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VIDEO - DUwHF #708 - Laura and Michael
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AUDIO - DUwHF #708 - Laura and Michael
Taking on the stale industry of dental marketing dominated by a one-sized fits all approach, Laura Maly and Michael Anderson are the young duo behind Wonderist Agency, a full-service marketing agency for dentists. A niche still crowded by old dudes with dated ideas, Laura and Michael are emerging in dental marketing as the new, fresh kids on the block with an approach that is so personalized you'd think they work in your office. Hear them discuss the importance of reviews to your practice, the common mistakes and how you can leverage them into more new patients each month.
Howard Farran: Hey, it is just a huge honor today to be podcast interviewing Laura Maly and Michael Anderson from the Wonderist Agency. I called these kids, they didn't call me. I'm a big fan of your post on Dentaltown and then I went to your website and you have a YouTube video. The dentists say, "Well, I was searching on Dentaltown and I found you know." And then the next guy says, "Well, I was searching online. It's like dammit you were searching on Dentaltown. Why did you say online?" but big fan of you guys.
Taking on the still industry at dental marketing dominated by a one-size-fits-all approach, Laura Maly and Michael Anderson are the young duo behind Wonderist Agency, a full-service marketing agency for dentists and it's still crowded by old dudes with dated ideas. She's talking about me I'm sure. Laura and Michael are emerging in dental marketing as the new fresh kids on the block with an approach that is so personalized, you think they work in your office, hear them discuss the importance of reviews to your practice, the common mistakes and how you can leverage them into morning phases these month. And I think you should email me firstname.lastname@example.org those two to YouTube videos and we should plug them at the end of this because they're very, very well done.
Laura Maly: Sure.
Michael : Absolutely.
Howard Farran: So my first question is I take it you two are ... you have different Laura Maly, Michael Anderson but I get the feeling that you might be an item or a couple?
Laura Maly: We are. We are getting married on October 6th of this year here in San Diego.
Howard Farran: Don't do it. See when you date him, he has to earn every date. As soon as he has the contract, he just thinks that you have to show up.
Laura Maly: I think it's the opposite in our relationship.
Michael : Just because she said yes, don't hold it against here. I'm a lucky guy.
Howard Farran: Well, it's always a red flag when she loves her dog more than you. That is always a red flag.
Michael : You have seen the dog. It's a cute dog.
Howard Farran: Show me the dog.
Michael : I'll get it.
Laura Maly: I have one dog here. She's my favorite dog. She's asleep. She's napping on the couch right now.
Howard Farran: Come on, puppy.
Laura Maly: Her name is Cupcake.
Howard Farran: I love on your website how under all the stuff, you've been including your three dogs.
Michael : Puppy's the favorite dog of the year.
Howard Farran: That's a favorite dog of the year? That is awesome.
Michael : Smartest dog of the year.
Laura Maly: She's not the smartest dog in the group but we love it.
Howard Farran: I will tell you at today's dental, we don't do that because of the germs and disease and all that stuff you know. I don't know but when you go to Dentaltown, I mean half the time I walk in there, there's a dog or two running around but so let's start off with a deal. Talk us to your journey, how did you guys decide to start Wonderist Agency?
Laura Maly: Yeah, about five and a half years ago, I was working for the movies at Sony Pictures Entertainment and I was doing a lot of their local marketing and I had a friend of mine who had graduated from Marquette Dental School and he was opening a practice and he signed a contract with one of our now competitors and then he kind of called me in a panic and he said, "I think I made a mistake. Can you look at this for me and let me know your thoughts?" and I looked at and I was like uh-oh.
And it was a lot of under delivery, a lot of promises that were empty and it was just incredibly costly. And so he was like you should do this, we should do this and and sort of this idea was born that we think doctors, we hear it time and time again, is that they have a part-time or full-time job managing all of their vendors. And they've got their SEO guy. They've got their Direct Mail guy. They've got their website guy. And why don't you just bring it all together for the greater benefit of your practice and your marketing strategy and have us all and have you talked to one person? Seems like a reasonable thing.
Michael : I think the other thing that's really helped us there is that when you have all these sort of individual vendors like Laura said, someone that does your website, someone that does your SEO, someone does your Direct Mail, very rarely will one of them come to you and say, "Hey, you know what, we've been watching the campaign, we don't think that it's working for you. You really should do something else." and as marketers, the first thing that we talk to all our clients about is that not everything we do works.
We don't hit a home run every time, so being able to take a full-service approach lets us actually look at the bottom line, which is new patients coming in the door and say, "You know what, what campaigns are driving those new patients and what aren't? So we can quickly cut the ones that aren't and focus our efforts and marketing dollars in areas that actually are meaningful." I think that has really been kind of a refreshing thought in the marketing space, the last thing that I would add that that really gave us had been kicking the butt to do what we do today is we were shocked with the design and the aesthetic that was rampant in the dental marketing space and I think still is, it's a lot of lot of template's, a lot of stock images of Grandma and Grandpa sitting in a field.
And so this is something we'll talk a little bit more about later but for us, we looked at the cool new farm-to-table restaurant or barber shop opening up. They have beautiful websites that represented the space and the people and what was actually happening with the experience was and dental offices, just put this facade up oftentimes online through the marketing companies they work with that you don't learn anything about them. And so that's really been something that we've worked hard to change in providing personalized customized design that speaks to the practices.
Howard Farran: So when you said barber shop, was that just a passive-aggressive dig at me? I thought you were going to say barber shop and weight loss clinics but ...
Michael : [crosstalk 00:05:35] You get them.
Howard Farran: Well, I love dentists. I mean I love my profession. I mean, dentists, they're all big readers. Every time I spend the night at a dentist' house I got a hundred non-fiction books. If they're not a dentist's position or lawyer, they got People magazine and Fifty Shades of Gray. I love my homies but the problem with dentists is they love dentistry. I mean they want to do root canals, implants and crowns. They don't want to do this business stuff and that they now have serious competitors. I mean is corporate dentistry taking what you do serious? I mean if they don't find some outsourcing to get on the level of a Heartland, a Pacific Dental Care and Aspen Dental, they're going to have their lunch handed to them.
Michael : Yeah, I mean-
Howard Farran: Do you agree with that or not really?
Michael : Yeah, I mean we see that the market spaces is increasingly more and more crowded and I think that as you have new practices whether it's scratch or transition practices or practices that have been around for 10, 15, 20 years, looking at new patient numbers and feeling that they're flat or they're declining and they look out at the competitive landscape, there are more and more people investing in marketing but you know what, it's updating their site. It's something that really attracts people and makes them pick up the phone or whether, it's just a traditional marketing placement.
That could be digital ads, that could be you know mailers, so yes. Absolutely, I think that you see some of these larger practices, certainly larger groups being more and more aggressive in capturing that market share and so-
Laura Maly: Well and they get so many efficiencies in what they do and because they can group purchase media. They can group purchase product. They can group purchase everything and so obviously, they're flooding the market with efficiencies that are difficult to possess for a small practice. So making sure that you're competitive, that you're staying at the top of your search results, that you are active in your community. No matter what it is, you have to obviously go shoulders or shoulder with these guys.
Michael : And I realize that it's frustrating for small practices because 20 years ago, marketing was taboo. I mean you get your name on your dental school's wall of shame if you were taking out a Yellow Pages ad at that and so much has changed that you really do have to find the channels that work for you. Not every town and not every market is the same, sometimes you'll see a market scheme more traditional with Direct Mail, just more print ad placement and then you look at other markets that are maybe more urban, more dense, more transient, more young and it's all digital. People are looking at Yelp reviews. They're searching online. So it really depends on where you are and what your marketing is and so I think that's really the approach that we take with our clients.
Howard Farran: Ryan, I just got the greatest idea for a podcast. You just said it was taboo, so I'm allowed to be your dad. I got out here in '87. It was actually Arizona, was two lawyers in Tucson, dentists positions, lawyers, advertising was against the law and two lawyers in Tucson sued and it worked its way all the way to the Supreme Court. They were saying, "Look, it's free speech. We have the right to talk and it was in 1973 in the state of Arizona and appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court and so it wasn't until '73 until it was even legal. And I'll tell you, a lot of dentists around the world have gotten in trouble on Dentaltown.
As they listen to all this marketing stuff, they started doing it in Hong Kong or Romania or whatever, next thing you know, the government's knocking on their door telling, "This is absolutely legal." and I also want to say some an old-timer I want to take a dig at the Millennials. They always hate Direct Mail but that's because they have a bias. They hate junk mail. They hate going to their mailbox. They hate picking up all this stuff and carrying to the trash can but I know a lot of old-timers like me who still do Direct Mail and it works.
So a Millennial wants to build their whole practice on Facebook and it's like, "Dude, I bet you Direct Mail and your zip code works better in Facebook and I also bet it could be different in Parsons, Kansas than in San Diego."
Michael : Absolutely, totally.
Laura Maly: Yeah, you bet. I mean we can make a phone ring like it's nobody's business in some of these markets using Direct Mail and we have millennial dentists who do tons of Direct Mail and see excellent success with it. I don't think it works for every market like we said but I mean I certainly am nothing against it.
Michael : Yeah, I mean-
Howard Farran: So when you say you can make the phone ring off the wall, what is the major difference in the United States? Is it more just like rural urban? Is it West Coast East Coast? How would you describe ... because I hate the term, the United States of America because when you go to Europe, no one says I live in the EU because nobody would compare Germany to Greece or Portugal to Denmark and I don't know how you compare Alaska to Kansas or Miami to Kansas City. I mean the United States is really a dozen countries flying under one flag even economically.
Laura Maly: Yeah, I think for me, the two biggest insights are household income and age of the household.
Howard Farran: All right, so tell me how those variables affect our household income. Higher the income, the less Direct Mail or the ... so for higher income-
Laura Maly: Also, the piece, the kind of the piece, so I mean if you are a cosmetic dentist and you want to be doing full mouth restorations or you are an implant dentist and that's all you want to do all day every day, then you may consider sending out something a little more sexy. Maybe it's a tri fold. Maybe it's a nice big folder that has an introduction to who you are and an introduction to the practice and really deep specifics on services that may do very, very well.
What we do most of is we do a lot of a new patient specials or maybe something Invisalign or whitening but I don't even think those do as well and you're looking at like a little small an 8 and 1/2 by 11 kind of thing that we can ship very cost efficiently through every door Direct Mail, which is a postal service Direct Mail program or something like Valassis, which is the corporate owner of red plum and the PennySaver. And you can get a lot of efficiency out of something like that and it can go a long way for the cost and you can prospect with a nice new patient special. I'm not saying a $20 new patient exam, cleaning, x-rays and treatment plan. I'm saying like $100 or $120 or maybe even $200, something that shows value that doesn't say, "I'm not I'm not taking the race to the bottom on offers but I want to show you that I create value in my community and that you could say, 'Okay, this feels like a fair price for somebody who's uninsured.'"
Howard Farran: Man, I haven't heard the word, PennySaver in 25 years. Is that thing still out there?
Laura Maly: No. It's the Corporate Holding Group and they do their Direct Mail a little bit differently. They don't bundle it in the PennySaver as you might get the light newspaper that's got all the coupons for the grocery store and entire changes in whatever. They deliver it in a way that they package it on top of, so it comes on top of with your electric bill, your cable bill, whatever. It does not look like it is part of it.
Michael : So you're using the distribution network and not the-
Howard Farran: And the company is called Valassis?
Laura Maly: Yeah.
Howard Farran: V-E-L-A-S-I-S?
Laura Maly: V-A-L-L-
Howard Farran: V-A-L-S-I-
Laura Maly: S-S-
Howard Farran: V-A-L-
Laura Maly: I-S- No, shoot. Now you screwed me up. V-A-L-A-S-S-I-S. I think.
Howard Farran: Wow, I haven't heard of that either. I think I'm still living in Kansas when I heard that. You said something extremely profound at beginning that these young kids got a convert. You started business because a friend of yours was a dentist and was demanding a service, so you supplied this service and realized there's a business in there. And so these kids are looking at ... Well, so I learned Invisalign, sleep apnea, place implants. What should I learn? It's like, "Dude, just look at your patients. If your patients are all old and poor in a trailer park and want dentures, go dentures and implants.
Laura Maly: Got it.
Howard Farran: Just create a supply of what your customers are demanding and quit trying to be a dentist in Beverly Hills when you live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. You know just-
Laura Maly: Yes, I agree wholeheartedly.
Howard Farran: I wanna throw my homies under another bus. On Dentaltown, somebody's posting and sometimes you wanna know who it is, so you go to their profile and you go to their website. I think seriously, I think I've seen more dental websites than anybody because I'm always looking at these guys. And you can just tell they were at a convention 10 years ago. They bought a website. They haven't even looked at it since.
And all my personal friends in Phoenix, one of my friends is an implant legend but if you went to his website, you'd have no idea. And then I know another guy who is big into the AACD. You go to his website, you'd have no idea. I think most dentists' website is five to 10 years old. What is your assessment of the average dental website when you look at it?
Laura Maly: I will let you take that.
Michael : Yeah, we see a lot of bad dental websites and the hallmarks of sites that I think are going to hold a practice back, our sites that are going to be templated. So if you're picking from a couple templates and they get spun up in a week, that usually is going to bring a couple other things with it and really where these sites stuffer is in canned content. So both written content and visual content.
Number one thing, we know that the best type of new patient referral is going to be a referral from friend or family but whenever someone is know referred, there are so many decent research. They're going to read reviews online. They're going to go to your website and a lot of that is to try to put a face to the name. Who is this person that's going to be digging in my mouth? What does this space look like? Am I going to feel comfortable?
And so if they go on a website, that really doesn't showcase that at all. You don't see the space-
Laura Maly: Or it's a headshot from the doctor from like 10 years ago. They're clearly way older than that or it doesn't show who they are as a human being or who the staff is.
Howard Farran: I don't do a 10-year-old website on my website. I do a 40-pound lighter headshot.
Michael : There you go. That for me is the number one thing. So if you're looking at your website and you feel that there's stock images, people aren't you know, they don't get a sense for the space or the team, that's assignment that maybe you can work with the websites you have and just update that content. Analogy I like to use if you're going out for dinner on a Friday night and you hear a good thing about a restaurant, you go on their website and there's a stock image of the space and stock images of food. It builds no trust and credibility and so you're going to gravitate towards the place that you see what that experience is going to be like. That's something that we look for right off the bat.
In addition, one of the things that people talked about a lot over the last couple years is mobile responsiveness because we increasingly know that people are looking on their phones and tablets and other devices more and more so that's really important. I would say anyone that's making a serious websites in the marketing space right now should be doing mobile responsive sites, that's just a no-brainer and if your site isn't, Google's algorithm changed, I think, was it last April or somewhere in that range where it's increasingly penalizing you in you know in search results. So if you have an older site, you're not going to show up as well.
The last thing, I would say, when it comes to not just having canned photos, which is not good because it doesn't create a good experience, having canned content. A lot of companies because they don't want to take the time to write unique content for each of their client's websites. They'll just use a library of content that is recycled over and over and over again. And so if you think about how those search engines work, they're trying to find the best resource for someone when they search for, let's say, dental implants or same day crowns or any number of terms.
And if they see websites that have the same content over and over and over again, that's not going to help them be a good resource and so you stay a little bit further down. For all of those reasons, we recommend really looking at building your site in a way that's unique and helps you stand out.
Laura Maly: Well, and I think too many of these like templatized sites that have canned content, they are very prescriptive. They don't take into account the actual reader on the other side of things. It's like, here is what a dental crown is. Well, if I need a crown, I want to know what the crown is but I want to know, is it going to hurt? How long is it going to take? Is it going to make me anxious?
Michael : Will the color match?
Laura Maly: Can I get sedation? Will the color match up? Those are the things that people want to know as consumers. They don't want to know about the intricacies of the procedure. That's what the dentist is there for.
Michael : The number one most visited page outside of the homepage on most dental websites that we look at the analytics for is the about page and then after that it's going to be, either the patient resources or the testimonials page. So people are trying to learn about the practice and the people. They don't need a step by step of the procedure.
Howard Farran: I want to interject another business lesson in what you're telling me. You're talking about Google, you've already said the Google like 10 times, right?
Michael : Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Howard Farran: And Google is always getting harassed by Wall Street investors, yay or nay. Basically, they still make almost all the revenue from search and year, after year, after year, they'll lose a half billion dollars a year investing in all these other businesses and they never really seem to ever pan out. And then the next time, they report earnings again. It's still almost all their money is from search and so dentists are doing fillings, crowns and root canals and that's not working. So they think they're going to go into sleep apnea or Invisalign or some other you know, they're going to do it on TMJ. And as I was like, "Dude, last year not even one percent of your revenue was TMJ and now you're on a six-week course."
And then I look at the .. Okay, last year, not even a half percent was from ortho and now you're going to some Invisalign course. Focus on search. You're a dentist, you have cleanings, you have a hygiene [inaudible 00:19:43], you have fillings and crowns and stuff. If you can't crush it on your core competency like Google crushes on search, and I personally think Google throws away way too much money on all these superfluous ideas, which are really cool and sexy but at the end of the day, they cost half billion dollars, which all could have been profit given to their stockholders.
So stick to your core business. I want to get specifics. This is Dentistry Uncensored. I know my homies, they only want more new patients. They don't want any of the details. They're only calling you because they're dentists. They want to do more fillings and crowns in [inaudible 00:20:21]. So they're going to call you up and say, I want more new patients. Can you really look at them and say, "I can deliver you 10 more a month, 20 more a month?" I mean so for people listening to you, if they went to your website right now, WonderistAgency.com.
Can they just call you up and say, "Hey, dude. I need it. You know, I'm paying all my bills. Everything's great but if I have had 10 more patients a month." or let's say they're not paying their bills. They say, "I need 20 new patients a month. Ca you deliver that?"
Laura Maly: I think it depends on a lot of stuff. So when we get on a sales call with somebody perspective or once worked with us perspective client, we ask a lot of questions and I think that's probably something that doesn't happen with a lot of our competitors. We ask hard questions. We say, "What have you done in the past? What did that look like? How did it bring you new patients? What was your experience? How many patients are you getting now? How many patients did you get last year? How big is your office? What services do you offer? What insurance do you take? Do you take Medicare? Do you take Medicaid?
Michael : What are your goals?
Laura Maly: And what are your goals and objectives? What kind of 10 patients do you want? If you are an office that just need bodies in the door, yeah, we can do that. If you are somebody who wants 10 sleep apnea patients or 10 full mouth reconstruction $30,000 cases, then that's a bigger conversation.
Michael : So I mean I think to answer your question directly, the answer is yes but it starts with a conversation about goals and what we can do is we can come back with a prescription for what it's going to take and this is where if we come in, in your practice that it said, "We've been struggling with our reviews. We've got a you know, 2.5 review on Yelp." You know, we've cycled through some people in the front desk. We've had some insurance issues that's really hurt us. We want 30 morning patients coming in the door. We can absolutely put a plan together that's going to do that for you but you're going to have to follow some steps.
One, we're going to have to do something that's a targeted push as far as building that reputation and then we're going to recommend a couple other areas that are just going to make the phone ring for you. And that's for me where tracking is so important, so you know two of the things that we do. Every month we ask our clients for their new patient numbers. So hopefully, you're using a good practice management tool that lets you easily export and sort of cut these numbers where we want to see new patients by referral source, preferably with the 30-day production so we get a little quality score. And-
Laura Maly: Then we ask for monthly production, monthly collection, days open and total patient seen.
Howard Farran: Slow down spanky, say that again?
Laura Maly: We ask for new patients, total patients seen, production, collections and total days open that month, and production by referral and source.
Michael : So-
Howard Farran: Why would you want to collect all that data when if you want to make your website explode, you just got to go to Africa and shoot a lion.
Michael : Well, that is ... Well, yeah, when it comes to building back links, if you want to have an effective strategy. Don't take a [inaudible 00:23:24] in other countries.
Howard Farran: I wanna shoot [inaudible 00:23:26] cousin.
Michael : But the key thing for us is if we're putting marketing dollars into campaigns, we should see patient growth and ideally, we should see patients self-identifying as coming from those channels. Now, that's not a perfect correlation, which is why we also pair this with call tracking. Call tracking is a great tool for marketers. I really think, again, this is one of those things that if you're listening and you haven't used call tracking and marketing or it's something that you've moved away from, it's really valuable because it lets us tie phone calls, tie leads, tie new patients back to the actual source.
And this goes back to what I was saying early on, not everything we hear as marketers is going to work but we can pretty quickly determine where our new patients are coming from and we can focus more of our attention and more of our marketing spend in those areas to then help us meet the goals that we set out originally.
So to bring this back to sort of what you asked, this is what we do every day. We talk to our clients. We understand what their new patient goals are or what their case schools are because it is totally fair. We have some clients that say, "Listen, I'm happy with my new patient numbers. I just got a CEREC machine. I want to start using it and so you know, that now becomes our goal and we're able to, every month, watch how people respond to the marketing campaigns we have and look at those new patient numbers and growth and change our strategy so that we hit those numbers. So-
Howard Farran: Most of my new patients come from first and second cousins wanting free dentistry.
Michael : Yeah, well-
Howard Farran: I built a practice of free Family dentistry. What call tracking software vendors, do you do that? Do you recommend someone else do that? And those call trackers, do they also tape the phone call?
Michael : Yeah, so we use a product called CallRail. There's other ones out there, call tracking metrics. A lot of them are very similar. They provide really good reporting. We use CallRail. One of the reasons we do that is it does provide a HIPAA compliant platform, so that's really important for us when they do the call tracking. So when-
Howard Farran: Is that for the whole US or just out there in Cali where you're at?
Laura Maly: No, whole US.
Michael : The whole US.
Howard Farran: What about the Canadians?
Laura Maly: I don't know about the Canadians. That's a great question. I'll have to ask them.
Howard Farran: Yeah, no one cares about Canada anyway. I will just ...
Laura Maly: Yeah, we don't have any Canadian [crosstalk 00:25:45]-
Howard Farran: I think we have 9,000 registered dentists on Dentaltown from Canada, ain't that amazing? Canada is the same size as California than people on number dentists in GDP.
Laura Maly: Hah.
Michael : That's crazy.
Howard Farran: It's just too [inaudible 00:25:56]. Okay, back to specifics, what is this cost? If my homies went to WonderistAgency.com and I love your name Wonderist, is it a play on wonderful or wonderful is best or [crosstalk 00:26:10]-
Laura Maly: I would like to tell you it means something but it just was made up. I was traveling a lot at the time and it was originally Wanderist but nobody could figure that out and so it just changed into Wonderist.
Howard Farran: Were you drinking at the time? That's what I don't know.
Laura Maly: Probably.
Howard Farran: Probably, right on. So my homies listen to you, okay, I want to get more to specifics. What percent of the time when they call you, you know do you have the bias that I do, do you look at their website and like, dude. What percent of time do you just say you need an entire new website? Percent-wise, existing clients.
Michael : I think a lot of times the dentists that we increasingly work with are younger. They're interested in having really good marketing that really speaks to the brand and the space that they have already invested a lot in. For a lot of those dentists, we're starting from scratch but we are really flexible in the way that we approach things because we've heard every story. We've had people that have invested $20,000 in a website that took five years to build and the minute it launched, it is already up and it's really tough [inaudible 00:27:18] can say, "Hey, listen. You got to build a new site."
And so we want to work with what people have. So we really work hard to do that. I think that a lot of times, when people are reaching out to us, it's because they know that their marketing is struggling and the website is usually one of the original, one of the big calling cards that we want to focus on getting right. So here's the big thing that I would encourage people to think about. We build all of our websites through WordPress.
WordPress is a great platform and that it's stable, it's flexible. The way that we build sites, you own them and the cool thing is if you decide we're a bunch of jerks or you want to take up a hobby and you want to work on your own site, you have all of that access. The biggest mistake that we see is when people build websites through a proprietary platform that one company owns and then you're locked in. So every change that you need made is something you to go back to them to do and it's $100 here, $300 there.
People stopped using their sites because they get really demoralized through this and so that's where, for me, if people have a WordPress website already, that's something that we can usually work with and we can really build around but if you're coming to us and you have a website that was built through a proprietary platform, often that means that we're looking at starting over and building your WordPress website. That's really gonna let you grow for a while and feel comfortable that you're-
Howard Farran: Is WordPress owned by Microsoft and say obviously at Word. Is that a Microsoft product?
Michael : No, I don't think WordPress is owned by Microsoft. It's its own entity and one thing that sometimes people get confused about is people has to think about WordPress blogs. You can build your own WordPress blog but WordPress is actually a platform. So if you've heard of Squarespace, you know there's certainly other ones out there, Wix. WordPress is just like that. It's a platform that's very supported and that it has a lot of people building cool add-ons that you can use. So it's modular. It's really a powerful platform. You can build just about any kind of website you want on e-commerce websites, news websites. Certainly, I think appropriate for small business websites like dental websites. So that's our platform of choice.
Howard Farran: So I want to throw a weird question at you, what is better, to have a rocking hot website that gets all this organic search engine optimization or just say screw it, I'm just going to spend the money and do at Google AdWords? I'm just going to pay for it. It seems like whenever you do a search on Google, the first three or four choices are paid position ads, instead of trying to earn to be on the first page of when I search Ahwatukee dentist.
Michael : I think ... I mean at the end of the day, I think that it's better to have a website that really represents your practice because again, part of the time, what's gonna happen is people are going to hear about you from either another marketing campaign or from a friend, family member or a team member at work and they're going to research you. And so you want to create an experience for them where when they go to your website, you get them excited and stop their search. They say, "Okay, I'm picking up the phone and I'm calling."
So I think the website is really kind of the best place to do that and over time, if you also pair that with some good search engine optimization, that can get you to a point where you are well placed for people to find you organically, which I think everybody, by and large, still recognizes is a more credible way to find people. Now where page search is important, if you're just starting out, you just build a beautiful website. You know people get there. They're going to love what you're talking about but you don't want to sit on your hands for six months while you move up in ranking.
Page search can be a really effective way to bridge that gap or if they're really competitive search terms, again, you want to focus on dental implant cases. It can be a really good way in a competitive market to make sure that you have some of that top shared. Also, a new thing that Google's rolled out in the last couple months really in the new year is you can also now place ads in the map section. So when we think about Google search, there's three parts of it.
At the top in the traditional sort of search area, there's the ads, which you're referring to then below that, there's the map section, which we called a three-pack. It's going to show three listings. The top three listings locally and then you can click and see more. When you click and see more, it will now let you put ads in that sort of local map section and then below the ads, the map, we're going to have our sort of traditional Google listings.
So I would say really make sure that you have a solid website. That's something that all of your campaigns go back to and then if you really feel like you want to push traffic there or you really want to highlight a specific service, AdWords can be a really nice pairing with that.
Howard Farran: So will you help them go to this CallRail for the call tracking or is this something that they need to contact them themselves or ...
Laura Maly: No, we can work with you to set all of that up.
Howard Farran: So you do that. Okay, so then this is Dentistry Uncensored, so let's get nitty-gritty. What does it cost you to build me a website?
Michael : Yeah. As with many companies, there's a range. We really focus on personalized sites, so we're not a one-size-fits-all. We have two types of sites that we build. Our roots are really in custom websites. So you know for that we start from scratch, we do a discovery call with you. We build a sitemap. We build a wire frame, which is kind of like a blueprint for a house. You layout content and then we go and we actually build a design before we ever build the site, which means you get a lot of input into saying, "Hey, listen, I know, I kind of thought I wanted this but can we change the button structure or where content's going?"
Howard Farran: But what if he's listened to you right now and he's driving into work and he's saying, "Yeah, but I never got into that photography thing. I don't even have any pictures.
Michael : Yup. And so when we first started, we were totally focused on custom sites and we had those exact conversations. People would say, "Listen, you know I don't have those photos." or "You know what, I just really don't have those opinions. I don't really know, that's why I'm calling you." So the other type of sites that we build is a semi custom site and what that means is you get a look at a portfolio sites that we built and if you look at one of those and say, "Man, I think that site is 75% what I want but I wanted to you know, feel more like me. I want to make some changes, move things around."
We really are able to personalize it for you in a way that is not a template, it's something that's uniquely yours and so that shaves out some of that initial work that we have to do the wire framing, the full design. There's cost savings there and it also speeds the process up. So you know-
Howard Farran: What is the cost of the costumers with a semi custom?
Michael : Right, so again, we'll do five page, 10 page, 15 page plus. We're looking at somewhere in the low 2,000s on a high end for a custom website and that would be for a five or 10 page site. On the low end for a custom website, that's a five or 10 page site, we might be looking at 4,500. There's definitely a range and on the high end are, if we're looking at a 15 page custom website, it's going to be $6,500.
Howard Farran: And you know what, I've been hearing a lot on Dentaltown and I'm still out on the field a lot. I lecture every week somewhere. I was in Salina last week. I was in Cleveland the week before. I was talking to some dentists in Salina and Cleveland where they built a rocking hot awesome site. When I was your age, only rich people flew or in business and then Southwest Airlines come along and cut all the cost. So now poor people fly and they put up a bunch of like implant cases and they're getting out-of-state people or they might be in Kansas City and they're having people fly from Wichita or driving in from Iowa and what they don't realize is that their dentist does that.
I mean these dentists are telling me ... this one dentist told me that a guy has his MAGD and his diplomate implants who has a better implant then his patient flew to Kansas City and had him do this whole rehab deal because she saw it on the website. I mean seeing is believing and so many Americans in rural markets think, "Well, the best, how could the best plastic surgeon be in Salina, Kansas. Wouldn't you have to be in Dallas or Kansas City or LA or something like that? So these websites can pay for themselves on one case.
Michael : Yeah.
Howard Farran: Yeah. We have a gentleman. We're actually starting a custom website for him right now. Very interesting practice, a low patient group or active patient based by comparison to his production because he gets cases like that from all over the place all the time. It's incredible.
Michael : And I mean for me, what that speaks to is really showcasing what's unique about a practice and that could be the beautiful space itself, that could be the team. A lot of times, it's going to be before and afters and so making sure you have a before and after gallery, here's a couple things that we really recommend. And this goes back to something you said earlier, dentists really like practicing dentistry, of course, and so the things that a dentist are going to look for and a report after are often different than what a consumer might. So maybe avoid those spreader photos that make it look like it's out of Alien and Predator or the shots where there's still blood all over the gums.
What we really like to recommend, if you get permission from the patients, is connect a face with the case and check your state laws. Sometimes this will vary from state to state but if it's something you're able to do and you have patient permission, making sure you show the patient before and after with a whole face and then try without the spreaders and without blood to really show that before and after photo.
One thing we do on a lot of our sites is we actually make this a story. One of the biggest mistakes that we see people make is dentists will put up the before and after photo and they assume that we, as the consumer, know what that means. It's really nice to actually let someone actually see what the case was and have a little description because people will see themselves in that case and so take that extra minute to say what the case was and describe it. I think that can really help.
Howard Farran: I think that'd be extra important, especially if you are building a site like a proctologist.
Michael : Oh.
Howard Farran: You just wouldn't want those spreaders in there. [crosstalk 00:37:41] That's too close. I want to know another thing. When the guy disagree with you guys and marketing in general, Billy and I disagree with this, dentists like they're trying to get like cosmetic cases. So they're trying to get implant cases. I don't even like that business. I mean I'm a doctor. You had to go in the emergency room and you broke your leg and you walk in and say, "You know, we don't do legs. We just do arms."
I mean I'm a doctor for Ahwatukee and I just want bodies. You said earlier, you want bodies. I want bodies and then when those bodies are coming in, if a lot of them need this, I'll go learn that for the last 30 years. I got my MAGD, my MAG. I'm your doctor. I want bodies and my goal was to lower the disease missing and filled teeth rate of my community. The first thing I did in '89 was get fluoride in the water and then it was a 20-year law and expired and we had to go back and get it again.
I'd rather have my hygienist and the second grade classes teaching those kids how to brush and floss because all the research shows that behavioral change, especially if the mother's involved where the father statistically doesn't show up because half the kids in America are in a single-family house, that if you go in there and teach those kids how to brush and floss, the DMFT goes down, not the 4H terminologies but I just like that ... I just think it's ... you run a hospital. You have people that you know. You say you're in a small town of Parsons, Kansas. I mean whatever little human walks in your door needs you. You know I mean? And I just think that.
I want to ask another question. If you had to pick between Facebook ad and Google Ads, where would your bias be?
Michael : Before we do, I just want to jump back to what you said for one-
Howard Farran: Oh, I interrupted you. That's-
Michael : Oh, no. You didn't interrupt me-
Howard Farran: I do it all day long.
Michael : I guess, we agree with that 100% and I think some of the best practices that we have, we increasingly see taking a whole body approach to dentistry and that's been eye-opening for me. I had really complimented our dentist in San Diego, I'll give him a shout out, the Strommers fantastic practice, New Image Dental. They really take this whole body approach and do a risk assessment when people come in. And for me, what's cool about that is that if you're prone to cavities, they'll say, "Well listen, do you have acid reflux? If you do, let's treat. Let's focus on putting a plan in place whether that's with your general doctor or someone else to treat that." and for me, that's a really transformative idea.
I think what this ties back to you from marketing standpoint is every practice should really strive to find something that differentiates them. I think that's a really exciting thing that if I'm looking for a dentist I say, "Wow, that sounds different to me." and so from a marketing standpoint, that's the kind of thing we try to highlight.
Anyway to your question, Facebook ads and Google Ads, that's a really ... It's a really topical question. We get it a lot. I think right now Facebook ads is still the king. It's more expensive but-
Laura Maly: Facebook?
Michael : Oh, did I say Facebook?
Laura Maly: Yeah, you said-
Michael : I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I meant Google ads. Google ads is still the king. It's more expensive but the reason that I think right now, it's still the best investment is that you're getting people at different part of the funnel. When someone is searching for dental implants, cost of dental implants that you know-
Laura Maly: Dentists in San Diego.
Michael : Dentists in San Diego, they are at a point of high motivation to get an answer and to do research, whereas in people on Facebook, most people are not logging into Facebook. In fact, I say if we can say, I think all people are not logging into Facebook to find a dentist that day. It's more of a passive discovery and so why we like Facebook is that it's a lower cost. It's great-
Laura Maly: Got great targeting.
Michael : Great targeting. One of the things that we really like doing is we're able to export patient emails. Again, just emails, we're not attaching any additional information to that and we're able to target existing patient basis as an audience in Facebook and we're able to really sort of build that-
Howard Farran: So if it dentists has collected ... The average dentist has 2,000 patients. So now he's collected 2 or 300 emails, you'd recommend sending those emails to you and having those uploaded in the Facebook ad to target their existing patients who are on Facebook?
Michael : A lot of our dentists will have 2 to 3,000 emails and we can take those and match 40 to 60% of those with Facebook users and then what we can do is we can actually help build your Facebook page and get people to follow that page that are your actual patients, people that actually care about you. And then that starts to create that social referral ripple where they're interacting with content in a way that other people will see that and maybe they go to work the next day and say, "Hey, listen. I see it was your hygienist's birthday. You said you love them I'm looking for a new dentist. Would you recommend them?" and that's the kind of thing that we want to inspire here-
Howard Farran: Oh, you know what, my thoughts on this Facebook because remember, are you guys even old enough to remember Friendster and MySpace and-
Michael : Oh, yeah.
Laura Maly: Yeah.
Michael : Absolutely.
Howard Farran: So I've seen this rodeo three times. The first two all crash and burn but where I think Facebook could really take it away is I've learned the most about business by studying the human, the monkey, anthropology, sociology, psychology. How does this for ... Because relating to this animal with clothes on is a secret, not learning calculus and physics and geometry. I mean you're the only animal at the zoo that wears clothes and when I search Phoenix dentist, Google serves me up a million hits. And not one person on earth is going to go through a million hits but where I see how monkeys work is if I went to Facebook and I'm afraid as it is. Most people are afraid of the dentists, are afraid of the cost of dentists and I went on my Facebook and I searched Phoenix dentist and I had a hundred friends that I follow. And it said, "Well, your friends Shirley goes to Dr. Cook and when your friend Michael goes to Dr. ..."
I think if Facebook got rid of the million search hits on Google, which has no impact on my life, especially on things are invisible. Like say, I'm a woman and I have to get my ... and my car's not acting right and they don't trust any mechanic on earth. They don't trust used-car salesmen or mechanics and my car is not working. I don't want to take this on the shop and get taken to the cleaners or saying, I need a whole new transmission or something.
And I searched and they said, "Well actually, the most place used by your friends, these three friends go to this shop." then I could call my friend and say, "Really, do you go that shop?" and then she might add to it, "Yeah, but make sure you talk to Glenn. He's a good guy. Don't talk to Charlie, the guy's an idiot." And I think social six degrees of separation search, it could be huge for Facebook. I just think it'd be monstrous.
Michael : Yeah, and in a lot of ways, I agree with that. I think it's a great vision. In a lot of ways, we're seeing that with review networks as well. I mean Yelp, as complicated as it is from a business perspective, I think from a user perspective you do see that and certainly, there are other networks that tie that even closer. Nextdoor is one that's that's really interesting that's emerging. It's kind of like a neighborhood.
Laura Maly: I call it the nosy neighbor website.
Michael : It's a nosy neighbor website but we are have that-
Howard Farran: Are they successful? Is Nextdoor ... is it going to make it?
Michael : I think so. Right now, they're really focused more from an ad perspective. They're focused more on large corporate ad investment, which I think is it's bizarre because their whole thing is local but we've seen practices that have been able to get people to chime in and say, "Hey, listen. I really like my dentist." will actually get 10, 15, 20 calls the next day. I mean really-
Howard Farran: On Nextdoor?
Michael : Yeah. Nextdoor, it's-
Howard Farran: [crosstalk 00:45:35] my homies listening here right now. Download the app Nextdoor and start getting involved with that?
Michael : Yeah, talk to the ladies and gentlemen that you have in your office and see if anyone is using it-
Howard Farran: You just said something very controversial. If I go to Dentaltown and I do a search for Yelp, every one of those threads is not pretty. There's no thread like that at Google or Facebook, whatever but man, Yelp. It seems like anytime one of my homies talks about Yelp on Dentaltown, it ain't pretty.
Laura Maly: It's the necessary evil.
Michael : And we need to say necessary, so we have a very love/hate relationship with Yelp. Like I said before, as a user outside of work I like Yelp.
Laura Maly: I'm a big Yelper. I'm an active Yelper.
Michael : When it comes to working with our clients and making recommendations for their marketing, for me it's like doing a deal with the devil and it's very frustrating because their algorithm is I think skewed against business. It's funny how you can have a five-star review put up and it will be taken down because oh, they don't have enough friends on Yelp or they just signed up the other day or all these reasons but that one star review that someone got all upset and worked up and signed in at 2:00 in the morning to leave, that somehow stays up.
So I think our recommendation, in short, when it comes to Yelp, is if you have a really strong presence, you got 50 reviews that are all visible 5 stars, show off the things that are working for you if you're in an area that's using Yelp. West coast, obviously an area that Yelp is very popular, so maybe it's worth, do you want to deal with the devil? Just make sure that the contract doesn't lie [crosstalk 00:47:10]-
Howard Farran: How old are you two?
Laura Maly: 31.
Howard Farran: You're both 31?
Michael : We are.
Howard Farran: I'm 54. I've never seen a human being use Yelp before. So it must be an age thing because when I go drinking with my buddies, I've never heard you know Madden or Taylor or someone pull out a [inaudible 00:47:28] and say, "Well, let's do a Yelp review." Is that something that old grandpas just don't do? Is that something that Millennials do? I mean I've never witnessed ... I've seen people get a Uber car. I've seen people buy on Amazon from their phone but I've never seen Yelp in action.
Michael : I think Yelp really where we see the use case scenarios that we're living in a world that's increasingly transient, right? I mean 50 years ago, people weren't moving as far away from home that I think the community they lived in was much more sort of obvious and present to them. Laura and I have relocated a couple times and when you do, you want to ... We're foodies. We love to go out and it's nice to have that sort of core knowledge right away or when we were looking for a new dentist. We wanted to see what other people have to say.
There's a lot of data. In fact, we just did a talk with RevenueWell a couple weeks ago about the importance of reviews and there's a lot of data showing that increasingly, online reviews are the new referrals. The number one thing all product-
Howard Farran: But is it age skewed? I mean is it 13 under? What about 16 over?
Laura Maly: Oh, yeah. That's for sure. [crosstalk 00:48:35] I think Yelp maybe more specifically. I think on Google, we see a lot of reviews come through on Google that are people of all ages but I think for sure, at least, something as young-
Michael : Yelp is younger.
Laura Maly: Yeah, Yelp is younger and Face-
Howard Farran: Younger, what do you mean, 13-under?
Michael : I would extend it beyond that. I think you might be looking at 35 even 40 year-
Howard Farran: And what percent of Americans over 65 you think use Yelp versus what percent over 65 use Google?
Michael : All the cool ones.
Laura Maly: All the cool ones, I have no idea.
Howard Farran: All the cool ones. That's awesome. I want to go back to the core because I know what my homies are thinking. Dude, I just want more new patients, so what do I do? Do I go to WonderistAgency.com? Do I call you? Do I email you? What'd I do?
Laura Maly: You can go to WonderistAgency.com. We have a little chat box there. The chat is really neat, so you can either leave dirty comments or whatever. You wouldn't believe what I get there sometimes and you can get a direct line to me in that chat box or you can email me at laura L-A-U-R-A .maly M-A-L-Y @wonderistagency.com or you can give us a buzz.
Howard Farran: I just entered, "This is a dirty comment." [crosstalk 00:49:53]-
Laura Maly: You wouldn't believe the stuff we get on there and nobody believes me. They think I'm a bot. So it's just [crosstalk 00:49:57]-
Michael : You just opened Pandora's box.
Laura Maly: I know I'm opening it up. It's gonna be Pandora's box for weeks now.
Howard Farran: Realistically expected, for your average client, what is the spend going to be? What is this spend and what is a new patient just for your average homie?
Michael : It depends on the scope and the practice. You know it can be as low as you know something like $300 a month if we're just doing one service. I will say that everything we do is month-to-month. We earn your business every month. I-
Howard Farran: Do you have contract?
Michael : No contracts-
Laura Maly: We ask [crosstalk 00:50:23]-
Howard Farran: So then why are you get married? I mean your business, you have no contract and then you're telling me you guys are getting married and you're gonna get a contract.
Laura Maly: I think we may need to reconsider.
Howard Farran: My gosh, [crosstalk 00:50:32]. You're not living your model.
Michael : But I would say that the average client is probably spending in the neighborhood of you know $1,000 a month with us and that's not always including the additional marketing spend but the thing is, we really take the time as Laura said, to get to know each of our clients in an initial kickoff call where we learn about your practice because we're going to make different recommendations. If you're in a rural smaller town, we're not going to recommend AdWords. We're not going to recommend SEO. That may not be something that makes sense.
And so we have a whole range but yeah, I mean I think if you just wanted dollars and cents, like average client is going to spend the [inaudible 00:51:08] of $1,000 a month. That's going to include multiple services, maybe social media, search engine optimization, Google AdWords, something like that and then as far as a new patient growth, again, depends on the goals of our clients and the budget that we're spending. Some of them says, "I want to do one mailer drop every three months versus doing one mailer drop every two weeks."
Howard Farran: See, knowing my dentist, that I started Dentaltown in '98 because I knew that all the dentists practice alone and the whole tagline was that I still use 20 years later is with Dentaltown.com, no dentists act solo again and by the way, Laura, you have raving fans on them. You know Yelp, it's all negative. Every [inaudible 00:51:48] I know, raves about you and that's why I called you and you did not call me. This is not some kind of an ad but I mean really, seriously but the reason I ask these questions because right now, they're alone. They're driving to work for an hour and they don't know. They don't even know if they're doing good or bad because physicians, they go to a hospital. They go to lunch room, so they'll sit around with five internist.
All health care is group practice because the MRIs and the CAT scans got so expensive that the only way you could buy state of our equipment is group practice. So this dentist drive and talk to her, she's driving to work and she's thinking, "Well, what is the average dentist spend on marketing advertising? What is like an A, B, C, D or an F for new patients?" because she might be thinking, "Well, I get 50 new pages a month and I think the average gets 200." So she's out of whack versus she might think she's getting a D in new patients when actually, she's going to get A in new patients.
My question to you is to try to help her see a balanced scorecard. She knows what she's spending as a percent advertising. What should it be? Should it be 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5? And what is a healthy flow of new patients for a solo practicing dentist with one hygienist and two assistants and four rooms with an emergency room. Five op, one hygienist, two assistants, two girls up front. What should she be spending on marketing? What kind of new patient flow sheets do you have? What you know, talk to an individual so she can ... because you see lots of dentists all over. She just has her own office.
Laura Maly: Yeah. The first thing I will say is Michael and I are obviously small business owners too, so we get it. We know what it's like to sometimes go to work and show up and feel like you're alone and not really sure by comparison's sake. And so I would say, if you are feeling lonely or you feel like you need to balance some items or things that are on your mind off of you, we have so much data and information and have worked with so many dentists all over the country. We have an interesting insight and we also know what it feels like to be small business owners sometimes.
You can go from being the smartest human in the room to the dumbest human in the room in a matter of like five seconds time. Happens every time.
Michael : Happens every day for us.
Laura Maly: It's a roller coaster but to answer your question, it's certainly a moving target. I guess I would say for the the US average practice, I would say if you are a scratch, I would look at 6% to 8% production on marketing. If you are looking at a little decline in your established practice, I would be looking at, I don't know, 2% to 3% on marketing. Of production, I would say average new patients without our services, probably in the vicinity of 20 to 25 new patients a month.
Michael : You're probably looking at you know, I would guess, you're looking at production of something your collection [crosstalk 00:54:41]
Laura Maly: 500, 600 something like that.
Michael : 500, 600, getting about 20 new patients a month, something there that's a very common conversation that we hear and then I think the real question is if you start adding something like placing implants or you want to strive to get an associate and you need to start climbing, that's where you're going to want to bump those new patient numbers and look at something that's in the 30s or above. A lot of times, we're saying, "Hey, listen. We want to double that new patient growth because we want to pull an associate in."
Laura Maly: And the thing I want to qualify on that too is it often matters who's picking up the phone. So we may be [crosstalk 00:55:13]
Howard Farran: Oh my god.
Laura Maly: If we can lead the horse to the water, we can't make them drink all the time, which is why we do a lot of call tracking and also, a great candidate may walk in the door for you but if you can't close the sale, that's important too. That's important to acknowledge.
Howard Farran: Okay. Now, I want to ... Oh my gosh, I only got you for five more minutes. Will you stay a little for overtime?
Laura Maly: Sure.
Michael : Sure.
Howard Farran: Okay. Now, I want to go to the dark side. I want to the dark side because I don't believe in marketing advertising because I haven't seen it work. Meaning this, if the average hygienist works 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, she works 2,000 hours. She can see 1,000 people for an hour-long clean, examine, x-ray twice a year. I go into every dental office in America, they got 5,000 charts and 4,000 of them, they never came back and they still got one hygienist.
So if you're getting this 20 new patients a month, 1,000 patients by 20 a month means every four years, you would add another hygienist. So I go into small little Eloy, Arizona and this guy has been getting 20 new patients a month, not for four years but for 40 years. And then you know he says to Laura, "Dude, I need new patients." She's like, "What do you mean, new patients? You've pissed off everyone in Maricopa County."
So I want to ask you this. When I look at small businesses, they want all this marketing advertising for new patients. When I look at big business like everyone's gone to Costco and use a credit card, they're all into loyalty programs. They want to keep existing customers. Dentists want to say, "Hey, sorry you hate me and I'm an asshole but I just want a new patient to cover up." So I think, when patients don't come back, you need to find out why but I was just wondering, is there anything in advertising and marketing and websites and everything you do to try to close the back door and retain patients a loyalty segment instead of ... because I don't think dentists should spend 3%, 5%, 6%, 7% on advertising because Costco spends that money on loyalty.
They only want to talk loyalty programs. Costco says, Walmart says, United Airlines says, everybody in America has been our customer like i Dentistry Care Credit, 95% of all the dentists have Care Credit. They don't want a new patient. They want to try to get their existing patients to use Care Credit.
Laura Maly: Yeah, I mean closing the back door and figuring out why people are leaving is really important. And I mean, this with all seriousness, it could be an aging patient base that they're dying out or they're moving to homes. It could be the fact that there's something happening in the process of your practice that needs to get adjusted or fixed. It could be that you are not doing a great job on your recall. So we work with RevenueWell. We work with a lot of the practice management tools.
I'm gonna plug RevenueWell. Hands down, they're amazing but we work with RevenueWell to make sure that our clients have a mechanism in place to make sure that their existing patient base is coming back because that is abs- It is way easier to keep an existing patient than it is to get a new one to walk in the door. That's absolutely true so we work on that and then depending on what state you're in and what your regulations are. We have a scope of work that also focuses on account, we call it account management here but it focuses on working with the doctors to make sure that they are getting their existing patients to be advocates for their business, either through reviews or talking about it and that inputs-
Michael : Internal marketing for the practice.
Laura Maly: Internal marketing, so referral raffles or gift cards or when you make somebody wait in the lobby for 20 minutes because you're running late on a case, can you throw them a $5 Starbucks card and say sorry about it just so give somebody a feel good mechanism?
Michael : I think the other thing that you brought up is dentistry, it's a weird industry and that we increasingly have people talking about membership plans, which we're totally in favor of and we think it's a great thing. And obviously, everybody increasingly is looking for fee-for-service patients but the industry is still dominated by questions about insurance. That makes this tough and that if someone's insurance changes, that they may have had a great experience with you but all of a sudden, they're leaving just because of that. So I think insurance is really a problem and that people treat insurance in dentistry, the way they treat it in the medical-
Howard Farran: Is the problem, the problem or your attitude about the problem? Because when I look at retail, it's going to a bigger selection for lower prices. That's why Amazon is now worth more than the publicly traded saga of Walmart, Costco, Sam's Club all combined, Amazon is worth more. So what's going forward is patients want a bigger selection for lower prices, which is why 82% of dentists take PPOs. And the dentist says, "Oh, no, no, no, no. I want to go back in time to where patients want a smaller selection for higher prices and you might as well.
You're probably going to get a telegram that that's going to come true and it's going to be delivered by the tooth fairy riding a unicorn. And you know if you want to dream about patients coming in and paying in cash for the highest price in town, I mean I don't think that's very realistic.
Michael : Every practice is different. We do have some practices that have successfully done that and for me, hats off to them. That's the dream and they're living it but-
Howard Farran: At what percent of your practice [inaudible 01:00:36] that?
Michael : It's a smaller for sure and I think-
Howard Farran: It's what?
Michael : It's a smaller percent-
Howard Farran: How small?
Michael : The 10% or less.
Howard Farran: Okay, so 10% can do it?
Michael : I would also say that probably 60% to 70% of the practices we work with on some level are chasing that. That is if you bring it back to Dentaltown and you think about what people are looking at and what threads they're reading. We always see these threads that are popular about how do I convert to fee-for-service practice. That's something that is really popular. Yeah, I mean I think the only other thing that I would add to what Laura said is that we do see an increasingly changing environment and that we have more transient populations. Some practices may have more aging populations and the important thing to do is to understand what your practice is and then put steps in place to really counterbalance that if you need to. There's always a place for new patients in marketing. You just have to understand your practice and know if that's something that's right for you.
Howard Farran: Okay, I gotta stay on over time. Are you good for just a little bit?
Michael : Yeah.
Laura Maly: Yeah, [crosstalk 01:01:40].
Howard Farran: You said the word RevenueWell at least three times. I'm sure there's a thousand people who've never even heard of that word. What is RevenueWell and why do you keep mentioning it?
Laura Maly: RevenueWell is a patient management tool. Its competitives, that would be Lighthouse ... what am I thinking?
Michael : OperaDDS.
Laura Maly: Solutionreach, OperaDDS, those are kind of a competitive set just to give you some perspective and then-
Michael : Demand Force.
Laura Maly: Oh, yeah. Demand Force. And the reason that we like them is they are one of the only ones that can basically connect your production to your emails that you're sending, which is really cool.
Michael : It plugs into your practice management tool but here's the takeaway, we're not shown for RevenueWell any more than some of these others. If you don't have a patient management tool in place that automates the text-to-remind, automate some of these emails-
Laura Maly: [crosstalk 01:02:32]
Michael : You really should. It's going to save time for the front desk. So that's the takeaway. What is RevenueWell, Lighthouse 360, OperaDDS, Solutionreach? Those are all tools that can really help your practice. Find one that fits you.
Howard Farran: Now, do they need to call RevenueWell or do you help them set that up?
Laura Maly: We can help facilitate that.
Michael : We can help facilitate that but obviously, if you want to reach out to RevenueWell, they've got great reps that'll help walk through the process and talk about the tool set. Again, same thing for Solutionreach, same thing for OperaDDS and so the key thing is find one that works for you and make sure that you're taking a little bit of that load off of your front desk and use that automation. It's going to help with your recall. It's really truly gonna help with recall.
Howard Farran: Everybody in the industry says that all these women dentists half the class just want to be an employee in corporate and then you go to the corporate world and they say their average employee quits after a year. They say that they all want to work for somebody else and I always look back at the last two million years because I can look back at a two-million-year-old sapien and tell you what's not going to change. They don't like checks and balances. They don't like anybody telling them what to do. They want to live in their own cave. They want to eat their own food. They want to believe what they want to believe. They want to live in a bubble and when you come over on the next cave and tell them that something in their bubble is not true they don't like it.
So she's working right now at corporate and she's got her eye on a retail space. She wants to go in there. She needs a website name like a ... Should she go to GoDaddy? Is that something where she should realize she does? She's trained in root canals and she call you for a logo, a branded website name and does the website name ... I mean like my name is Today's Dental and my motto is yesterday's dentistry at tomorrow's prices but that was a joke. Yesterday's dentistry at tomorrow's prices. Should you just go buy that URL on GoDaddy or is the logo and the brand of the name, a serious part of the equation, a serious part enough where she should run it by marketing experts?
Michael : I absolutely think it is because it's you know. So from this standpoint, one of the most powerful marketing pieces you're going to have is your sign, the street visibility that you have and hopefully, you find a practice that has good street visibility. We used to live in LA. You drive around LA. I can't tell you how many dental practices have dentist as their name. That's what it is. It doesn't communicate anything and so I think you know it's important to find a brand that one, you're excited to go into work for because at the end of the day, this is your baby and two, it's something that helps build the [inaudible 01:05:17] in the community.
Here's a little piece of advice and this is something we've done with a lot of our clients, you can brand yourself and find a brand that really works for you. A lot of people gravitate towards their name. One thing to think about there is that if you're already thinking about selling down the road, that's a tougher thing to transfer. You may want to come up with something that's a little more agnostic.
I'm going to highlight a practice that we work with that I thought we did kind of a cool job with. There's a practice in Wisconsin, in West Dallas that we branded Third Coast Family Dental. They sound like Michigan's the third coast. So a really cool name. I really love it but when it came to the website, we came up with a really boring website name. is West Allis, Wisconsin westalliswidentist.com and the reason that we did that is because that has a lot of SEO value.
A lot of people are going to search for West Dallas dentists and Google is going to start parsing through things and saying, "How do I find the best resource?" When you have West Dallas dentist in your URL, that helps bring that up to the top. And so that's where we can really sort of help navigate those waters and find a URL for you that's also going to position you really well right off the bat.
The other thing that we've done is we have obviously, their vanity URL thirdcoastfamilydental.com redirect back to the core URL, which is westalliswidentist.com. That may be a little technical but that's an example, the kind of strategy that we would use to make sure that you both have a brand you love and something that's positioned well digitally to make your website succeed.
Howard Farran: So here's what I know is the fact, these dentists will go do a marketing. They'll do a direct mail piece. Now, they'll say it didn't work because they don't know how many phone calls it generated versus how many their reception is converted to come on in. And a lot of people say the untrained receptionist takes four new patient calls to convert one patient on the chair and then so instead of doubling your marketing to have eight people call, to get two people on the chair, you could work on your receptionists to convert half of those. I mean so you gave the name, what was it, a call tracker or-
Michael : CallRail [crosstalk 01:07:26].
Howard Farran: I can't tell this dentist about that. When you're back there doing a root canal, [inaudible 01:07:31] I feel like for an hour, I'm Stevie Wonder picking a lock with these little files, trying to fill all the canals and I'm totally oblivious to everything. I mean you are literally eyes-closed picking a lock. They have no idea how the receptionist answers the phone. They have no idea how many of the incoming calls go to voicemail. They can't tell you how many of the calls that went to voicemail that someone even listened to, let alone returned the call. So how could you double the effectiveness of their marketing budget by having a go from taking four people to convert one in the chair to maybe four people call and you get two or three to come in the chair? How do you close that loop?
Michael : First of all, we like to listen to calls and we like to identify when there are problems and if there are problems, again, it's not an opportunity to control someone or to say, "Hey, you're doing a terrible job. It's an opportunity to help them grow." We're building-
Howard Farran: Now, I do the United approach. I beat them and then drag them out of their chair all the way out the front door.
Michael : To each their own.
Laura Maly: [crosstalk 01:08:32]
Michael : But we're big believers in focusing on what we do really well and I think we do marketing and design and campaigns really well. I'm going to plug someone else here. Laura Hatch from Front Office Rocks. I know someone that you've talked to.
Howard Farran: Oh, yeah.
Michael : Just a fantastic program, really affordable because I mean the alternative to that and there are some really great alternatives pulling in consultants-
Howard Farran: So what's your program for teaching the front office to convert more calls?
Michael : Yeah, she's got an [crosstalk 01:08:59] you can go to frontofficerocks.com. It's going to really be a course, an online course, a video course that you can help you have your front office team watch and she's a total pro at it. She's been working the front office for four years, has a fantastic team. She knows her stuff. She also does live seminars that you can check out as well but I think it's a great program at a really affordable price for people that are saying, "Yeah, you know I don't have the time." Or, "I don't have the expertise and I'm not ready to write that big try to compile we have to restart because the research from retail is if I put a hidden camera above the cash register stealing embezzlement drawers if I'm recording the phone calls you're not ready to write that big check to a consultant-
Howard Farran: But you have to record them because the research in retail, if I put a hidden camera by the cash register, stealing, embezzlement drops. If I'm recording the phone calls, you're not talking to your best friend Sally for an hour about your date last night. I mean just the fact that you're recording, changes all their behaviors. So you recommend that CallRail for recording?
Michael : I like CallRail. Make sure that you talk to them to get a HIPAA compliant solution there because that is something that they do offer. I think you know, again, for the industry and that's very important but it gives you the ability to one, identify where the calls come from and I'll take a second here to talk about something cool. It's not just it came from a mailer or it came from your website. You can install or your website company can install a little piece of code on your website. So you can see whether someone came from Facebook, whether someone came from Google organic, whether someone came from Google paid.
So you get all this granular data to actually say which of these campaigns is working and then you can listen to the calls to see one or the good leads and two, did my team closed them effectively to bring this back to what we talked about sort of at the beginning. The reason we love this so much is like we said, not every marketing campaign that we touch is going to be a success. We want to use this tool to figure out what's working and what's not quickly, so we can focus on the stuff that really helps drive new patients.
Howard Farran: Yeah, I just went to Front Office Rocks, the leader in dental front office solutions and the tweet was four hours ago. Free one hour live with Laura webinar training starting in less than 10 minutes. So my question is do I retweet this when it's 3 hours and 50 minutes late in your webinar? Only one more day, [inaudible 01:11:08] join us this Wednesday, May 10th at 9 a.m. I miss that sorry for her. Do you guys talk to her very much?
Michael : Yeah, she's actually another San Diego native or not native but she's a resident and so she's someone that we've been very lucky to be able to go in here, talk and work with as well. So we really like the work that she does.
Howard Farran: Well, I'll retweet it even though it's a dud but the reason I like to retweet it because a lot of the homies are on Twitter and when I retweet something, I'm talking in a podcast or listening in their car, they can go to Twitter and see what I tweeted to get the person I'm talking to. I retweeted both of your names but I don't think you guys are big Twitter guys.
Laura Maly: No.
Howard Farran: I think I retweeted something from both you from 2015 but my homies know that if they wanted to get their contact, website or whatever because they shouldn't be taking notes while they're driving, listening to Dentistry Uncensored unless they're drinking.
Michael : Yep, don't-
Howard Farran: Because when you drink and drive, you're good enough to take notes and tweet. Ask me how I know. Last question.
Michael : Sure.
Howard Farran: She's working at corporate. It's all technology. This call tracker, your website, all this stuff like that. Do you deal with practice management information? I mean do you prefer a Dentrix, an Eagle Soft, an Open Dental Soft? Do you think any of those are better for her when she starts your system?
Laura Maly: I can tell you what I think we can pull reports from very easily or if we're asking questions and to help us get to the bottom of things quickly. Eagle Soft, I'm totally blanking on the two right now.
Howard Farran: Dentrix, Open Dental.
Laura Maly: Sorry, Eagle, Open and not Dentrix. Dentrix is like the ... No. I don't know. What is the other one?
Michael : I can't think of it.
Laura Maly: I don't know, I'm sorry. We're blanking.
Howard Farran: Do you like Eagle Soft? Do you like Open Dental?
Laura Maly: Yeah, when we asked when we start asking questions, if doctor is like, "Oh, I, you know." My favorite one is, "Hey, we didn't get a lot of new patients this month." and then I'm like, "Well, can you pull your reporting for me?" and then I realized that they were on vacation for two weeks and it's like, "Well, no kidding your new patient numbers are low, bro." So-
Howard Farran: And the other problem is that yeah, like say, when you go into any real business like say Hertz Rent A Car or the Marriott's, it's a process. There's like six things they go through to check you in. There's like three things to check you out but what the great geniuses of dentistry did is put on 85,000 features on the practice manager side that 85% of all the dentists have never used once. So then when it comes to who may we thank for referring you or how did you find our office? That never gets done. If you are at other business, you'd have to ask that and if you didn't ask that, you couldn't go to the next step. So I wish those practice managers would just get mean. In fact, someone just needs to say screw it and start a new one from scratch. That's a lot simple.
Michael : One thing that's really cool that we started to really utilize a little more as a company called Practice By Numbers and it's sad. It's sad that they have to exist but basically what they said is, "Hey, listen. These practice management tools are so complicated. Even though they may have all this stuff in there, most people don't feel comfortable pulling reports." So Practice By Numbers is a layer that integrates it. I think all of the tools that we talked about and so it lets you really in a great dashboard, see the numbers that you that are meaningful for your business and in many ways, meaningful for us and so that's something that we really would recommend. If you do feel like you don't have visibility to your practice numbers, first of all, that you should stop right there and get visibility to those core numbers that really tell you how your practice is doing and either do that in the tool that you already have or look at something like Practice By Numbers.
Howard Farran: It's Practice By Numbers but the website is actually just Practice Numbers, right?
Michael : I'm going to take you at your word on that one. I don't have it pulled up.
Howard Farran: But hey I just want to tell you, we went into over time. Thank you so much for talking to my homies today. I think what you said is very informative and you guys, you just have to outsources. The problem with the dentist is when you're at dentistry, you got to wear all these hats. You got to be an HR person, build your CPA, your accountant and now marketing is a website. It's SEO. It's just too much and now, we have 12% of the market is being delivered by corporate dental chains that have 50 or more locations in multiple states.
They're not kidding around with anything these guys have been talking about. They're dead serious about all the business side of it. So I don't know how you wear all the hats. Unless, like when I grew up in Kansas, all the millionaires who own dairy farms and wheat farms. They were 20% . Those are the 20% were dad was on a tractor and mom was sitting at the kitchen table with a calculator doing all the business. The other 80% of farmers, the mom was having eight Catholic kids and making cookies and going to all these school events and they struggled.
So you're either married to a business partner or you outsource it and get a rocking hot office manager that's trained in like [fay-dem 01:16:23] or something like that. Or you just start outsourcing stuff where in that was your business model where you put it all under one hat or you just call them up and have a long conversation, get a long-term plan and say, "Okay, this is a percent of production I'm going to give you. You're going to do it all and then you go back to doing your root canal like Stevie Wonder.
Laura Maly: Yup, yup. I mean find a tribe you love, find the mechanism that works for you. We are here. We are here to listen. We love to help our dentists. We love to get to know them personally, which is important to us and if you need a marketing crew, we are full-service.
Howard Farran: And on Dentaltown, what percent of the dentist would you say are completely batshit crazy?
Laura Maly: I don't know, about 10%. Well, I've gotten trolled real hard on there and like maybe your [inaudible 01:17:06] got trolled hard enough. It's like, "Dude, step up. Go find something else-
Howard Farran: Remember when you're in Dentaltown, a lot of people say, "Well, I have free speech." Dude, that's between you and your government, you idiot. The constitution is in your government. When you're in Dentaltown, it is private property. It is my house. I own the entire thing. I have no partners and I have a report abuse button and I have a bunch of volunteers and when you're listening to this, when you're on Dentaltown and you see something's not pretty, it might not even be your own post. You just feel sorry for someone else. Hit the report abuse and instantly, that post will go to a bunch of moderators.
And we ban people all the time because some people are just not in a good place or unhappy. They're going through a divorce. They're going bankrupt. They wish they would have been a plumber like their brother and you're not going to take out all your anxiety on Dentaltown by trolling. And Twitter is now growing again. Twitter was contracting because of trolls and they finally figured out, the CEO went public with it and said, "Wow, we did not realize." and the bottom line is it's real simple. When you make people feel bad, they leave and when you talk down to a patient and make them feel bad because they come into your office eating Funyuns, drinking a Mountain Dew and need a root canal, they don't need to be made feel bad. You need to lead them by making them feel better.
On Dentaltown if you ever see something that's not making you feel better, hit the report abuse. But hey, I just want to tell you, if you had half as much fun as I did on this podcast, you had a rocking hot time. Thank you so much for coming on the show.
Laura Maly: Thank you for having us. We really appreciate-
Michael : Thanks for having us.