Episode #258: Actual Data from a Dental Practice that Has Successfully Dropped PPO Plans
To become a PPO-free practice, it’s essential to maximize your marketing so that you can proactively replace any patients you may lose. The goal is to keep as many existing in-network patients as we can. Most dentists have no idea about how their marketing partner doesn’t utilize marketing to increase loyal patients. And this leads to the biggest mistake on your dental website. As marketing becomes very important before and when you go out-of-network, Gary discusses the biggest mistake that could happen on your dental website. And then, he will explain how to AVOID it in this episode!
Gary: Welcome to another episode of the less insurance dependence podcast. I’m Gary Takacs, your podcast co-host, along with my great friend Naren. Hey Naren, how are you?
Naren: I’m fine. Thank you, Gary. Today’s topic is going to be a fun topic.
Gary: Yeah, we’ve got a great topic. You might have noticed a title, but if you haven’t let me give it to you right now, it’s the biggest mistake on your website. Now, how’s that for a provocative title? But it’s something that’s very, very important. It’s something I’ve noticed now with some of our new clients. As we look at what they’re doing in terms of marketing, we kind of scrub their marketing to determine what’s working, what isn’t working, and how we can refine it, and the reason why that is so important and in the context of this podcast why it’s so important is that when you go out of network which is why you’re listening to this podcast when you successfully go out of network, it’s very important to maximize your marketing so that you can replace any patients you might lose when you go out of network and let’s be candid you are going to lose some patience when you go out of network. Naren, that’s a blunt statement, but it’s the truth agreed?
Naren: hundred percent agreed absolutely
Gary: we’ve never seen it. We’ve never seen a situation where a practice didn’t lose some patients, and sadly, it’s the ones that the only reason they’re in practice is that you take their insurance. So, you’re going to shake those out. Now the goal is to minimize the loss of patients and lose as few as we can. We want to put it put another way put the positive way, we want to keep as many of your existing in-network patients as we possibly can, and the goal, let’s put it right out there the goal is to keep 85 to 90 percent of your existing in-network patients when you go out of network, but you’re going to lose some, and so marketing becomes even more important than it ever was because we want to replace those proactively before you go out of network and one more thing is that when you go out of network for many practices, they will lose what their biggest source of patients in the past the PPO plan was
Gary: that was your it was your biggest source of patience, but also you were paying dearly for it. You were paying hundreds of thousands of dollars a year because, remember that key point, I want you to think of your discount the write-offs that you’re required to take by the PPO plan. I want you to think of those write-offs as a marketing expense, you know, and the write-offs are the difference between your usual fee and your contracted fee and that difference today is typically 42 to 44 percent. So, you’re paying 42 to 44 percent of your revenue for marketing, and I want you to think of it that way because you’re basically paying the insurance company to provide you patients, and I think when you look at it that way, all of a sudden the light bulb will go off and it’s like oh my goodness, I could spend a small fraction of that and get the added benefit of attracting people who choose me for reasons other than I’m on their insurance. So, the second reason why it’s so important to be proactive about this is as soon as you resign from delta MetLife traveler’s blue cross blue shield as soon as you resign is this it’s as if a giant hand reaches out to the picket on your hose and turns the hose off.
Gary: and what I mean by that is they turn the previous flow of new patients, so there let’s get very specific about it let’s say MetLife has been providing a practice of five new patients a month historically.
Gary: and we’ve got to replace not only the ones that we’re going to lose but the five new patients a month that will now no longer be coming to us because we’re no longer listed as a provider on those plans, so marketing if the marketing was important in the past it becomes even more important in the future for the reasons we just outlined, and we’ve noticed as we evaluate all the marketing that they’ve done in the past and we scrub it, the biggest mistake that the dentists make in terms of their website is that it does not have unique content, it doesn’t have unique content. Google penalizes. It’s like you go in the penalty box. You know we’re in hockey season right now, Naren, kind of hockey season, and you’re keen on hockey being up there in Canada, and what happens when you get to put what happens when a player gets put in the penalty box?
Naren: I don’t think they’re happy, you know
Gary: it’s not good
Naren: it’s not good exactly, yeah
Gary: and so, Google puts your website in the penalty box when you have duplicate content
Naren: yeah, it’s like one of the no-nos. It’s like there are certain things they encourage you to do, and the certain things if you do it, you go on into what I call the virtual jail, the google jail.
Naren: so once you’re in the google jail doesn’t matter how else you how hard you try, how hard you work, you’re not going to be shown you know being seen
Gary: you’re not going to show up in a search when someone’s searching for a dentist in your community if you’re in google jail
Naren: just to put things in perspective
Gary: the sad part Naren most dentists have no idea that their website has duplicate content, and now if you think what, what do you mean most dentists have no idea because they didn’t write their website a marketing company wrote their website, and maybe they said and doctor we will give you an exclusive in your area your zip code, we won’t sign up any other dentist in your zip code or your area maybe you know however they do it. So now you think I’m good, but in fact, that website that you have is all over the internet in hundreds of other dental offices websites, and now you’re all getting penalized because you have duplicate content.
Naren: yeah, a couple of other points I want to make is you said this Gary I think your friend Howard used to say you know-in those days you know put up your dental office you know in a mall or where there’s a lot of foot traffic right a lot of traffic
Gary: And you know downtown founder was very strongly convicted that when you’re looking for where to put your dental office, you want to put it on a busy street that has tens of thousands of cars driving by every day so they could see your sign. That was something, and Howard even said make sure that you’ve signed that you have in your dental office for your dental office make sure it’s lit at night, so when people are driving by, you’re not open or anything, but when they drive by, they can see your sign now that was I by the way I never fully subscribed to that approach you know that concept, but that was something that Howard taught for many years go ahead and take it from there Naren.
Naren: yeah, so today it’s different, right? For example, we were looking at your latest report from February. You were seen around 97 000 times, and it was for around 490 different keywords. So think of it like this, 97 000 people who are looking for a dentist and they’re not looking for dentist phoenix, but they’re looking for veneers you know zipcode vineyard street name best you know sedation dentist in town you know all kinds of keywords and in your case a total of 3 000 and out of that 485 you’re doing extremely well in meaning you’re showing up on the first ten results of google for 485 of those search terms. Now it’s like 485 search terms are like 485 roads that are driving people to you and total traffic.
Gary: Traffic analogy, traffic now traffic is still important
Gary: but it’s not traffic in vehicles driving by your office looking at your sign. It’s internet traffic
Gary: visiting your website, so the traffic analogy is as important as ever, but it’s not in the way we’ve always thought of traffic as you know cars driving by your office; however, it’s people virtually driving by your website and stopping and so traffic’s very, very, important but you know you’re not going to get that traffic if you have duplicate content because you’re not going to be ranked people aren’t going to see you. It’s literally like being listed in a, you know, build it’s like in the old days building your office on a backwater road that nobody knows where it is
Gary: nobody’s ever going to see it, so let’s talk about how to how to correct it. The best way to correct it is to do what I did, which is to turn it over to the pros and by that I mean we use EKWA and one of them we use your agency Naren, in my life smiles dental practice and one of the very first things you did for us, and it’s ongoing you’ve done it ever since is you create a unique custom website with completely custom content and that took initially- it was your initial project with us when we started four and a half years ago and every month that website gets enhanced gets added to adds new pages adds new elements adds new keywords key phrases new coding that goes along with it. So I would recommend that you jump on my shoulders and do what I did and turn it over to the pros. The other alternative is literally- for you to write your own website. Now the flaw with that is you might end up writing a decent website that’s customized, but in fact, it’ll probably lack unless you have coding experience computer coding experience, it will lack all the coding and the behind the curtain elements of your website that are as important to Google as anything else.
Naren: yeah, so even when it comes to content- right, google will give you guidelines on how that page should be written. It’s not just about, you know, original content but it’s how many words and how things should be structured you know, for example, we don’t want to get into too many details because we don’t want to, you know, kind of confuse people but even like inserting your bio a certain way like Gary said the coding part if it’s not done correctly you know it’s useless I mean google won’t give you all the credit you deserve because google doesn’t see it the way it should see it so absolutely Gary it was a lot of science today maybe five-ten years ago it was more of an art, but, now it’s very specific and very you know driven by google pretty much.
Gary: and let’s look at the cost-efficiency of that Naren if you don’t mind me sharing your fees, okay if I do that
Naren: absolutely, Gary.
Gary: I love your fee structure it’s a all-inclusive flat monthly fee no surprises it’s twelve hundred dollars a month and that includes many, many, many, things but one of those things is to create a custom website that’s continually enhanced so doctors even if you could do this I’d question whether it’s a good use of your time wouldn’t it be better to be chairside providing treatment uh generating much more than twelve hundred dollars a month than spending all that time you know working on your website you can certainly work with EKWA as we did Paul and Tim and I contributed parts of our of our content of our website but that was very manageable very easy and it was we had fun doing it because it wasn’t something that was burdensome you know for us to do it but that’s what I would recommend you do and Naren if you’d be kind enough to offer the marketing strategy meeting we could put a link in this show where any of our listeners you normally charge for that marketing strategy meeting 900 fee but let’s waive that fee and they can meet with Lila stone your director of marketing and during that meeting Lila will spend about six hours in prep time looking at every aspect of your website what’s working what isn’t working pull some behind the scenes statistics on your website show that all with you some google analytics that you likely aren’t aware of show you those things show you what you’re doing well what you can do to improve and where the opportunity is to radically improve your digital marketing. That will be in in in less insurance dependence dot com. If you scroll down in the show notes, there’ll be a link. Click that link and schedule that meeting with light. It’ll be time very well spent.
Naren: absolutely, thank you so much, Gary yeah, and Gary mentioned what we do in addition to building the custom site and adding content we also take care of NAP, Google lighthouse, Google EAT a lot of things to do with Doctor Robert Cialdini his influence principles how to apply it so not only do people find you know through the google highway so to speak, but also we can influence them, so they decide to call you and then, of course, track everything leads phone calls, so you know what’s happening are things are getting better they’re not getting better why and that ongoing process of making things you know better tomorrow than they were yesterday or last week or last month.
Gary: now let’s talk about a little dark topic that we need to talk about because it’s reality sadly there’s a lot of mischiefs that goes on the internet, and it’s entirely possible that someone could discover your website and start cut and pasting and putting into their website
Naren: 100 Percent
Gary: that that happens. I mean, I’d love to tell you that
Naren: all the time
Gary: that never happens
Naren: all the time
Gary: All the time. So, I know one of the things you do for us is on a regular basis, you review the website to make sure it’s not being duplicated somewhere else. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Naren: absolutely, so we have a process, so we have a process on when our people write the content as well as when we maintain the website. So, for example, when we write new content, everything is put through a tool called Copyscape that checks if any part of that article that’s getting published is copied from any other website. So even a sentence being copied will flag it. So we make sure that nothing we ever post has any copy. Of course, we make sure that it meets all of Google’s guidelines. The second thing like Gary said is what we have noticed over the years is when a website is ranking as well like carries are you know, which usually happens after a while, if you do things properly the way google wants it, people will start copying it they’re like oh he keeps showing up all the time let me just copy-paste the information and I’ll show up to I mean you know people sometimes don’t think that Google has pretty smart people working for it so they think they can fool google but of course google catches it when it catches it sometimes the problem is google does google kind of punishes both parties you know they don’t just punish the one who sometimes copied the good guy gets punished too I mean they don’t do it on purpose, but it happens so to avoid it what we do is we constantly keep looking at your content that we published-originally which we know was original content again like every few months or so to make sure that nobody else is copied. When they copy, we don’t argue with them. It’s just not worth our time. We will just go and rewrite that section or rewrite that page. So, it’s a constant process. Gary is absolutely right. It’s not just about because I know we had had conversations with clients they’re like no, no, no, I wrote it how come somebody else has the same information because you did such a good job somebody just stole it from you know it’s unfortunately you know.
Gary: you’re also proactive, Naren, in that the website is completely dynamic
Gary: you’re adding pages-new pages of information on a regular basis. I could be mistaken on this narrative, so I’m going to ask you for accuracy on this, but I believe that we now have over a hundred website pages on my website is that absolutely so the website is a breathing living that’s the way we look at it organism it just keeps getting better and better and the reason we do that is we want to target more and more search terms so instead of only 10 000 people seeing Gary’s practice now it’s 97 000. So the more content we add the more keywords we can target and therefore more traffic we can attract yeah that dynamic nature is one of the elements that’s part of the google ranking algorithm you know if you have a static website meaning it doesn’t change that will drop literally like a rock in in ranking on google because they have a high value they place a high value on dynamic websites those that are changing and adding new information and more relevant google sees it as more relevant because you’re staying up with things one again let’s tie this back to the context of this podcast marketing becomes more important when you when you go out of network because you’re literally when you resign you’re going to turn the spigot off of any new patients coming from metlife or delta or blue cross blue shield travels or whatever the PPO is so you’ve got to replace that flow and then you have to replace the patients that you’re going to lose when you go out of network and if you do those ahead of time you’re operating from a total position of strength you’re prepared you’re ready you’ve already replaced those and you just keep ploughing forward and it’s why this is so important which is why we wanted to do this podcast episode on that to draw your attention to it and to put this very important topic on your radar screen because I don’t think many dentists have naturally thought about whether their content is unique or not and now it is critical that you start to identify that and you take action so that your website provides unique content so that you can perform well when it relates to google it’s all about google you know as I say when I’m when I’m speaking you know what’s the number one search engine in the world google what’s number two who cares and it literally is who cares because of the dominance of google and it’s very important that your website perform well in in the eyes of google. Naren, thank you for contributing your expertise to this, and thanks for all your team does to keep my website unique and custom and reflecting our practice, and always improving in the eyes of Google, which is a very important criterion for us. Hey guys, thank you for joining us on the less insurance dependence podcast. We sure appreciate each and every one of you. If you haven’t done so already, I have a request for you to go on iTunes, and if you haven’t done this, already go on iTunes and write us a review. A review will help more dentists find the less insurance dependence podcast; for now, thank you for the privilege of your time, and we look forward to bringing you the next less insurance dependence podcast.