Text marketing experts Forrest Cottrell (L) and Jim Koch of Dental Innovations
Text marketing experts Forrest Cottrell (L) and Jim Koch of Dental Innovations

Imagine if 95% of your marketing messages were opened – and not merely opened, but read – within three minutes of you hitting the ‘send’ button.

What would you call that kind of turbocharged marketing?

Jim Koch, a global innovator in business marketing who has helped to develop strategies for several thousand companies and health practices, calls it text message marketing – and it works amazingly well.

Much more efficient than email, snail mail, or even social networking, Koch explains that text message marketing, often packaged as VideoText™, reduces the so-called “friction” that prevents most marketing messages from reaching their intended audience.

The conventional approach is to send a patient or prospect an email, likely with some sort of call to action (CTA). Eighty-five percent of those on the email list will never even bother to open the message. Of those who do, only a small percentage will click on the CTA link that leads to your website, where they’ll be asked to fill out a form and submit it.

The story is not much different for conventional social networking: Post an ad on Facebook or Twitter that requires individuals to click on a link, land on your webpage, fill out a form, and then, if they are still engaged, receive your core marketing message.

Each step along these conventional pathways creates ‘friction,’ which leads to dramatic attrition. By the time the intended patients or prospects complete the entire routine, their numbers have dwindled from the thousands of individuals whom you initially targeted to a handful of hearty survivors.

As Koch discovered after more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience, texting patients and prospects a carefully crafted message that dramatically reduces ‘friction’ produces infinitely better results.

Koch and his colleagues at Dental Innovations have demonstrated impressive results in helping dentists increase case acceptance, generate five-star online reviews, attract new patients, and operate more efficiently.

Listen to an extended interview with Jim Koch, the featured guest on this week’s popular business-to-business podcast Monday Morning Radio.

Jim Koch, at the computer, demonstrates Dental Innovations
Jim Koch, at the computer, demonstrates Dental Innovations' text marketing platform at the recent DOCS Education conference in Scottsdale.

Dental Innovations is a global leader in mobile messaging and marketing automation, offering MMS and SMS campaigns; mobile pages designed to drive audience engagement and capture contact information; CRM; automation driven by behavior interactions or triggered from events; and seamless integration with more than 1,000 business applications.

The biggest knock against text message marketing, as Koch readily acknowledges, is that regulators in both the United States and Canada require that the recipients opt-in before a dentist can text them.

But that, Koch points out, is also one of the biggest advantages of text-based marketing.

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“The fact that there are federal regulations (the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA) is actually a great thing because texting is a marketing channel that will not be ruined [by spammers],” Koch says.

For a dentist, encouraging existing patients to opt-in, or offering an incentive – such as an educational video – for prospects to sign up, is comparatively easy. In keeping with TCPA standards (in the U.S.), dentists who work with Dental Innovations ask each new patient or prospect to reconfirm their willingness to get text messages. Again, recipients are often incentivized to say yes.

Once a patient or prospect reconfirms, your practice can continue to text them indefinitely, unless they subsequently opt-out – which in Koch’s experience, on average, only a lowly two percent of recipients ever do.

Speaking recently at the DOCS Education conference in Scottsdale, Koch’s colleague, Forrest Cottrell, detailed how some dental practices have used the company’s proprietary VideoText™ service to capture hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional production from existing patients who previously had been presented with treatment recommendations but failed to schedule follow-up appointments.

Cottrell notes that most dentists have large numbers of such “unscheduled treatments” on their patient rolls. “You’ve already talked to them and told them, ‘this is what you need.’ But what happens? They get hallway amnesia. They go home. They say, ‘Let me think about it,” and the patients never actually schedule the necessary procedures.

Dental Innovations uses strategic VideoText™ messaging to both remind patients to come back and to educate them on the treatments they face.

Forrest Cottrell hosted a 'Lunch & Learn' in Scottsdale
Forrest Cottrell hosted a 'Lunch & Learn' in Scottsdale

Over the years, Dental Innovations has honed the art of video text marketing to a science, creating a series of 90-second videos that patients (and prospects) receive on their smartphones. “So, we drip them videos in very, very short content,” Cottrell explained. “Everybody’s got 90 seconds to watch.”

Dental Innovations already has a complete library of short videos available to general dentists and is building similar video series for orthodontics, oral surgery, high-end cosmetic dentistry, and implants.

Without bringing in a single new patient, Cottrell said that Dental Innovations’ VideoText™ often can grow a typical dental practice’s annual production by a million dollars a year or more by turning unscheduled treatments into case acceptances. “It’s like sending a treatment coordinator home with them,” he added.

Dentists who wish to learn more, without obligation, can text the word “Mobile” to 72000. They will then get access to a 30-minute strategic presentation on how mobile marketing for dentists works. In addition, they will have an opportunity to book a free 30-minute, one-on-one consultation with a Dental Innovations specialist.

Koch describes the world of email and social media marketing as a “jungle.” However, relying on text message marketing rapidly cuts through all of the clutter and chaos, creating an instant and durable engagement with patients or prospects.

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