reminds me of speaking of storytelling, Garth Brooks, of all if you were if anybody out there is a country music fan or Garth Brooks fan Yeah, I waited a very long time to go to my first Garth Brooks concert. And I was so excited. I was very excited to be there. I went down to Tacoma, Washington, that Tacoma dome, which is huge and, and I felt like the entire concert he was speaking to us from his living room to me directly even though I was just a little, you know, head of a needle in this haystack of fans and not only that, but he was actually he had a cold at the time. So his singing wasn’t even like where it should be. And he still showed up he gave it his all I felt like he was connecting with me.

And if you’re listening to this right now I Dennis I recommend you go look at Garth Brooks social media, because he definitely makes me feel like he’s speaking to me or Tory to you while addressing the need and I think you just highlighted that to a tee. You know, put that one person in your mind you’re speaking to one and by speaking to one you’re speaking to all you want to attract.

MARK: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. You know, I mean, they are and this is the whole thing with when we’re talking about storytelling is making that person the hero of the story. You know, I mean, you are not, you know, I hate hate to break it to you if you feel this way, but you’re not the hero. have their story. You know, I mean, a lot of people get attached to that. But yeah, if you can shift that mindset and really put them up on a pedestal, I mean, you’re there to serve them, and you’re there to help them achieve their goals, you know, you’re the guide, you’re the trusted guide on that path to get them there, you know, you know, what needs to be taken, you know, what steps need to be taken, and you can you can direct them to help get them there. So, yeah, that’s a great Garth Brooks is such a step up, it’s a great example.

REGAN: Wow, this has been a fantastic conversation, Mark, I hope to have you on our podcast again, it’s been a joy meeting you, knowing you, and thanks for helping all of our audience today, you know, pull forth an authentic story and, and reach patients where they’re at.

MARK: Now, it’s been my pleasure, you know, I love talking about story just because it has, I mean, we’re wired for stories, you know, I mean, we as humans, that’s what we, that’s why we go to Facebook, you know, I mean, that’s why we spend so much time on social or, or watching TV or YouTube or is because we love the stories. And there’s a cool fact of actually met one of the share this too, but neuroscientists have discovered that people on average, spend about 30% of their day daydreaming, you know, and less and less, they’re already engaged in a story.

And it’s just, I mean, it’s just, yeah, it’s been scientifically proven that we are, like, we’re looking to be involved in a story our whole time, you know, and it’s, it’s a tremendous way to cut through all the noise and the clutter. In fact, I kind of compare it to the difference between music and noise, you know, I mean, there’s noise going on all the time. And you can compare that to all the ad advertising and all that stuff. But when you when you just rearrange that noise with certain notes, and, and for any composition, I can’t remember the right terms.

But, but if you rearrange those in the right way, it becomes music, you know, and all of a sudden, you can you can pick out a song, like from way out there and you can pick out a song that you haven’t heard in 20 years. And you know, all the lyrics to that song. You know, and that’s the power of story stories works in the same way. So it’s, I love I love talking about as you can tell, I could keep going but I really appreciate you having me on here, Regan.

REGAN: Absolutely. And I will have you back. If you are hungry for more Mark Thackeray, head on over to dental marketing secrets podcast where he releases fresh content quite often. Thank you, Mark for being our guest and I wish you the best.

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