Wednesday, February 13

Can't Get it Right, Can't Get it Wrong?

Here's something to consider: there is no such thing as getting it right. In fact, there is no such thing as getting it wrong.

"Huh," you say. "That's not what I was taught, crazy lady!" Yeah, I know, me either. But that's the secret, whether it's marketing or relationships or running a marathon.

If you decide to judge your personal success by reaching "IT" you will never be truly, peacefully, completely happy, save for those few moments after IT has been reached, because that game - the one we all were taught to play, often called "keeping up with the Jones' - insists that the next IT must a. exist, b. is better than the last IT, and c. is the magic bullet which will finally bring you true, peaceful, complete happiness. And around and around and around and around we all go.

So, right now, just step back from the anxiety of trying to reach IT, quit being mad that you haven't reached IT yet and instead be grateful that you get to play a game of reaching for something that's even better than what is right in front of you, RIGHT NOW.

More crazy lady rants on this subject to come :) And yes, it does relate to marketing, I promise.

Love to you all.

Friday, February 8

Best Use of a 15K Marketing Budget -- Start Up

Best use of a 15k marketing budget -- Start up -- and where would you allocate cash?

Start at the beginning.  It's really very simple and a lot of fun when you follow my ten points, because in the end you get to create the practice of your dreams, and what's not to like about that?

1. Vision: what is it? Who are you and why will everyone love you? Refrain from using words like "caring", "professional", or "quality" when creating your vision.  Go for strong verbs and nouns - ideas that compel your own personal action.

2. Goals: both quantifiable (stay in business) and qualitative (have fun while doing it)

3. Budget: $0 to $15000 - gold star for having a budget. I've had clients with less, and clients with more, and the difference came down to heart more than money, so don't fear.

4. Timeline: Last month?  Right away? A year from now? Choose a time frame in which to reach your goals.

5. Resources: who do you have to assist you - family, staff, professionals? Other businesses and friends willing to help spread your message to your marketplace?  Any chits and favors you can call in? Kids to send out in the streets? (that was a joke...)

6. Elements: BRANDING BRANDING BRANDING!!  Imagine you go to a grocery store in your sweats - how do people judge you?  Imagine you go in your Sunday Best - now how do they judge you?  I can tell you this - you don't go to the store naked.  You're wearing something - or, is something wearing you?  Get control of it - after all, you're the one choosing what to wear everyday in every situation in which you find yourself - no one else is to blame. You will also choose your branding as you go forward with marketing methods, even if you don't have a clear message (see point 1 above) - and a fuzzy vs clear message, ie brand, absolutely makes all the difference. The graphics, words, photos, and layouts that you have to use in order to market any method convey a message in and of themselves.  If you don't maintain control over the message you're sending and the elements you send it with, you lose money, time, energy and make it that much harder to realize your vision. 

7. Planning: First, choosing your Methods.  Your question above is asking about which methods to invest in.  Another gold star for asking the question.  Now you get to choose what to do with all the available options.  Some may work better than others - websites are a great idea, but depending upon your market, the amount of SEO and ads is debatable.  Always go for those methods that give you the highest return on investment first, and that means simply talking with people, inviting them to your practice.  (Email me and I'll send you my Fear of the NO: Happy to Get a No scripting and internal marketing card template.) Second, figure out what Tools you need to create in order to implement your chosen methods.

8. Implement: just do it.  It takes 9 times of seeing your message before you even register as a blip in the consciousness of your marketplace.  The worst thing you can do is not follow your plan to the end - don't ever give up.

9. Evaluate: how will you know what has worked and what hasn't if you don't keep track of your ROI, not only on the plan itself, but each method you chose, looking at 1. how many patients scheduled, 2. how many walked in the front door, and 3. of those, how many accepted appropriate treatment by each chosen method. Only then do you have the data you'll need to write your next plan, and so on.  This is trial by error - but if you never evaluate, you'll never find the errors.

10. Repeat.  Keep doing steps 1-9 above as long as you feel like practicing.

For my marketing plan workbook and marketing plan spreadsheet, just email me.  As always, I promise you will never, ever be spammed by me in the future.  I'd rather teach a man to fish than sell the catch of the day.

Hope that helps,
Here's to making dentistry MORE FUN!


Wednesday, January 16

What Are All the Various Marketing Methods Available These Days?

Below a quick list of a few possible marketing methods, which are different from marketing tools. For example, SEO is a marketing method used to market your website, which is a tool. Or Direct Mail would be a method, and the actual postcard or brochure or whatever piece you use is a tool.

-Brochures: tool
-Demographic Reports: tool
-Direct Mail Campaigns: method
-Enthusiasm: method and tool
-Fundraisers: method
-Interior Design: tool
-Internal Marketing: method
-Magazine Advertising: method
-the actual Magazine Ad: tool
-Movie Theater Advertising: method
-the actual Movie Theater Ad: tool get the idea...

For much more info on this and all things marketing, everyone feel free to email me directly at and I'll send you my Marketing Plan Workbook (free, of course, and no, you won't EVER be spammed by me). Yes, my little book will walk you through the steps of choosing your marketing methods, but first it will make you focus on the much, much, MUCH!!! more important questions of: who are you? what do you want to create? how will you know when you've succeeded?

Thursday, December 20

When Should You Rebrand Your Practice?

Question: Here is the deal: I bought a practice about 6 months ago with a fancy logo, letterhead,  and a "brand", small but surviving. I think the name is akward hard to say, hard to spell and doesn't really reflect our commitment to high quality FAMILY dentistry. Is there any downfall to changing to a new,  not so flashy name like, say, Redmond Family Dental (Redmond is the town I am in).  My other thought is just [My full name] DMD.

I would recommend spreading out the rebranding process over a year or two - plan it out in small steps to mitigate patient loss.  Six months isn't quite long enough in my opinion for a complete rebranding overhaul, especially if you're in a smaller market.

As far as what to brand yourself, it depends entirely upon who you are and what type of practice you'd like to build, so I'd need more information before being able to give my .2 cents... But generally speaking, if you're planning to bring in an associate or partner any time in the next 10years, then yes, go more generic in your name, like Redmond Family Dentistry.  If you're planning on being a single doctor practice until the very end, then I always prefer clients to brand themselves directly - after all, you are selling yourself first and dentistry second.

If you're interested in rebranding too, email Athena at and I'll send you my marketing plan spreadsheet and workbook, both of which will help you make and implement your decision. (And, no, I won't put you on a spam list or bug you at all, don't worry - I'm all about teaching a man to fish rather than selling the catch of the day!)

Wednesday, December 19

Try Out a New Promotional Item; Like a Nice, Fashionable Women's T-Shirt!

Q: When it comes to promotional items, what people like?

Athena's "Never-to-be-humble" Opinion: I've done every kind of promo item for my clients over the years, and even my own, and I can say without a doubt that the most popular items are nice, fashionable women's t-shirts designed not just with a logo but something a little bit extra, either extra design, a fun tagline, but most especially a bit of bling. They get worn by everybody everywhere from the office to the gym, from patients to team members, and that's exactly what you want in my never-to-be-humble opinion.

Tuesday, December 18

How do you calculate your ROI?

Calculate you ROI correctly! 

Q: I was just wondering about the best practices for measuring ROI of marketing? There's the obvious number of patients that are referred by that particular form of marketing, but in terms of the actual dollar amount returned, how do you calculate it?

I haven't been able to find any software or program that can pull this information automatically, so we have been ma
nually looking at ledgers and manually adding/subtracting to determine the adjusted production. Needless to say, it is very time consuming.

A: I have two awesome tools for exactly what you're asking about. One is my Marketing Plan Workbook and the second is my Marketing Plan Spreadsheet.

Essentially, they allow you to track all of your marketing efforts from soup to nuts, and ultimately your ROI. Most importantly, they track not just the success of each of your chosen marketing methods, but your case conversion rates, which in my not-so-humble-opinion is the information you really need - not just which methods attracted the most patients into the practice with the least effort, but which of those new patients actually accepted treatment and became happy, ongoing patients of record.

Great design is great, and getting lots of patients in the door is great, but true practice success comes down to what marketing methods are successfully building the practice of your dreams - the practice you want to go to filled with patients you want to see and who want to see you. Why else do we go to work every day?

To that end, I created these tools as a result of working with hundreds of practices over the years, tracking clients' marketing efforts, failures and ultimately, successes, in order for them to have the information they need in order to create the practice of their dreams....

Thursday, December 13

Put this tool in your tool box!

Another tool in your service tool box! 

Q: I am planning on taking an Invisalign course in November. Any ideas on how to market this to patients? I don't want to offend anyone if I mention an aesthetic flaw! Should I just wait for patients to ask for it?

A: I am a big fan of incorporating any service into your office that makes it easier for you to create the practice of your dreams and ulti
mately keep your patients happy, healthy and smiling. Invisalign works for some cases and not for others, like almost every other treatment option you are able to provide, but it seems to me that having it available as an option offers you just one more tool to encourage your effort towards providing excellent dentistry. For most practices, I've not experienced Invisalign to be a huge profit center in and of itself, but as has been indicated in this conversation, it does allow and encourage you to have a more complete conversation with your patients about their needs and wants.