The 2020 NADSM Symposium was a huge success!

Check out these highlights from Day 1! If you haven’t signed up yet, be sure to register for the 2021 Symposium on March 5-6 in Clearwater, Florida!

Targeting the Ideal Audience with your Sleep Marketing

September 2019 DSM Insider Article By Marc Fowler, CEO of Bullseye Media

Remember the days when postcards were the marketing medium of choice? Back then, the key to a successful campaign was the mailing list. A below average postcard sent to an excellent prospect list could produce solid results. However, an amazing postcard sent to the wrong list was doomed to failure.  

In the digital world, targeting the correct search terms (keywords) can make or break a campaign. To succeed, a digital campaign must not only have compelling, informative content, but that content must be targeted to the right audience – the people actively searching for the type of content you are providing. 

So how do you know which keywords/search terms you should be targeting? Too often that decision is based on gut feel, which is inherently tainted by personal bias. 

Smart marketers compare their gut instincts with hard data because, as the saying goes, the numbers don’t lie. 

When analyzing Google search data for sleep-related terms, the numbers break out as follows:

Over the past 12 months there have been an average of 368,000 searches on Google each month for the term “sleep apnea”. Comparatively, “snoring” has received an average of 60,500 searches per month. 

If a marketing campaign manager incorrectly assumed snoring would be the best search term to target because more people know about it, more spouses complain about it, etc., they would be targeting an audience that is six times smaller than the audience for “sleep apnea”. 

That isn’t to say you wouldn’t want to include snoring in your campaign, it’s just helpful to know that sleep apnea receives over 300,000 more searches each month and you should allocate your time and budget accordingly. 

Additionally, knowing that CPAP receives 165,000 monthly searches shows that it is another keyword you would want to spend some energy targeting. While it’s true that a lot of those CPAP searches are being conducted by happy CPAP users simply looking for replacement CPAP supplies, we know from experience (and digging deeper into the data), that a high percentage of them are ideal prospects for a dental sleep practice. 

Current CPAP users have already been tested and diagnosed, and statistics show that the majority of them aren’t using their CPAP consistently. Many would be open to an alternative. Even those who are CPAP compliant could benefit from having an oral appliance for traveling, as a backup when they don’t have power, or when they’re too congested to use their nasal CPAP mask. 

Using the broad keywords listed above is just scratching the surface of a proper targeting strategy. To really maximize your marketing efforts, you’ll want to research keywords associated with those main terms. A deeper dive into the term “sleep apnea” turns up numerous additional search terms with large search volumes. For example, the term “sleep apnea symptoms” has an average search volume of 40,500 per month, nearly as many searches as the broad term “CPAP.” Even “sleep apnea machine” presents a strong opportunity for targeting, with over 27,100 average searches per month. Adding granular search terms such as these can help you really hone in on your true target audience.

Understanding your audience and targeting them properly can be the difference between another failed marketing campaign and bringing significant numbers of new sleep patients through your doors. 

What’s On Your Bucket List?

I screw up. Oh, I know, I’m sure I’m the only one. I can see you all in the comfy coziness of your glass houses. 

When I make mistakes, I like to evaluate what happened and what the root cause is so I can prevent a repeat performance. I look at the event, ask the 5 whys, consult my colleagues, and ALWAYS seek the counsel of my Mom. 

92% of the time (I made that statistic up, BTW), I find that my missteps can be traced back to my attempts to do too much. I’m either over-committing to aggressive timelines, forgetting there are only 24 hours in a day, sacrificing personal life activities for work activities, OR insisting on managing everything myself. 

Do you know what the corrective action is for each of these? 1 word: DELEGATION! You cannot be a master of all trades. Tiger Woods is a great golfer but I haven’t seen him win an Oscar. Peyton Manning is a heckuva quarterback but the expertise and dedication required mean that he’s probably not picking up his own dry cleaning or preparing the gourmet meal at Saturday’s dinner party for 10. I do a pretty darn good job leading a team of medical billers and heading up a customer support team. I run into trouble though when I also have to function as counselor, project manager, fitness coach, and everything in between. You just can’t do it all. At least I know I can’t. Neither can Peyton Manning or Tiger Woods so at least I’m in good company.

So what do you do? Again, you DELEGATE. Evaluate the tasks that make up your week & place them in 3 buckets. 

  1. Bucket #1 – These are tasks that only you can do. These should be high value activities that only you can do because of your unique education, licensing, capabilities, or experience. Think crown preps, placing an implant or delivering an oral appliance.
  2. Bucket #2 – These are activities that you can delegate. These can be low value or high value tasks. They are usually tedious, require very specific knowledge sets that you don’t inherently possess, or are absolutely necessary but can be managed by someone else. A few ideas that come to mind are medical billing for your sleep casesfinancial discussions about treatment, or completing your Medicare credentialing.
  3. Bucket #3 – This is stuff that you’re doing but NO ONE needs to do. These may be artifacts of the past. Don’t feel guilty about it. They probably made total sense at one time but they don’t really matter anymore. Get these tasks off your “to do” list. Kicking this bucket will free you up to work on things in Bucket #1 or work on that golf game with Tiger.

Create a Culture of Success

Me.  I. I try not to use either of those words, yet here I do it again…and again.  How do you turn Me and I into WE? The answer is delegation, cooperation, and training.

My business consultant made a comment to me the other day that got my attention.  Afterall, I do pay him each month; Rhonda says I should at least listen to what he says with an open ear.   “One great employee is worth three good ones.” My first thought was yeah, right. Then he went on, “How come I can consult two businesses that do the exact same thing; they have the same number of employees; yet one of those businesses does $8M a year and the other only does $2M?”

It’s the employees.  It’s YOUR employees.   Do you engage them in your DSM practice?   Do you let them interact with the patients?  Within the bounds of your state dental board, do you allow each of them to do as much as possible?  Or are you like most dentists, micromanaging your team and constantly looking over their shoulder? I hope not!

Here’s a quote from Herb Kelleher, perhaps you’ve heard of him; he’s the guy who started Southwest Airlines. “We have a strategic plan.  It’s called doing things.”

Strive to build a stellar team who engages a patient, each at some point along the preferred path, from the first phone call, to tracking down sleep studies, to verifying insurance benefits, to getting the Rx/LOMN, to scanning, to follow up, etc.  You are only as successful as your team.


Strive to be the best you can be

Assemble the BEST team possible

Be proactive; Be smart; Be efficient

Play Inside the Box

Did you have a sandbox when you were a kid? Some nice clean sand mixed with a little water and some of mom’s Tupperware, all the ingredients to build an awesome castle.  For reasons to complex to figure out, this got me thinking about titrating our dental devices. Remember the envelope of function as taught in freshman dental school, and that from a full protrusive position you lose the ability to move forward as you open more? You do recall that, right?

IWhen you think about what you have control over with OAT, it’s not much; the fit, the vertical, and the protrusion. So all your perfectly fitted device needs now is the correct vertical and protrusive position. Therein lies the challenge.

Imagine placing a dot on the lower incisor, open a little; move the jaw forward as far as you can; open a few millimeters more and then move the jaw back all the way. There you have it. Our final treatment position will be somewhere within that rectangle. I’ve heard it called many things, but “Drake’s Box” seems to have a musical ring to it, don’t you think?”

So, until I have littered that box with multiple points, I do not concede that a dental device “just isn’t working.” Armed with this knowledge, be sure to pass that along every time you do a lunch and learn for a physician. Just yesterday I said to an MD, “I’m pretty good at helping the patient find the sweet spot, but often times I need more than a single guess.” Only allowing the patient to test at a single jaw position is like having a CPAP machine that is stuck on 7cm of H2O. Please don’t tell the patient that it’s not working. Instead, explain that we simply need to adjust her device. Don’t be afraid to pick up a pen and draw Drake’s Box (hoping that with repetition it’ll catch on!) and explain this to your patients, to physicians, NPs and PAs.

In summary, the best advice I can pass on for now:

  • Less vertical is more comfortable, but MOST people require more vertical
  • Large tongues and males require more vertical
  • Mouth breathers require more vertical
  • Elastics and chin straps are aids to control the vertical
  • Sometimes, opening vertical is ALL you need to do
  • If you start at 70% of max, you’ve gone too far
  • Some patients do better with less protrusion
  • Slow, slow, slow titration is the key
  • No cats allowed in Drake’s Box!