What Type Of Orthodontic Practice Is Right For You? Read Our Latest McGill Advisory Article

The traditional fee-for-service model in orthodontics has taken a huge beating lately, due to a number of disruptions to the profession. The latest was the pandemic that left many offices struggling to meet with patients and finding it difficult to sign up new cases while lockdowns were in place.

Is a traditional practice still the safest bet, considering the number of other options available today? While there are different delivery models for orthodontics, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, at People & Practice we see many fee-for-service solo practices still thriving.

Click here to read the full article on the McGill Advisory website (log in required).

The Golden Age of Orthodontics: Already Ended or Just Beginning? Read Our Latest Journal of Clinical Orthodontics Article.

People & Practice co-founder Dr. Leon Klempner was a practicing orthodontist for more than 40 years before he retired. He saw a lot of change in those decades. He also knows that every generation thinks that the golden age of orthodontics is always at some point in the past. But, he begs to differ. Dr. Klempner thinks that the golden age of orthodontics is now!

In this article he offers up his advice on the things a modern orthodontist must do to be successful and make sure a practice thrives despite the fast pace of change in our chosen industry.

Click here to read the full story.

Watch: Marketing for Orthodontists – Interview with Dr. Leon Klempner at AAO Winter Conference 2021

During the virtual AAO Winter Conference, SmileSnap hosted an interview with our founding partner, Dr. Leon Klempner. We covered a number of topics within orthodontic marketing including:

  • How the evolution of practice marketing has accelerated over the last few years
  • The different tiers that orthodontic practices fall into nowadays and what they mean
  • The components of a website that leads users to a call to action that converts them into patients
  • What you need to drive potential patients to your website
  • The essential components of an effective marketing plan

Watch this informative 30-minute video below.

Read Our Latest Journal of Clinical Orthodontics Article – Online Reviews: More Important than Ever

People & Practice co-founders Dr. Leon Klempner & Amy Epstein, MBA were recently invited to write an article for the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics about online reviews, which we deem to be more important than ever before. At our agency, we strongly believe that online reviews are essential to successfully converting patients in your local market.

Are you ready to supercharge your ortho marketing? Click here to get started.

In this article we offer tips for encouraging positive reviews and forestalling negative ones. We also describe a touchless review capture system to coordinate a practice’s patient feedback – an important strategy in collecting reviews in a post-Covid world.

Click here to read the full story.

Note: This article can only be viewed by JCO subscribers.

Creating Orthodontic Content Marketing That Converts

At People & Practice we are all about the content but not all content is the same. Anyone who has tried to create marketing for themselves without professional help knows how hard it is to come up with good ideas and translate them into effective communications. Especially content that converts into paying patients.

A study by DemandMetric says that content marketing can cost 62% less than traditional marketing but will generate almost 3 times as many leads.

Anchor content is a marketing term for interesting, unique content that serves as a foundation for other marketing channels – like email, social, and advertising.

Our agency specializes in creating anchor content that differentiates you from your competition and creates trust in your practice. You just can’t use any old content. Your content has to shine. It has to be unique enough to peak people’s interest, compelling enough to be shareable, and informative enough to make readers click to find out more about your practice.

Stats from the Content Marketing Institute shows that 72% of marketers say digital content marketing increases engagement. Almost three-quarters of them say it has increased the number of leads.

Good content that resonates does not come out of thin air. It takes research and planning, skill to write, and know-how to distribute at the right times and over the right channels.

Orthodontists – like most small business owners – know that they need to be producing more content but are usually much too busy to research, write, edit, and promote it themselves.  That’s where People & Practice comes in. Along with online reputation management, traditional marketing services, and social media marketing, we excel at creating effective content.

When you’re ready to supercharge your marketing and covert more patients, give us a call. Contact People & Practice today by clicking here to request a free marketing analysis, call 888.866.DOCS, or email hello@pplpractice.com.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Talking With Brad Kucharo About Financial Advice For Orthodontist

In Episode 20 of our podcast, The Survival Guide for Orthodontists, we invited Brad Kucharo, a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner from John McGill & Company, to give some financial tips and advice for orthodontics. This was especially timely as orthodontists have questions about how the recent change in administration might affect them, the ongoing effects of the pandemic, and issues specifically for practices that took Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans in 2020.

What orthodontists should do to prepare in case they again have to stop seeing patients in-person for any length of time

How potential tax law changes under Biden’s tax plan will impact orthodontists

Last-minute 2020 tax planning strategies and advice

See below for an edited summary of some of the topics we covered during the show. To listen to the full episode click here.

Brad presented some interesting statistics about his client practices’ performance over the last seven months after Covid. In a survey of clients he asked how busy they were before the pandemic versus after. He said that almost a third said they were back to 100% production and 84% said they were back to 80-100% versus pre-pandemic.

“We’re cautiously optimistic about the future,” he told us.

We asked Brad what actions orthodontists should take in preparation for PPP loan forgiveness and the Provider Relief Funds filing.

Brad explained that businesses have 10 months from the end date of your covered period before having to pay back the PPP loan. If your covered period ended in October 2020 that pushes it out to August 2021. He recommended that orthodontists delay filing for forgiveness for a while. The new legislation has some very interesting developments as it pertains to PPP forgiveness.

A National Law Review summary of the new rules says that there will be a simplified forgiveness process for loans under $150,000:

“The Act provides for a simplified loan forgiveness process for PPP loans of up to $150,000. Specifically, applicable borrowers will be eligible for loan forgiveness if the borrower signs and submits a one page certification to the lender (a) describing the number of employees the borrower was able to retain because of the PPP loan, the estimated amount spent on eligible payroll costs and total PPP loan value and (b) attesting that it accurately provided the required certification and complied with applicable PPP requirements. The form of the above described certification is expected to be available by January 20, 2021.”

And it turns out that waiting to file for forgiveness was good advice.

The article said that if a borrower has already received a forgiveness determination from the SBA the borrower cannot refile their loan forgiveness application to take advantage of the expanded provisions governing forgivable uses of PPP loan proceeds. While some language is still unclear, the article states: “The Act provides that its provisions expanding expenses eligible for loan forgiveness will not apply to a borrower that ‘received forgiveness before the date of enactment’ of the Act.”

“We shouldn’t rush to file for the forgiveness application,” Brad recommended. “We should wait until February or March to consider filing for forgiveness. Hold off on applying for PPP forgiveness. Time is on our side.”

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST EPISODE HERE

We also asked if Brad could shed some additional light as to how he thought orthodontists should prepare in case they again have to stop seeing patients in-person for any length of time.

Brad said that in the beginning of the pandemic, we were in deep water and uncharted territory.

“We looked at what we could have done better,” he said. “There wasn’t a whole lot we would have changed dramatically.”

One thing he did highlight is that he recommends doctors have home equity lines of credit on the personal side.

“When pandemic hit doctors who had it slept a little better at night,” he said.

Those who didn’t get them previously, couldn’t because banks were swamped with PPP applications. He recommends doctors secure lines of credit to be available in case of emergency.

He commented on the incoming administration’s tax plan as well.

“It’s really targeting individuals who have taxable income of $400,000 or more,” he said and recommended orthodontists “Biden-proof “ their tax returns.

“Get your taxable income below $400,000,” he said.

This is an edited summary of the podcast episode. For more great financial advice for orthodontists, click here to listen to the episode and subscribe to the podcast.

About Brad Kucharo: Brad is both a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner and has been providing customized tax and business planning services exclusively for the dental profession since 2007. He has helped over 500 dentists and specialists across the country plan for financial independence, reduced stress and greater peace of mind. Brad also developed and directs John McGill & Company’s comprehensive “Planning for Retirement” service. He formerly worked at Price Waterhouse Coopers and is a  current member of the American Institute of CPA’s and the North Carolina Association of Certified public accountants.

Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

What People Are Saying About People & Practice

If you know anything about our marketing mantra, it’s that positive online reviews can help boost your practice’s trust factor and visibility online. Managing your online reputation is as important as ever – perhaps even more post-quarantine as patients research the protocols and safety features that practices are putting in place.

It might come as no surprise that we’re all about the online reviews too.

See below for a few of the things our orthodontic clients have posted about us recently.

“I cannot say enough about the great service provided by People & Practice,” wrote Boris Arbitman from Arbitman Ortho in his five-star review. “As a relatively new practice, just getting established and off the ground, they have played an instrumental role in our success.”

Dr. Arbitman called People & Practice’s SmartReview workflow an “easy and effective” way to gather patient feedback and reviews. 

“They have been amazing,” he wrote. “We are frequently complimented about our campaigns and this has certainly played a key role in building our practice and introducing new patients into the office.”

Read the full review here.

Bruno Orthodontics also gave us a five-star review.

They listed our positive attributes including: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness, and Value.

“I researched several orthodontic marketing companies before selecting them,” they wrote. “My initial experience has been very positive… I feel that we have seen some practice growth already as a result of their help….I recommend them. Great company and great people.”

Read the full review here.

Don’t just take our word for it. See for yourself. If you Google People & Practice you read more than 25 positive reviews about us.

If you want to know more about how to supercharge your marketing and increase patient starts for your practice, contact People & Practice today by clicking here to request a free marketing analysis or call 888.866.DOCS, or email hello@pplpractice.com.

Image: Photo by Pressmaster from Pexels

Ortho Communication Has Rocketed to Digital During Covid-19, Are You Keeping Up?

Even before we had to adapt to the new way of doing business due to Covid-19, the patient experience had been evolving. As a matter of fact, the pandemic has only expedited the process of change, rocketing communication and the burden of legitimising your practice (through trust-building and education) towards the digital realm.

Most practices at a minimum have a website (although there are more than you might think who don’t or have one that hasn’t been updated in five years and it shows). That web page along with a telephone number and email address just aren’t enough anymore. You have to be communicating on multiple channels all at once and capturing leads through those channels in a smart way that funnels qualified patients right to your front desk. Don’t rely on outdated modes of communication, especially now that consumers have had months to get used to the ease and speed at which businesses can communicate with them virtually, and on their schedules.

Recent studies support this. About half of consumers believe that companies have to transform how they engage with them and almost 70% place their experience with a company on par with the services it provides, meaning a patient is not just going to choose your practice because you will give them braces to straighten their teeth. They also want to feel like you care about them and that you respect their lifestyle, which can vary from alternative to hectic.

Today, the patient experience rarely, if ever, begins in office (and again Covid-19 has made the in-person experience a rarer thing, only done when necessary). Packed waiting rooms with a mix of patients and new cases waiting to be seen during your practice’s limited hours of business are a thing of the past. Tools to perform virtual consultations, digital treatment monitoring, and communication through HIPAA-compliant text messages are being used by orthodontists nationwide right now, and not just to limit the number of people in the office at one time. These tools are being put in place permanently because patients see them as convenient. They have adapted to a new world. So should you.

The toolbox for marketing your practice and projecting its value to potential new clients has expanded. Orthodontists cannot just sit around waiting for the phone to ring. They must be actively engaged with their marketing program through social media, reputation management, and other types of outbound communication tools like SMS (texting) and email automations that will guide patients through a customer journey that results in an appointment booked through your online portal (yeah, you’re going to need one of these.)

Response time is also highly valued by consumers. A majority of consumers say they want a response from a social media inquiry within 24 hours. That means you have to be actively monitoring inbound communications on every platform. And don’t forget to add a number that is textable to your online business listings (including Google Business), on your social media accounts, and your website.

Worried about taking the human touch out of your sales process? Don’t. Even pre-Covis-19, 60% of buying decisions were made before a consumer spoke with an actual sales person. That percentage has probably only grown higher as we seek ways to avoid face-to-face contact and work on our own schedules, often not the same times your front desk is in the office.

People & Practice is the expert at not just gathering leads (any old marketing company can deliver wheelbarrows full of leads to you), but also making sure those leads are qualified, local, and ready for your services. That’s the difference maker. We spend time ensuring you’re reaching the right people in your local market who want to buy your services, capturing those leads and funneling them to you in a way that is organized and effective. We don’t just deliver a list of names, we deliver conversions.

If you want to know more about how to supercharge your marketing and increase patient starts for your practice, contact People & Practice today by clicking here to request a free marketing analysis or call 888.866.DOCS, or email hello@pplpractice.com.

The Three Biggest Mistakes Orthodontists Make With Negotiating Employment Contracts

In our podcast, The Survival Guide for Orthodontists, we speak with a wide variety of experts in the orthodontics field, frequently addressing extremely topical subjects affecting the industry right now.

In our latest episode, we spoke with Stephen Kaufman, head of the Wright, Constable & Skeen LLP healthcare law group. Steve has been a lawyer for over 35 years advising orthodontists about various legal topics including employment/partnership contracts, disciplinary proceedings, buying, selling or starting a practice, and insurance and government investigations and litigation. He is also the host of his very own podcast, Dental Call, an entertaining and informative interview podcast with thought leaders in the business of dentistry.

During the episode we spoke about plenty of legal topics affecting orthodontics. You should give it a listen by clicking here.

Orthodontics is not only being disrupted by new technology. A subject we talk about a lot on our podcast and our blog. There are also major changes in the business dynamics of orthodontics. Recent graduates used to join established private practice as an associate right out of school. For decades that was the model. But things have changed. Now, graduates are evaluating employment contracts with large DSOs and smaller practices are being gobbled up by those same large corporate entities. With all these changes come all these legal questions and challenges.

In the podcast, we discussed how orthodontists should negotiate employment contracts. Below we outline  the three biggest mistakes that orthodontists make, according to Steve:

1. Orthodontists believe a contract is standard and they don’t negotiate it.

“I have done this 5,000 times and I want everybody to understand that it’s a myth,” said Steve.

There is, he stressed, no such thing as a standard contract.

“Not negotiating can really hurt you,” he added.

There are many reasons to negotiate. One is to get more for yourself out of the agreement. More money, benefits, etc. You negotiate to get yourself more stuff.

But, Steve said that the most important reason to negotiate is because during the process you are going to learn something about your new employer. When you ask for something, the character of your employer gets revealed and that separates good guys from bad guys. 

“I don’t know a single orthodontist who thinks they’re standard,” said Steve. “So I don’t know why anyone would sign the supposedly standard contract.

2. They don’t get promises in writing.

Steve said that when it comes down to it, a contract almost never matches the deal the employee was offered. They usually end up more favorable to the employer. The mistake orthodontists make is trusting too much in things that were said but not put down in writing.

“I trust you completely otherwise we wouldn’t be talking,” Steve explained of the negotiating process. “This piece of paper, this contract, it sets out a deal. If things change in the future. Everything you agree to is in the contract.”

All other discussions, emails, or phone calls are gone if they are not in the contract. Even if you trust the person you are negotiating with, that person may leave. Or the memeory of what was discussed might fail you.

“An oral agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s’ written on,” Steve joked. “If it’s important to you make sure it’s in the contract.”

3. Going it alone.

“Get some help,” Steve said. “Don’t do it on your own.”

Orthodontists try to negotiate and understand contracts on their own and that is a mistake..

“Orthodontists are smart,” Steve said. “But they are experts in dentistry not law and contracts.”

Words don’t often mean what you think they do. They look like they mean one thing but they mean something completely different in a contract.

He also said that when you look at a contract, you don’t know what you don’t know.

“You don’t know what should or shouldn’t be in there,” he said.

One common aspect left out of contracts is moving expenses. You can often get a potential employer to pay for them if you ask but you might not know to ask for it.

“Whenever you negotiate for yourself you are biased and it’s hard to be objective,” Steve said. “A person who represents himself has a fool for a client.”

A lot of people are afraid to lose the job if they seem too pushy or greedy during the motiating process. But Steve said negotiating is an important part of the process so don’t leave it out and don’t make the mistakes he often sees above. 

“The worst that happens is that they say no,” he said but even then it might not be final. “Sometimes the employer is just seeing if they can get away with no.”

If you want to know more about how to supercharge your marketing and increase patient starts for your practice, contact People & Practice today by clicking here to request a free marketing analysis or call 888.866.DOCS, or email hello@pplpractice.com.

How Many Blockbuster Video Rental Stores Are Left in the World?

Remember Blockbuster Video stores? How many do you think are left in the world? You might be surprised at the answer and the story of Blockbuster Video vs. Netflix has a lot to tell us about the state of the orthodontic industry today.

We talk about the disruption of the orthodontic industry a lot and how new technology married with smart, targeted digital marketing can be a game-changer for patient conversion. That reminds us of another industry that has been disrupted – the video rental business.

Remember going to Blockbuster Video on a Friday night to rent a movie? Going to the store was an event in itself, with the anticipation of snagging a new release or finding an old favorite flick in stock. But, you had to hurry because they only had a limited supply of movies to rent.

Then some upstart called Netflix came along and ate their lunch. Netflix replaced the shared experience of browsing aisles and aisles of movie cases with their online queue. You could do the same thing virtually. Netflix also did away with a huge pain point for most Blockbuster Video customers – late fees. Netflix didn’t have any. Instead they offered a subscription model where you could keep a movie as long as you wanted for a low monthly fee. Oh, and Netflix rarely ran out of a movie you wanted to rent.

But with their mail-order service, Netflix couldn’t offer the one thing Blockbuster still did – the instant gratification of renting a movie and watching it that day. Until Netflix solved that problem too with its online streaming service. The rest as they say is history. Netflix even bankrolls its own productions these days. Why didn’t Blockbuster think of that?

It’s hard to imagine going back to the Blockbuster Video way of doing things.

Netflix solved problems with technology in a way other companies couldn’t imagine at the time. Certainly Blockbuster, a dinosaur of a company, didn’t think of changing how it did business until it was too late. (Some people say it’s just desserts since Blockbuster had forced all those little mom and pop video rental places out of business.)

The orthodontic industry has just experienced a revolution due to necessity. At People & Practice helped our clients adapt to a no-touch, virtual dental consultations while forced to be shut down. With tools like Dental Monitoring to continue to track treatment remotely and SmileSnap to continue to consult with new patients online that helps start new cases even when they are not in the office.

Virtual orthodontics is something we have been talking about for a long time and unfortunately recent events  just accelerated the disruption of our industry.

Most of our clients have stuck with these advanced systems even after enforced quarantines are being lifted because of the convenience they offer to their patients (and of course the continued usefulness in encouraging social distancing.) Orthodontists see how adapting their practice to the needs and wants of the customer and using marketing to communicate this helps to increase patient conversion rates.

We talk about this a lot in our podcast, The Survival Guide For Orthodontists.

In Episode 16 we spoke with Greg Pellegrom, CEO of SmileSnap, the software for virtual dental consultations that integrates with your current workflow. (Click here to listen.)

In Episode 7 we spoke with Mark van Weelde, Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Dental Monitoring, about the role it can play in helping orthodontists compete with direct-to-consumer companies and how technology allows us to fill a gap in the marketplace providing the patient the convenience and speed they are looking for. (Click here to listen.)

Every month we talk about integrating advanced consultation and treatment technologies into your existing workflow and communicating the ease and convenience your practice offers patients with smart marketing strategies to reach potential new clients and put them into chairs.

Subscribe to The Survival Guide For Orthodontists on our website or find it on your favorite podcast listening app.

Now, to answer the question we posed in the beginning of this article: How many Blockbuster Video stores are there in the world?

There is actually one located in Bend, Oregon. It’s an anomaly for sure and its status as the last remnant of a bygone era surely has something to do with its survival. Let’s make sure you are more list Netflix and not the one last Blockbuster Video.

If you want to know more about how to supercharge your marketing and increase patient starts for your practice, contact People & Practice today by clicking here to request a free marketing analysis or call 888.866.DOCS, or email hello@pplpractice.com.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay