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What are the things that really make your practice stand out to prospective patients?
On this episode of the Dentist Money™ Show, Ryan interviews Michael Anderson and Laura Maly of the Wonderist Agency, a full-service dental marketing agency. Does SEO still work? Is Facebook the place for me? Is direct mail the best channel to market my practice? These are typical questions that seem to concern most dentists.
In this timely interview, Michael and Laura explain why finding an authentic message about what makes your practice different should always be the first step in evangelizing your business.
Ryan Isaac: Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode of The Dentist Money Show. Today we have Laura and Michael from the Wonderist Agency, full service, comprehensive holistic marketing agency, out of my favorite place in the world, San Diego, California. Shout out.
Ryan Isaac: Had a great conversation today. I really dived into the details of the difference of outsourcing marketing tasks randomly versus having an actual marketing team and a marketing advisor on your side, that’s constantly adjusting to all the changes in your practice. Seasonally, new technologies, new equipment, new messaging, new insurances, new services. New couches, new TVs, new cookies. You’re not going to want to miss this episode. It’s all the stuff you need to start thinking about before implementing or updating your marketing plan. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate it. We love you guys. Enjoy the show.
Announcer: Consultant an advisor or conduct your own due diligence when making financial decisions. General principles discussed during this program do not constitute personal advice. This program is furnished by Dentist Advisors, a registered investment advisor. This is Dentist Money.
Ryan Isaac: Welcome to The Dentist Money Show, where we help dentists make smart financial decisions. I’m your host today, Ryan Isaac, and I’m joined on the show today with some, we’ll call them longtime friends from the Wonderist Agency. We have Michael and Laura. Thanks for joining us, guys. How you doing today?
Laura Maly: Good. Thanks for having us.
Ryan Isaac: Well, I’m going to let you guys do a little bit of intro here. Like we were saying, the Wonderist Agency, if you go to your website, you’re a digital marketing agency. But I think marketing is such a big, and sometimes vague word. How about, let’s just start with what does it mean to be digital marketing? And as opposed to what?
Laura Maly: We’re technically full service.
Ryan Isaac: Okay, cool.
Laura Maly: I would say we spend the majority of the time doing digital marketing. That’s probably how we spend 80 to 90% of our [inaudible 00:01:57] Wonderist is working on digital stuff for our clients. But we also are full service, which means we do local marketing as well. So anything from TV, radio, newspaper, magazine to local events. We’ve even put ads on the bottom of hot air balloons. I mean, we can do anything.
Ryan Isaac: Seriously?
Laura Maly: Yeah.
Ryan Isaac: Oh, that’s awesome.
Laura Maly: So if you can dream it, we can do it. So we do do that as well. But I would say we spend the bulk of our time to doing the digital stuff.
Michael Anderson: I think that’s actually one of the big things that does make us different. There are a lot of companies out there that will say, “Hey, I can help you with your SEO. I can help you with your Google ads. We build websites”. And one of the problems that we found early on, and this is really part of how the company started, was our first client came to us and said, “Listen, I’ve got a problem. I’ve got five companies I work with. They all do something different. Someone does my website, someone does my digital ads, someone does marketing. And I now have to be master and commander of all this, and I don’t know how to do that. I’m not a marketer”. And so really what Wonderist does is we come in and we take a holistic approach. We say, listen, every market is different. Every practice is different. Someone that wants to place all on fours is totally different than someone that’s saying, “I want to do bread and butter hygiene”. All of those needs are different. And so you have to tailor a marketing plan for each practice and each market that they’re in.
Michael Anderson: So that is where, for me, not just being digital, not just being an SEO agency is an advantage. One of the other things we’ve learned that’s been really effective is, let’s face it, not all marketing works. That’s something that we all have to accept. You have to do some learning, which means you have to track results. And it’s important for us to say, “Listen, we are a holistic agency. A full service agency, because we’re not afraid to turn things off”. If all we did was direct mail, what are the odds we’re going to raise our hand and say, “Hey, we don’t think direct mail is working”? We’re going to just come up with a bigger, better way to do it. And so it’s really important to us to say, “We have all the tools to make sure your campaign works”.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, that’s really cool. So, if I backed up and read this, I would say Wonderist Agency, full service, holistic marketing agency for dentists.
Michael Anderson: I love it.
Ryan Isaac: That’s what I would say.
Michael Anderson: We’ll add it.
Ryan Isaac: That’s really cool. I have so many questions about marketing. This is something that comes up all the time, even in our own business. It’s kind of like you said, there’s this element of, it’s a little bit of a gamble. You don’t know what’s going to work. You don’t know how much you should put into one area versus another. And so I’d love to talk about that.
But let’s start with, I guess an overarching philosophy on when a dentist is facing, how do we grow? How do we get more profitable? How do we get more revenue? More people in the door? You have two options, especially when it’s, how do we grow profitability? How do we get more money out of this thing? That’s really what people are asking. How do I make more money? You can cut stuff or you can grow stuff. The cut stuff feels easy because it feels more guaranteed. It feels more tangible. The grow stuff feels scarier because it feels like a little bit of a gamble. You don’t know if what you’re going to try is going to work.
Ryan Isaac: So let’s just start there. How do you help someone who’s approaching you for the first time, or just asking those questions in their practice? How do you help them navigate where to even begin, cut versus grow? And then how to even think about growth.
Michael Anderson: Yeah. I think early on, back when you’re first starting, I remember Laura and I talked and we looked around the dental landscape and at that point, and still today, a lot of dentists really stuck 10, 20 years ago, as far as their approach to talking about their practice in the world. Whether it’s online marketing or offline. So we felt, hey listen, we can go evangelize. We can get out there and really help all these people that don’t get marketing at all, and we’re going to just change their practices.
Michael Anderson: And as it turns out, the people that we’ve been able to work with the best are people that have some idea of why they need to grow, why marketing is important. And I think that’s what’s kind of cool, even about the conversation today. We advocate for balance. I would never say, “Listen, you’ve got to just focus on growth. That’s what you need to do”. If you don’t have your systems and your processes and your cost structure in place, you’ll have an unhealthy team to support that growth.
Michael Anderson: So for us, the order that I would say is we look for practices that have healthy processes, healthy understanding of their market from a fee schedule standpoint, and just from the overall nuts and bolts of their business. And once you feel like you’ve got that down, once you feel like you’ve got a strong team, that’s when most people say, “I’m ready to grow. I want to grow now”. And if you don’t do it in that order, if you say, “Listen, start throwing patients at me, so I can figure all this other stuff out”. It doesn’t tend to work very well because you have turnover at your front desk.
Laura Maly: Nobody knows how to answer the phone.
Michael Anderson: No one’s answering the phone-
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, processes.
Michael Anderson: Or they’re not doing it the right way. Or the other one that we look at is, you get that patient in for the first appointment, but you don’t reschedule. They don’t come back. And so, that for me is the hardest part for us as a marketing agency. We can definitely lead the horse to water, we can turn the lead on, but you’ve got to have good processes in place. And I think that cutting costs, certainly once you’re in a sustainable place, look for those efficiencies. Efficiency is what we talk about when we’re looking at cutting costs, but you need to make sure you invest in a strong infrastructure. That is so important.
Ryan Isaac: Okay. So I’m going to throw a question out. It was a conversation I was just having yesterday and I hear this a lot and you probably do too. This dentist is mid forties, running a great practice, things are great, but they’re kind of starting to stall out a little bit. The growth has kind of capped a little bit in his area. And he’s saying, “For 10, 12 years, we’ve never had to market. We’ve never marketed, it’s always just been, we put up a building and a sign and referrals happen and here we are. But for the first time, mid career, now we’re starting to think, should we do marketing?”
Ryan Isaac: I hear this a lot and I think for a lot of companies, it feels like a badge of honor sometimes. We don’t even have to market and we grew. And I think that’s true. But even in our own company, there was a period of time where that was the case. But then you get to a point where you’re like, we got to we have to be more purposeful in our growth.
Ryan Isaac: So I hear that a lot. I’ve never marketed before mid career, but now I think it’s time. Where does someone even begin with that? What is the checklist process of how do you even begin to know how to start that? What kind of marketing to do, if that’s even the real issue in your practice? Where does that person start?
Michael Anderson: Yeah. For us, it always starts with goals and having a sound understanding of what your practice is producing. And so, our conversations always start out with, where is the practice at? If it’s relevant, where was the practice five years ago? And where would you like to see the practice go? And that gives us a good idea.
Michael Anderson: Some people are going to say, “Listen, I was seeing 35 new patients a month and now it’s dropped. It’s at 15. And that’s the problem. I’m starting to see decline”.
Michael Anderson: Other people may say, “Listen, I just got a new CEREC mill and I want to start doing more same day cases”. That’s where I’m going to see that bump. How do I talk about-
Ryan Isaac: [crosstalk 00:09:10] Yeah, true.
Michael Anderson: So those are different goals. One thing remains the same though. And this is something that I love to talk about. A lot of times when people come to us, they want to talk about channels. They say things like, “Does direct mail work? I have a friend two States over and he’s killing it, but [crosstalk 00:09:26] doesn’t”. Or they’ll say, “What about Facebook ads?” Or, “Is SEO is still a thing?”
Michael Anderson: They want to talk about channels. The thing we all skip over is what do we have to say? And so the most important thing that you can start with is what makes you different? So we like to start with this exercise and I’ll fast forward and say, most of the time when we asked this, and for anyone listening, if you’re doing this in your head, if you pause for a second, say what makes me different? We usually start with something that sounds like, well, we really focused on integrity, or-
Laura Maly: I’m caring and gentle.
Michael Anderson: We just have a great team, that’s what makes us different. The problem is, I’ll tell you, we work with over 200 clients-
Ryan Isaac: Everyone says that.
Michael Anderson: That is what everybody else is saying. Here’s a sobering fact for a lot of dentists. We just did a super fun photo video shoot, back in Wisconsin with actually our first client ever. So cool to see that come full circle.
Ryan Isaac: Awesome.
Michael Anderson: And we were interviewing, doing some patient testimonials. And we had some awesome testimonies. These people were crying, it was emotional, how much impact this dentist had on their life. But when we asked him, what stands out about the practice? You know what almost every single one of them said? They said, “When you walk in, we have fresh baked cookies”.
Ryan Isaac: Oh my gosh.
Michael Anderson: Think about that. Those are the little things that stand out, that when people are going around town and they’re talking about a practice, they’re going to say, “Oh I love my dentist, he does great things. And you get fresh baked cookies”. And that’s the little hook that stays in their head. And so, for people that really want to go on this journey, you need to have something that makes you a little different. And if you don’t today, I would encourage people to look for that thing. That’s really important.
Ryan Isaac: Okay. So from what you’re saying, it’s fair to say that someone starting, like my conversation yesterday, the first thing they should be discussing is where do they want to go and what makes them different? Those are two questions that really start to guide that conversation.
Ryan Isaac: Do you feel like I’m marketing is often treated like a commodity? Like you just hire the marketing channel person. Like, I need a Facebook thing, so I’m going to find the Facebook person. And I’m just going to tell them to do the Facebook thing for me. Or I’m going to find the direct mail person or whatever. Should it be more consultative? Like you should have a marketing interaction that’s more goals based and goals driven, and asking some of these questions. I don’t think that’s happening a lot, I guess is what I’m saying.
Laura Maly: I think, for us, our best clients are the clients who are continually doing the thing that we’re also doing, which is constantly asking questions. About our own business, about what’s happening, about what they want to see, and trying to evolve it and tweak it and change it, so that it continues to benefit them to their practice.
Laura Maly: And I think for me, the thing that we see again and again is when a doctor doesn’t want to get on the phone, when the doctor doesn’t want to have a reporting call. When the doctor says, “I’m too busy, I’m too busy”, then we’re not going to be able to collectively focus and take that energy and put it where you want it to go because we’re not communicating with you.
Laura Maly: I guess the short answer is docs love to check boxes. And checking boxes doesn’t mean you’re doing it well or doing it right. Just like anything in life, be it parenting, be it owning a business, trying to get more profitability out of your business. Whatever it is, if you don’t look at it and you refuse to look at it, or you don’t make the time for it, then it’s not going to grow. It’s not going to be nurtured. You’re not going to have the goals in alignment and the messaging in alignment with what you want or need out of the goals that you’ve set forth.
Laura Maly: So that’s why I think for us, having those client communications, getting on the phone regularly, talking about those, what is your objective? Who are you? All of those things is extremely important to our relationship. And then keeping that going to some extent.
Laura Maly: We have some clients that we’re dialed in on and we’ve talked to them once or twice a year, and we have other clients who we’re on the phone with every week because we just are constantly turning the dial for them, and that’s who they are and what they like and how they want to spend their time. Both works fine. Just it just matters if it’s in alignment with what you want.
Matt Mulcock: Hey Dentist Money Show listeners. It’s Matt Mulcock with Dentist Advisors. I want to invite you to join Ryan Isaac and me for a monthly webinar series, where we tackle one of the elements topics each and every month. It’s going to feel a lot like The Dentist Money Show, but you’ll have the ability to ask questions, answer live polls and get a behind the scenes look at how we work with clients. You can sign up for free a dentistadvisors.com/webinar. Hope to see you there.
Ryan Isaac: So, kind of along those lines, can you speak to a little bit of what’s changing in marketing? Are there some myths that … I hear frequently that digital marketing is like, it’s just kind of hokey. Like, “Oh, like some Facebook posts or post some pictures here and there. But that’s not going to really do anything. The old methods of marketing are the best or only referrals work”. Are there some myths that you would like to squash? Some marketing myths that you hear a lot?
Michael Anderson: Yeah. And not to be a broken record, but I think for people that say that, they’re right. They’re correct. Just posting something on Facebook is not going to change your practice.
Michael Anderson: It goes back to this fundamental question of what are you saying? And people look at channels and they test channels and they say, “Oh, I sent out direct mail. Direct mail doesn’t work”. My response would be, it’s working for somebody. There’s somebody and something that you can put out there and say.
Michael Anderson: So here’s a great example. If we sent out direct mail to 10,000 people and we said, “Listen, we’re going to see, the first 50 people are going to get an iPad”. Do we think we’d get response from that mailer? Yeah, we would. Now are those good patients? Probably not. Is that going to create practice if we do that? That’s not a good idea.
Michael Anderson: But what that does is, it’s saying, listen, the channel works. We can get people to respond. What are we saying? That was an extreme example. How do we back something that is more meaningful and aligned with the practice? So I think people get very hung up on channels and they say, “Does social media work? Does direct mail work? Is SEO a thing of the past?” And they’re not focused on, what authentic message am I actually trying to evangelize for my business?
Ryan Isaac: Yeah. I like that you keep saying that about channels. In our industry, the financial industry, I think people do the same thing. You get really hung up on the end product. The end financial product. Like what insurance policies should I carry? Or what’s the mutual fund I should have in my account? It should be a 401k or an IRA?
Ryan Isaac: Those are just tools of implementation, but the products themselves, those aren’t the plan. People confuse them all the time. Like, “Oh, I’ve got a 401k. That’s my financial plan”. It’s like is not a financial plan. That’s a piece of implementation.
Ryan Isaac: I kind of like what you’re saying. So is that similar in the marketing industry? Someone will be like, “I do mailers. There’s my plan. That’s my marketing plan. I’ve got mailers”. They confuse these tools of implementation with a more holistic comprehensive plan?
Michael Anderson: I think so. I like to call that the silver bullet mentality. I don’t want to worry about marketing. I want a silver bullet that I can pull the trigger on it and 40 new patients, month later, I’m the happiest dentist down the street.
Michael Anderson: Again, does that exist in low competitive markets? Yeah. You can absolutely-
Laura Maly: Nail that.
Michael Anderson: You can do what I would call lazy marketing and grow quite a bit. But one of the reasons we’re seeing more and more dentists talk about marketing is that the landscape is changing. We’re seeing people take more agency over their healthcare. They’re saying, “I want to be educated about who I’m working with. I want to have a choice”.
And obviously, insurance is shifting dramatically, so that’s causing people to look for dentists differently. And it’s getting more competitive. It’s absolutely getting more competitive. So, I think for all of those reasons, it’s harder and harder to have that silver bullet approach to your marketing.
Michael Anderson: The most successful dentists we work with are ones that holistically work it into their practice, their philosophy, their involvement in the community. All of those things come together and it’s not just one piece. It’s a rising tide. And that is certainly how we see our top performing practices succeed.
Michael Anderson: One thing that I love is when we get an opportunity to have our dentist call and say, “Hey, I invested in new technology”. It’s a gift for us as a marketing agency. I want to give you an example.
Ryan Isaac: Okay.
Michael Anderson: We have a pediatric dentist who invested in a Solea laser. First of all, how cool. Now, if that is tucked down at the bottom of their website, it’s not mentioned anywhere. They don’t talk about it in social media. It doesn’t help them. And this is what a lot of dentists want to do. They want to say, “Tell everybody I got a Solea laser. They’re going to think it’s so cool”.
And if we went around the street and said, “Hey, this dentist down the street, they’ve got a Solea laser”, everyone is like-
Ryan Isaac: No clue.
Michael Anderson: “What? Are they chasing pigeons away with that thing?”
Ryan Isaac: Yeah. What is that?
Michael Anderson: But now, if we turn that around and say, pain free, needle free dentistry for your kids.
Ryan Isaac: Done.
Michael Anderson: That’s so cool. What a gift for us as a marketing agency. And that gets us back to what makes you different. How many other pediatric dentists in town are going to say, “I’ve made that investment. I can offer pain free, needle free dentistry for your kids”. That’s powerful. And that’s the kind of stuff that we do see as a missed opportunity all of the time.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah. I hear that and I go, man, there’s probably a lot of pedos that have the laser, but none of them are talking about it. So you want the easiest leg up over competition ever, just explain to parents with nervous kids that there’s no needles. It just seems like such a win.
Michael Anderson: Switch gears a little bit to a really common question, I’m sure you guys get all the time, which is all right, I’m going to start a new marketing plan. How do I know that I’m going to get some kind of return out of this? How do I measure this? How do I even know this is going to work and that I’m not just going to waste money this year? Because it’s really scary. I think that’s what people worry about a lot.
Michael Anderson: Yeah. I think it is really scary. Again, I look at our business and we go through the same fears. We want to make sure that the money we invest is good money to help us grow. It’s funny to me. I think marketing and dentistry share something in common, in that we know there’s a lot of patients that go to dentist and the first thing they say is, “I had a bad experience. The last dentist that was at, it was a bad experience. It was painful. I didn’t trust them”. Whatever that problem is. And I think in marketing, we have that shared experience, where a lot of dentists come to us and say, “I had a bad experience. I feel like I didn’t know what was happening. My practice didn’t grow”. So we do our best to create a accessible platform for them to be able to measure results.
Michael Anderson: So there’s a couple of things we do it. It all comes back to the numbers. It all comes back to being ROI focused, metric-driven, measurable in in your success. So we do monthly reporting and we have a dashboard that pulls all of the marketing metrics into one spot. I think that’s important because a lot of times, traditionally, you get your one PDF report from Facebook, another PDF report from Google ads.
Michael Anderson: There is something called reach and something called impressions. Are they the same thing? I don’t know. I don’t do this every day. And so for us, having a simple platform that focuses on the things that matter, one of those is going to be phone calls. How many phone calls did I get and where did they come from? If you’re doing marketing and you’re not doing call tracking today, I would pause. I would pause until you have a planned-
Ryan Isaac: [crosstalk 00:21:12] Oh, okay.
Michael Anderson: … because that starts to really get down to the ROI of things. You can say, “Listen, I did direct mail. I put $5,000 behind a campaign and I got 30 phone calls back, and I can listen to those phone calls and they’re their new patient calls. That’s great. I feel like the ROI is good on that”.
Michael Anderson: And then you could flip it around and say, “Here’s an AdWords campaign that I spent $2,000 on and I only got five phone calls. That’s not good enough. That’s not enough to justify it”. So for me, one of the best things about measuring, we talk about success all the time, equally is important that we measure failure, so we stop it quickly. I cannot tell you how many dentists we have started to work with and they’ll have a contract, believe it or not, still with yp.com. Yellow pages. And we’ll say, “How long have you been using Yellow Pages?
Ryan Isaac: Shout out to Yellow Pages.
Michael Anderson: “Oh, for five years”. Yeah. The rep comes in and we love him. And then we say, “Well, how many patients are you getting from them?”
“Well, you know, I feel like I’m getting some good patients”.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah. Feel. Yeah.
Michael Anderson: But you measure it and there’s not a lot there. And so those are the kinds of things that we really want to make sure we’re tracking both the success and the failure of. That’s huge.
Michael Anderson: One other thing that we get to brag about, just a little bit here and another shout out. One of the great solutions in the industry I think is built by Dental Intel. They give a lot of insight into how your practice is working and where the ROI is. And we’ve been very fortunate to be able to partner with them and integrate a portion of that reporting into the reporting we offer our clients. And so we’re able to actually look at practice data.
Michael Anderson: That’s the other big thing for me. If you’re working with a marketing agency that’s not asking you about your new patients, not asking you about your revenue, they’re not interested in your growth. That’s a big red flag. And so for us, we are a partner to the clients and the practices we work with, and that’s why we start by talking about goals. And the only way for us to see if we’re meeting those goals is to actually talk about practice information. That is stuff we have to get, and Dental Intel has been a phenomenal partner in us, in getting that data and doing it in a way that’s not burdensome for the practice.
Ryan Isaac: As you’ve listened to our podcast, maybe there’s a question about your finances you’ve wanted to ask. It’s easy to get an answer. All you do is just pick up that phone, give us a call at 833 DDS Plan to set up a consultation. Or if you don’t want to call us, you can just go to the website at dentistadvisors.com. Click the book free consultation button and set it up. It’s free. Do it today.
Ryan Isaac: So as we’re getting towards the end of the year, let’s go through maybe, is there an end of year marketing checklist to be thinking about, as the year ends? Or is there a checklist of things to be thinking about before the new year starts? 2020.
Michael Anderson: Yeah. The end of the year, for all of us is such a great time to reflect and look back. And so for me that’s about, if you had goals, see where you finish. This is the basic stuff. I know everybody’s probably nodding their heads saying, “Yeah, of course”. But finding that time and intentionally doing that is big. And then, I think oftentimes, if you really start to ask yourself some of the tough questions like where are my new patients coming from? What type of patients would I like to see in the new year? You might find that you’re struggling to get those answers, a little bit more than you thought. I think a lot of times we move through life and we say, “Oh yeah. I know that stuff”. And then when we have to sit down and pause-
Ryan Isaac: Yeah.
Michael Anderson: … you say, “Whoa. That’s a little harder than I thought”.
Ryan Isaac: Write it down.
Michael Anderson: That helps us start to understand what we need to do for the new year. I think for me, top of the checklist, for anyone that wants to get serious about their marketing is what makes me different and do I feel like that’s something that sticks with people? If you come up with something, go ask other people and see if they agree with you. It’s not enough for you to say, “Being the nicest dentist in town, that’s what makes me different. Everybody else totally gets that too”. You’ve got to ask some people and see what’s the gut check?
Ryan Isaac: It’s scary.
Michael Anderson: And then, you need to say, “Okay. How am I showing this off? What am I doing to make it different?” Again, we’ve been talking about this the whole time and so it feels like the checklist is kind of already there, but those are big things you’ve got to do. Go look at the places people find you. Look on Google My Business. One of the simplest places, people may never go to your website. What photos are there? Is it just Google street view? Do you think you can do better than that? Because I know most people doing research are going to want to say, “Who’s the person that’s going to be in my mouth? What’s the team going to look like? Who’s going to pick the phone up? I want to see those people”.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah.
Michael Anderson: Then look at the website. If you have all these great before and after cases you’re proud of, do they exist anywhere? Are you showing them off? What’s your plan for that? Those things, I think are essential. So really finding that checklist of authenticity and saying, “Am I communicating the stuff that’s important to me, in the different areas that people find me?” Is super important.
Michael Anderson: Another big one on my checklist, and this is just sort of a little side note. Reviews. Reviews are huge. We know that increasingly, people are going to say, “Listen, I don’t want to take your word for it. I want to see what other people have to say”.
Michael Anderson: Where are your reviews at? If you have 20 or less reviews, you can probably do better. You’re seeing a couple of hundred, if not 1000, 2000, 3000 people in a year that love you. That are willing to give you good feedback. Make sure you have a system in place to ask them.
Laura Maly: I think, less the checklist thing, but more of an accountability thing, and I’m saying this as a business owner ourselves. I think one of the hard parts about the end of the year too, is you have to come to terms with what you’ve accomplished and being forthcoming with yourself, being honest with yourself about what was my responsibility in this, this year? And what is my team’s responsibility? What is my agency’s responsibility? What is my financial advisor’s responsibility? And where did I drop the ball on communicating? Or where did I not find opportunities for improvement that I could have?
Laura Maly: I think that, just as a business owner, Michael and I are thinking about this as the year winds down, where are the opportunities in our own business where we needed to shine a brighter light and we didn’t? And then that’s something that we’re going to take into next year as well. Because accountability is huge.
Ryan Isaac: That’s cool.
Michael Anderson: It’s not what you asked and it’s not marketing related, but I have to share something that changed our business for Laura and I. And it’s probably one of the most significant things that we’d done, from a business standpoint.
Michael Anderson: Something we do every quarter is we have something called Camp Wonderist and that means that for half a day, our team stops. Which might sound counterproductive. People say, “Well, shouldn’t she be working?” We get together and we do a whole big presentation, where Laura and I are accountable for getting up and we talk about the goals from last quarter. We revisit our mission and values. That’s key. We really try to invest in the culture of Wonderist Agency, and if we just tell people that when we hire them, we don’t bring it back around and say, “How are we doing, guys? Remember, this is what we’re about”, it gets lost.
Michael Anderson: So we talk about mission, vision and values. We look at our goals and then we set new goals, and then every department has to come up and do the same thing. And that intentionality, doing it every three months, has just changed our business because it creates accountability and momentum.
Ryan Isaac: That’s cool.
Michael Anderson: I know we’re here talking about marketing today, but that’s something that I would encourage everyone to do. Find an opportunity to stop with their team and take meaningful time. Not just a huddle in the morning. Meaningful time, and then do something special afterwards to commemorate it. That will change your business, if you’re not doing it. I promise you.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah. Are these the pictures I see of you guys, when you do these offsite things at cool taco bars, and there’s like the office dogs. And you guys, by the way, they’re in my future adoptive city of San Diego. But, are those all the cool pictures I see, you guys offsite doing those team things?
Michael Anderson: Yeah.
Laura Maly: Yeah. I mean the big stuff. We did a catamaran ride last quarter.
Michael Anderson: Oh, that’s right.
Laura Maly: If we hit our goal this quarter, we are doing a craft cocktail competition-
Ryan Isaac: So cool.
Laura Maly: … down here. So we’ve done tons of stuff. We’ve done Disney, and I’m trying to think what other things we’ve done. We’ve done bowling and escape rooms and all kinds of fun stuff. We’re always doing fun things, whether it’s camp or not.
Ryan Isaac: [crosstalk 00:29:19] Well, I like what … No, go ahead.
Michael Anderson: It’s just one of the best ways to market yourself because at the end of the day, we come back to this idea of what’s the best way to grow your practice through referral?
Ryan Isaac: Yeah.
Michael Anderson: What do people get excited about? They get excited about businesses that you walk into, and you’re just like, “Man…” It’s so funny, I think about In and Out. I don’t know what it is. It’s a burger place, right? For those of you that haven’t been to California, we’re all proud of In and Out here-
Ryan Isaac: So proud.
Michael Anderson: But you walk in and every person there is friendly.
Ryan Isaac: Yes.
Michael Anderson: It’s unbelievable. Here I am, talking about In and Out burgers, but it’s because of the culture when you walk into a fast food restaurant-
Ryan Isaac: Every time.
Laura Maly: And those are college kids that they’re motivating to be that service centric and happy, and excited to serve their clients. It’s just unbelievable.
Ryan Isaac: My 14 year old daughter, that’s the first job she wants to have. And you can see it when you go through the drive through, their whole kitchen area is windows and everyone’s super nice and upbeat and friendly, and you just get to see the whole process. It’s super cool. Yeah. That’s my daughter’s first job. That’s where she wants to work.
Ryan Isaac: But I like what you were saying about having the team on the same page and knowing, where are we headed? What’s our value? Who are we? What are we special at? That bleeds over into knowing what you’re going to do for marketing in the first place. So if you don’t even have that going, you’re not going to be able to answer your question with your marketing team, who are we? What makes us special? If you’ve never sat down and asked that question of yourself, or done that with your team, or reiterated that message frequently enough. You just won’t know. So I think, it’s a little off the path of what we’re talking about, but I think that plays into it huge. I think that’s great, man.
Michael Anderson: For me, it’s the heart and soul of what we’re talking about, and that if you don’t have that down it, we go back to the channel thing.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah.
Michael Anderson: Are you just trying to yell into a channel or yelling into the void, or do you have a core that you already know makes you special, makes you different? It’s what you want to talk to people about. And what I love about that is I go back to like the coffee shop conversation. How many times do you sit down and someone’s next to you saying, “What do you do?”
How do you respond to that? If you don’t have, we’ll call it an elevator pitch, something that you can talk about that gets them excited about what you do, then your marketing is probably not going to be-
Ryan Isaac: Well, it’ll reflect that, right? It’ll reflect your lack of understanding of who you are.
Laura Maly: Right. And saying, “Oh I’m a dentist”, and saying, “Oh, I own this amazing practice. It’s actually really not far from here. We’d love to have you in. It’s beautiful. Our staff is amazing”.
Those are two totally different conversations but at the same [crosstalk 00:31:47] if that makes sense.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, it totally does. And maybe that’s why people end up doing the throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks, marketing approach. Because they really don’t know. They don’t know, who should we be telling the public who we are? Who are we? They just don’t know.
Ryan Isaac: Man, if anything, I think that’s probably the best place to be, and maybe the hardest though, because you’ve got to have some honest, difficult conversations and answer some hard questions.
Maybe we’ll wrap this up with, what’s in store in 2020, or maybe the next couple of years? What’s new in marketing? What are some new trends? What’s new that people should be thinking about?
Michael Anderson: The things that we’re watching right now, I think that meeting prospective patients where they’re at is going to be huge. And so for me, we’re seeing people less and less prefer to get on the phone. That’s not how I like to do things. I’m old fashioned that way. You’re not going to find me texting-
Ryan Isaac: Phone guy.
Michael Anderson: I’m a phone guy. But you know what that means is we’re seeing people go onto websites and they want to see live chat. They want to be able to communicate with you. They want to be able to go on and they want to be able to use something like LocalMed to directly schedule with you after hours. That’s huge to me. I’m in meetings all day. I get done at seven o’clock, I come home, I missed another day of being able to call and make that appointment.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah.
Michael Anderson: And so being able to do that after hours or conveniently during the day is huge.
Michael Anderson: One thing, and this is a little bit self serving, but I do believe it’s going to be one of the strong trends we see. Wonderist has been very excited over the last a year and a half to work on a virtual consult platform, and so we’re helping dentists connect with people that are interested in having cosmetic work done, but are not ready to come into the office yet.
Michael Anderson: Simply, take a photo and send it to the dentist directly and then be able to do a virtual video consult. It’s not live, it’s one that the dentist can record on their own time. But I think virtual consults are going to be a huge thing over the next five years. Because people are looking for convenience. You want to say, listen, I want to know how you can help me, but I don’t want to take off work. I don’t want to drive in. That’s something I think we’re at the bleeding early edge of and we’ll see more and more of that over the next couple of years.
Michael Anderson: It goes without saying that social media is something we’ve been talking about for a while, but I really think, only now are we starting to see people take it seriously and get how to use it. And that’s a huge opportunity for our dentists that are able to create some of their own content. Again, social media is just a channel. You have to have something to say. So, with things like Instagram and Facebook stories, it’s almost like a really affordable way to get in front of people’s TVs.
Michael Anderson: You think about what did people used to do? They used to read the newspaper and they used to watch TV. Well now the newspaper is on our phone and the TV is on our phone, and that’s a incredibly affordable, if not free way for you to reach people in your community in a very targeted way. So I think that we’re going to increasingly see social media be a place that we’re reaching prospective new patients, for sure.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah. Isn’t that funny? I was thinking about that the other day. Stories are now more interesting than people’s posts, to me. I’ll open social media. I’m like, I just want to see stories. I’m like, “Ah, the posts. Whatever”. It’s kind of cool, how that shapes it.
Ryan Isaac: Okay. So how about, where can people find you guys? You guys sponsor a lot of events here. Maybe tell us about a couple events that you’ll be at, coming up and how people can find you.
Laura Maly: Yeah. You can find us at wonderistagency.com. If you are interested in chatting and setting up some time, there’s a button on the home page that says, “Chat with Forest”. He does our biz dev. He’s a silly, fun guy, and very-
Ryan Isaac: Hey Forest. All right.
Laura Maly: And then if you’re interested in virtual consults and learning more about that, you can visit yourvirtualconsult.com and send an inquiry there. I think you also will probably more likely talk to Forest there as well. So enjoy. He’s a blast.
Ryan Isaac: Actually, I was on the website a couple of hours ago. Forest was on there. He was the guy. Like, “Let’s chat”.
Laura Maly: And then in terms of events for 2020, we’re still firming up some stuff. We’ll definitely be at Voices of Dentistry, which is my favorite event of the year. But I will be having a baby about two weeks before that.
Ryan Isaac: Yes.
Laura Maly: So out team will be there, but I don’t know if Mike and I will be. But man, I will be-
Ryan Isaac: We’ll see. We’re pulling for you. Bring the baby.
Laura Maly: Yeah. We’ll be at Midwinter with a mini presence. We will be at CDA with major presence.
Ryan Isaac: Cool. Thank you both, Laura and Michael from Wonderist Agency. We really appreciate you guys spending the time. Thanks for being here and we’ll see you guys around soon. Good luck with the baby.
Laura Maly: Thank you.
Michael Anderson: Thanks.
Laura Maly: Talk soon.
Ryan Isaac: Thanks guys.Practice Transitions