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Thursday, December 19, 2013

How Do Your Numbers Look So Far? (Part 2)

Phase 2: Getting a Closer Look

Every marketing dollar invested should go towards delivering a specific result - be it more new patients, more referrals, or more of a specific treatment.

Always be sure that you have selected the right media mix for marketing. You will also want to consider whether you have the right approach for delivering your specific message. Will this media and marketing strategy connect your offering to your best target audience?

In Phase 2, it’s all about tracking response and conversion rate.

First, “tracking response” means tracking website traffic. With each marketing initiative and tactic, a specific examination of “unique visitors” and “pages visited” is needed. There should be a connection between these two activities and what your marketing message was.

Second, you also need to track response by way of telephone calls delivered to your office. Your office team needs to be able to handle these calls with two purposes in mind. First and foremost, they need to be able to convert as many new patients as possible while also tracking some key information in the process.

With every new prospect call to your practice, your team should be able to decipher these three big questions:

1. How did you hear about our practice?
2. What was it about the ad that sparked your interest?
3. When can we book an appointment for you to come in? And if not, why not?

By answering these three questions, you will be able to understand why someone will choose your practice, and track some key marketing information.

The following simple spreadsheet can be used in your practice to help you begin gathering this information and managing your customers.

MONTH OF: ________________

Caller Name
Lead Source
What Sparked
Converted Y/N
Call Result / Comments

Set Targets

You invest in good marketing to grow your practice. Now that you have a good sense of what the numbers are, let’s set some targets to grow every one of these number lines.

While every practice is different and every practice manager has different designs on how ambitious they want to be, it is necessary to set targets for growth that are right for your practice-5%? 15%? Or 50%? Having target numbers in place makes it easier to communicate your growth objectives with
your team.

Make sure these numbers are real and achievable. Setting numbers that are next to impossible to deliver will only serve as a morale killer. Grow your numbers steadily by regularly hitting targets.

Business is a numbers game. You must think of good marketing as a means of growing your practice. The sooner you get control of your numbers, and set some realistic targets for growth, the better it will be for driving your business forward.

Bottom Line: This article outlines a two phase marketing plan that provides dentists with numbers useful for increasing revenue in a dental practice.

Author: Dan Pisek, Practice Marketing Coach

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

How Do Your Numbers Look So Far? (Part 1)

By: Daniel Pisek, Practice Marketing Coach

It’s a number driven world we live in. How many calories did I consume today? What was the score of the Blue Jays game last night? What is his batting average? What return am I getting with my investments?

Your dental practice is a business, and the numbers really matter here as well. Is revenue up or down from last year? Are we averaging more new patients per month than we were last year at this time? How does the return on investment numbers on the marketing mailer campaign compare to last year?

The money that you put towards the marketing of your practice is an investment. All dentists that I coach ask me what kind of result they should expect from their marketing program with me. With there being so many variables and different situations in each practice we work with, it’s difficult to make a promise on ROI. However, what I can do is help you create a custom Marketing Action Plan for your specific practice and equip you with tools and an approach to help you get a real perspective about the progress being made. This means tracking the numbers so that we have the information to manage our marketing effectively.

Make Your Marketing Metrics Matter.

Taking control of your practice marketing metrics is really quite simple. I have a simple two-phase approach that has worked successfully with many clients:

Phase 1: Getting a Sense of The Big Picture

In this first phase, we create a simple spreadsheet that captures your monthly practice revenue over the past two years. We will keep a current account of this spreadsheet as it relates to overall revenue.

We will then determine “Your Big Three” - which are the three areas in your practice that represent the greatest opportunity for financial growth. What treatment or service do we want to do more of? These opportunity areas are usually where the price point and profit margin are high and your practice is ready to deliver well. We place special focus on these areas by looking at their past year’s performance, and then by tracking their monthly activity moving forward.

The reasoning behind this approach is to focus our marketing on building these three areas of success. We will want to see the increases in growth within these specific treatments.

In Phase 1, we will also create a monthly summary of new patients acquired each month. By tracking numbers and comparing them to the previous years, we will start to discover trends.

Monday, December 16, 2013

7 Myths of Email Marketing

By: Kristin Piombino

Have you heard that the words you use in an email's subject line can doom your note to the spam folder?
Perhaps someone told you the best time to send emails is 3 p.m. on Thursdays.
These are myths, and there are a lot of them swimming around out there about email marketing.
Before you plan your next email campaign, take a look at this infographic from Alchemy Worx. It busts seven of the most common falsehoods, including:
  • Consumers are drowning in emails from trusted brands. Sixty percent of consumers receive fewer than six brand emails per day.

  • Consumers like to click the spam button. Less than one subscriber per 2,000 will mark an email as spam.
  • If brands send more emails, consumers simply ignore more. If you send four emails in a month instead of one, the number of consumers who will open at least one email doubles.
  • The subject line can send the email to the spam folder. Keywords have little to no effect on whether an email ends up in the spam folder.

Read more about the author: Kristin Piombino

Monday, December 9, 2013

How to Fund a Startup When Your Bank Account Has Seen Headier Days

By: Erica Bell and Katie Finnegan

Starting a company without any funding is certainly a daunting prospect. There are so many necessary expenses, not to mention the things you really want to splurge on. After all, you want the best for your company, don't you?

Still, how on earth can you be expected to get a business off the ground with, well...nothing? Lucky for you, it’s not quite as impossible as it seems. Here’s our advice on getting your company started without any funding:

Family and friends

Use your network. Friends and family can be the greatest resources you have when it comes to starting your business. Think about what skills they might have and seek them out. We searched all of our connections on LinkedIn to see who might be able to help us or could at least point us in the right direction. This doesn't end at funding, however. Family and friends are the best resources when it comes to introductions too. You never know where conversations with your immediate network may lead. Just make sure you’re willing to return the favor.

Spend frugally and think creatively

When you don’t have any funding, it’s important to really question every dollar you’re spending in terms of return on investment, or ROI. How much further towards your goal will this expense really get you? Whether it’s tech development, sales or user acquisition, it doesn't matter, if the ROI isn't high enough, it’s not worth your money.


Check out crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter. Not only can you raise money, but it could even turn into great publicity for your startup. You just have to get people excited enough about what you’re doing that they’ll spread the word.

The experience can also serve as a good litmus test. If you aren't reaching your goals, think about why your campaign isn't resonating: Is your idea not yet fully developed or are you just not communicating it clearly enough? Also, try throwing up a splashpage. There are free sites like launchrock.co where you can try different ways of marketing your site and gauge your audience’s appetite before you officially launch. If people really believe in your idea, and it’s something they want to see come to life, you’ll be sure to see great results.


At some point, you’re going to have to just take the plunge and put your own money on the line. Before diving in headfirst, sit down and consider just how much risk you can stomach. How much can you afford to lose? Know your financial needs and budget for them before going all-in on your own company.

It may seem like a scary process, but whatever you do, don’t wait for the perfect situation to come along before getting started. Working with what you have, along with some perseverance and creativity, will go a long way.

The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tactical Tips for Improving Your Email Marketing

By: Lauren Drell

It's one thing to get consumers to open your emails; it's another entirely to keep the audience engaged. Below, we've rounded up a few factors that could improve your email marketing strategy:
    • TimingIs your email sent at an optimal time of day, and is your messaging timely? An email marketing survey found that late nights and weekends are excellent times for email marketing — there's less competition, so open rates are higher (as are CTR and revenue per email) for the night owl crowd.
    • PersonalizationYou have a lot of data about each of your customers. Consider clustering your email list into several different groups, based on shopping habits, location or interests, to make your messaging more relevant.
    • PurposeIs there a call to action? Is the consumer being engaged? What's the purpose of your email?
    • Subject lineYou don't want to tell the whole story, or else readers won't need to click. And even though you might be excited about the email's contents, an all-caps subject line with multiple exclamation points is a surefire ticket to the spam folder.
    • Mobile optimization Nearly half of emails are read on mobile devices, so if your emails can't be read on mobile devices, you risk losing the consumer — 30% of consumers will unsubscribe if an email doesn't render properly. And yet, less than 12% of email newsletters boast responsive design, according to a 2013 study.
    • Exit Surveys A simple exit survey can help your business glean insights into why consumers are leaving, which you can use to inform your strategy moving forward. It helps to offer multiple choice buttons ("Too much email," "No longer need your service," "Information isn't useful," etc.) along with an optional field where consumers can write in feedback.
    How has your business reduced unsubscribe rates and driven engagement and conversions via email marketing? Tell us in the comments.

    Read more about the author, Lauren Drell

    Thursday, November 28, 2013

    There Is No 'I' in Startup: The Importance of Having a Solid Team

    By: Eric Muli

    No matter how hard you try, you can't do it all.

    As an entrepreneur I understand the desire to take the bull by the horns and be the lone captain of your startup. You are the idea-generator and innovator behind the company, and you may feel like nobody else really "gets" your vision as clearly as you do. This could be true, yet, controlling every detail will make it impossible for your company to scale.

    I suffered from the same “disease” when I was starting Zabamba, Africa's first social rating and review platform, and in the concept stage. I soon realized ideas are great but execution is key. To succeed, I had to let go of the reins a bit and inspire like-minded people to adopt the same passion I had for my venture. I began formulating a team that would help me streamline the vision of my company and steer it in a strategic direction.

    Building a team that meshes well, enjoys working together and has just as much passion for the business as I did, was a big challenge. Yet, it was an imperative step to get my business off the ground. And it paid off. My business has managed to secure a round of seed funding, we had our alpha launch this August and have amassed more than 1,000 daily users.

    If you are thinking about trying to do it all by yourself, don't. Here are three reasons a quality team is a must for a startup:

    Constructive Criticism. Starting up is no easy task. No matter how much you believe in your idea and the execution, it's almost impossible to continually counter-check yourself and ensure you are managing your business the best way possible.

    Even the greatest plans have flaws and when an entrepreneur is deeply rooted in all the intricacies of launching a business, it's common for him to overlook these issues.

    This is where a team comes into play. It’s important to have team members that will not hesitate to point out your mistakes and work towards offering forward thinking solutions. You may be the lead entrepreneur of your venture but in no way does that make you perfect. You never know, that mistake your partner just corrected could be the difference between the success and failure of your business.

    Different Perspectives. There’s always more than one way to tackle a problem. The more ideas taken into consideration, the stronger the solution.

    Most entrepreneurs have a particular way of thinking and solving problems. Regardless of how successful he is, using the same problem-solving tactics will not always work. There is something to be said about an entrepreneur that can strategically pick the brain of a group of people, sieve out the best ideas and merge them into a combined superior solution.

    Two heads are better than one and having a team to bump ideas off will undoubtedly teach you to better appreciate and understand the importance of listening to other’s ideas and ensuring your start-up gets the best of both worlds.

    Expanding your network. Recruiting a team is more than just bringing people to sit around a table and make decisions.

    Every individual you bring on board comes with their network, which at some point could be very useful to your business. We’ve heard a lot of people say, “it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.” That is debatable. However, expanding your network is one of the most important things you can do for your business.

    When it comes down to it, both customers and investors are more inclined to give out money to people they already know over somebody who has been perennially trying to reach them through their LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter pages.

    Yes, it’s very possible for a lone entrepreneur to build his own network, nobody is doubting that. However, contrast one person running around networking, to three or four equally skilled people doing the same. The potential for success is that much higher, and it is also more enjoyable.

    The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer. Read more about the author: Eric Muli

    Friday, November 22, 2013

    Big Picture Marketing™

    We are excited to introduce the first video in a series that will help you best take advantage of your marketing opportunities. Please take a moment to view the video and see how you can start using Big Picture Marketing™ today to build your practice.

    Daniel Pisek, President and Practice Marketing Coach of Full Contact Marketing, talks about the 10 BIG ideas to successfully market and move your practice forward.