Justin: Welcome to the Dental Marketing Guy Show. I’m Justin, the dental marketing guy and today we have a very special guest. If you hang out in dental town, marketing forum sections, if you ever looked for a dentist who is also a top notch web developer, you’ve probably heard of Dr. David Wank. He is from shorthillsdesign.com and today we are talking about how you can increase your presence online and how you can get new patients through the internet, through your website, through SEO, content creation, and kind of go through David’s opinions and some ideas and some actionable tips for you on how you can create some new patient flow. So first of all, David, how are you?
Dr. David Wank: I am well and thank you. Thank you for having me and thank you for the invite, it’s great to be here.
Justin: Excellent, I know you have a ton of technical knowledge—not just clinical, but with online content creation, web development and all that. Can you tell us a little about your history as a dentist and then also Short Hills Design?
Dr. David Wank: Sure. Well I went to dental school like the rest of us did. I was always into business and marketing and small business. I started out doing consulting to make some extra money on the side. Eventually I started building websites for anybody who would buy one—didn’t have to be a dentist just whatever it happened to be. Then I realized I could put the two together so a few years ago I basically just had the company focus on just dentist and physicians. The majority of our clients are dentist. We have some physicians and some attorneys. They are not attorneys who sue dentists thankfully. That’s where this began. In the beginning it was just me and as I got bigger and got more clients and more responsibilities I built a team. I work with my team and it’s fantastic because the team kind of enacts my vision. Everyone has a specific way they do things—whether I’m doing a website, doing SEO, whether you’re doing a root canal or crown—at the end of the day we want the same success. Our route to get there is a little bit different. So my team kind of knows the same way—I don’t have to be in the room watching my dental assistant taking an x-ray because she knows what I expect to see and she’s not going to show me a film until it’s the right film. The same way that my team knows my philosophy and knows the way I think about things. And that’s great and I’m happy to have that in place. My team has definitely taught me a lot as well. So that’s where we are.
Justin: As far as dental school is concerned—you kind of glazed over this—which school did you graduate from?
Dr. David Wank: Harvard.
Justin: So not just any dental school.
Dr. David Wank: Well, I talked my way in.
Justin: You’ve done other podcast as well with Howard Farran, what was your undergrad, where was it, and what was it in?
Dr. David Wank: So I have a degree in English from Tufts with a focus in British literature so I can certainly write. Again, my dental background is from Harvard and I’ve always liked running a business so I still see patients five days a week which I really enjoy doing. It keeps me fresh. I don’t like going to a lecture or conference where someone who hasn’t seen a patient in 20 years is telling me how to work with patients. Now certainly that’s valuable because they have more experience than I, but I feel like I want to be in the trenches as it were. And that’s part of what I do because I can speak patient and I speak dentist so it bridges the gap. So I feel like my background, especially with the team I’ve put together, we offer a unique approach. I don’t think there’s any other team that I know of that does it like we do it. And I think it’s great.
Justin: One of the things that probably separates you with your background in English and your background in dental and as well as web development, this is kind of singular. There’s not that many people with that kind of knowledge. When it comes to dentists who are watching this that are wanting to attract new patients, would you say content creation/writing is really important in getting ranked on search engines and speaking to patients and how do you go about that at Short Hills Design?
Dr. David Wank: I think the bottom line is that you have to have a website to be competitive. Unfortunately it’s a no-brainer—it’s no longer optional. The website has to go to Google standards. It’s not a secret. If you want to do it, Google will tell you what needs to be done to make your website up to their standards. You can also look to see what needs to be done for a root canal to be up to standards on Google as well and it’s a question of “what’s my expertise?” I haven’t had a root canal fail in 10 years because I haven’t done one in 10 years. Now I could certainly pick up the book tomorrow in the office and figure it out and it would take me all day. My endodontist does a heck of a lot better job—she does it every day. Certainly I’m sending that to her.
So it’s not a secret but if you want to do your own website then have a great day—it’s fun but not when it’s your business on the line. You’re certainly not going to write your own buy/sell agreements when you buy and sell a practice. You can Google that as well but it’s a question of what you want to do on your own. Once that’s there, content certainly is key but content has to be your voice. Obviously as you know Justin, the days where you build a website and the content comes with it, that is no longer a good deal. In the past, you picked the color you wanted and the crown content and the canal content. And that was great. The problem is, Google has said, “That’s not good because it doesn’t provide a unique user experience”. If you want to take your kids to the apple farm, you Google the apple farm and it will say that every apple farm has the same page and the same about page. It’s going to say, “Well what’s going on with these apple farms? I can’t tell them apart. Google stinks. I’ll go look on a different search engine.” Google is about experience. The motivation behind that is content for another day.
The bottom line is we want a good user experience and they have defined that as go ahead and provide custom content. So we’ve actually had all of our clients write custom content. We certainly will write content for a fee but I’d much rather the client write their own content. I will certainly come to your office and pour your models and polish them—heck, fly me out there and pay me, I’ll clean your floors. It’s fine with me, for my fee it’s no trouble. But if you’re going to spend your money on me, I’d rather have you write your content. For our clients we tell them what to write, how to write it, we proofread it for them and guide them through it. But you can’t change the voice. I don’t call it periosurgery, we call it gum work. And my staff knows Dr. Wank doesn’t send you to the periodontist for gum surgery. We’re going to send you because your tooth needs this and this. Let the periodontist explain how you’re going to get filleted. It’s not what I do and it’s not how I control the message.
So like any marketing, your website is controlling the message. And if you have someone else write the content for you—look we’re a great team…Dr. Jen and I do a hell of a job with content and I’d say we’re one of the best teams in the country because we’re both dentist, we both write, and know what we’re doing. But even as good as we are, we cannot replicate your voice. We’re a good second best but only a second best to you as the dentist that runs the practice. So that being said, there’s certain nuances. We all have patients that call it an implant when it’s really a post. It’s all a question of what language do you use in your office? What tone of voice do you use in your office? Are you comical? Are you laughing all the time? Are you cracking jokes? I am. My patients know that I’m funny and we have a good time but when it’s serious the explanations that I give are serious.
The website has to match who you are or at least you want to try that. That’s difficult to do when someone else is writing your content for you, but when it’s you…the point is, it doesn’t have to be super polished but certainly no typos and no glaring grammatical errors. But it has to be you. If it’s not you, there’s a disconnect. That’s why just from a user interface perspective content is huge and from a search perspective. But from just getting your clients there—you’re telling your patient, “Hey you know we talked about a bridge today, we talked about an implant today. Go home, jump on the website, sit down with your spouse and look at it together. Basically what I said today in the chair is what you’re going to find on the website”. If they go to the website and it says, “Fix partial denture” they are going to go “Fix partial denture?” As a dentist we know that’s a bridge. No patient is going to know if you said implant or bridge if Mr. Smith and Mrs. Smith see ‘fix partial denture’ they are going to go, “What denture?” Now there’s a disconnect. So that’s why content is key for selling things and selling to your patients. And again as far as Google is concerned if you don’t have custom content you’re at a significant disadvantage.
Justin: Right. So that’s a really good point. So you’re talking about writing for your audience. You know at Short Hills Design how to talk to dentist but then you don’t apply that same vernacular to your client’s websites or you don’t encourage them to do the same, right?
Dr. David Wank: Well no, I think it’s up to the dentist. I have certain clients who want to tell you, “Here is step-by-step how to do a root canal”. Like today, we’re working with a patient with a denture. And I said a denture has five steps. Today we did the bite and picked the teeth. Next we’ll try it in with the teeth and then it’s yours to take home. That’s how I would say it. Another dentist might say, “Today we completed your closure records and set up your closure scheme and we made sure that your bite was accurate. And we took a mold to make sure we could replicate your bite for the laboratory. Next time I see you we’re going to try it in. It’ll be a mostly functional piece that will be in wax with the teeth in it so you can evaluate how it looks and I can evaluate if you’re going to be biting ok. And once we approve of that together, the time after that you’ll be able to wear them home with post op instructions.”
So, I just said the same thing so it depends. If I’m telling you what I said first, my website should parallel that—here are the five steps for a denture. But if I’m the type of dentist that wants to explain the wax melts in x degree Celsius and this is what it is—some of us like to do that. Some of us don’t—it’s your style. But you got to remember on the web that we skim. We kind of want to put out a ton of content. There’s a video that I made about how to write an article for SEO purposes. All it does is we took a three paragraph article. It’s not even in English, it’s in gibberish. You can’t read it. It’s kind of like what we show you on mock up with Latin words in it because we want you focusing on the big picture. But if you have a three paragraph article, it’s kind of boring. If you add a title it’s much better.
If you add subtitles it’s now
a.) easier for the eyes to skim and read
b.) you got more content for Google to pick up and that’s what you want. You want users to skim. If you got an article about veneers you might say, “These are veneers”.
Paragraph one is ‘veneers are an excellent in-between between composites and crowns. The next one is ‘veneers are durable and strong’. Third paragraph you can talk about the cost of veneers. Veneers are aesthetically beautiful. Now when you got someone looking at that page, if they’re concerned about the aesthetics, they can skim down to aesthetics. About cost—find the headline for cost. When you’re reading an article on Wikipedia most of the time you’re not going to read it start to finish, you probably jump around to the topic you want. Users want that. And by providing a better interface for your users and making it readable, you’re actually making it readable for Google as well. Remember Google doesn’t care what the page looks like. Google doesn’t see webpages like we see them. Google sees them as a block of text. So the aesthetics of websites are done for us as people. Kind of like a car. You can take a car that has no paint—it’s just an engine and a chassis—and you could probably just drive that around. But certainly we put doors and paint and things to make it more aesthetically pleasing. That’s kind of the concept.
Justin: You know the usage metrics are really important. I know you’re big on analytics. I know that it’s important for you to constantly look for ways to improve a website. If a big orange button doesn’t work with this website, try something else. So that’s all part of being aesthetically pleasing indirectly. So you coach your clients with advice on how to write their own content in their personality and their way of talking—and that makes perfect sense because like you said, if I’m sitting in a chair and it’s ‘occlusion, occlusion’ and I go the dental website and it’s ‘bite, bite’ then it’s like, “Wait a second, I’m confused. These aren’t the words he was using.”
Dr. David Wank: Exactly, that’s with anything. If you go to a financial planner, and they’re talking words to you and then you go to their website and they’re talking ‘ETF’s versus whatever loads on mutual funds’ then you’re like wait, nobody told me anything about loads on mutual funds. It’s about a continuous experience so you’re absolutely right. It’s about putting it together so the patients have the same experience while online—the warm fuzzy feeling. But for the same reason, why do we bother putting pictures of the staff online? Why? Because you want to know if you visit the dentist first, and you want to visit the website first, that you look at these people and when you go to the office you recognize them. Now that’s subtle. It’s not necessary but it’s nice if you see Jim as the front desk person and you go and Jim is there, it’s kind of like taking that anxiety down because you’ve seen them. All of this marketing is based on convention. As humans what we see as convention so if you pull out of your driveway tomorrow morning and go to the stop sign, and it’s the same shape but green, you’re going to stop. If you pull up to a traffic light and instead of being red/yellow/green, it’s now green/yellow/red and now all of a sudden the bottom is red do you stop or do you go?
Justin: That’s confusing.
Dr. David Wank: Right. When it comes to traffic lights, they don’t want to make you think. There’s a famous web book called “Don’t Make Me Think”. It’s about interface design. But the point is that we go by convention. I was once heckled at a lecture. I was giving a lecture about social media and someone asked, “How many dentist have a Facebook page? Does it matter? It’s ridiculous.” And I said, “It does matter because it’s one of the little things that puts it together with trust.” People cannot come into my office and evaluate my bite wings. Even if I show them my bite wings, they can’t read them. Do they have to use some other method to evaluate me?
Same with your attorney, your accountant, your divorce lawyer, your real estate broker, whatever it happens to be. You’re not going to know until after you get a $3,000 bill from the IRS that your accountant wasn’t good. You have to do other things to establish trust. You do it in your office. How come you wear a white coat? People trust that. If you wore bright orange coats tomorrow, people are going to stop. You’re going to say that you got the bright orange coats because when you’re in the laboratory the lights do this to the wavelength and reflection and lets us do better dentistry, it’s so much better. And the patients are going to be like “Whoa” because they don’t expect it.
So they’ve been trained—good or bad—that in order to be a good dentist you must have a Facebook page. Now, that’s absurd. Clearly there’s no correlation, but since they can’t look at your x-rays, they don’t know if you over prepare teeth, if your lab loves or hates you—a Facebook page, a Google Plus page, you’re smiling, everyone is happy, the website is clean—therefore you must be a good dentist. For those of you who are expecting children—how do you evaluate your obstetrician? Are you going to go in the OR with them and watch them deliver babies? You’re going to go by what their office looks like, how do they talk to you, how do they answer your questions, do they listen to you, do you have to wait an hour every time you see them because their office is packed—is that bad because their office is packed or a good thing.
So you got to take advantage when you market indirectly by enforcing trust. If you go to a restaurant and you get to the table and the silverware is dirty—you know they might have the best steak in the country but if the silverware is dirty, you’re not going to trust their steak. You’re using secondary things because you can’t evaluate the steak you haven’t eaten yet. That’s why we have to do these things. It’s not because we want to. It’s a pain in the neck. One of my lectures is social media. Why do dentists hate social media? I get that all the time. There’s just certain things you have to do as a dentist. Unfortunately, you got to be an HR manager, you got to be a purchasing manager, you got to be accounts receivable manager, and now you got to be a marketer. So the same way you’re going to have an accountant I hope to help you with your dental finances unless you have a background in accounting, and ADP or whoever is going to do your payroll unless you do it yourself—unfortunately we’re in a time now where marketing is another hat you have to wear. It’s another distraction from what we do all day and enjoying the relaxing business of dentistry. You’re in trouble when doing the dentistry becomes relaxing. You’re doing all these things you have to do for the office. So dentistry is a fifth of what you do now. You’re managing everything else. So you’re wearing the marketing hat.
Justin: We had Dr. Dan Marut on the show from QDP and he has this slogan that I’ve been using ever since I heard him say it, “Do what you do best and delegate the rest”. Why in the world as a dentist would you do web development unless it’s like you that you enjoy it, have your own company, have an infrastructure set up for it—why in the world as a dentist would you learn web development? The content makes sense, I see your philosophy on that because that makes sense. That’s a personality thing. You’re going to delegate the task of photographer but you’re not going to take photographs of someone else. So it makes perfect sense—just do what you need to do which is dentistry and talking in front of the camera for a video but even then you can delegate that out. For instance, patient testimonials on an iPhone. I’m always saying, “That’s great social proof.” Examine the veracity of the statements being made and as a patient that’s all you have. You know, here’s Billy Bob and he likes the doctor.
Dr. David Wank: Yeah. There’s a certain level of understanding. It’s funny you brought it up because I wrote a book on this. The example I give is—a few years ago we had to redo our driveway. At the time all we cared about was that when they redid it that they didn’t damage the rocks on the side and that the water didn’t pool. It didn’t matter to me what kind of cement they used or the size of the particle was. My kids wanted to know what kind of gasoline went into the cement thing and the steamroller. But as someone that wanted an end product, all I wanted to know is what does a good driveway look like? What are the characteristics of a good driveway? How the company gets there—I don’t care. What are the characteristics of a bowl of soup? I don’t care how they make the soup in the back as long as it’s delicious.
So the book I wrote was to say, “Listen, nobody ever taught us about web design, and SEO, and social media and conversion optimization.” So the book “The Web Design Workbook for Dentist” (it’s now online), was designed to say, “Look, here’s our view from 10,000 feet, what you need to know of questions you need to ask of people who are soliciting you”. You go to any of the shows it’s, “Doc, do you have a website? Doc do you need this?” You can’t answer those questions. I mean, I didn’t know what questions to ask about our driveway. I had to look it up to see what should a driveway look like when it’s done. I didn’t know what to ask him. Same thing—we had our house painted a while back. I didn’t know what you’re supposed to look for. You know the shutters shouldn’t stick together. Ok, but that’s obvious.
What the book does is speak in English. The dentist can read it or the staff can read it. It’s kind of in dental/staff language. When we build a website, we have something like 172-point checklist when we build a website. Look, we build websites like we do composites. You know I don’t do composites at home. I time my binding agents; I follow my instructions because that’s what you need to get success when you’re working with materials. Where on a website, it’s not just build a site and put it up there. For me the best clients kind of understand they don’t have to buy my book. Certainly having the book or buying the book will give you that background so you know what to ask. So you’re not saying, “should I get a work press website or should I get Drupal? Should I pay for hosting or not pay for hosting?” In one paragraph can help me make that choice. That’s why you need an adviser at some point.
The book kind of serves as an adviser. And its company agnostic. So whether you go with me or whoever you go with…it’s kind of like taking a car to Costco for tires. Costco is model agnostic. They don’t care what you come in with as long as they carry a tire that works for you—you know the bolts and the u’s are going to work on any car so to speak and is designed to work on any car. So you have the information you need to go to them.
What’s cool about the book now is that you can do it as a yearly subscription. So as new things come out, I update the book so you always have the most updated information. As new things come out and I write more, you’ve got the update. It’s designed for your iPhone, your iPad, whatever. You can read it online and it’s great. If you head over there webdesignworkbook.com, the introduction is free so you can see how it’s laid out. I don’t want you to have to understand PHP or how to represent variables or things like that when you code. If you want to do it and you enjoy it, God bless. I’d rather listen to history; that’s what I listen to in the car. Certainly do it if you like it. But I’m not doing my own driveway, I’m not waxing my own RPD’s either. I know how to evaluate an RPD so the framework sits and what it’s supposed to look like. I honestly don’t remember the exact percentage of the metal in the RPD’s are. But I have the sticker it gives me. And I don’t remember the temperatures and this and that. But that’s not relevant for what I’m doing clinically every day. That’s kind of the point.
Justin: No, this is good information. Because ultimately, it comes down to trust. Once you know who you can trust—a lot of things in life are not rocket science, but knowing who to believe is what makes it rocket science. A book like this, webdesignworkbook.com right?
Dr. David Wank: “The Web Design Workbook for Dentist” at www.webdesignworkbook.com. It would have been too long of a domain name. Which is chapter one of the book—about domain names. That’s an issue too because think about if you’re going to have a domain name like forkidz. I say don’t do that because people are not going to expect it to end in a ‘Z’. They are going to want an ‘S’. Don’t make it a .us or .biz because even if you tell them they’re going to type .com anyway. There’s little subtle things like that the book will show you.
Justin: You’re a dentist, you know how to write, you’ve been in the trenches, you are in the trenches every day. Five days a week, right?
Dr. David Wank: Yeah, five days a week.
Justin: Do you sleep?
Dr. David Wank: Sometimes. After this.
Justin: He’s exhausted folks. He’s been up for six days. I think this is really good information. There’s not enough people out there who have dental skills, writing skills, web design skills who is doing this for dentists. I think this is really a great resource for our listeners. So check that out. It’s www.webdesignworkbook.com. If there’s maybe three quick tips, if we take anything away from this interview…you’ve given us a wealth of knowledge and a lot to think about, some action to take with webdesignworkbook.com, but if there’s three quick tips our listeners could take then what are those?
Dr. David Wank: Number one would be make sure you have a separate page for everything you do. It’s critical. You can’t have a page that says, “I’m Dr. Wank and we do veneers/crowns/dentures/root canals/implants.” You can’t have that. You’ve got to have an implant page, a dentures page, and a veneers page.
Number two: verify your Google Plus profile. I don’t want to get into why, but at the end of the day, you’ve got a Google maps listing for your office that hopefully you’ve verified in Google my business and they’re going to give you a profile and you want to fill that out 100%. 94% does not equal 100%. It’s not one of those “it’s close enough”. You got to fill it out 100% because that may or may not affect rankings. In a case when there’s no competition it might not make a difference. But when there’s competition it could make a difference. It’s free and your competitors are doing it so I hate to say, “Google said so”, but you got to do that.
Number three: write your own content or pay someone to write it for you that knows what they’re doing. I’d rather you have a 10-page website that’s your own content than a 50-page website that’s duplicate content. Duplicate content has been known to be penalized. When I lecture, I show a picture of MetLife Stadium and I say, “Is the content written for you or for you and 70,000 of your closest friends?” Those would be the three tips.
Justin: Excellent. So you got to verify that Google listing folks.
Dr. David Wank: Don’t just verify the listing but fill out the profile 100%.
Justin: Absolutely. It’s really easy. It shows you your progress.
Dr. David Wank: It’s like giving topical. You just have to do it. You can certainly get them numb without topical but I think it’s bad for business but certainly it’s another little thing that makes everything better. Does that make your crown come out better or not? Not really. But giving topical is an adjunct that can only make things help. Verifying that Google Plus is the same thing. You might get a super plus if you do it but you could certainly lose a little if you don’t. That’s the idea.
Justin: So you got to have that and unique pages. Whatever it may be, whatever you offer. And I think it goes back to the idea of satisfying user intent. I’m going to go off on a short little rant here. A lot of dentist stuff the key words in the title tag—that’s where you see when you click on Google in your website—and they go dentist/city name/implant/Invisalign/blah blah. The title tag is umpteen degrees too long and here you are thinking, “Really? Is that what you want to see—a stock photo of that same family?” because you’re just looking for Invisalign. Here’s the point—you go your domain name.com and your website has to be coded by an expert like David, and you got to have someone who knows dental SEO as an expert and then you do the forward slash and give them the page that actually satisfies that intent. What do people want see? They want to see a video of someone talking about Invisalign or at least see pictures of before and after. They want to see copy that’s easy to read and scan, you know bullet point. It makes perfect sense. But here’s what everyone does, they try to get their homepage right for every keyword known to man and they wonder why it doesn’t work. It’s not designed for that.
Dr. David Wank: It’s like the supermarket. You can’t stuff everything into one aisle. Every aisle cannot be about produce. You could have a supermarket with one aisle and everything stuffed into it, but it makes a lot more sense and a lot easier to get to when the food has different groups.
Justin: That’s perfect. I like your analogies. You do dental, you do auto, you do groceries. It makes perfect sense not only to dentist who are really smart but maybe there’s just so much…
Dr. David Wank: Any of the decisions that I made today whether about how far to cut a tooth or to save a tooth or take a tooth out, those are far more complicated decisions than any decision you’ll make regarding your website. The problem is that we’re trained to make those decisions. We’ve made those decisions a thousand times and I’ve had extensive training as how to determine if a tooth is good or not. We do it all the time. Certainly I think that’s much more difficult than building a website but you just don’t do it. It’s also like if there’s a problem with my car. It’s easy for the person that knows how to do it. I could look it up in the book too but I don’t know what I’m doing so I have someone else that knows what they’re doing do it. I’d rather spend time with my kids than learn how to do everything around my house that has to get done.
Justin: Absolutely. So you go into all this on www.webdesignworkbook.com. Guys check that out and at least give it a look and see if it looks like a good fit for you. Thank you so much David. Dr. Wank, you are doing great things for dentists. I like your style, David because not only do you attack the market from a technical standpoint with the web development and the proper coding, but the understanding that you got to have a website that’s up to snuff. You got to have it up to the Google guidelines. That’s basic stuff but then you take it a step further. You understand the psychology of the patient. Guys, your prospective patients want to see you on home page/about us page/photographs/video. Maybe you don’t want to do those things but here’s what is working and your competitors are doing it and if they’re not this is an opportunity for you to get ahead.
Dr. David Wank: Either get ahead or stay competitive. You don’t have to do x-rays anymore. You don’t have wet films your competitors have digital. I like reading wet films better but if everyone has digital, I hate to say you have to have it too, but it’s becoming what everyone expects.
Justin: Really quickly, we got www.webdesignworkbook.com but where else can our viewers find you?
Dr. David Wank: Short Hills Design is our website. All our social sites are on there. I’m all over Dental Town. So ask away.
Justin: Is your user name shorthillsdesign?
Dr. David Wank: Yeah, hit on any of the marketing tabs and you’ll find me easily.
Justin: Alright, thank you Dr. Wank
Dr. David Wank: Thank you so much for having me.
Justin: Guys, if you have any questions, leave them in the comments below. Feel free to reach out to David. Feel free to reach out to me. If you’ve got any questions that we didn’t address, it sounds like www.webdesignworkbook.com might answer all those questions.
Dr. David Wank: They can post it on the comments for this hangout. We can take a look at that together and answer any of those questions that people might have.
Justin: Yeah. It’s great to see a dentist helping other dentist. That’s why I love having dentist on the show because you understand what it’s like and you’re in the trenches. It’s great. Thank you it’s been a real honor David.
Dr. David Wank: Thank you. I really appreciate it.
Justin: Absolutely. And thank you for watching The Dental Marketing Guy Show.
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