Justin: Welcome to the Dental Marketing Guy Show, I’m Justin the dental marketing guy, and today we have a couple of all-stars, in the area of Dental Marketing online. From Wonderist agency, we've got Laura Maly, and Michael Anderson.
Did I say that right?
Laura: Maly, yeah, well close enough. I don’t correct people
Michael: you got my name perfect though
Laura: yeah, yours is the hard one.
Justin: excellent. And it’s a huge honor to interview you, because we're talking about something so important, and that has to do with tracking ROI in marketing, and let me tell you, there’s a lot of marketing companies out there, that are fly-by-night, and they don’t like this stuff. I was talking with Dr Christopher Phelps about it, and he was like "I make a lot of people nervous with my call tracker ROI" and so, you guys are about it though, you guys have your methods and are sure a holistic approach as well, and so, you invite that kind of tracker. For those of you dentists listener, this may be the most important aspect of marketing, because at the end of the day, what you do, may work for your practice it may work for another practice, and it may not, and the testing is what’s really important.
So tracking ROI that’s what we're all about here. So first of all, how are you two?
Laura: good, ready to have a glass of wine, because it’s Friday, 3:45, so we're getting there.
Justin: California Jamin', am with ya!
Laura: yeah, you know all about the wine, you’re up north.
Justin: yeah, you know it's like a wanna' be Napa Valley here in San Luis Obispo, California.
Laura: I love, well for another conversation. But I love San Luis Obispo.
Justin: well Oprah called it the happiest place on earth
Laura: there you go, for adults, over 21.
Michael: it's good enough for Oprah, its good enough for me.
Justin: alright so, let’s talk about, could you give me just a really quick background for those who haven’t heard of Wonderist agency; kind of like: what the idea is behind it? Why you started it? What you’re all about? What makes you different?
Laura: sure, we started 5 years ago, and we are a full service marketing agency for dentists. The agency was really born out of an insight on - had a friend graduate from dental school and he purchased a very large marketing package from a very well-known dental marketing agency, and he kind of looked at me and he said "I don’t know what to do know", and I was in a unique position, having been doing local marketing for the 10 years prior to that for fortune 500 companies, to really take a very good look at it, and decide 'here's what you should do or not do'. So really I shepherded the duration of that contract through and when it ended, I ended up taking it on. And from there on out the idea was sort of born and then just in the last semi-recent past, we've moved into a full service model. So I’ll kind of let Michael tell that part.
Michael: Yeah, so I think really the key insight from sort of the first experience that Laura had, is that there’s a lot of frustration that dentists have when it comes to marketing. Often times they'll have lots of different kinds of relationships, they have someone that’s doing their website, someone else that’s doing their SEO, some else that’s doing social media, someone that’s managing their grocery cart ad's in the super store down the street, and they end up getting into this place we're they're like 'I did not get into dentistry to have a second full time job managing my marketing', and so often - and this is part of what we're going to talk about today with tracking it - often times what happens is, it's really tough to see where the marketing dollars are going and track the return, so there is a lot of frustration that we sort of discovered, both in that first relationship and since then. So I think as Laura said, sort of initially, she had the opportunity to work with a couple of clients initially, almost as a consultant, and then when we really came together, we turned Wonderist agency into a full service marketing agency, and the idea is that we're able to, very efficiently bring everything in under one roof, and make sure that our practices’ marketing is working for them in a way that is consistent and track-able. So that’s really been our main goal.
So just to build that out a bit more, we do everything from, you know, print, anything with ink on it; mailers, newspapers, billboards, all the way to building beautiful custom WordPress websites, `we do SEO as well, we do google Ad-words, we do social media content management and advertising, we even do video and photo productions. So, kind of Soup to nuts - we do it.
Laura: you think of it, we can do it.
Justin: excellent. And you know, there’s a lot of discussion on dental town about - I think there’s a market for this, because there are threads that are started and there like 'who can I go to for everything dental related?' and you know, there’s discussion about whether that’s always the best fit for every practice, but I do agree that a lot of people want a one-stop shop, someone that they can trust to kind of handle everything. And so, I’m sure that’s partly why you guys take this approach.
Why dentistry? Why Dentists?
Laura:Just kind of got into it with my friend who asked me to kind of dig deeper into his stuff, and I was interested in it, and I thought I was fun and cool, and so it just sort of became a passion of mine with marketing.
Michael: Yeah, I think sort of the initial client that Wonderist agency was founded around was a friend and someone that we really had the opportunity to learn from, very passionate guy about dentistry and someone that really allowed us to grow with him. I think the other thing that has really inspired us, just to be candid, is if you look at the industry, we saw a huge opportunity; it really - in many ways- feels under served to us. I think there were a lot of companies that grew out of the mailers, and they have sort of stuck with the more traditional approach to design, and more traditional approach to marketing, and I think that there is a lot of frustration, certainly with clients that we work with today, that feel like they didn’t have a marketing team that was a good fit for them, they weren’t seeing websites that necessary represented the brand that they wanted, and there was sort of a higher level of expectation out there that wasn’t being met. And so that’s been something that we've really looked forward to coming in and disrupting and providing a different product.
Justin: yeah, you know I visited your website the other day, I really liked it. It's a nice style, because it kind of reminded me of - you know it’s funny Laura, you say that you come from fortune 500 companies - it kind of reminded me of how, bigger companies - like super bowl ad's - there not even really about the product, it's more of like an idea, a culture, a concept, you know, like 'what does all this have to do with apple? This commercial' it has nothing to do with apple and why it’s a superior product or not! So I got that impression from your website, it was some pretty cool features, that didn’t really have anything specifically to do with clinical dentistry or marketing, but it's just kind of showcasing your personality and what you guys like to do, and I thought that was pretty cool. So I’m not surprised when you say you came from that fortune 500 background, because everyone knows, their doing the best marketing there is. And when you talk about dentist's not having the support for their marketing efforts, you know there being exploited in market, that's definitely true, man I’ll tell you in my local market, it’s pretty bad. Some of the TV ads for dentists - its like 'oh man, just don’t run that ad'
Laura: you know I think all of these other industries; be it retail or E-commerce, or whatever it is - get to take advantage of sexy technology, sexy websites, sexy design and we really want to bring beautiful things to dentistry, because we love dentistry.
Michael: and ultimately things that convert new patients, and I think that, you know you just bought up TV, unfortunately we’ve worked with a lot of dentists that - especially practices that have been doing marketing for a while - that have been doing the same thing for a long time, and they've seen their return on investment drop, but they don’t always know where to go next, and so it's important to make sure that we're tracking the return so we know where the money is best spent. And that's why for us, and I guess kind of what we're talking about today - if, as marketers, we're not in the practice’s numbers, we don’t tie ourselves to how many new patients are coming in each month and where they're coming from - how are we able to do our jobs well and ultimately know where the practices money is best spent?
Justin: that’s so true. And so, let’s delve into this. So tracking ROI, are you talking about getting into the practice management software - I hate to call it practice management software, because it’s not all-encompassing, it's more like patient managing software, So far there doesn’t really exist a real comprehensive practicemanagement software in my opinion, but Idigress on that - so you guys are actually delving into Dentrix and Eaglesoft and all these?
Laura: yes. So our practices, every month at the end of the month, pull for us, the months previous numbers for that practice and that includes: production, collections, total patients seen, new patients seen, days open - and then there’s another sheet that they do and that is; all new patients and their referral sources as well as the production` attached to those patients in the first 30 days.
Michael: so to build that out - the last ones really the most important, and for all of the doctors listener, it’s amazing how many times we'll get on a phone call, and these are kind of the first things that we start with, because we want to understand what the practice looks like, and it’s really important just to have that quick understanding of 'okay, on average about 60% of my new patients come from other patient referrals, of the remaining 40% I’m seeing 10% come from insurance and you know, the remainder I think, is coming from online, that’s what we're seeing internally from tracking' and then also be able to sort of, look at a least a 30 day production, to see; what’s the quality here? I always like to pick on group on here, because I think a lot of dentists have had some experience with this, where they'll say 'okay great, look at new patients spiked, we saw double the new patients' and then you look at the 30 day production, and then certainly extrapolate beyond that and you can say 'wow, those are not the patients we want in this practice' and so I think for our dentists to feel like their close to that number is really important, even more so for ourselves as marketers.
Justin: yeah. You know kind of going off on a tangent here for a second - I had Eric Jones, Dr Eric Jones on the show, and we were talking about how important it is to be - you know in dentistry we can’t say 'specialist' because there’s 9 specialties, but have a focus. So, I’m helping clients with things like that, you can be the dental implant guy in San Luis Obispo County, because nobody is doing that.
so, do you - just as a marketing philosophy - do you guys - what kind of dentist's do you work with, and do you subscribe to that theory of - you know it’s really good to know who you are, be focused, now what you do, and stay in your own lane?
Michael: yeah, I think it kind of goes back to what we were talking about a minute ago where, you know - again, I appreciate the compliment on the website, when I think about the message we're trying to communicate, we can sit here and go point by point over all the different marketing things we do, and that could be the way we introduce ourselves, but at the end of the day, it's very often about the personalities and about the trust in the team that you work with, and that’s what we put forward on our website, we take the exact same approach with our doctors, and we say 'tell a story, what makes you different? Are you sort of the small family practice with old fashion sense of service and a model commitment to digital dentistry? Are you a practice that is just crowns in a day, c-rec technology, just really investing in the best dentistry has to offer?' like you said, 'do you brand around dental implants?' you need to have a story to tell at the end of the day to differentiate yourself. So I think yes, I 100% agree with what you're suggesting and advocating - find a way to stand out and tell a story.
Justin: absolutely. And you know I had Joshua Scott from 8E8 dental marketing on, the other day, we haven’t aired that episode yet, but he’s all about storytelling, and I love his YouTube channel, the 8E8 dental marketing show, because he talks about - he’s got a certain way about him. It's always fun to do interviews with people like yourself, because you get to see different personalities and that’s really what I want to do for our listeners, our viewers is; kind of showcase, like 'here’s whose good at what they do, here’s what they do, and do you like their personality? Do you think you could get along with this person? do you think you could work with this person?' because there’s a lot of choices out there and a lot of them are kind of anonymous, and it’s like, until you call them, you don’t even have a clue who they are, so it's always cool to do interviews like this.
But yeah, let’s talk a little bit about the tracking ROI. So that's interesting, that’s a differentiating factor for you guys, I don’t know a lot of marketing guys who are well versed in Dentrix and Eaglesoft and other patient management software, then of course tracking numbers, that all plays a role. Can you walk us through, kind of like a quick check list of ways that you measure ROI for your clients?
Michael: yeah. If I can, I just want to take a step back for a second and explain why it's so important. I think a lot of times, as marketers, we get caught up in proving what a good job we're doing; we want to show how many more clicks we're driving to a website, or how rank is improving somewhere, and I think we're afraid of failure a lot, understandably so, and I think for us, one of the things that is really been helpful, because we do take a full service approach; we don’t have a horse in the race - we're not here to say 'listen, all you need to do is come to us for copywriter' or 'all you need to do is come to us for google Adwords', what we do is, we say 'we're going to take a holistic approach, we're going to find some areas that we think fit your practice, and we're going to track them and really feel like we know what happens' and the cool thing about this is, we're not going to go home-run every time - I’m not going to tell you that, it's just not how marketing works - But we fail fast, and that’s really something that a lot of people don’t want to talk about, as opposed to having a campaign that limps along for months, let’s look at the campaign and say 'hey, let’s put the money somewhere else' and that just as valuable, if not more valuable then always pointing at success.
So that's really the foundation that underlines this, to get to your questions; the first thing that we've really spent a lot of time doing is, we really try to create an experience for our client that pulls all of the important data they need, into one spot. So we have a proprietary portal that we use for our clients, that pulls in there analytics data, that’s pulls in their Ad-words data, their search engine optimization ranking, it pulls in Facebook Ads, social content, all under one spot, so when we're going over this with them. It’s really easy for them to see everything, and it's something they can access at all times. It's certainly something that makes it easy for us, because we're not bouncing between portals, I’m sure you run into this all the time, you know, you've got analytics, you've got webmaster tools, in SEO sometimes it makes sense to go into Ad-words and go into the keyword planner - there’s a hundred other tools that we're going to use in a day, and it's nice to have everything in one spot, both for us as a team, also for our clients as well.
Laura: and I think the other thing that is an awesome differentiator between us is, it's not just like 'here’s your portal, here you go' - we get on the phone with our clients every month and we talk through things - we gauge progress, we talk about the sticky points, we talk about the things we want to do better, we talk about our successes. And I think having that dialogue open on a regular basis, having these contact with our clients on a regular basis, helps build trust, helps build the marketing strategy - frankly, and helps move our clients forward in the best direction that we possibly can, because we are always in communication and working and moving things around so we can optimize them for the best possible campaign.
Michael: Right, so to dig in a little deeper, I think for the dentists that are watching; the number one thing that I would ask them to do, is to, if your spending any serious money on your marketing - you have to be doing call tracking, call tracking is at the core of what we do, and it’s at the core of what any good marketing does, so whether that online, or offline, you know, you have some idea of the traffic that your generating. So I think that's kind of the first thing that we point too, we use a product that we like called 'Call Rail' there’s a bunch of other ones out there, CallTrackingMetrics, and what they do a really good job of, is letting you generate numbers that you can place both on print, you can place them on your website, and it really is a helpful way to sort of generate a good idea of where your calls are coming from.
Justin: absolutely. Okay, so help me bridge this gap, no pun intended - as far as going from direct mail, to Dentrix - tell me a little bit about that.
Michael: right. So, what we're going to do, like Laura said, once a month we get on the phone with our clients and we kind of walk through the numbers and say 'how are we doing, do we feel that the things that we were investing in are working?' and so, we start with the practice numbers, and we'll say 'okay, let’s look at last month, last moth we say 15 new patients walk in the door, is that up or down over our year on year average, and do we feel like that’s an upward or downward trend for the year?' the next thing we do is we go and we look at the segmentation and say 'we're did those new patients, self-identifiers, come from?' and so we can say maybe 30% came from patient referrals, if we did a mail drop earlier, we expect to see a percentage come from direct mail, and then based on the other campaigns we have running - google adwords, Search Engine Optimization campaigns ETC - we're going to see a segmentation. Now, this is one of the frustrations with the new patients numbers, right, someone’s going to write something that’s like 'website' - what does that mean? Did they click on an Ad? Or did they - is that because organic has really been growing lately? and this is a really hard one to tease out, and that’s where call tracking and having a really strong connection to these other statistics, starts to give us a reasonable idea of where these patients are coming from. So if we go to Call Rail, and we look in the reporting portal, or we look at a reporting portal, like what we provide for our clients, we can see all the calls that happened that month, and we can actually see them segmented by whether or not they came from organic traffic, or whether they came from paid traffic, or Facebook ETC, or direct mail. And so we can start to make some really educated assumptions about where phone calls and new patients are coming from, also looking at certain data like; how long are the phone calls? - we've found that, by and large - if a phone call is less than 2 minutes minimum, it’s probably not going to convert to a new patient call. So being able to look at what is the average length of calls is also a really strong indicator, for us, of what is generating new patients and what’s not.
Justin: so do you actually go from the call tracking number and hook it up with Dentrix, or is there some extrapolation here?
Michael: yeah, so just to be clear is, what we're doing is we're requesting this data from the doctor, and really from the front desk, so there sending this to us each month, we're not plugging into Dentrix directly, we're not in there manipulating it ourselves; we're asking them to use the tool, as they should be already. Although in many cases, they are not, and giving us that data. So really at a base level, just walking through that data on a monthly basis is often its own value, just to say 'hey, now we know how many new patients are coming in the door, and more importantly, where they're coming from and what the average production is'.
And then the second thing is, as you just suggested, taking that and sort of waiving through some of the more confusing data, like; we saw 20 new patients coming from the website, what do we think that means? Well if you don’t have any adwords campaign running, it's reasonable to say that that came through organic, right? So we can start to make some extrapolations back and forth to determine where our money is best spent.
Justin: I can tell you, as someone who does SEO for dentists, one of the most frustrating things is, that an existing website, with an existing phone number, in an existing practice, we get it ranked, the phone rings more, they get new patients, but there’s no geometric proof - there no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that it came from SEO specifically. So, I do the same thing you do, with running adwords, and then you can track adwords geometrically, and then you can kind of infer, based on that activity - you know because everyone clicks the organic results and the 3-pack on google, the google map as I call it, everyone’s clicking that but not as many people click on the ads - so if you can get new patients through the ads, your definitely going to get a lot of new patients through SEO would you agree with that?
Michael: I would, and I think the thing that I would add, is that, for us, being able to have those practice numbers gives us a really strong place to go back and talk to the doctor, and say - you know, if there is some anxiety and someone says 'I’m not sure that the SEO efforts that your putting in, have been making a difference', we can go back and say 'well when our relationship started, we saw on average 5 maybe 6-7 new patients coming in saying that they we're coming from the website, today we're seeing 30+ come in, that’s a strong indicator to me that things have changed for you'. And so I think often times, they'll go back and spend the time to look at those numbers and they'll say 'ah, yeah, that’s helpful, thank you' and it is - you know, there is not a perfect loop, I think that’s kind of a holy grail out there, and maybe someday we'll get to this scary world in which every movement and blink that we make is tracked -I kind of hope not, but from a marketing stand point, there are moments we wished that that was the case, and we're not there, but I think we can get closer to that by connecting practice numbers with some of the more traditional ROI tracking numbers, that we look at, as digital marketers.
Justin:that’s a good point, and it kind of reminds me of this thread on dental town the other day, there was someone that was really big on video, like high production - just ridiculous, expensive video - not that expensive video isn’t a good idea, it can be, if it’s the right fit for your practice that a good thing. But someone mentioned 'you can slap a tracking number on anything, everything is geometrically measure', and I sort of came out, I was like 'we'll I don’t know, how do you measure the effectiveness of video', he said " you watch it till the end, that’s effective", but that may not necessarily be the right way, because the best video, in my opinion, is the one that makes me pick up the phone in 2 seconds.
Justin: And then, if a video does get watched till the end, maybe you just didn’t answer their question in time, and so. Yeah, there is some serendipity in marketing, I mean; you definitely can’t prove everything -
Michael: this is the problem with bounce rate, right? I mean the bounce rate is one of the things that we look at as digital marketers, and traditionally I would say - and tell me if you see it differently- a high bounce rate is something that we try to reduce, however, to your point, if someone comes to your website, and that initially landing, everything about the fold that they see, is so positive, that they say 'done' and pick up the phone; that’s going to register as a bounce. So, it absolutely is a tough link to connect.
Justin: I used to be obsessed with bounce rate, until I paid a coach who’s a best selling author for conversion rate optimization, real guru when it comes to CRO, conversion rate optimization. And when I hired him, you know, he was like 'well why is bounce a bad thing? If they go to the page and they convert?' and I’m like 'well that’s a good point', but SEO says 'no bouncing'. So okay, and you know what, I think as google progresses with their algorithms, they get that, it’s getting more sentient, more of a kind of dynamic, human-like, type of algorithm.
So that’s really cool. So tracking ROI, so let me ask you guys really quickly, yes or no, you’re trusting the data that the office is giving you?
Michael: I think we're respecting it, its data that we can use, and we can tell a story with it. I think the whole point of not just stopping with that data and saying 'there is more that needs to be done, let’s use call tracking, lets measure -even though it’s a softer stat - volume to the website, lets watch engagement' all those things that I think we do as digital marketers; it’s to make sure that the stories are converging in a way that makes sense, and often that’s where we can trouble shoot problems, so if we have someone that, maybe the data is incomplete, its coming from the office, and they are struggling to generate new patients - bringing the data from; new website, from call tracking - into the picture, from the search ranking, helps us tell a full story that gives us an idea of what we need to do to fix the problem - or to continue to grow.
Justin: okay, yeah. I think the better way to phrase my question would be; are you actually delving into Dentrix itself, or are they relaying the data to you?
Laura: they relay the data to us, based on it. So, we pretty much know how to pull - like I’m not someone who’s sitting in the back on Eaglesoft, or Dentrix or anything like that -but I know how to pull the necessary reports to get somebody to do that. So basically when we on board a new client, we say 'please pull these historically reports, and then moving forward from this point on, please use this path in Dentrix, to pull the reports that we need and populate these sheets'. So it is self-reported, but its self-reported coming from their system.
Justin: excellent. So here’s what I want, let’s do this, let’s leave our viewers with some quick tips - one of the hottest topics, I know you spoke on this before, but some of my viewers, really want to know; how do you deal with negative reviews - if we could just close the interview on 3 quick tips, regarding, when you get that negative review, let’s assume that it’s a real patient, let’s talk about how do you deal with that?
Laura: well we have a killer blog on our site, that talks about it in more detail, that you can reference, but my 3 things are: step away from the keyboard - think before you write. That’s the first one. The second one is: step out of defensiveness and into a neutral place, and understand, that there may be an opportunity for you, as a practice owner, as a dentist, as a leader in your environment, to make a change. Someone clearly had a negative experience - identify why, ask the key people involved in perhaps the incident or whatever happened, and realize where your opportunity is to make a change in your practice. And number 3 is: if you have their contact information, I highly recommend reaching out, via phone call, to make it right, and what making it right means; varies case to case, sometimes it means issuing a refund, sometimes it means offering a heart-felt apology, sometimes it means neither of those things, and that’s fine too. But figuring out why that person is feeling that way, listening to what they are going through, acknowledging it -not admitting to something - but acknowledging their experience is very very helpful and cathartic for patients, and moving forward in a way that moves your business forward.
Michael: yeah. I agree, if I could just jump in with maybe 2 thoughts too, I think what Laura closed with, is the most important. There’s constantly a knee-jerk reaction to explain, because it often does feel unfair, but I think leading through acknowledgement is the right way to approach those reviews, and I think, maybe something we didn’t say, or express is; respond. You should respond, and you should not respond with an explanation, or excuse, you should respond by acknowledging it - again, not an admission- but it's important that other people that are either coming to Yelp, or other review sites, see that you are active, and that you do care. And so I think that’s the first thing. The other thing that I want to mention, that can get overlooked is; if a patient maybe is, you know, specifically talking about a case, and they bring in personal details - do not engage with those details! it’s a HIPAA violation, you have to be really conscious of the fact that if their talking about a root canal procedure, where the sinus cavity was infected, perforated - you can’t come back and say ‘well actually, this is what happened' - that’s a HIPAA violation, it’s something that exposes you to a lot more risk and that’s something that, I think, in the moment, when your feeling frustration, can get overlooked. So just keep it general.
Justin: Excellent. So, take the time to think, breathe and don’t let the HIPAA monster bite you. And let’s sign off here, thank you very much, Michael Anderson, and Laura Maly - Maly, right?
Laura: yes, got it!
Justin:Cool. And man, it's been such a great honor to have you, I think you bring in a really unique perspective; you definitely got the artistic approach down, really well. Full service agency, so if any of you listening are looking for that one stop shop - there’s a lot of specialist’s out there, but if you’re looking for someone that can kind of handle this, and get into the patient management software, if sounds like Wonderist agency might be worth checking out! Can you tell us where the viewers can find you?
Laura: yeah, you can find us at WonderistAgency.com, or if you want to email me directly, you can email me at [email protected], or we have a chat icon on our website, and I am always there, always on, it's not bot; it's really me, so leave the cuss words out.
Justin: I don’t believe it, because every live chat I’ve ever used, it’s not live chat. We can talk about that next time. No I’m just kidding.
Laura: I get some funny stuff in there; I’ve got to tell you. Smile for Social media Justin.
Justin: there you go, technology man, you just took a picture of a screen, within another screen,within another dream. That was nuts. Alright cool, if you have any questions for me, let me know, if you have any questions for any of the guests, feel free to reach out [email protected] If you have anyone that you want on the show, if you have any questions that you'd like them asked, a lot of these how’s, there pretty much 90% unscripted, so throw them on here! Let’s put them in the hot seat, and let’s see how they deal with a little cross examination.
Thank you Laura, and thank you very much Michael. Let’s sign off, thank you for watching the dental marketing guy show.