The Fourth Pillar: Beginning With the End in Mind

By | Advertising, Blog, Case Studies, Top Blog Posts, Uncategorized

A few weeks ago on our blog, we mentioned the three pillars that need to be buttoned up and maximized for a practice to survive and thrive:

  • Marketing
  • Operations
  • Finances

Upon reviewing the blog, a fellow dental expert and friend of ours, Kyle Francis, of Professional Transition Strategies, kindly, respectfully, and knowledgeably brought to our attention The Fourth Pillar: Beginning With the End in Mind.

No matter how buttoned up, planned out and strategized your marketing, operations and finances are, your practice will not be as successful as it could be unless all options are understood, you are set to grow with a purpose and the end result is mapped out.

As your career unfolds and evolves, there are countless options down the road: merger, acquisition, expansion, outright sale, DSO, affiliate with a DSO, associateship, partnership, the list goes on. The first issue is that many dentists are not fully aware of and do not fully understand all of their options, the pros and cons of each and ultimately which one fits into their dream and long-term plan the most seamlessly.

A practice “transition” can mean many different things, but without understanding all of your options, you’re indirectly and unknowingly limiting your pool of options.

As doctors look toward the last chapter of their careers, there are several moving pieces to consider:

  • Do you want to phase out of the practice over time?
  • Do you enjoy the business management side and want to have a hand in it?
  • What aspects of your practice are appealing or unappealing to a potential buyer?

These are just a few of the questions you can begin to ask yourself as you map out and plan your ideal exit strategy. By getting your ducks in a row as early as possible, the clearer and more seamless your path will be.

Take this doctor, for example, who purchased a practice in 2010 for $800,000 and has grown it over the past 8 years to over $3,000,000, almost entirely organically and without conscious effort. Now, this doctor is looking to sell his practice and his options are rather limited. His plan and desire was to mentor a doctor and train him into full-time, ultimately taking over the practice. However, not many single doctors at that stage in their career can afford this size of practice, nor would they thrive in a mentorship program built on this foundation. His options now are limited to an affiliate DSO or private equity investors.

There are worse problems to have, though. If this doctor would’ve mapped out his exit strategy and grown his practice with that intention, he’d have more options at this point in time.

Another often-overlooked option is a shared space practice. In locations that are more densely populated and with greater competitive saturation, this is a fantastic option. In many cases, just by joining forces, consolidating operations, minimizing facility costs, bundling overall expenses and maximizing production, an additional 14% can be made on the bottom line.

Kyle and his team have seen a $1,200,000 shared-space practice (with three doctors total) reduce overhead to 42%. On the flip side, they have seen a single doctor-practice doing $1,200,000 with overhead never dipping below 65%. By scaling strategically and making conscious business decisions, you can bring your career dream to fruition and bask in the power of being out of debt.

Kyle and his team are practice transition specialists, dedicating their lives to helping doctors maximize their careers, fulfill their dreams and live a debt-free life. Professional Transition Strategies offers complimentary consultations to effectively and realistically map out your exit strategy and end result.

The Future of Digital Advertising – 4 Trends to Watch for in 2018

By | Advertising

Omnichannel Marketing

Over the past several years companies have embraced a multi-channel marketing approach. Multi-channel marketing involves interacting with customers through multiple marketing channels, both direct and indirect, in order to sell products and services via the channel of their choice. This creates an operational atmosphere that’s more driven by how to sell to the customer in each channel versus the experience created across all channels.

An omnichannel marketing approach, on the other hand, focuses on creating an integrated and seamless customer experience across all channels, anticipating that the customer may start on one channel and move to another during their decision process.  To stay competitive, practices may want to shift towards an omnichannel marketing approach in order to enhance user experience and in turn, boost new patient numbers and production.

Out-stream Video

According to eMarketer, nearly 77% of marketing agencies say that out-stream video will be a crucial element to their client’s success going forward. Unlike in-stream video, out-stream video plays outside of video content. We typically see these in social media feeds or placed in between content. Since these videos can be placed anywhere and formatted to only play when in view of the user, they tend to have higher viewability. A study by Marketing Land found that browsers actively watch out-stream ads for 25 percent longer than other types of video ads. The study also found that 42% of respondents who viewed these video ads were aware of the brand measured in the study, and 65 percent of respondents who were exposed to out-stream formats were aware of the ad upon video completion.

Remarketing

Remarketing works by tagging users with cookies when they visit a particular page on your website. Those cookie IDs then link to a remarketing list and show ads to those users as they continue their search elsewhere on the Internet. Although some people tend to find these slightly intrusive and a bit creepy, remarketing is a great way to remain in front of a potential patient after they’ve left a website. Plus, data shows they tend to perform extremely well. Search Engine Journal’s recent State of Digital Marketing report shows that 91% of search experts use remarketing and claim it’s an effective tactic. According to WordStream, remarketing ads had half the fatigue rate of general display ads and led to higher conversions the more times a user saw the ads. On top of this, remarketing ads tend to significantly increase brand awareness and are historically more cost-effective than general display ads.

Augmented & Virtual Reality

Augmented reality and virtual reality opened up a new world for digital advertisers. The technology has advanced significantly over the past few years and is projected to become a 117.4 billion dollar market by 2022 according to a Markets and Markets report. Companies like IKEA are already utilizing AR to promote how products would look or fit into your room.

The possibilities are endless. Storytelling will become more immersive and interactive, practices will be able to provide realistic virtual tours, and people will be able to truly experience live events without ever leaving their homes.

To stay up-to-date with the latest news and trends in digital marketing, make sure you sign up for our blog. To discuss a digital advertising strategy that meets your needs contact us or call 855-BIG-BUZZ to speak with a marketing professional.

Guest Blog: Stop Managing. Start Leading, and Build a Great Practice by Chuck Blakeman of Crankset Group

By | Advertising

Manage Stuff. Lead People.

Dr. Jensen was not having a good day. He had told everyone exactly what to do at the beginning of the day and yet some staff members didn’t seem to be engaged, others were doing only what they had been told and nothing more, and with a few others, he frankly had no idea what they were doing. He always felt torn between doing what he loved – helping patients – and having to run the practice. There had to be a better way.

The problem was that Dr. Jensen had been doing exactly what he had learned from countless business articles on how to manage a business. But it was just making him tired. In short, he had been taught to manage, when what he should have been doing is leading, a very different thing.

Managers, the way we know them in business today, were invented in the Factory System of the Industrial Age. The assumption was that workers would always work better if someone was standing over them telling them what to do. Or even worse, they’re not smart enough to figure things out without a manager.

But managers are the core “business disease” of the Industrial Age, and although we supposedly left that all behind in the 1970s, almost all businesses today still reflect the tired, ineffective top-down hierarchy of management that has worn Dr. Jensen down. Leaders have been around since man lived in hunter, gatherer groups, but management is a very new, and very different thing. Managers are a sacred cow that have only been around for a little over a century, and they should go away as quickly as possible. Few things are as disruptive, unhelpful, and unproductive in the workplace as managers. Dr. Jensen was only doing what he had learned, but it isn’t helpful.

Solve and Decide, Or Become Less Important?

The manager’s worst habits are to a) solve things and b) decide things. No other actions are as debilitating as solving and deciding for others. When a manager solves and decides, the only thing left is to delegate tasks to be executed – “do this or that, at this rate”. But when we delegate tasks, people feel used. Managers who solve and decide things are fundamental in the dehumanizing of the workplace, because tasks are for machines.

Leaders do it quite differently. They train others to solve problems and make decisions, and then they get out of the way. If you’re becoming less and less important in your position, you’re leading.

The Best Business Leader Makes The Fewest Decisions

The art of traditional management involves planning, organizing, staffing, controlling, and awful assumptions like “manipulating human capital”. In the management model, people are “capital” to be manipulated and controlled, just like chairs and desks.

In contrast, the art of leadership is to know how few decisions the leader needs to make.

Ricardo Semler owns an estimated $1billion private company called Semco, and hasn’t made more than a few decisions in 20+ years. Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter and CEO of Square says, “When I’m making decisions, I’m not leading. Both of these are great examples tremendous leadership, and we should all aspire to it by training others to “solve and decide” and then, by getting out their way.

It works because these guys have trained others to solve problems and make decisions. Having gotten out of the way, the leaders are now free to ask questions, review, assess, and think about the future. If you’re making decisions for others, you’re managing. If you’re just asking questions, you’re leading.

Here’s a short hand explanation of the difference that you should memorize:

Managers tell, leaders ask.

Managers make decisions and then just tell people what to do. Leaders agree on a result, then ask good questions to make sure others are making good decisions. Then they get out of the way, because leaders focus on results. Managers focus on the process, so they can never get out of the way. Agree together on the result, then allow and require others to figure out the process.

What Are You Delegating; Tasks or Responsibility?

We said earlier that when managers delegate tasks, people feel used, because tasks are for machines. But leaders delegate responsibility – “get a great result – a much broader thing that requires thinking, solving, and deciding. When given responsibility, people take ownership, and ownership is the most powerful motivator in business. Are you delegating tasks that simply require action, or responsibility, which requires the whole messy, creative person to show up?

Management Is Not Leadership

Management is a very recently invented construct, but leadership has been around for centuries. We’ve conflated the two. Here’s a simple reference for pulling them back apart.

Manage Stuff, Lead People

The fundamental flaw in the “manager as a solution” mindset is that people need to be managed. They don’t. They need to be led, and the difference is not semantic, it is gigantic. Dr. Jensen resolved to stop telling people what to do and instead decided to focus on a simple two-step “engagement” process.

  • Decide together with each staff person what result they should be getting on whatever process was in question. Great leaders don’t even “tell” the result, they get people involved in owning the result.
  • Ask those involved to figure out the process for getting that result. When they brought it to him, his commitment was to not tell them what he liked or didn’t like, but to ask good questions to help think through the process.

What Dr. Jensen found, to his surprise, was that some staff members loved having the responsibility of figuring out how to get results, and others actually didn’t. But he was tired enough of making things happen that it became mandatory – you either make decisions because you want to, or because you have to. They were all adults and could make great decisions at home. Now they were all allowed or required to be that same adult at work. It didn’t happen overnight, but quicker than he thought, people began to take on great responsibility, freeing him to be the great dentist he loved being.

People Are Not Stuff

To get this right, we need to separate people from resources. Human “resources” is a terrible description of people. A resource is “stuff”, and stuff needs to be managed. People don’t. The Factory System reinvented people as extensions of machines, and when people are extensions of machines, they are “stuff” to be managed. But if they are fully human, they require leadership instead.

In our company, we only manage stuff; paper, numbers, software, processes, systems, delivery of goods and services, accounting, marketing, sales, etc. These are all “things” to be managed, and everyone in the business manages stuff. But we don’t need someone with the title of “manager” to hover over any of us to ensure the stuff will get managed. People manage the stuff, and we lead the people by vision, guidance, training and support, and then most importantly, by getting out of the way.

The manager’s quest is to be as helpful as possible for as long as possible. The leader’s quest is to relentlessly train others to solve and decide, and become less important every day.

It’s important enough to say twice: the art of leadership is to know how few decisions the leader needs to make.

Stop managing (telling) and learn how to lead (ask). You’ll have a lot more rewarding practice, and everyone who works with you will be taking charge like you always wanted them to.

How Patient Tracking Can Raise Revenue

By | Advertising

For the past 10 years, Big Buzz has helped dental practices nationwide to attract new patients to their doors. Using online marketing, social media, direct mail, and more, Big Buzz had implemented strategic marketing plans that yield real results. How? We ask the people.

Our most successful clients start with the Marketing Platform, which begins with Big Buzz surveying the practice’s ideal patient base to uncover trends and perceptions related to the practice’s unique brand. We ask how they found the practice, what attracted them most to the practice, what types of marketing they pay attention to, what they like and dislike about the practice website, and so much more. Using this data, we can pinpoint the marketing media and messaging that will resonate perfectly with your target audience.

How can you take advantage of this concept right now? 1. Contact us about creating your own Marketing Platform, or 2. Start tracking new patients on your own.

If option 2 is the best place for you to start, keep these ideas in mind:

Each time a new patient calls your office, make it a must for the receptionist to ask, “May I ask how you found our office?”

On all patient intake forms, make it a requirement for new patients to answer the question, “How did you hear about us?”

Implement call tracking software on your online ads and website to track where calls are coming from.

Why?

Once you uncover where new patients are coming from and how they are finding your practice, you will know precisely where to invest your marketing dollars in order to reach more potential new patients just like them. And that level of precision not only makes money, it saves money. No more throwing darts in the dark hoping you hit the marketing bull’s-eye.

Where your current patients are spending their time and seeking out healthcare information is where potential new patients just like them are also spending their time and seeking out healthcare information. If you’ve been running a television ad but realize that all your patients are finding you via Google search, reallocate those funds into quality SEO. If you thought you’d try Yelp ads but your patients are more active on Facebook, implement a Facebook ad campaign instead.

Ask your patients where and how they found your practice, record their answers, and implement changes based on what you learn.

So simple, yet so often overlooked.

Easily track new patient sources with your own custom dashboard. Schedule a demo to learn more.

For Local Dentists, PPC Bids Are Not Created Equal

By | Advertising

Let’s Get Hypothetical

Three companies operate in three separate locations: location A, location B, and location C. Each company provides similar services, run similar ads and target similar keywords. Let’s assume many of the technical components of the ads are exactly the same; each ad has similar quality scores, targeted landing pages, ad extensions, creative and captivating copy, and are not impacted by waste elements like negative keyword search. This example will be purely focusing on the bid pricing for select keywords and search phrases for the three different, locally targeted ad campaigns. The goal is to explain budget burn rate, and answer the question, “How much budget do I need?” “Why should I increase my budget” “If the keywords are the same, why is my budget so much higher?

Let’s Get Started

After one month, location A and B have doubled their ad clicks compared to location C using exactly the same monthly budget. Now again, we’re assuming each of the companies are targeting the same search terms, have the same quality scores, and the same monthly spend. Why is there a disparity in the results?

Below is three bid quotes for the same keyword. Can you guess which suggested bid goes with the following cities for the search term “dentist near me”?

Options: Nashville, Colorado Springs, and San Francisco

Answer: It is Colorado Springs = $20.52, Nashville = $7.76 and San Francisco = $9.06.

Breaking this down further into a monthly budget, let’s say each client was a dental practice that had a $1000 ad budget, or around $33 a day. The San Francisco and Nashville locations could see 4-5 clicks per day. The Colorado Springs location will only see 1, maybe 2, clicks for a particular key phrase. Over the course of a month that can equate to 30 – 60 clicks versus 120 – 150 clicks, a huge difference in an industry averaging around a 3% conversion rate. So why the bid variations?

This variation in the bid price is most commonly associated with two things: demand and how likely the click is to convert.

In the screen shot above you can see a broader list of suggested bid values for select terms. Although there are only 90 monthly searches for “cosmetic dentistry”, it holds a $30+ bid value, which is strange when the term “dentist” has 1600 monthly search volume. However, the revenue brought in from cosmetic procedures tends to be much higher than routine checkups, therefore this term is targeted by a lot of practices in the area. The demand creates a bump in the bid price for a click on “cosmetic dentistry” as local practices look to increase their ROI for high profit services.

The second reason for the higher cost is the conversion factor, meaning those clicking on the ad for that specific term are more likely to convert into a lead. This means a broadly targeted word such as “dentist” will be less likely to convert than “best dentist near me”, despite having much greater search volume.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, all is not equal in the local search world when it comes to bid prices, but there are things you can do to boost your clicks without increasing your spend. As I mentioned earlier, ad specialists know how to boost quality scores, earning you the lowest bid price through custom landing pages, effective copy, ad extensions, and campaign structuring.

Also keep in mind clicks are not everything. Expensive bids are expensive for a reason. If you are seeing a high conversion rate off the few clicks you receive, it may be time to throttle up your ad spend. In my opinion, it is always a more effective strategy to increase spend on effective keywords that bring in leads – even if they are draining your current ad spend – than to gain more clicks by going after cheaper, lower demand keywords with lower conversion rate terms.

For more information or to speak with an advertising specialist, contact Big Buzz.