Episode 012: The One About Designing Your Dental Website’s Sales Funnel

Good morning and welcome to another episode of Fast Thoughts on Dental Marketing. I’m your host, Colin Receveur. On today’s episode we’re going to be examining how to set up a multistep sales process with your dental website. The reason behind this is if you’re looking to attract the types of patients and cases that you want, the larger cases, specific types of procedure cases, you have to elevate your expertise, your image, to that of above the next guy down the road. Let’s face it, you can have the best hands and do the best clinical dentistry but if you don’t relay that accurately to your patients or your prospects, if you don’t set yourself up to be that guy that is the go to guy in the community that can do those types of procedures, the community at large is never going to know or want to come to you for those cosmetic procedures or implant procedures or sleep apnea procedures or whatever your niche is.

The purpose of these podcasts is to educate you on what’s available with dental marketing so that you can make an educated decision on if it’s good for your practice. On today’s episode we’re going to be examining how people raise their hands with your marketing, how you can reach out and touch them more, how you can educate your prospects before they ever call or come into your office, and how to advance people to the next stage in the sales cycle. What you don’t want to do is you don’t want to be that 19 year old dude that goes for the kill after the first direct mail postcard.

Let’s jump right in. I’m going to start with what is usually the first entry point of any web marketing campaign, and that’s the opt-in form. The opt-in form can take on many shapes and sizes. You could offer a white paper you’ve written, a free report on how to have the smile you want in less than an hour, or how to breathe better, sleep better and live the life you want if you’re doing sleep apnea, or the nine critical secrets of dental implants, how to chew better and eat the foods you love.

You can tailor a report that kind of acts as the proverbial carrot dangling it in front of your prospects. When they see that, they see your free report or they see you’re offering a series of emails or they see that you’re offering a free webinar or you’re offering some sort of informational media, whether it be a report or an email or a webinar or a tele-seminar, some kind of informational media that’s going to educate them. In order to get access to this information they enter their email address, so they plug in and that goes to our system or your system if you’re using Aweber or ConstantContact or iContact. We use InfusionSoft; we make InfusionSoft available to all of our dentist clients because it’s such a pertinent part of the process.

So they opt in, they get your free report automatically delivered to them and now they’re in the system. Now you have their email address you can send them more offers but you don’t necessarily want to go right in for the kill. If you’re going for the bread and butter general type patients that barrier of entry is very low; typically you can go for the kill on the first or second marketing piece. You can offer them a $59 first exam and X-ray consultation, get them in the door, find they have a couple of cavities, find they need a root canal or whatever it is, take them to the back, do the procedures right there and you have them right back out the door and you’ve turned a $59 case into $900. File their insurance and you’re done.

If you’re looking for elective type cases, cosmetic, implants, sleep apnea to some degree, you’re going to have to educate the prospects a little bit more before they decide to pull that trigger. As case size increases, the level of trust required to close that case also increases. If you want to get them to raise their hand you’re going to have to educate them a little bit. Tell them about, not how a dental implant works, your patients don’t want to know clinically how you place an implant or how you select the size or how you are the best at molding teeth, they want to know what’s going to look beautiful and they want to know you’re going to do a good job. A few patient testimonials along with some pictures before and after pictures are more than enough to alleviate the concerns of how it’s going to look.

The primary fears that patients have when moving forward with larger cases is how much does it cost, will it hurt and how long will it last. A lot of dental websites I go to, they have these educational videos on there from, the name escapes me, the big dental company, has that little widget that they put on all the websites nowadays for $50 a month. Every time I see that I’m amazed again that dentists think that patients really want to see how an implant screws into your jaw. That would be like me or you wanting to see how a plumber plumbs under your house or watch a mechanic put on your head gasket or watch a video on your UPS gets your packages from A to b, how they load the packages on the plane and how they fly them to the next destination. None of us care about the process.

We all think our business is extremely interesting. I would love to tell right now, on every podcast I do, the nitty grittys of how we do search engine optimization and how we set up the systems we do and how we build and code websites so that we get the results that we do and all this stuff. The truth is dentists don’t care about how a website’s coded or how you do SEO, what they care about is are new patients going to come in my door, is the time and effort we spend on our website going to generate new patients. That’s the only question most dentists want to know.

Of course, there are a few that go yeah I really like this web marketing stuff and I want to know more about it. Everybody has interests in multiple variables but by and large, 95% of your patients, of your paying patients, are not going to care about how you select the implant or how you put it in the jaw or any of the technical stuff that you as a dentist are very interested in.

I had a meeting with Woody Oakes the other day. I was shooting some videos for him and during the video shoot one of the things Woody said was most dentists spend more time selecting their handpiece than they do choosing their spouse. I chuckled because that really made sense to me, that really kind of hit home. A lot of dentists spend so much time on their clinical continuing education and they never focus on marketing their practice and actually getting new patients in the door. In their defense this is 2012, this is July 14th, 2012 and we had the 90s, we had the 2000s, both of them were just absolutely booming, some of the best 20 years that we’ve had in the past century. Only in the past few years have things changed to where you can’t just put your shingle out, you can’t just hang your shingle out and expect a steady flow of new patients to come in the door anymore.

When you’re marketing to these prospects, don’t go for the kill on the first postcard. If you’re trying to capture dental implant patients, set yourself up to be that go to guy, offer them a lot of information.

I remember I was sitting, I’ll use Woody as an example again, I was sitting in one of Woody’s seminars, this was April, 2010, Woody’s excellence in dentistry seminar down in Destin, and one of the speakers got up on stage and said you don’t want to put too much information on your dental website. It just blew me away that somebody would say that, that somebody would say that you don’t want to inform your patients, you don’t want to educate them, you don’t want to give them all of the information they need to make a decision. You must certainly do. You want to give them everything, but you want to make sure you give them the right kind of information. Your patients don’t want clinical, they don’t want to know how it works because frankly, you showing them how a dental implant works or how you choose an abutment or what handpiece you have or any of that, none of that answers their concerns.

You’ve got to get inside your patient’s head, and your patients have these concerns that they’re thinking about, they have these questions in their head and they might not be asking them. But the questions are going around in their head, like the airport, like your luggage. If you don’t get your luggage off the carousel, off the luggage claim at the airport, it’s just going to keep around and around and around again. You’ve got to get your luggage off to leave the airport. If you want your patients to move forward with case acceptance you have to get those bags off the carousel.

Is this guy going to do a good job? That’s a question that you cannot answer as a dentist. You can tell them you’re going to do a good job, but how much weight does that really carry if you as the dentist tell the patient you promise them you’ll do a good job. I’m sure you say it with a lot of sincerity and conviction, but you’re still the person saying it. If I tell you I’m going to build you the best website known to man you could probably appreciate that, but does it have the same weight and carry the same impact as if you have a patient say it about you, that he does the best job possible, he’s a true patient advocate, he does yadda, yadda, yadda. Of course, that’s much more powerful. Somebody else saying it about you is much more powerful than you saying it about yourself.

How much does it cost? All your patients want to know how much it is going to cost. Even if you’ve got the best clinical hands in the world and you do the best work, it doesn’t matter, how much does it cost? That’s a question that you must be answering on your website if you want to capture these larger elective cases.

Is it going to hurt? Again, you can have the best clinical hands in the world but if you don’t address the fears that your patients have you’re never going to move forward. They want to know is it going to hurt. Is he going to make me feel comfortable while I’m in the dental chair?

All of these concerns you can address in this free report that you offer on your website. Most free reports that we ghost write for our clients are 10-20 pages in length, substantial information. We just finished up a 14 page free report for a dentist that’s wanting to capture sleep apnea patients. We built him a website just for sleep apnea, we put a free report up on all of the questions that sleep apnea patients want answered; do I need a CPAP machine? Do I need surgery? I have obstructive sleep apnea; can a dental appliance fix that?

Your patients are extremely knowledgeable in today’s world. This has been really a revelation that’s come about in the past five years. We’ve had the internet for 15 years now, mainstream internet for 15 years, let’s call it 1997. I was a geek, I had internet in 1993, but most guys didn’t get internet until the mid-late nineties. We’ve had internet for 15 years; up until 2006, 2007 we didn’t really have widespread broadband access. YouTube didn’t come about until 2007. WebMD didn’t come about until the same time. Wikipedia didn’t exist until the same time. These titans, these giants of information where people can find answers to any questions they want didn’t exist until the last five years.

Your patient that used to come into your office and look to you for information, or they would go to the library for information or they would ask around to get information, now they get online and they Google. One search and they can get on these websites and find all the procedural information that they ever wanted to know. They are this knowledgeable when they come in. Back to the doctors that put those educational videos on their website showing how an implant drills into your jaw and all this stuff, and showing how you prep a crown. It’s just madness. It’s just not an elegant way to motivate your prospects.

Your patients already have all that information. They don’t want to know how it works; they’ve come to your website to see if you’re the man or the woman for the job. You telling them how it works again doesn’t get them closer to calling you or accepting treatment from you, just plain and simple. If you want to capture the elective cases, the niche cases, not always elective, sleep apnea, large cosmetic cases that sometimes insurance might cover part of, all the different niches of dentistry. You have to show the patients that it’s not going to hurt, how much it’s going to cost and that the work you do is going to last. Showing them educational videos on your website doesn’t answer any of those three questions. Frankly if you’ve ever watched or seen the statistics on those little educational video things you’d probably take them off your website today and you’d never put them back. Very few people ever even watch those. We’ve installed, using our new advanced analytics that you’ve seen on our blog, we can track exactly where somebody clicks on a page, how much time they spend reading certain areas of your webpage and the numbers on those educational videos from Docs, Docs is the company, and from the old Smile something, I can’t remember them, I think they got bought out a couple of years back, but they’re just horrible, nobody watches them.

Even the people that do watch them, it’s not setting you up as the answer. Your website is an educational tool, but you don’t need to educate your prospects on the clinical aspects of dentistry. That’s not why they’ve come to your website. They’ve come to your website to find a dentist. They’ve searched for a dentist, they’ve come to your website because they want to find a dentist, they probably know they need a procedure, they’re in pain, they hate their dentures, they know they have sleep apnea, they want cosmetics because they don’t like their smile. They’ve searched to find a dentist because they have a problem. They’ve searched for a dentist because they want an answer.

If all you do is offer them the clinical answer of yeah, here’s how an implant works, an implant can go into your jaw and it costs $1,200 and there okay, you’ve just answered one of the questions that I told you was important, how much does it cost. I wouldn’t give away prices, but I would definitely write a very compelling document on how much does it cost without giving away your prices. It sounds silly, but you can answer the question without answering the question.

By showing compassion, that you have concern, that you are concerned for your patients’ concerns, that is what’s going to win patients. You put videos on your website, you answer the questions they have, what does an implant actually do, how can it be used, what situations is it best in. A lot of dentists won’t use minis on the upper. You can give them a lot of information applicable to their situation that’s not clinical that will help them make an answer.

You drip this information on them; you’ve got their email address once they’ve opted in to your initial report. You drip it to them. Once a month you send them an email. Once a month you send them a postcard in the mail. This is not a massive direct mail campaign that costs thousands and tens of thousands of dollars, this is people that have come to your website, raised their hand that they are interested and want more information. If you have 200 people that opt in from your website every month, that means you’re sending out 200 postcards a months. What does 200 postcards cost to send out? A few hundred bucks? Printing and postage and everything, a few hundred bucks. Who wouldn’t take 200 hot leads for a few hundred bucks a month?

The ROI on drop marketing is difficult to track because it is a long sales process and you are doing a lot of nurturing and educating. We’ve done some crazy stuff like put individual call tracking numbers in every email that we send out uniquely and setting a doc up with 50 call tracking numbers and putting a separate call tracking number in every email. We can prove that it works, but of course tracking the ROI is a little bit crazy when you do stuff like that. Generally we just use a single call tracking number in all of the emails nowadays, which still shows incredible results.

You’re keeping your name in front of that prospect until the moment they’re ready to buy. They have a pain, they research, they find out you’re the guy, they opt-in, they get your free report, they like you’re information, they get your newsletter, they watch your tele-seminar, they watch your webinar, maybe they buy your book that we’ve ghost written for you. Maybe you’ve written your own book. We help a lot of docs write their own books. They have all these touch points that you’re able to educate and inform them with and then maybe they decide to live with it or maybe their finances aren’t in the right position. Then a few months later they get their Christmas bonus or they get their tax refund or, God forbid, Aunt Susie dies and they get a little windfall from her estate or her inheritance; now they’ve got the money to do it.

You drop them an email, you’ve got a postcard once every two weeks, you’re either sending them a postcard or an email with more information, how you’re helping, case studies, other patients you’ve helped, what those patients had to say. We had a guy that we filmed at a dentist client’s office who loved taffy, loved to go to the state fair and get taffy. It was his favorite thing in the world to do. He’s had dentures for 31 years, hasn’t been able to bite into the taffy and chew it and this doc had done an all-on-4 procedure with immediate loading and instantly this guy was able to go out, he went down to the store, bought some taffy and bit into it and he talked about the sensation of eating the foods he loves in his video.

That’s the most powerful thing you can get, it’s to reignite the pain of what your prospects are feeling. When your prospects watch a testimonial video like that the only thing they’re thinking about is wow, I love honey crisp apples, me personally, I love honey crisp apples. I won’t buy any other apples; if my wife comes home with anything other than honey crisp apples I don’t eat them. Of course they’re seasonal so I only eat apples for a part of the year.

Everybody has their pain and you have to agitate that pain in order to motivate them to take action, to move to that next step. Don’t be that 19 year old dude that tries to close on the first postcard. If you’re going for these larger case sizes, whether it’s cosmetic or even large bread and butter cases where people have a lot of problems in their mouth and they know it’s going to cost a lot of money to fix, sleep apnea, implants, dentures, Botox, any of the niches, motivate, agitate their pain. Motivate them to take that next step. Now you’ve got more information about them, now you’ve got their email address and you’ve given them a free report. The next step is hey, would you like to opt-in for our newsletter or we’ll send you this free DVD or we’ll send you a printed hard copy of our new book if you give us your mailing address. Who’s not going to accept a free book or a free DVD if it’s offered to them? Especially when it’s somebody that they’ve already opted in to, already got a ton of value out of, now they go for just a little more information and they can get your book delivered to their mailbox. Free, no cost. Of course, we’re all going to do that. If you knew you were getting something good in your mailbox you give your address out to everybody.

You get their mail address and then you send them that stuff. And then chances are when they put their phone number in they put in their cell phone. 50%, I think I’m recalling this statistic right, 50% of US households do not have a landline. I’m going to have to look that up and verify that but I remember seeing that number somewhere. 50% of US households do not have a landline. I think there might have been an age demographic on that as well, maybe under 50 year old average household, under an average of 50 years old in the household. But anyway, a large majority, so now you can text to that phone number as well.

You’ve got their address, you’ve got their cell phone, you’ve got their email address; you can text to them, you can postcard them, you can email them. You don’t want to overdo your welcome; you don’t want to hit them more than once every week or ten days. Most times once a month is very sufficient. In a lot of campaigns we’ll structure them so you send them an email on week two, a postcard on week four, maybe a text message on week six that invites them to a free question and answer telephone conversation, basically a party line where you can set up all your patients to call in and answer any questions they have right there over the phone. No risk, no pressure, just a live Q&A session. It’s something that we’ve used to great success to bring in leads.

Your marketing should always move them to the next step. Don’t go for the kill, but move them to the next step. Your marketing message needs to be structured so that they’re always moving forward towards the goal. When they’re ready for the goal, then you can present it to them. After you’ve hit them with five or six or eight pieces, then offer them the consult or then offer them the $280 or $500 CDP, complete dental physical, or then you offer them a limited time discount offer to come in and get a procedure done.

If you’re trying to drag in the larger cases, people that haven’t been to the dentist in 20 or 30 years, they’ve got thousands and tens of thousands of dollars of problems in their mouth, they’re very fearful of the dentist which probably started this whole vicious cycle of avoiding the dentist, you’re not going to drag those types of patients in with a postcard that offers them a discount or a free consultation. That’s why they’ve stayed away in the first place because they have a fear of the dentist or they don’t want to be made to feel guilty and until they have a real, intense pain they’re still going to keep avoiding. If you can offer a no risk, low risk way to educate them, show them that you’re the right person for their job and inform them about how you’re going to help them, how much it’ll cost, how it won’t hurt and how the work that you do is going to last a lifetime, you’ll be the guy that earns their business.

That’s all for today’s episode. I hope everybody was able to get some gems out of this podcast. If you have more questions or would like more information about what we do to help dentists find more patients, find the types of patients and cases that they want, the first step is to download our Dental Website Audit. It’s available at That’s all for today. Colin Receveur here checking out. It’s a beautiful day, sunny weather; I’m about to play 18 rounds of golf. Keep moving forward.


If you’re ready to begin getting the only result that matters from your marketing-more and better patients in your chairs - get started today and schedule your Practice Discovery Session™. They’re free to serious dentists who want to see a Patient Attraction System™ that can double or even triple their practice.