Expert Q&A with: Dr. Geeta Perks
Dr Geeta Perks is a dentist with 20 years clinical experience having worked in prestigious practices and family dental practices, in both the UK and Australia.
Geeta has consulted for Dental Focus UK/Ireland for many years, helping dentists grow their businesses by attracting their ideal new patients. Dental Focus is founded by her brother, Krishan Joshi in 2001, in London during the dot com boom, and today is the leading dental digital marketing agency in the UK & Ireland.
Since moving to Australia, Geeta started the sister agency called Dental Focus Marketing It specialises in helping dental practices in Australia and New Zealand grow exponentially, by attracting their ideal new patients. This is achieved through integrated services: state-of-the art dental websites, Google Domination with Page 1 rankings through SEO and Pay per click advertising, and social media marketing to help to build PR and Brand Awareness online in local communities.
They provide clients with guidance and direction on aspects such as AHPRA compliance, and marketing strategies through consultation services using successful, proven strategies for dental practice growth. They are proud to have created over 1000 dental practice websites globally and have grown through word-of-mouth.
Coming from a family background in dentistry, Geeta understands the strategies needed for successful practice growth in this highly competitive consumer market. As a family, she’s helped to co-found of The Mouth Cancer Foundation Charity, which helps to spread the awareness of early detection of mouth cancer in the public, as this helps to save lives. Every year the MCF holds a free 10 km walk around London’s Hyde Park where survivors, carers, their families, dentists and the dental industry can join in.
Geeta understands how to find and grow a niche market, best strategies for ethical dentistry and how the power of social media can really grow your dental business. In 2019, she was awarded Fellowship of the Pierre Fauchard Academy for her contributions to dentistry.
Having practiced in both the UK and Australia, what’s one thing you wish you could implement in Australian dentistry that you’ve picked up in the UK?
I think the way that private dentistry is practiced in the UK and Australia is very similar. I think we’re very fortunate to live in an age where training and education is available online and dentists have easy access to further education, making practicing more uniform. And that’s certainly the case in the UK and Australia, where the differences in practice are small.
When I left the UK, ten years ago, dentistry was perceived as being much more accessible and affordable to the general public when compared to dentistry in Australia. Admittedly, the intervening years has seen this perception change somewhat. So, I’m all for making dentistry as accessible as possible. I’d love to see more accessibility to dental services across Australia, and we have the tools available to make this possible.
Was marketing something that you always wanted to get into, or did practicing dentistry and realizing the importance of marketing get you intrigued? How did you get started with creating Dental Focus Marketing?
Yes, I’ve always had a special interest in dental marketing. At the time I graduated from Manchester University my brother Krishan Joshi created Dental Focus in London. This was during the dot com boom. Through working in practice and helping Krishan with his business, I learnt a lot about dental digital marketing and how to grow dental practices. I’ve consulted for Dental Focus for many years. Today, Dental Focus is the market leader in dental digital marketing in the UK and Ireland.
After moving to Australia, I created the sister company called Dental Focus Marketing. I had experience in working for multiple practices, prestigious and family dental practices, in Australia and I soon realised that there was a real need for a digital marketing agency to help dentists grow their businesses here. I found most practices are doing ad-hoc marketing and using marketing companies that don’t know the dental industry. There was, therefore, a niche for a dental focused marketing company to help dental practices think more strategically about their marketing.
The main vision, when I started Dental Focus Marketing, was to create a digital marketing agency that would help dental practices grow their businesses by attracting their ideal new patients through integrated services: compliant websites that are bespoke, Google Domination strategies to be found at the top of Page 1 through SEO and PPC (pay per click) and social media marketing for PR and brand awareness for practices in their local communities. Giving clients guidance and direction on aspects like AHPRA compliance was also very important.
Today, dentists come to us because they want to engage digital marketing experts that genuinely care. We care about the dentist, their team and most importantly their ROI for practice growth. And the main reason why we care is because I’m a dentist. I’m also from a family background in dentistry, so we genuinely understand where dentists are coming from and the day-to-day running of their business.
So, coming back to the question, for me, it was all about creating freedom for the dentists to be able to save them time so that they could spend their time on things they enjoy: treating their ideal patients, or spending time working on their business and spending time with their families for instance. For me it was all about creating that ideal dental digital marketing agency for dentists.
When do you suggest dentists implement Google Ads (PPC)?
Google Ads are a way to get your practice name out there on Google by renting out advertising space. It works by someone clicking on the ad (the ad is typically a one liner offer which links to your website or a focused site called a ‘squeeze’ or ‘landing’ page). Google Ads are known as pay-per-click PPC advertising. How much is spent depends on the competition for keywords and location. Spending money on Google Ads leads is a quick way of getting in front of prospective patients, but it may not necessarily the best way. The patients who come through Google Ads are typically cold leads, and they may not be ready for treatment like those who have done more research.
I remember a dentist approached me for a consultation and we soon found out that he was doing his own marketing. He was spending a lot of money (>$3k/month) and, perhaps more importantly, spending is own time managing his practice’s Google Ads. He was only getting 1-2 leads a month. Firstly, he didn’t understand the best way to use and maximise Google Ads so wasn’t getting the results he should have. Google Ads is something you can start very quickly, but you need to understand the best strategies to get the results you want. Secondly, he didn’t realise that his website was not converting those leads and he was continuing to spend the money like a leaking tap. I always say that all roads lead to Rome, where Rome is your website. If you do decide to run ads, you need to make sure that you have highly converting website in order to convert these patient leads. Otherwise, most people will bounce off the website and you won’t see any return on that advertising spend.
Google Ads are a short-term strategy, typically recommended for practices that urgently need patients to fill up their books. They are also recommended for those practices who are investing in SEO and are waiting for their website to dominate in the top two spots on Google organically. Once the practice is dominating organically, they typically stop advertising as they don’t need it anymore.
If you’re not investing in digital marketing, then your competitors certainly are, and they’re steeling a march on you. Whether you know it or not, your competitors could be hoovering up your prospect patients.
Digital marketing is the most powerful way to get your brand in front of prospect patients, getting yourself and your team out in-front of prospect patients and building trust with prospect and existing patients. There are people out there who want your services, but they might not know you exist! They can’t find you in Google searches, have never heard of you or don’t trust you or don’t see the proof that you’re the experts at what you do. They’re going to go elsewhere where they can find the services that they need, or think that they need.
Understanding the right digital marketing strategy for your circumstances is therefore key. One size does not fit all! There are different aspects to digital marketing, and marketing strategies can as broad or as focused as they needed. For example, a new start up practice with no patients and no digital presence will require a different strategy from a practice with an existing patient list that wants to take their business to the next level and wants to attract high-end treatments such as Invisalign or Smile Makeovers. It’s also different from a specialist practice wanting to get more referrals from dentist or different to dental course providers wanting to attract more students.
For the majority of dentists out there, you really need to understand that it’s about the whole patient journey. You need to consider everything from the external marketing to the front of house to patient’s in-chair experience. All these things help determine whether patients return to your practice.
Whilst Dental Focus Marketing are typically tasked to deliver digital marketing, it’s really about making sure that the whole patient journey flows smoothly. We spend time with all of our clients adding value and consulting with them by learning about the internal processes of their practices so that their digital marketing strategy seamlessly compliments their practice’s operations. Dentists need the right guidance and direction to understand what’s the best strategy to deliver return of investment for them. This can make the difference between a practice turning over a 6-figure income or a 7-figure income
As I’ve said, all roads lead to Rome, where Rome is your website. Regardless of whether they are existing patients, new patients, or word-of-mouth patients, they will always do their research, and look you up. They will look you up on Google, they will look up your reviews, the public will look you up on social media, and everything feeds back to the website. Yes, digital marketing is not going away.
Dentists come to us for the right strategy and marketing management. We typically recommend practices to invest in their high-performance website and advanced SEO to dominate at the top of Google page 1. And invest in social media marketing for PR and brand awareness in their local community, and Google ads only if they need patients urgently.