Justin: welcome to the Dental Marketing Guy show, I’m the Dental marketing Guy, and today I have a very special guest, which for many of you, she needs no introduction. She was voted one of the top 25 woman in dentistry, but a dental products report, Dr Anissa Holmes has effectively mastered the skills and the use of social media, with a Facebook following of nearly 48,000 fans. As a practicing dentist, author, pod caster and speaker, Dr Holmes shows dentists exactly how to create a profitable, thriving dental practice, which has motivated, inspired team members, and patients who are raving fans. She also teaches dentists how to get best ROI on social media. Dr Holmes is one of the top iTunes podcasts', with the 'Delivering Wow' Dental podcast, and is also the author of the book 'Delivery Wow: ho dentists build a fascinating brand, and achieve more while working less'.
Welcome Dr Holmes, how are you?
Dr Holmes: I doing great Justin, thank you so much for having me, I’m really happy to be here.
Justin: excellent, excellent, well it's a huge honor because, I know you interview a lot of movers and shakers on your show, so I love having experts like yourself on the show.
Dr Holmes: good stuff.
Justin: so, your here because, what you do is you teach dentists basically how to build, what we call here on the Dental Marketing Guy show, 'the dental dream' or the 'dream dental practice', and that looks different for every dentist. And we did and interview just the other day with Dr Tuan Pham, and we were talking about how, you know, everybody has a different vision for their life, but you know ultimately a lot of the dentists face, I find, can be solved, many of them can be solved, by just getting new patients.
Social media is one of those things that you're really good at and you're really good at teaching, can you tell us how dentists' can gain new patients through say Facebook advertising?
Dr Holmes: absolutely. So, to me, Facebook or social media is huge, because Facebook allows you to be able to share the story of your practice and it's really quite amazing. So of course in the past, when somebody wanted to go to the dentist, they would grab what? Yellow pages right? And they would flip through the yellow pages and they would say "okay, I see this ad or this ad or this ad is better than this ad". And they would choose their dentist, but things have really changed. And I really ask dentists, or ask people, 'when was the last time you actually looked through one of those books?', so things have really evolved and changed. But the amazing thing about social media, is that, you are constantly able to share your story. When people are not thinking about a dentist, and to me that’s HUGE. And so, what I always tell dentists' is, just what you spoke about, what is your vision? What story do you want to share about your practice? And that is the story that you want to create in your social space, that’s how you develop your brand, and your brand, I know that you know this as well, is what people say about you, when you’re not around, and building an amazing social media presence, is a great way to really grow your brand.
And so, you question was really, how can you get new patients through social media?
Well I can tell you some examples of what we are actually achieving in my practice.
So, I started my Facebook journey, in 2010, and I started it with one patient, like you need, or one person you need at a time. And I started to share the story of our practice, I shared pictures of us out in the community, I shared pictures of my team, us having fun, and you know, there were some posts about dentistry, but it was really about the culture. And through that, people became interested, they became very engaged. And because we were consistent in that, they continued to follow us. And because we were able to provide value first, they really, like I said they became interested, engaged, and then we started to see the conversions. And so, now what happens is we have about, typically, 40 new patients every single month, coming just from Facebook, and that is huge. I mean, most dentist want to have you know 40 new patients in several months, and we're getting it every single month, and the patients that are coming in, they know us already! They’ve been to our website, they know the team, they know that we are offering some amazing you know, experiences, like you know eye packs that take away the sound, and complimentary hand and arm massages, because you know that’s out culture, and we're sharing it. And so, because they know us, they come in their connected, they're ready to actually come in. So, that’s how we're using Facebook to really connect an engage, and again, maybe they’re not even, you know, close to my practice, maybe they’re an hour away or something, but if one of their friends needs a dentist, we're gonna be at the top of their mind.
Justin: excellent, yeah. And, you know, you talk about telling the stories, that’s the kind of content that prospective dental patients want, because prospective dental patients don’t think of themselves as prospective dental patients, they think of themselves as human beings, and human beings love stories, so I like how you say, you know, we ultimately, it's to get new patients, ultimately it’s to build report with existing patients, but I like how you, you basically said in a roundabout way, 'look, were not just trying to shove dentistry down these people’s throats, we're telling them about who we are, and what we're about', and I’m sure you've found that, that, basically to juxtapose, or compare it to a lot of other dentists' who don’t really understand social media marketing, they might say 'oh, well we buy google ad-words, we do SEO' and stuff like that. But if you don’t have the culture side of it, the human side of it. What have you found as far as, I mean 40 patients a month from Facebook advertising is amazing, but maybe you could go a little more in depths about what you've found the difference is, just by kind of being out there, and by being out there in a way that people can really relate to, with those stories.
Dr Holmes: Right and it really does come down to the engagement and the connections, you know. And so, finding out what it is, or perspective dental patients want, and you know, we really ask our patients, we ask people on Facebook, 'what is it that you want? what's your resistance, what’s keeping you from coming to the dentist?', and what we've found is that patients you know, they want to be seen on time, they don’t want to wait forever, they want to have amazing, beautiful dentistry, and they want to have an amazing experience. And because those are things that people are looking for, that's the post that we actually create, those sort of engaging posts, you know. So, when you come to our office, you won’t have to wait forever, we will see you on time, if not your next exam is free, or we're showing pictures `of our patients getting a massage, or we have video testimonials of our patients sharing their actual stories, in the practice of how their lives are being transformed, and these videos, of course, as you know, are going viral, and so what happens is that, it's seen not only on our page, but it's being shared so many times, so I think that's really really key, and really really critical. In taking it a step further and saying, you know you were asking, 'how do so many people see your posts?', and it really comes down to being very strategic in terms of creating ads, that will reach your intended audience. So, if we're, for example, we're creating an ad about teeth whitening, we're going to targeting people who are getting married, who are a certain age, and we're going to target it to people, sometimes we target it to people who are going to see it in our news-feeds, and sometimes we don't, and when we don't, it's because we're trying to also grow our likes. And so, there very specific strategies that are able to be put in, based on the objectives that you would like to achieve. But it's really create fascinating, in terms of viral nature, of Facebook.
Justin: what would you say in terms of, with videos, what would you say to those dentists that are listening that say 'video, you know it sounds like a really big investment, I’ve got a face for radio', there’s dentist posting on Dental Town, they don’t even want to do photography. Video scares the heck out of them, what would you say to those dentists that are kind of struggling with the camera shyness?
Dr Holmes: right, well, I’ll say this. A lot of what we put on our page, it's pictures of patients, it's not actually even me asking my patients to provide the content, it's my team, their using their smartphone sometimes, and you know, we actually have a system for ensuring hat we will get these video testimonials, and it really has to do with our patient experience. So, patients come in, they you know, they get hot chocolate, they get coffee, they get tea, they get plantain tarts, we give them a tour, we show them our core values on the wall. So, there’s a whole process in our practice, and so, by the time they get to, to having, to seeing me for example, after they've seen the hygienist. They've already had the massage, they had all of the music, they had a warm towel to relax after the procedure, and the hygienist will say, and this is the system "how was your visit today?" and I mean after all of that, they're like "it was great!", and then I come in, you know, and this is our system, and then I come in, I’m like "okay, hi, I’m Dr Holmes, it's so great to meet you, how was your experience today, was it great?", I mean I’m not even asking them about their teeth yet, because we're again, are trying to evoke and emotion. They're like "it was great" and I’m like "wow, I’m really happy, because we want to make sure that your comfortable, you know a lot of people are really fearful to go to the dentist and we want to make sure you're okay, that’s the focus of our practice", and people feel really connected, and then we go through the dental exam and we make our recommendations, then they go to the front desk. The front desk then says "how was everything today, did you enjoy your visit?", and they're like, I mean by that time, they've already acknowledged, and they know that we care, because we've already asked them 2 other times, they like "it was amazing!", and then by then they're like "you mind if we just get that on video because we really want to make sure that other patients find out about our practice", and they're like "absolutely,, come one let’s do it" you know, they're having a ball, so it's really easy for us to get these video testimonials, and like I said, they're taken on a smartphone, or on an iPhone, and we're able to just save them, and in terms of video, I would recommend on Facebook, just putting it directly on to your Facebook page, not linking it to YouTube, and you will have more visibility if you do a direct upload to Facebook, versus doing a link, but doing video is huge, it's huge, even our pin post right now, we have a smile maker competition, and I announced the competition over video so I actually created a quick video, and I announced that we're giving away a free smile make-over, and because I actually uploaded it as a video, versus a photo or just text words, so many people saw it, and I spend like $20 to promote it, and thousands of people saw it and because it was an engaging post, about us giving away our competition to change someone’s life, it just wen viral, so we didn't have to do anything after we spent the $20. Our Facebook fans, our community, they really did the work for us.
Justin: you know I, I think that’s great. You know I talk to a lot of dentists that hit me up about SEO, because you know that’s what I do. Content creation is really big in SEO, because Google, Bing and Yahoo, they want to put up the best content, and to boil it down to a basic tenant of how the algorithms work; if you're putting content out there that people re engaging with on social media, they read it, they absorb it, and they convert. Googles looking at this, and they say 'hey wait a second, how could we possibly put someone above this, we can't put someone above this, because they're the leader in the industry', so a lot of dentists' contact me because they aren’t creating content.
What kind of SEO results have you seen, as a result of creating so much content that people love?
Dr Holmes: right, so, we spoke about this earlier, and, you know, I am in a really great position, we are definitely number one in our market, and pretty much any keyword that you type in, and part of it was we were earlier doctors, so that I think is key to actually make that point. Because sometimes you come in a little bit later and it takes a little bit more time to get that traction, but you will definitely get there if you just continue to put out that content. But you know, a lot of the content that we put out, you know, our blog posts, we are always posting and changing up our website, all the time, and we're posting again on our social media channels, we're on Instagram, we're kind of everywhere, we're on google plus, and I think that’s really big as well, a lot of people don’t really use google plus, but I mean good google plus is owned by google, so you know, that to me, sort of a no-brainer, to do that as well. But like I said, we're not really, in my particular space, because I’m doing so many other things in terms of constantly putting out content, to be honest I’m not really that focused on my SEO, because I’m just organically just doing that by, all of the things we're doing in other social spaces.
Justin: yeah, definitely, defiantly. SEO is a result of your marketing efforts, not the tactic being used, but the end result is, 'hey, this is a leader in the industry', just like you said, you were an earlier doctor. And, I’d like to go back to the video thing right now because, you know, you touched on a very good point, and that was, the patient was on the video. It wasn't he dentist on the video, which I think is a great idea, but it’s actually the patient on the video, which I think is, in some ways a better idea.
Dr Holmes: absolutely! And especially if you're like, you know, if you’re a mature dentist like me, you know, maybe you know, your patient is going to bring more excitement to the video. Sometimes it’s even the team! one time I had a video that we put up and it was my team member, and she was talking about why she had to work at my practice, you know, and that was really really huge, because patients were like 'wow, if the employees are happy, you know that place might be a place that I need to go to', you know, you just have to be kind of creative. But, definitely, it doesn’t have to be the dentist, taking the video, it doesn’t have to be the dentist in the video, but you know its something that the dentist needs to be aware of that can actually help them grow, and they delegate it to someone that can make it happen.
Justin: I think, you know, when you say you’re an earlier doctor of this social media and all that, you were an earlier doctor of a website right?
Dr Holmes: yeah
Justin: right now, would you say, the early adoption that can take place now, is video?
Dr Holmes: I would say so, and you know there is a lot of changes’ going on right now, especially with Facebook, and especially in the last few weeks. And, what we're seeing is that, video is going to be huge. There are a lot of changes happening and you see all of the Facebook emoticons going on and the reactions and you see all of this stuff going on in terms of how they're collecting data, and you see that you can actually create campaigns based off of how people react to your actual content. So, there’s a lot of really cool stuff that’s happening, but video is the way that it’s going to be in the future. And you can see that even on twitter, I mean Facebook live is going to be huge! you know I mean, to me it's just all about video and people are engaging with that, and it's working and that’s way Facebook is putting it out there.
Justin: you know it’s like; 20 years ago dentists didn’t have a website, now you’re crazy if you don’t. Right now dentist are saying 'why would I do video? Why would I record my patients on my iPhone? Why would I do that?'
Dr Holmes: well I can tell you, you have to be first and I mean, I actually was, it's very interesting, I think I’m just an earlier doctor.
So, when I came out of dental school, I actually created my website that was like in 1999, or 2000 or something like that, and there weren’t that many dentist that were doing websites and I was like 'wow, this is gonna be huge, people can learn about your business, and you don’t have to be mailing stuff to them, and they can go whenever they're at home and find you', and so I actually created a website and then Dentrix contacted me and I was featured in their campaign for like a year, and I walked into the Hinmen dental meeting and my image was everywhere, with my website and I was like 'oh my gosh this is so cool!', but the thing about it is that, if you can get in with it as an earlier doctor, you’re definitely going to be the leader! You know, in your community, so you know. IT's time to take action on that, and not let that opportunity pass you by, but you're right the earlier doctors are the ones who are going to have a much easier path to take.
Justin: it's funny because if you write copy for a website, and it's kind of buried somewhere, you can put, kind of, I mean the dentist will just approve it, but if you try and get them to say those exact same words on video, they won't, 'oh no we can't say that', well that’s what’s on your website!
Dr Holmes: right
Justin: Video is like a filter, basically if you start with video, whatever you're willing to say on video, that's what should be in the copy of your website. Would you agree with that?
Dr Holmes: absolutely, and it's so interesting because, you know, I just finished writing my book, and I went back through and I looked at the copy again, and the first writing of my book, I went back through and I’m like 'gosh, you know it's just not telling enough stories, I’m going to go back and just really talk to the dentist', and so if I am saying a 'contraction', it's okay, I don't have to be so technical with my writing, and when you talk to people how you really sound, they connect with you. And so, you’re absolutely right, having that video and just being real with people, they connect with you and they can tell that you’re really a real person. And it's that sort of people that, I can tell you in my practice, it's not stiff, it's not stuffy, we have fun with people, they come in and we're high fiving them 'hey, what's going on, how was your weekend?', you know what I mean, it's that sort of culture! And so the patients can just sort of relax, and they're not so tense, and thinking it's such a formal stiff environment. The music we’re playing in the background is like, you know, you're at Starbucks or you're somewhere, having a great time, it's just that sort of environment, and people are connecting. And at first, you know, I’ve been practicing for 16 years, and I did not think that that was what was appropriate. So, I was like, when I came out of school, I was really formal, and you know, I wore a suit, and I had played jazz and I was really very formal, because I thought that was what people wanted from their doctor, was to be formal. But, I have actually had the most success, just being myself and being real with people, and they connect and they know that you really care, and I think that's really, really huge.
Justin: you think that authenticity comes through?
Dr Holmes: I think so. Absolutely, and it's just like, even how we're chatting right now, we haven’t prepared for this interview, I don't know what you're going to ask me, we're just having a chat, like we're old friends you know? and to me, it's that sort of thing with patients, you don’t have to be so scripted out, just know what your objectives are, just know what you’re trying to accomplish, but definitely be yourself and people will really connect with you.
Justin: I’ve found with these videos, that, yeah, that conversational flow, like you're saying, and we transcribe these video's and put it on a blog post, and what it's done is, it's made content creature, really, really easy, because I’m only saying the things that I would actually say. When a lot of people sit down, they’re like 'dentists don’t want to blog are you kidding me?', when you were in dental school, when did they talk about blogging, right? It’s not why you went to dental school, that’s not why you became a dentist, maybe if you like blogging if you’re a dentist, just by coincidence, but for a dentist, that’s not part of the job description.
Dr Holmes: oh, I don't know about that. Well, I will say this, if you decide that you want to be, and there are different types of dentists’, right? So, you may this site that you want to, you want to have dentistry as your job, as your profession, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and so, maybe you want to work at a university, that's what you want for yourself. Or, maybe you want to work for a company, and you don’t want the hassle of running a business, or maybe you've reached a stage where you've done that already and you're like, you know, 'I just want to go and treat my patients', and that's coo, that’s absolutely cool. But, if you are in that space, where you are a business owner, and you decide that you want to own your own practice, then you need to be able to learn some things about running your business, and that’s the bottom line. And content creation, getting your brand out there is how business owners grow their businesses, and so, I challenge dentists all the time, 'it's okay, think a little bit out of the box, because you have chosen to be a business owner, and when you do that you have to think about things a little bit differently, yes give amazing dentistry', and I mean we focus a lot on that, and that’s the reason why, we're getting the 5 star reviews and the patients are giving the testimonials’, because we are providing amazing dentistry, but to me, that's just one piece of the puzzle.
Justin: yeah. So it sounds like the dentists that you work with are real action takers?
Dr Holmes: absolutely, absolutely, and I mean to me that's the exciting part, you can of feel my passion coming through now, and like I said, every dentist is not going to connect with me, and your vibe attracts your tribe, I’m not sure if you've heard that, but you know, my tribe are people who are action takers, they know that they want to get results, they just don't know how, and they say 'okay, I want these results, I see what your dong and I want that, show me how to do it', and those are the people that it want to work with, those are the people who want to really grow and learn, and it's the same thing as being a dentist, you want to treat patients, that when you say 'okay, you have a missing tooth, and putting in that implant to prevent future problems', the patient is engaged, their ready, and they're saying "doc, whatever need to do, I trust you, just do what's best for me", and it's those sort of patients that you want to work with and it's those sort of dentists that I work with as well.
Justin: excellent. Let’s take about promotion. So, we've talked a lot about content; let’s talk about paid promotion and un-paid promotion on Facebook. What are some of the tactics, if you can give us a top tip, or a few top tips on how to promote this content, once we have it?
Dr Holmes: right, so I can tell you some promotions that we typically do in our practice that have been really engaging, and I’ve learnt this just because I’ve tried so many things, and you learn by doing things over and over again. So what have really worked for us are things targeting new patients, or procedures that they have to have anyway. And so, one thing that we typically market a lot on is new patient cleanings, right. And what we do is, we'll say 'okay, we are going to do a for the month of' - and we have it going on right now, 'for the month of' - and we're in march at this recording, 'for the month march, if you come in during this month only, you will get your cleaning done at 50% off, you have to mention that your coming in off Facebook, so if you’re coming in from any other source, you're going to be charged your regular fee, this is your reward for following us and being loyal. You'll come in, we'll do cleaning, X-rays and exam', now the reason why this works, there are several reasons, and the reason why this works, it's something that, everybody has to do. Everybody needs a cleaning, right? Not everybody needs an implant or dentures, you know, everybody needs a cleaning, so you can just target that towards just anybody. The other thing is that, when people come in, and we are discounting in a sense, that 50% off, that's actually our marketing expense, we’re not paying for anything else, and when they come in, we're actually offering additional same day service, so we offer to do sealants’ on our patients, the same day, whether they're a kid or an adult, and I can tell you, I believe in, which is why we offer them. I've have sealants on my teeth since dental school, and I feel like, if they're something that can prevent a cavity, why not go ahead and do it, and so we recommend sealants’ on all of our patients, well pretty much all of them. If you've never had a cavity and you're grooves are smooth, you probably don’t need a sealant, but for the most part we are offering that. We offer fluoride to our adults and kids, and it's very interesting because if a patients chooses to do 4 sealants, that is way more than the fee that we were discounting for the 50%, and a lot of times people are coming in, and there not actually doing for 4 sealants’, there actually doing 8 sealants, or their doing 12 sealants. So at the end of the day, our ROI on that actual strategy of actually getting the patient in at half off, sometimes we're actually making triple what we would of made in the same appointment, and the same appointment time, because we're offering services that don't take very long, that have high margins, not a lot of overhead to do a sealant or a fluoride. So, it's an easy ad on and then it actually brings in patients who become raving fans, once they experience all of the experiences that we have, they're telling other people, which creates internal referrals. And not to mention lifetime value of these patients, who come back for a repeat, and we have tested and measured, because some people will say 'okay, if you get them in one time, do they come back, or do you just get them in for the promotion?', well, the thing is that, once you get them in, you have to, what I say, 'continue to deliver', you have to deliver that wow. So you have to keep in touch with them with the emails, newsletters and that sort of thing. And when they come in they're getting an amazing treatment, so I can tell you that 80% of our patients do return in 6 months for their pre-scheduled cleaning, and they become lifelong patients, and for me that am a great return on, you know, 50% off. We also do teeth whitening promotions all the time, again that's something that has really high margins, not a lot of expense put into that, and then also, from time to time, we'll actually have a service of the month, and so we'll say "okay, for this particular month, in this month only, we are featuring crowns", and so what we'll do is, our promotional pieces for that month in terms of educations pieces will be on crowns, we'll show pictures of before and after’s of crowns, and we'll also create and offer, so if they have read it, the education piece, they seen before and after pictures of my work, on actual live patients, maybe we put up a testimonial, and we do have a YouTube channel with has all of these videos, sometimes we’ll link and all that sort of stuff, and just coming at it in different angles, and then we'll say "okay, this month only, if you come in you'll get automatic 5% off, and if you prepay you'll get an additional 5% off", or sometimes we do more than that, but when we do these campaigns like this, we get so many patients that come in, and even though we're discounting the 5% or 10%, those are our best months ever.
Justin: excellent, yeah, and I’m willing to bet that it has a lot to do with the fact that you're leading. Your putting out that content, your educating, your building report, your touching base with these people, you know you can physically only be in one stop at one time, right?
So, for all those hand shakers and door-knockers, and those that are hitting the streets, or the chamber of commerce, you know and all that. That’s great, that's probably the best, that’s great. But, with email, social media, you're website, these videos; you can be everywhere all at once, at the exact time that people are searching for you.
Dr Holmes: absolutely.
Justin: so that’s what I really like about that, yeah.
Dr Holmes: absolutely, and as I said, Facebook is what I really teach on, but we're also pretty big on YouTube, you know, we've got a YouTube channel and we've got actually a playlist for each procedure. So, we’ll have a playlist on patient testimonials, we'll have one on crowns, which will include; videos of what is the procedure, post treatment instructions, and we actually use this a lot in our Facebook. And so, what we do is, when a patient asks a questions, we use private massaging a lot, so a lot of patients will send us that direct message and we've actually customized our responses, so if somebody says 'how much is an implant?', for example, we actually have taken the time to script out our responses and you know, we can actually input in the patients, you know a little section for the patients to input there name, that automatically puts it in and will actually have a link to a YouTube video about an implant, so it will carry them from that, so it takes literally 2 seconds and we can also do it from our pages app on our iPhone, so we can respond to them. some time’s we're getting messages, and I mean, I’m at home and on my phone and it's 11 o'clock, and someone’s' asking about an implant, and I give them a long detailed description of what an implant is, here’s a video, 11 o’clock at night, you know like 'oh my gosh 11 o'clock at night, these people as super responsive', so you can actually use you're presence on google, or YouTube to actually connect and merge with the strategies’ of social media through Facebook to even get more massive results.
Justin: that's excellent, that’s great.
Yeah, you've obviously seen some great results, I think that's great, 40 new patients from Facebook. Guys, you heard it here, Facebook it works, but only if you do it right. Dr Holmes, where can our listeners find you?
Dr Holmes: right, so, there’s a few places, but the best place to reach me, is actually I have a free Facebook group, so dentists' who are action takers, who want to know more, they can go to 'delivering WOW hangout', and you'll be able to get free access to my free private Facebook group, and the dentists' in there are amazing, and they're dropping value bombs, not only about Facebook, but you know, 'why don't you use this scheduling application' or somebodies talking about social media or they're dropping in their social media pages and we're helping each other. So, it's really cool it's like an online mastermind. So, 'delivering well hangout' is great, and my website is 'Delivering Well' and lots of blog posts on there, and my podcast, which is; 'Delivering Well Dental' podcast.
Justin: excellent, well, you heard it here folks, this is Dr Anissa Holmes, and you know where to find her.
If you have any questions, feel free to put them in the YouTube comments, on the blog comments, if you see this on Dental Town, where ever it might be, feel free to comment, if you have any questions for me; I’m the Dental Marketing Guy, at DentalMarketingGuy.com, and Dr Holmes, thank you so much for delivering this value, I think many of the dentist’s that are listening to this, who are, a lot of them are on the fence about Facebook, like 'I don't know, should I do it, should I not?', it sounds like you can provide a lot of value to them to get started. So, thank you very much.
Dr Holmes: excellent, good stuff. Thank you so much for having me it was lots of fun.
Justin: alright guys, thanks for watching the Dental Marketing Guy show.