How to Market A Dental Practice

Chris Pistorius

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*PS. Below you will find an auto-generated transcript of this episode.

Arek Dvornechuck: Hey What's up branding experts?— Arek here at Ebaqdesign and welcome to On Branding Podcast. And today my guest is Chris Pistorius. And Chris is the founder of Kickstart Dental Marketing. But before starting his marketing agency back in 2009, Chris worked for online marketing Giants like AOL, Time Warner, Dex, MapQuest. So while Chris specializes in dental marketing, also other professionals, marketers, and entrepreneurs can learn from his digital marketing experience of over 15 years.

Hello Chris. Welcome to our podcast.

Chris Pistorius: Hi. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Arek Dvornechuck: Thank you so much for coming on. Can we start with, Maybe because you have so much experience working, in the dental industry, right? Or if marketing dental practices and offices and so on. So what do you think are the biggest challenges those professionals face when it comes to marketing?

Chris Pistorius: Yeah, I think it's very similar to what a lot of local businesses face in terms of typically when somebody starts a business, they're really good at something, right? Maybe it's baking cakes, or being a dentist, or being an attorney, whatever it may be. And so that's why they, their original motivation is, Hey, I'm pretty good at this. Why don't I do this on my own and make money? The downside to that is that they may know their craft very well, but that does not necessarily mean they know how to run a business. And part of running a business is certainly marketing. There's accounting and HR and all that other stuff too. You can be the best pie maker in the world, but if you don't know how to market your business, you're not gonna get any customers. So, you know, I think the biggest challenge for them right now is that when they come to outta dental school and they're really good dentists, but they get taught very little about running a business in dental school. And, even over the years when they start their own practice, they still miss those skills and the gap is there to where they don't know how to really market their business. And we're in a time right now where there's more dentists here than ever, and there's a lot of competition and they're kind of getting lost in the shuffle a little bit. So, I think that's one of the biggest things that they face right now.

Arek Dvornechuck: And I think it pertains to other, industries as well, right? If you know your business, it does not mean that you know you're gonna become successful. You, of course, need to be good at your craft, but you also need to know how to run your business or, hire an agency or have a team, an internal team who's going to take care of that. It's extremely important. And as you mentioned it's extremely important nowadays because there's so much competition, right? And it's easy to get lost, we have so many tools and AI tools and so many marketing agencies and so many platforms that we can use to market our dental practice. Obviously the number one probably, I'm not sure you tell me if you agree with that. It would be probably Google. Since a lot of people still go to Google and search on Google, especially for local businesses. But there are also other ways to market your dental practice, right? Can you talk to us about that? What are some of the channels that you use with your clients?

Chris Pistorius: Yeah, so we've got quite a few weapons that we can use. We try to customize every client a little bit differently based on what their goals are, first of all. We don't have a dental marketing plan and we use the same cookie-cutter plan for every dentist to just, it can't work successfully that way. These plans have to be customized based on what the customer's goals are, and what kind of patients they want to bring in. What kind of insurance do they accept? There are just a lot of different things going on there but, some common strategies that we use certainly are things like making clients more visible to people that are looking for them. And that's, there's a lot more in terms of search engine optimization. Certainly paid marketing opportunities like on Google, on Facebook, on TikTok, on YouTube, It's almost countless there, depending on what the demographic is we're going after. We also help with a lot of content building and creating credibility and authority for these dentists because I believe that's important to be the local authority and dentistry. So when somebody thinks of a dentist, they think of our client, right? So we've gotten into, helping our clients create podcasts. We've helped them write books. We've helped them do press releases. Things like that just to help them build credibility and authority in the market. And then there's, you know, there's certainly design and website and stuff that, but those are probably the most common.

Arek Dvornechuck: So we've talked about using social media obviously using Google, whether it is organic SEO, optimizing for SEO, or pay-per-click, but also you can leverage social media. You can run a podcast, as you mentioned, and you can publish a book so there are different ways to go about that, to build authority and Bring attention to your brand. So can you just walk us through your process I know as you mentioned, that, there are different dental practices that specialize in different things, whether it is, for cosmetic purposes or, depending on what, type of insurance they take and so on. So there are many variables that go into that, but, Can you just walk us through your process, of working with clients? Do you start with some type of discovery session where you, try to figure out what's important to your client and then, to be able to propose the right solutions for them? Can you just walk us through this process,

Chris Pistorius: Yeah, so exactly the first thing that we do is typically a potential client will sign up for a strategy session. I do all those myself, actually, still, I enjoy doing 'em, but and that's where we get into, they're interviewing us, we're interviewing them a little bit. We're a smaller agency, so we only actually, we're pretty picky about who we try to work with, right? We know who kind of our ideal clients are, and that's who we like to work with. But I ask a lot of questions about their business and their growth plans and, what they're doing now and what's working, what's not, Things like that. And they ask me questions and then the next step is basically if it's a fit, we'll do a proposal for them. So we'll actually. At another meeting, we will actually dive into their competition, and their markets, and come up with a detailed plan of what we think is gonna work for them, which includes pricing strategies, and things like that. And then we go from there.

Arek Dvornechuck:Okay. So then we go from there. So if it's a good fit then what's the next step? Obviously, you come up with some kind of strategy for the marketing and for the branding, right? And that I assume would include like with any other business perhaps redesigning your website, your social media presence design is important and the functionality of the website is very important, right? So can you just talk to us about some of these things maybe you have some tips for, dental practices who are not getting enough leads as of now. And try to figure out why, what's the problem. Can you talk to us about that?

Chris Pistorius: Yeah. So I think if I were a dentist and, I'm just, all of a sudden I haven't gotten a lot of leads. I think you definitely have to look at your online visibility. You have to start looking, be like a potential patient would be, and do some searches on Google and see where you fit in. That's our first step. And then we look at that. Are things broken? There are times we've gone in to look at these things and there's something wrong with their phone system. For instance, the wrong, I'll type in the phone number from Google and it doesn't even get to the office, So there are technical things that can cause that as well. So I think you just have to do some due diligence and, just look at all aspects. You also have to look at your online reviews. You know, if all of a sudden you've got a few bad online reviews out on Google or Yelp or wherever that can certainly affect and dramatically perhaps the amount of new patient leads that you're getting in. So I think just doing a good diagnostic check first is key.

Arek Dvornechuck: Yeah, that's a good point actually. Just to sum up for our listeners, as you mentioned, the first step will be actually to pose as a customer, right? As a patient in this case. Google whether it's a local business, right? Use the keywords that, potential customers would use and see, where you at among your competitors, right? And as you mentioned so all the cost of the user experience needs to be great. So you need to, fix all your technical issues, whether it is your phone Your website may be slow or maybe something doesn't work. The buttons, you cannot click them, you cannot book an appointment or whatever it is. So user experience is extremely important, but then also, as you mentioned, online reviews, you cannot disregard that. It's extremely important. And we all know, for example, when, whether I buy something or try to use other services, I always check the reviews on the internet first, before I make a decision. Then I know that you have some of your own proprietary tools, can you talk to us about that? I visited your website and it looks like you have some proprietary tools for dental practices that help them collect those leads and then manage those leads and so on.

Chris Pistorius: Yeah, so we call it dental flow, and essentially it's a system that allows us to quickly respond to leads. The problem is that sometimes, People don't know who you are and they don't understand the value of your practice, and so they're looking at you like you're just on a list of, dentists essentially. And so they start reaching out to people. And a lot of times these days they'll do that by using an online forum. And you need to get back to those leads quickly because it turns into this game of whoever responds to that lead first has the best chance of actually getting them into the dental practice. So we created a system where if somebody fills out a form on our client's website, we'll actually set it up. So an automatic kind of robocall is sent to the front desk and it says in a recorded line. It basically says Chris Pistorius just filled out a form on your website. Press one to connect with him now. And so that front desk, within a minute of that person filling out the form can press one and connect directly to the person that just filled that form out. So it really helps in terms of speed to lead, we call it to get in front of those people as quickly as possible.

Arek Dvornechuck: That's a good point, by the way. And I noticed this myself. I just had to go to the dentist. I moved to a different neighborhood. I looked for a new office obviously, and they were really fast. So as you mentioned, speed is extremely important, right? Because you can lose those leads if you're slow in responding to them, right? So as soon As you see that there is an interest, the lead is coming in you need to follow up in order to get them to the office, right? So, do you have any other tips or maybe some common mistakes things that you often see when working with dental practices, what type of mistakes they make, or maybe you have some tips that you wanna share with us?

Chris Pistorius: Yeah, I think, you know, honestly, one of the biggest mistakes I see is that people just don't take action. They're a little bit scared. They see a lot of competition. They're not sure what to do. They get people calling 'em every week and emailing 'em about ways to spend their money in terms of marketing and, maybe they've tried marketing in the past and it just didn't work out for whatever reason. And so they just feel a little lost and they don't know what to do. And the normal reaction is what we call ostrich marketing, where you bury your head in the sand and you don't do anything. That's kind of the common theme with that. And that's the wrong thing to do. I think it's your duty as a business owner to, be responsible. You have employees, typically, you have people that are responsible for you. And so I would avoid the ostrich marketing and I would get out there and do your due diligence. Find somebody you can trust to help you with marketing. And, when you do that interview process, make sure that their goals align with your goals, right? And make sure that, they're easy to communicate with. Make sure it's local. Maybe not even local, but more of a boutique type agency or company that's not too big and it's just gonna get lost, in the shuffle, and don't shop by price alone. With marketing agencies when you're interviewing them, it's, you get what you pay for sure. You know, there are companies out there that'll tell you, for a few hundred dollars a month, we'll get you to the top of Google and you'll get all these leads. And it's just, it. Just hogwash, right? You get what you pay for. You want somebody that's gonna be quality, that's been doing it a long time, that has expertise in your industry and, talk to their customers too. So avoid doing nothing. If you identify you had a problem, that's the first step and then it's your, duty to find somebody that can help you and get you back on track.

Arek Dvornechuck: Yeah, I totally agree with that. And Same as with, other industries marketing these days, brand branding and marketing. These are very broad topics and there are so many little things that you need to take care of in order for this to work efficiently and effectively. As you mentioned, you know, you can probably do it yourself. I don't wanna sound sale-sy here, but it's actually better to hire a professional marketing or branding agency. To help you do that because if you're good at your own business at what you're doing if you're a good dentist you probably are not an excellent marketer, right? So you need someone and there are so many details and intricacies when it comes to marketing and branding. Some of them, we spoke about. Search engine optimization. Web design and web development, of course, is your number one consideration. And then also you need to manage the reputation, right? Check out your Google reviews, and all the reviews on other websites to take care of all those things. You can run ads on Google, you can do it organically. You can run ads on Facebook. You can automate your email marketing text messaging and so on. And of course, social media podcasting maybe publishing a book and building your authority this way.

Arek Dvornechuck: So as we are approaching the end of our episode obviously I'm gonna link to your website which is so you guys can check it out. Thank you so much for coming to the show, Chris. I appreciate that.

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