At GDW, we’re always interested in learning more about our client’s perspectives so we can enhance and improve our services. That’s why Jeff Gladnick, our founder and CEO, took some time to talk with Dr. Scott Mahlin, owner of Clarkson Dental Group.
Dr. Mahlin shares his perspective on what dentists are facing in today’s busy marketplace, as they try to reach new patients and share relevant practice information through online marketing. He also shares some helpful insights about steps he took to improve his marketing strategies.
Q: Tell me about yourself and your practice. How long have you been in business? When did you start?
A: Our practice itself is a general dental practice in Chesterfield, Missouri, which is a suburb of St. Louis. We are a smaller practice by design. We have three operatories, and we are probably one of your smaller clients. The practice has been here for about 30 years, we have been part of the community for a while. We are probably on our third generation of patients. We have been seeing some families for a very long time, we have grandparents, and now we are all the way down to grandkids. One of the highlights of our practice is that we do offer IV general sedation, and we are one of the few dental practices in the state of Missouri that offers that. We like to highlight that specific service with Great Dental Websites, and it has taken off from there, we are really pleased.
Q: Do you have a specialist to do IV sedation?
A: It is something that I do myself. We do have the opportunity to bring in an anesthesiologist if needed, but most of it is done by myself.
Q: How long have you been a client of GDW? How did you hear about us?
A: In late 2019, we began the initial discussion and started onboarding at about that same time. The website didn’t go live until early 2020. To date, we are still having you guys (GDW) provide ongoing services for support and SEO as well.
Q: What made you decide that it was time to look for a new website design or marketing company?
A: Our website, while the old one served us okay for many, many years, it was old and antiquated. We really wanted to customize it. So much of our office protocol and our mission statement is to provide a really personalized level of care, and that certainly was not reflected in our website being the standard-issue cookie-cutter website. We wanted to update that website and put in more testimonials, more before and afters, more staff photos, and there was only so much that we could do with it, and we really felt like we were in this box. Since we wanted something much more personalized, we started looking at different website design companies. Whenever we came across a website we liked, or we got a recommendation from another dentist, it seemed like on a consistent basis that your company name came up time and time again. That is where the initial conversation really started.
Q: What ultimately made you decide to pick Great Dental Websites?
A: For us, I think it was important that you guys (GDW) had such a great track record with dental offices. I think it also has to do with your ability to be transparent and out there in media. Whether it be online forums or through emails or phone calls, you are always available to answer questions. I think it’s been huge as well that you (Jeff) are the face behind the company, but you are always very open in terms of what you can support and what you can do, and that has always made me feel welcomed and confident about your services. You (GDW) were that trusted authority before we even jumped on board.
Q: How did the website build-out process go for you?
A: I think the thing that helped the most is that there is some accountability for us. You guys (GDW) are great at providing a list, a layout, and saying, “Hey, this is what we need from you,” or “We are going to start with this.” Whether it be office photos, testimonials, or content, copywriting was kind of a big one. There are some sections of the site, for instance, like sedation, that I feel a little bit more comfortable taking on and writing. But some of the other stuff you guys (GDW) were certainly able to help me with. As a business owner and a full-time clinician, there are some things that I just don’t have time to do, and if we waited for me to do it, it would never get done. It was a two-way street, and that helped a lot. A couple of sections on our website that we really wanted to focus on were the aforementioned IV sedation and the before and afters. That was important to us. We had quite a list of before and afters, and being able to add that to a great presentation was really important to us.
Q: What sort of impact have you seen on the practice since you started working with us?
A: New patient numbers are certainly important for any practice, and we have seen an uptick in that. I don’t know if it’s Mercedes Benz or a BMW study in which they talked about building that identity, that trust in a brand, and that a potential client has to see you at least seven times in seven different forums. We get a lot of compliments on the website, but it’s also been amazing to see that a lot of patients are coming in very well educated, not just on who we are but also on what we offer as well. It just makes getting that patient able to commit to treatment and afford it a lot easier. We are always amazed that one of the number one pages on our website is the staff bios. Patients spend a lot of time just learning about the staff and the office before they ever step foot in the office. That has been eye-opening quite a bit, and it has been a fun process to really watch it grow and develop, and it is still an ongoing process.
Q: How often do you or your staff log into your website to make changes or additions?
A: I delegate that to my office manager. I would say that he is on it once a week. To modify, add a testimonial, post a blog, modify an FAQ section, those sort of things. It’s at least once a week that he tries to touch something up.
Q: Have you used our customer service since you started working with us? If so, what happened, how did it go?
A: The great management guru, Peter Drucker, said, “What gets measured gets managed.” We have been very fortunate that you guys (GDW) provide great reports on a monthly basis in terms of how the website itself is actually performing. Our client advisor, Matt, is always available, and he does a great job communicating with us. If there is any issue, you guys tend to be on top of it before we even realize there was an issue; and just being able to reach out to us via email and let us know, “Hey, we see this problem, and we’re on it,” and then have it fixed very quickly. We have been very appreciative of that. Matt also gives us some direction and keeps us on task. Sometimes we are like, “I don’t know what is important here,” and he helps to focus our time and energy on what needs to be done.
Q: What advice would you have for a dentist trying to find a website or marketing company? How would you recommend that they go about this process? There are a lot of companies that are going to say exactly the same things as us, and they might be able to do it, or they may be completely misleading people. How is a dentist supposed to figure this out?
A: I think that is a huge challenge for dentists, especially in today’s dentistry. We are so inundated with products and services that we don’t know if these are legit or if these are fly-by-night companies. You do really have to vet the process. Of course, the big thing is, getting ready to get ready. As practice owners, we all have so much going on, whether it’s renovating a bathroom or a CE trip coming up with the team, so a call is really important. Reach out because you are never going to be ready to start the process, and it is a process, and it is worth it as well. The other thing is accountability. I touched on that a little bit earlier. We have monthly phone calls with Matt, and he can let us know how things are going, where we are looking to go, and where we can improve. That feedback is so vital because as we get busier in our lives, having that ability to refocus and get back on track is so important, and you guys (GDW) have been great with that.
Do you have questions about updating or creating your website, or investing in ongoing monthly marketing services that might boost your practice’s online presence? If so, we encourage you to start a conversation with GDW today about how our services can help you reach your goals.