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January 9th, 2023

Episode 140: Dr. Baird Answers the Hottest Dental Marketing Question

“Everyone wants to know, what is my first step in marketing?” ~Dr. Bruce B. Baird

You’ve made the decision to market your dental practice. That’s a great step! Now what?

I get this question all the time: what is my first step in marketing? 

Well, it really depends on where you’re at in your career. 

When you’re fresh out of dental school you need to focus on increasing your knowledge and skill levels and getting the patient volume you need to run a viable business. In mid career, you should be focusing on attracting the patient flow you want and increasing your profitability. And as you round out your career, you should be doing very targeted marketing for the procedures you love to do, while minding the long-term value of your practice. 

But regardless of where you are in your career, you can strategically use marketing to increase your job satisfaction and the value of your dental practice. 

So tune in today as I share my marketing tips that will help you answer the question “Where do I start?”, including: 

  • The role education and knowledge plays in marketing strategy
  • How to leverage PPOs (and when to phase them out)
  • Using marketing to increase your job and life satisfaction

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Hi, this is Dr. Bruce B. Baird with The Productive Dentists Podcast and we’re looking at a question that I just got in a couple weeks ago. What should be my first step in marketing? And another great question. I mean, I get I get these questions on 100 ongoing basis. Everybody wants to know, okay, I’ve made the decision to market. Now what?

And everyone’s in a different position. Everyone’s in a different place. So when I say you know, where should I start marketing, it depends, first of all, where you’re at, if you’re coming right out of dental school, that’s a different answer than somebody who is, say 40 years old, you know, I say 40 It could be a somebody who’s coming right out of dental school and 40 but are somebody who has been in practice I should say for 20 to 25 years, there’s been going to continuing ed who’s been going to the implant courses, the aesthetic courses, the the reconstruction courses, the endo courses, you know, on and on and on. So when you look at that your marketing would be different. If I was coming right out of dental school, I would first of all spend my marketing money on getting the education. We talk about that a lot.

At PDA we recommend an 8% marketing budget. We’ve talked about Net Zero marketing on previous previous podcasts. But my gut feel is when you’re coming out of school, commit those dollars to education commit those dollars, not to necessarily new patient flow. I’m okay with you signing up for some PPOs and have them that they’re basically a marketing company anyway, they’re not insurance. I don’t want you to think PPOs or insurance PPOs or marketing companies, you sign up. They do the marketing to their people, people come to you you’re doing dentistry at a much lower cost. You know, you’re doing crowns for 500 600 $700 instead of $1400. And so if I’m a young dentist, I’m looking at it okay. Sign up for those but get your education.

I would do that for three to five years and at the end of that five year period. If I would begin to systematically wean myself of all the PP O’s, now, I’m telling you, you spent 8%, you spent some of that money on coaching, hopefully. But you’ve also spent some of that money going to Kois going to Spear going to, that the courses around the country that are gonna give you the expertise clinically, to look in the mouth different than you do today. And so it’s really critical to do that, when you’re first starting out. Now, once you’ve done that, you wean yourself off of the POS. And then you began spending that 8% On the coaching and the marketing, instead of on the education. Now you’re going to continue to do the education, but what you’re going to find is, you’re going to be so much more profitable at that point when you’re ready. That that won’t be an issue. So that that’s important.

Now, what about mid career? What about the mid career Dennis who comes to me and now they’ve had PP o’s and you know, we’re going to talk about how to systematically eliminated I know that our buddy, Chad Johnson, and Reagan have got the Everyday Practices podcast they’ve talked about getting rid of the PPO is there’s a systematic way of doing that. But I would begin if you if you’re already in that situation, where you’ve got 1015 BPOS. First of all, your profitability is nowhere close where it could be.

And so the strategy now you’ve been to education, you’ve gotten your training, and you’ve gone to these different courses, to me have Gosh, what a what a, you know, what a what a mess, because now you’ve got, you’ve gotten so much knowledge, so much information, yet, you’re getting patients that are just thrown to you from a PPO, most of these don’t need a lot of dentistry, most of them don’t have much that they that they need except cleanings and you know, a few fillings here and there. And that that has defined your practice in this first five to 10 years. Well, now it’s time to change. Now that’s what PDA does.

We teach doctors to communicate at a different level. To get patients to say yes to treatment, no matter whether it’s a $1,000 treatment plan or a $20,000 treatment plan. How does that work? Are all the patients you see from a PPO or are there going to be $20,000 treatment, I would say on average, most PPO plans are sending you just families, new patients working age, people who have gotten the PPO and you’ve gotten the knowledge to do full mouth rehab, you’ve got the knowledge to do implants, you’ve got the knowledge to do all on four, you’ve got the knowledge to do you know, aesthetics, veneers, changing people’s lives with their smiles, all of these things, but yet, the patient flow that you have is not the kind of patient flow that you want.

You know, you don’t want mass numbers of new patients coming from a PPO, and we’ve had Doc’s that are that have to 100 150 200 that are coming in. That is a disaster. For your dental practice. You know, now it was necessary when you first started because you had bills, you had all this stuff you had to pay, but you didn’t have necessarily the knowledge to give comprehensive treatment plans. So that’s why I say early on, go, go get that knowledge, you’re not getting it in dental school, I can promise you there’s not a dental school in the country that teaches at a level that you want to be at. And if the dental schools are the level that you want to be at, sign up for the PPO, just do that the rest of your career, I’ve seen guys had been successful at it. But if you want to help patients at a different level, you need to market at a different level. And when I say marketing, all of a sudden you’re beginning to market to the procedures that are specific to the things that you enjoy doing. And I can really say that that works very well. Even for them.

As you go in your career, you’re going to that’s going to narrow down you’re going to find the things that you really love doing now your maybe mid to late career. What are the things you really love to do? Because you know what, if you really love doing Endo, you know, you’re gonna mark it to pain patients, you’re gonna mark it to that I hate Endo. You guys know that. And I would find a great referring doc right down the street or bring somebody in that could do it for me, because I don’t like doing it. And you know what? I don’t have to I only as I get into the mid to late career, I only get I only want to do the stuff that I love doing. You know, I’ve been able to and most of those higher end procedures are more profitable. So you go through this deal where you struggle early on, but use that struggle to get the education Should you then get into your mid career, start getting rid of all any PPOs that you have, because that’s going to make your increase in profitability.

And continue your educational journey continue to go to Courses, and then you get into this mid to late career. And at that point, it’s extremely targeted marketing. If you love to do laser, you know, love map surgery, Laser Periodontal surgery, then you can refer specific to that, if you want to do specifically that. What if you say, Well, I really enjoyed doing a little bit of everything that was me, I enjoy doing a little bit of everything. I don’t want to really target just implants. I don’t want to target just veneers. I really want to target people who need dentistry. At a higher level, we call that train wrecks. And I’ve had podcasts on the train wreck marketing that I like to do. Why? Because I have the education to do it. Now, what if you haven’t gotten all through all that education? Well, it’s really hard to market to train wrecks, if your skill level is, you know, not at that level. And there’s no, that’s not saying anything negative about you individually. It’s just saying you’re on a journey, you’re on an educational journey. I always used to tell people, my commitment to myself was every single year, I want to be a better dentist than I was the year before.

Meaning I’m gonna go to Courses, I still got a courses, and I’ve really put the handpiece up, I still work with dentists all over the country. And they asked me these questions. So I want to stay late with you know, stay up on the latest technology. I’m doing some things with printing and print technology and all the new scanning technologies and the milling technique. I mean, there’s so many cool things happening. But until you commit to something like that, it’s not just going to happen by osmosis. So in the mid to later career dentist, you’re going to really specifically market to what it is that you want to do. Now when if you get to that point in your career, and you’re like, you know, I like doing everything, you know, I like doing everything fine. You know, then you’re marketing more towards the dental new patient that needs dentistry across the board.

Now is that patient going to be a 27 year old worker at the chip plant down the street, probably not. You know, is it going to be the 55 year old and others the age of the patient’s going to change that if you love doing all kinds of dentistry, then don’t mark it to the to the family, you know, don’t mark it to the three kids. Now if you love doing kids, and you’d want to have a family practice, that can be extremely successful. If you love working with kids and doing all that now, what you’ll do is you’ll market to a different segment of the population, you’re going to be marketing as you know, to different not only different demographics, different location, different areas. And that’s going to make all the difference in the world for you doing the things that you want to do, because most importantly to me, if you’re in this dentistry realm, and you’re working hard, and you love you love doing the dentistry, find out what increases your joy, what increases your, your fun at the office. And we can go into that. And a lot. I mean teams and all of these things can affect how you feel about your practice. But we’re going to be going through a lot of that over the next 20 to 30 podcasts, but it’s going to be super important. Where do I mark it? How do I mark it? How much do I mark it, all of those things, we work with you at Productive Dentist Academy.

So if you want to learn, you know what authentic marketing is, you know, I challenge you to come come to the course you know, sign up. And I think it’ll be something that you’ll you’ll listen to and you’re going to say wow, you know, I hate to spend this much money to go to a course. But you know what you’re going to be doing that the rest of your career. I would prefer you to come and learn how to communicate the skills and how to talk to the patients and how to market properly so that you can begin this journey of increased job satisfaction, increased joy and practice increase. Increased joy working with your teams, because the practices that are most successful that we work with on an ongoing basis are ones that are great communicators. They’ve learned to market to the things that they love to market and and they’re enjoying dentistry. They’re enjoying life. Very different group.

Now the younger dentists are very different than the old baby boomers. The baby boomers would work an extra, you know, they work 6070 hours a week and find out why. Why am I not so happy? And my family, the young dentists kind of have so much fun stuff that they’re doing, how do I focus on my business? So these are the things that that I hope you’ll you’ll get gathered from from these podcasts. And I look forward to seeing you at a productive dentists meeting in the future. We’ve got so many new things that we’re doing so look forward to seeing you.

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