Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2018 01 Gendusa Thumb

How to use 2018 to grow your dental practice (even if you’re in the hole)

Jan. 23, 2018
Do you think you need to cut your dental marketing budget when your finances begin to suffer? Think again. Here's proof of why you might actually need to invest more in your marketing.
Joy Gendusa, Founder and CEO

Although conserving your resources may seem like the way to stop your revenue from slipping down further, I have other news for you, and this is from very personal experience. You probably recall the housing market bust in 2008. When the market crashed, I lost a lot of clients.

I needed to cut expenses, and I simply refused to cut jobs. I listened to others’ advice and, against my better judgement, cut my marketing budget. This became the first time since 1998 that PostcardMania's revenue ever decreased. I will never, ever do that again. Look at example 1 below, and you'll see why. It was in 2009 that I cut my marketing budget by 3%, and my revenue simultaneously shot down by 13%.

Notice, the only dip you see in my revenue is precisely when I cut my marketing in 2009. That’s no coincidence! Of course, I panicked, but I also knew what I had to do to fix it. In 2010, I increased my marketing budget by 6%, and my revenue jumped back up by 16%. That’s also not a coincidence.

Your marketing directly influences your practice revenue, so if your revenue has gently dipped, been steadily declining for a long time (scary), or even if it’s stagnating, marketing your practice is the most direct way to counteract this. I know many dentists may be saying, "But you're a marketing company, and it's different for me because I'm a dentist."

Which is why I want to introduce you to Dr. Amit Khanna, a practicing dentist in Hollywood, Maryland. Dr. Khanna purchased Patuxent Dental in 2006. At that time, he relied mainly on referrals and did little to market his practice. "My marketing consisted of a homemade yard sign, yellow pages, and things of that nature," he said.

No marketing = no revenue growth. In fact, his revenue declined 14% in those first three years. See example 2.

What happened in 2010 that made his revenue go up? That’s when Dr. Khanna started marketing with 6,000 postcards each month. The result? Revenue increased 24%, and that’s after it had decreased 6% the year before. Dr. Khanna was sold. In 2011, he doubled his postcard marketing to 12,000 postcards, again each month. The result this time? A 55% increase in revenue. Not bad, right? Especially considering for three years his revenue had been sinking. Ever since Dr. Khanna reverted his revenue from its lowest point to that 24% increase in 2010, he’s committed to increasing his marketing year after year, which in turn consistently increases his new patient numbers. On average, Patuxent Dental brought in 158 new patients each month as of 2017. Naturally, Dr. Khanna has had to hire more staff. Just recently, he and his team moved into their own new facility, a building Dr. Khanna custom built and designed. So now that you’ve seen a couple examples of how critical marketing is to your practice’s survival and growth, here’s how I recommend you address your marketing for 2018:

1. Plan your marketing for the year now

First, find a quiet room where you can focus. Get out your 2018 planner or organizational software. I recommend going through each month in 2018 and marking the weeks and days you normally promote or have large sales numbers.

For dentists, I recommend a big promotion push around March and April for spring break and Easter holiday appointments; the start of summer for cosmetic and orthodontic work; the end of summer for back-to-school appointments; and year-end "use-it-or-lose-it" campaigns to claim those dental benefits.

2. Plan your marketing attack around those dates

Back-track six weeks from those large sales number dates you marked on your 2018 calendar. That’s when you should mail your postcards. I recommend you also run online ads with Google and Facebook at the same time your postcards hit mail boxes.

With 88% of the U.S. population using the internet(1) and 79% of those same people using Facebook,(2) you can reach virtually everyone with your marketing who is a prospect for your practice by mailing postcards, running Google ads, and getting your marketing seen in their Facebook newsfeeds.

Plan for your direct mail campaign to blast at the same time your online ads run (with matching designs) so that your prospects see your marketing message in all the places they spend their time. Or, if you want an option where all of this is done for you, we created Everywhere Small Business to take care of your multi-channel marketing and campaign tracking all in one package.

What about in terms of your budget? Realize that you should set aside about 3% to 10% of your revenue for your marketing budget.(3) If that’s a lot for you, just remember that your marketing is an investment in your future revenue growth.

3. Set deadlines

Mark “Order Deadline for ______ (whatever the event is) Campaign.” This is the day by which you need to order your postcards if you want to get the best results from your campaign. If the order day falls on a weekend, move it to the closest weekday.

Send an email right now to whoever will help you handle your marketing to make sure it gets done. Set reminders for yourself to check in with that individual two weeks before your postcards send to make sure your order is on track and any online ads you’re running are set up to run at the same time.

4. Commit to other regular marketing efforts

Here’s a list of other marketing tasks you or your office manager can do in between your larger monthly marketing campaigns:
• Post pictures to your practice’s Facebook page weekly.
• Post signs in your office, such as the front desk, that promote that you accept referrals and appreciate Google reviews and feedback.
• Send out a monthly email newsletter to your current patient list.

5. Set up a system to track your marketing

This doesn’t have to be complicated. Even a new caller sheet that your receptionist uses to gather all the information from new callers, including how they heard about your practice, will help you track how many new prospective patients you get each month.

The key to your 2018 marketing’s success is consistency. That’s why I have you plan out your whole year in advance because reverting down-trending revenue, or even increasing revenue that’s already slated to go up, doesn’t happen because of a one-shot marketing blast.

Remember Patuxent Dental’s annual revenue? It was declining by 14% until 2010, when Dr. Khanna decided to market consistently each and every month mailing postcards, and then later running matching online ads.

This brings me to my last point: marketing today is obviously not the same as it was 10 years ago. In order to reach all the prospective patients in your area, you need to get your marketing seen on more than one marketing channel. I really can't emphasize that enough.

And with Everywhere Small Business, which I mentioned above in step 1, you can easily get all of your marketing handled by the PostCardMania team of marketers, designers, and printers. Then you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to drive in enough new patients this new year, but instead you can focus on providing care for the leads we generate for you.

In 2018, I want you to grow your practice and never look back. I know that if you commit to marketing consistently this year, no matter what your revenue looks like right now, you will grow your practice.

If you want to see some of our dental postcard designs, we have a gallery dedicated specifically to your field here. If you have any questions, email me at [email protected].

Joy Gendusa is the founder and CEO of PostcardMania. Using just postcards, a phone, and a computer, Joy built PostcardMania from a one-person startup into an industry leader. PostcardMania serves 71,229 clients, including 4,658 dentists! Need help promoting your practice? Call one of PostcardMania's dental marketing consultants at (844) 269-1836, or visit
For the most current practice management headlines, click here.
For the most current dental headlines, click here.

1. United States internet users. Internet Live stats website. Accessed December 19, 2017.
2. Greenwood S. Social media update 2016. Pew Research Center website. Published November 11, 2016. Accessed December 19, 2017.
3. Lashley A. Dental marketing 101: how and why to market your dental practice. Dentistry Today website. Published January 1, 2006. Accessed December 19, 2017.

About the Author

Joy Gendusa | Founder and CEO

Joy Gendusa is the founder and CEO of PostcardMania. Using just postcards, a phone, and a computer, Joy built PostcardMania from a one-person startup into an industry leader serving more than 80,000 clients, plus more than 6,000 dentists. Need help promoting your practice? Call one of PostcardMania's dental marketing consultants at (866) 812-8443, e-mail Joy at [email protected], or visit

Updated April 27, 2016