™ Newsletter Archive – TWD – 005

News From The Wealthy Dentist #5: August 9, 2006

In this issue…
  • Top the Search Engines: PPC Marketing Part 3
  • No-Charge Video Tutorial!
  • Outsourcing Safety: The Rise of Dental Tourism
  • Brits Get a PR Makeover
  • Heroes and Zeros!


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Outsourcing Dental Safety


The Rise of Dental Tourism

The catastrophe that is the NHS has transformed the relatively niche market of dental tourism into an art form for UK residents. Those who cannot receive NHS care or pay private fees are taking their dental woes (and money) overseas.

Just how popular has this new trend become? So many flock to Warsaw for their root canals that investors decided to capitalize on the situation, and so Dental Travel Poland was born.

Dental Travel Poland provides comprehensive dental travel packages. Not only can Brits save hundreds of pounds (think $2.00 to one pound) on dental care, but can tack a low-cost vacation on top of it. Packages include accommodations and entertainment, including sight-seeing tours with English-speaking guides.

Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, but is it really? What happens if something goes wrong with the procedure? Are patients protected by the same health standards that apply in their native countries? Unfortunately, the idea of crossing international lines for a little dental work isn’t isolated to Europe.

Americans have been leaving the country for dental care for years, though the accommodations aren’t always as posh as those our friends across the pond receive. Often seniors who learn that Medicaid is virtually worthless try to find new ways to save money. The result? Grandma’s got a date with a Mexican dentist.

It’s often cost, not quality, that drives patients to sneak south of the border to have their cavities filled. According to Market Watch, the dental care savings Mexico provides can range from 50 to 75 percent. Because the practice is largely unregulated, quality varies. Patients may be carrying the cost in other ways, and often painful ones.

When patients dodge your fees, the result can be disastrous for both of you. Mexico is known for many things, but fantastic medical care is not one of them.

If you suspect that one of your patients is heading to foreign soil for some dental work, let them know that you can stand by your extensive skill, the quality of your materials and your cutting-edge technology, but you can’t do the same for dentists operating in other countries, where the regulations that govern dentistry may or may not be as extensive as they are here at home. (Explain the need for sterilized instruments!)


You Too Can Top the Search Engines!

PPC Marketing Part 3

For the last two weeks, we have talked through how you can buy your way to the top of the search engines results with Pay-per-Click (PPC) marketing. The first requirement on our list for a successful PPC campaign was to first calculate the “Marginal Profit” you can expect from the type of new patient you want, and then your Return on Investment (ROI).

We demonstrated how to calculate your marginal profit on new patient. In our example the marginal profit of a new Cosmetic / Restorative dental patient, is about $4,000. This means that if you spend $2,000 on an Internet PPC marketing campaign to generate one additional new cosmetic patient, with a gross production value of $5,500 and a net contribution/marginal profit of $4,000, your ROI is $2,000.

If all of this has put you to sleep, that’s ok. You just don’t want to be a Wealthy Dentist. That’s fine; not everyone is cut out to be a financial success. There is an old saying: “If it was easy, we would all be millionaires.

For those still here, the second step to generating gobs of new patients from PPC marketing is to know how much you can afford to pay per “click,” which is to say for each visitor that visits your Web site.

Each of the three major search engines – Yahoo, Google and Microsoft – have their own PPC marketing programs. But before you start, you need to know what the target “keyword” marketing phrase is for your ideal high-value new patient. In other words, know which keywords you actually want to bid on, the keywords being the phrases a Web user would actually need to type into Google or the like to view your ad.

For a high-value cosmetic patient, you have two immediate choices: “Cosmetic Dentistry” and “Cosmetic Dentist.” I’ll make it easy for you; pick “Cosmetic Dentist.” Consumers searching for the term “Cosmetic Dentistry” are looking for information so they can make a decision. If your Web site has tons of information on cosmetic dental procedures, then you may have a chance here. Otherwise, I strongly suggest you stick to “Cosmetic Dentist.” People who specify “Dentist” are generally looking to buy now.

Now, unless you are “The Dentist to The Stars,” (I know of a least seven doctors using that tag line) and expect people to fly from every state and province to your practice in Iowa, “Cosmetic Dentist” alone just simply isn’t enough. People from across North America are going to be seeing your ad. You are going to be paying up to $2.00 a click for the privilege of having them visit your Web site, yawn and leave because they don’t know where Iowa is. This is a quick trip to marketing/financial suicide.

Instead, use the term “Cosmetic Dentist” in combination with your local geographical market – “Cosmetic Dentist San Francisco,” “Cosmetic Dentist Peoria,” “Cosmetic Dentist Burbank,” etc. People want a dentist that is geographically close to home.

Each search engine has a different way of calculating the price for the same “Keyword” phrase for your target market, so you will have to visit each of their sites to determine your cost-per-click.

For the search term “San Francisco Cosmetic Dentist” on Yahoo, for instance, the cost of is about $10.00 a click. With a gross production value of $5,500, a net contribution/marginal profit of $4,000 and a desired profit of $2,000, you could afford to spend $2,000 to acquire a cosmetic patient. At $10.00 a click, that’s 200 visitors to your website.

Normally, I would say that was a “No-Brainer” marketing decision. Out of 200 visitors, you should be able to convert at least one to an appointment request, and then into an actual appointment. Unfortunately, that is not the norm for the average dental Web site.

The sad truth is that 90% of the dental Web sites on the Internet are so lame that they don’t even provide a simple way for a patient to request an appointment. What’s more, up to 50% of all new patient appointment requests are lost at the front desk due to poor call handling.

We will deal with the conversion problem next week.

– Jim Du Molin

Across the Pond

Brits Get a PR Makeover

I’m sure many of us have chuckled at England’s expense in recent years. Between the flossing debacle and the dental instrument-mad cow scare, negative press regarding personal dental care has soared. Oh, and let’s not forget the do-it-yourself dental kits. We must admit that we’ve cracked a few jokes of our own. Now it seems our friends across the pond are doing what they can to clean up their image (and their smiles).

It seems Hollywood has a new home in the UK. Gorgeous smiles, such as those from the likes of Catherine Zeta-Jones or Gwyneth Paltrow, have inspired Brits to do a 180 with their teeth. The NHS may be in shambles, but the cosmetic dentistry industry is booming. Goodbye Austin Powers.

A recent, much kinder survey, notes that one in every three Londoners has had some sort of cosmetic dental work done. Tooth whitening is a big hit among young couples preparing for a trip down the aisle, and behind-the-teeth braces have skyrocketed. While women make up most of cosmetic dentistry’s clients, men are getting their fair share of work done as well.

According to David Bird, an analyst for Mintel, which carried out the research, “The UK oral hygiene market has evolved into a whole new beauty sector. One of the biggest influences on the market has been the rising cult of celebrity.” Let’s pray the royal family joins the band. (Last one, we swear.)


Heroes and Zeros

Scotland Denies Dentist’s Visa

So, what’s the NHS’s solution to Scotland’s severe dental shortage? How about deporting one of the few foreign dentists willing to answer the nation’s recruitment calls? Dr. Siddhika Sathyamoorthy, Indian-born but UK-educated, decided to study and practice in Scotland after the country began recruiting foreign dentists to ease the shortage last year. She’s being deported, despite her employer’s offer of a permanent job, because she simply didn’t earn enough last year (her first year of practice) to be considered “highly qualified.” I guess beggars can be choosers…

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