Why Are Patients Coming in at a Younger Age?
Mara: I am welcoming my pops, Jay Shorr, to the podcast and we are going to talk about how to bring millennials into your practice. You want to keep in mind that a millennial is somebody that was born between 1980 and 1995. The generation following millennials is known as Generation Z really they’re the people right now that may be in middle school or might be starting college. For the sake of this conversation, we’re talking about the millennials and bringing them in as a patient base into your practice. We want to think about what is encouraging millennials to have procedures, especially elective procedures earlier than ever before because there are several very specific things related to this. Now Jay, do you want to start talking about some things we’ve seen with our practices as far as one of the top reasons that patients are coming in at a younger age.
Jay: In my day, and I say in my day because we didn’t have social media. I, as a former practice owner, spent $12,000 a month to be in yellow pages. Now, I know you’re probably saying oh my goodness, but could you even imagine what $12,000 of Yellow Pages would buy you. We had quarter columns, quarter pages, half pages, etc. Can you imagine what $12,000 in social media could yield today?
Mara: Can you also explain when you say in your day and what you spend. Can you give just a 30-second history?
Jay: In the late 80s and 90s in Fort Lauderdale.
Mara: When you are online and you’re utilizing social media, let alone video chat. When I think of video chat that is zoom, it’s FaceTime, it’s Skype, it’s Go-To-Meeting. Pick your platform of choice, but you are looking at yourself and this is a generation of youth themselves now more than ever, and COVID didn’t help. We are zooming and face timing more than ever before. So we have actually seen a large increase of people wanting elective procedures. At this point, because they have been cooped up throughout the spring and summer, they’re looking at themselves all the time and noticing all of those flaws. With that, that is just one really big reason that we’re seeing again and again.
Now Jay mentioned influencers. So when we talk about reason number two is that celebrities, whether they’re reality TV celebrities whether they’re online influencers, whichever that may be, but they are more and more open than ever before about the procedures that they’re having done. You see certain brands that straighten teeth, and influencers are saying hey this is what I’m using to straighten my teeth, this is what I’m using to whiten my teeth at home treatment, etc. People are open, versus it used to be and Jay and I talk about this all the time but it used to be the procedures are very hush don’t talk about it. We don’t want to talk about what we have done, it’s just oh my toothpaste naturally whitens my teeth. Oh no, it’s just I have a more radiant smile. I’m more well-rested than before. Jay, can you talk about the trend that you have seen over the years, as far as the openness, about which procedures I’ve done and being more open to it?
Jay: The moment famous influencers came around, and we’re talking about implants and buttock rejuvenation, were the Kardashians. Then, a lot of people did it and they actually came up with a name, it was the Brazilian butt lift. All right, fat transfer rejuvenation. All right, whoever thought you were actually going to say, I know I grow old gracefully. I’m not going to kill anybody when they look and they say, how come you run limping lines. Then in the dental field, people have said to me, Wow, for your age your teeth are white and your teeth are so straight. Well, I have no problem admitting that I have a great oral surgeon, whether it’s implants or Da Vinci veneers or whatever. If it makes you feel good then do it, if you can afford it, of course. I’m not an influencer other than people asking me what that I do, how are my teeth straight, how are my teeth white. It’s because I had them cosmetically done. It takes those people that are not afraid to admit what they’ve had done to make it I guess quote unquote, okay.
Knowing Your Audience:
Mara: That’s when you have a specific treatment that you offer in your practice and there are celebrities and people out there talking about it, about this particular procedure and I’ve had this done. It’s great to leverage that on social media and repost. In other words, take what was posted out there and post it again, and utilize that content in your website, utilize that content on social media to say, this is something that we offer. Of course, make sure that you’re adhering to all guidelines, but you want to make sure that you’re utilizing that and really leverage the fact that people are out there talking about the procedures that you do in your particular office.
Another reason that millennials are having procedures, earlier than before, and when we look at changes in technology and we look at innovation to provide services to patients younger than before. I myself, I’ve had Invisalign, my husband is going through Invisalign right now. So again, we’re not partial to that brand it’s just the brand that our practice happens to go with. Even though I had dental work done when I was in my teens, metal braces are not something that I would have necessarily considered as somebody who speaks out at conferences, dozens of times every year but the technology is now available. We want to always keep in mind that there is this really great concept as far as, what is the latest and greatest that’s coming out in the field. So it’s not necessarily only from one age group but always marketing, what are the latest advancements in technology in your practice, because that is going to be a game-changer for your practice.
Now, marketing to millennials is different than marketing to other generations and it’s different than marketing in the past so Jay talked about the Yellow Pages. I think we can all agree that for the most part, the yellow pages are dead. Jay, I think we’re going to have to agree on that. Marketing is different than it was in the past, we all agree on that, it’s just a matter of how is marketing different. We know the ins and outs, but it’s just looking at how do we want to change things. We want to know what is the audience looking for.
Now, there are so many different channels out there, we’re going to look at each of the different channels, and how to utilize each of those channels. The first one being YouTube. Now with YouTube, do you want to talk a little bit about YouTube to get us started? I know YouTube is one of your all-time favorite places to go to when you have a question, or when you want to see how to do something. So how have you seen some of the practices use YouTube to their advantage?
Jay: We’re posting on to YouTube, even for our own business because we’re doing these webinars we’re doing all kinds of information. And we want to get it out there for people to see people that we may never otherwise be able to reach. Now, the idea of posting it on YouTube is because YouTube, Mara, is owned by the big G, and Google is new. Alright, so you can reach their own marketplace. If you post things on YouTube, you’re going to organically get recognized, organic meaning SEO, Search Engine Optimization. When you are searching for something, you know the ones that are on the very top and say, add you pay for, that you don’t pay for the impression but you certainly pay for somebody who clicks it to get a unique user. Unique user meaning you’re not doing more than over and over and over again from the same IP address. The same IP address is your address that you sign on from, and it’s got the SEO benefits because Google honestly controls SEO. When you’re able to put things up on YouTube, you’re going to rank, and then you can control the type of demographics that you are searching for. Or you are trying to market to demographics. Maximize it to your efficiency.
Mara: With YouTube where we want to look at really maximizing our efficiency is when I talk about this. We want to example, create a video we know the content is king, and so we want to create a video for your practice or you have a video tour of the practice, for instance. From the time that a patient walks into your office until the time that they leave. What is their experience, what do they see in the reception area, what do they see in the hallway, what is their treatment like, who are they going to meet, the smiling faces along the way?
So when we talk about all of these components that can all be put into a video, what sort of safety have you implemented? I know so many people at this point, that are all really hesitant to come into the practice still because of the safety-related to COVID concerns. This is a great way for you to counter that and for you to show all of the safety features that are included in your office. Have you upgraded your ventilation system? Or is your entire team wearing a full mask? As far as a shield, instead of just necessarily a mask. You want to look at all of those different components.
So let’s say you create a video. At that point, you have a video; let’s say you shot it horizontally. Then it’s uploaded to YouTube, from YouTube you’re done, so it will live on YouTube you’re also then able to upload it to your website, you’re able to upload it to a blog post, you’re able to upload it on to a frequently asked questions about us, etc. Your video is able to then live on your website as well. You’re then able to upload that same video on to other social media channels, and so you’re able to even copy the coding and copy the video into an E-newsletter. You’re able to use that one video that you shot in multiple ways. We want to make sure we’re maximizing efficiency when we talk about how to bring people into your practice, and how to bring that millennial in because you’re creating one video and you’re putting it everywhere.
Now when we talk about the demographic. YouTube has a much broader demographic than any other social channel. We’re going to go through the other social channels and you’ll see that they have a much narrower demographic as far as who their target demographic is and who utilizes them. YouTube is good everywhere from Generation Z who we talked about is younger than the millennials, all the way up through boomers. That’s where we will always want to keep that in mind that YouTube is going to be the broadcast.
Jay: Since it’s owned by Google, doesn’t it get more of a play?
Mara: Exactly. Now, when it comes to Instagram there are several different components here: there is a feed, and with Instagram, your feed is what you actually see when you scroll it’s those photos or videos that are posted. They live there indefinitely and your reels and your stories go away in 24 hours and can be a still photo, it could be a video, and then reels in Instagram basically they’ve implemented something like TikTok. If you’ve heard of TikTok or people are creating videos, they’re pulling things together, and then they’re setting it to music, that’s what’s known as a real so Instagram, and Instagram use stories and reels to really try and capture some of the demographics of Snapchat. When it truly comes to the audience so your millennial audience is on Instagram.
This is truly a great place especially when it comes to video, so you’re able to schedule your content ahead of time and I really like to make sure that people know this because they think, oh I can’t necessarily take the time to ask my people to go ahead and put the content live on the weekends, etc. You’re able to use third-party services in order to schedule at a time. You want to make sure again you’re maximizing your efficiency and making sure that you take that video that perhaps you shot for YouTube and upload that to Instagram as well. This is a great place for your practice to again show the visual so often people think that I have nothing to show in my practice, but people want to see the faces behind the practice. They want to see the different rooms, show the treatments, show your team working together to have fun, show the safety. This is all incredible content for you to use. We highly encourage Instagram in the practice now.
Facebook is not where your millennial audience, truly is unless you’re talking about an older millennial meaning, probably late 30s. We want to keep that in mind when we talk about maximizing efficiency again use those third-party apps to schedule out your content. Make sure you have that content calendar and make sure that you’re scheduling out your content.
TikTok is where you see all of these different celebrities that are doing dances, they’re doing TikTok dances, you’re seeing all sorts of great funny little 15-30 second videos on TikTok so you’re able to create these videos in TikTok. This is where you’re going to see a Gen Z and a millennial generation. As far as popularity, you’re going to see this over time with certain social media channels that they’re not as popular as time goes on. It’s either, shape up or ship out in other words if you keep shaping up as a social media channel and creating individual and updated ideas then you’re good to stay around. Otherwise, they go to the wayside.
Targeting Posts on Social Media:
Jay: Mara, if you can touch on this for a second because a lot of people get hung up by likes and people get hung up on followers and things like that, and people spend a lot of time trying to post thinking that they are reaching 100s of people. Can you review who you’re really reaching when you post? Because it’s not everybody that follows you, it’s not all the people that you’re following.
Mara: It depends on the channel as far as the metrics and I always encourage practices to keep an eye on their insights. Look on your insights, look on your metrics and it’s in a different place for each channel, but you’ll look and see that a number of likes or follows is different than the number of views and the number of views is different from the number of engagements so you want to really know that you’re never going to have 1000 views if you only have 100 followers on your channel. Facebook does tend to hide the majority of content for the majority of people, and so it’s a lot of pay to play and it’s like that with each of these channels so you want to look at the difference between organic i.e. are people seeing it organically and are your potential patients seeing this content organically versus are you putting money behind it to boost and promote posts and therefore they will see it because you have paid for more people to see it. I would say on average, maybe 15 to 20% and that’s a high number that you are actually going to see your content organically without putting any money behind it.
Jay: How will you know who it is that’s viewing it?
Mara: That information is available through insights so I encourage you to regularly look at your insight so we have our team for example that looks at that regularly for Shorr solutions. For our own channels and we even look at that for our clients’ channels as they wish. We have some clients that we do a lot of different tutorials on how to utilize best practices in each of these channels, and then we send them free, so they’re able to do all of this on their own. We have some practices that do it with great success and some practices that say I want to hire out a third party to do it because the metrics do change on a regular basis.
Jay: Mara How do I know, as a practice, whether or not I should do it as the doctor. If I shouldn’t hire a third-party digital marketing company if I should have a part-time employee, a full-time employee because we have clients that do one to three. They have professional companies to do it, they have internal staff that does it in their spare time, if you will, or they have employees that do what actually full time they’re actually taking videos for Snapchat. Don’t try to make a clown out of your practice. Be somewhat professional because you have to speak to a listener in a language that they understand. Go share with everybody, how do I keep in touch with or knowledgeable about all these different channels that are coming out, and who should do it in my office.
Mara: If you’re going to outsource your digital marketing completely and for the sake of digital marketing for well let’s say if you’re going to outsource your social media right so right now we’re talking about social media and there are all sorts of different components as far as working millennials that we’re going to keep going on, but for the sake of right now when we talk about social media. If you are going to outsource it completely be sure you go with a company that knows their stuff that they know your industry, and that they are not just going to put canned content out there. You want something that is truly customized and you don’t want it to be where your social media feed is just stock images, where it’s the same person smiling with every one of their clients. You want to make sure that it is customized that it is really customized to your particular practice now. I would say that having either outsourcing completely or having another team member in your practice be the person that is the eyes and ears on the ground. We always want to make sure that nothing about a marketing plan should be an afterthought, every single thing when it comes to your marketing plan should be right up front and center.
With before and after photos, we want to make sure that you are not just including one particular demographic. You want to make sure that your social media, all of your marketing, can be really focused on who your target demographic is and who you want to bring in, and you can have several target demographics. You can’t necessarily just have one specific gender, age, and ethnic background in all of your marketing, or else that’s all you’re going to get and you’re going to be limiting your patient base to a very small number.
Mara: Jay, let’s talk for a minute about not just social media because that is just one small part, but the internal marketing that occurs inside a practice as well.
Jay: Mara when you just spoke about including photos of both genders you know that is so important, because today more than ever, is the LBGT community that everybody is starting to market to. Market to everybody, because it is a more susceptible society today where I can tell you that many years ago when I first started doing this, there were people that felt that if they marketed to everyone that it might be offensive to those people who didn’t like it. However, today is a different society. I really urge everybody to market to everybody because other people will look at it and they’ll go wow, that’s me or that’s you.
With all the marketing, we want to remember the last thing that I said when I first started this off about medicine. Being a business, even if it’s a cosmetic side because with all the marketing we’re going to do and I will get into the internal portion in just a second, remember that even when it’s done in house it’s not free. You’re saying it is not free I didn’t spend any money on it. Well, the Human Resource isn’t free, you are paying to have that done, you’re just not paying a third party. Remember that medicine is a business, learn how to define the metrics of the efforts that you’re putting into this. Your marketing to the millennial, you’re marketing to those people who have more money to spend on themselves. Nothing against the millennials and everything, but a lot of them are spending more money on themselves because they’re getting married later they’re having children later. When I was younger, in that millennial age I didn’t spend that money on myself, I was busy saving it for tomorrow. I’m not saying this is wrong. I think the millennials have something going for themselves, and they don’t know which is going to be suspended. How do you market to them? How do you do it internally? We have to think about it a little bit differently.
Now there are different platforms that you can have video inside of your office that runs continually. Nobody can sing your praise better than your staff because you as the practitioner cannot sing your praise that much without looking very conceited. I know you’re being confident but it doesn’t come off that way. If your staff can show people the before and the afters and they’re good before and afters.
Importance of Consents:
Mara: Let’s talk for a second about the importance of releases and consents and one of the big questions that we get, again and again, from our clients is they either practice themselves or patients don’t want to sign the consents because they may not want people to know that they’ve had work done. This is interesting because a lot of it is contrary to what we’re saying, for people, where you have some people that are open about the work that they’ve had done and you have others that still don’t want others to know that they’ve worked at. Can you talk about the importance, legally, of having that consent signed?
Jay: You know what I call a consent, a three-letter word called see ya. Because you’re never going to pull the consent out again until you need to pull out the consent. Again, the consent should go along with before and after photos and not before and afters for your photo gallery but also before and afters for legal, because you want to know along with the consent that all risks and complications have been explained to the patient and they have elected to proceed. The standard verbiage that you’re going to be using is sharing all of the risks and the complications you want to know, and the patient is giving you the unilateral consent or bilateral or total consent to use those before and afters either on TV or on social media. It is very important that you have consents because just like anything else it’s I said, he said, she said until the rubber meets the road.
Mara: The next component of that is talking about remaining HIPAA compliant on social media. The millennial generation loves to interact with patients on social media and one of the things we want to make sure to touch on is that just because patients are interacting and asking your practice questions and asking you questions on social media, those channels are not HIPAA compliant. We really want to make sure you understand that you need to move that conversation to a HIPAA compliant platform. Jay, can you give an example of what really should be moved to a HIPAA compliant platform.
Jay: First of all, especially today with COVID telemedicine has become ever so important. You’ve got to be on a HIPAA platform. When you’re discussing the before and the afters and sharing them back and forth. Are you picking them up on a non-HIPAA compliant platform on your cell phone that may not have dual locking encryption? If you lose that phone or you lose that device or some of your staff takes that device home and their car’s broken into when the phone is stolen. I can go on and on about different things.
You just have to make sure that the patient confidentiality is never interrupted disrupted or broken. That’s the importance of the Health Insurability Portability Act, which is what HIPAA, originally was all about. HIPAA isn’t just insurance and portability, it is anything that can be done on electronic means even filling out of applications. Understand that once you post something on social media you can’t guarantee it will not be reposted and the patient has the right to withdraw their consent at any time. What that means is, you will withdraw it, but it’s nothing different than you’re writing a book or a magazine, and a million copies were distributed, and now the patient wants it retracted. You can’t retract what already is out there. I would state that in all of your HIPAA documents, and there are several HIPAA documents about disclosure, who you can disclose the patient information to.
For example, Mara and my wife, being powers of attorney and being able to have access to my health records, I list that on my HIPAA paperwork, so that if I want information sent to my wife or I want information sent to Mara I list that on the HIPAA paperwork that my medical records can be released to them they can be able to be in the room. Now I would caution you even just because a person brings a friend into the room, even for a consult doesn’t always mean that you should be able to openly discuss their other health history, that may not have been related. I would always say, and have a witness. Do I have your permission to be able to discuss this with the other person in the room?
Mara: I would say that as we look to social media, where we’ve seen the importance, even in the past few months, is that if you are doing a dual Instagram Live between the practice and a patient. You’re both going and doing an Instagram Live or a Facebook Live to make sure that the patient signs a release form. Make sure that you have a good idea as far as who is it that just like Jay said Who is it that you’re able to communicate with? Making sure you’re not transmitting actual patients’ data through social media channels so just if they have a question about their condition and they need to call a practice, they need to speak with you, they need to move it to a HIPAA compliant text platform. You need to make sure that you are adhering to HIPAA, even though it’s on social media.
Now, we’re going to backtrack to social media for a second. A couple of things to keep in mind before we move on to the other, the other channels that we’re going to speak about as far as enticing the millennial patient is that you want to make sure with social media that you are monitoring the conversation and that you’re a part of the conversation and you’re not just posting and then walking away. If you’re going to be on social media, be on social media, which is why the person in the practice that is in charge of social media needs to be passionate about it.