13 Steps to Kill Your Cancellations

Improve your life and your schedule with this fantastic FREE WEBINAR on how to kill your cancellations. Share this with your team!

Watch It Now!

Episode #323: The Top 10 Reasons Your Dental Marketing Flopped, with Xaña Winans

the best practices show podcast Jul 30, 2021

Every failure is an opportunity to learn. But if you don't know where and how to improve, you can end up making the same mistakes! To help you avoid another flop, Kirk Behrendt brings in Xaña Winans of Golden Proportions Marketing to explain why your dental marketing failed, and where to focus your improvement. If you’re ready to learn from your mistakes, listen to Episode 323 of The Best Practices Show!

Main Takeaways:

“Fail forward” by using failure as an opportunity to get better.

10) Choose the best marketing medium for your target audience.

9) Understand the difference between strategy and tactic.

8) Think about your target market and the problem you're trying to solve.

7) Go where your competition is not.

6) Inspire action with your call to action. Be intentional with your language.

5) Is your product or service great? Be self-aware — know your online reputation.

4) Have an adequate budget. Marketing costs money!

3) Measure every piece of marketing you're doing.

2) Be more patient. ROIs don't happen overnight.

1) Make it easy for people to buy from you.


“Failure is always an opportunity to learn . . . Fail forward. Everything that you do that didn't work out exactly the way that you wanted is an opportunity to get better.” (05:37—05:50)

“The number-one reason why your marketing failed is you're choosing entirely the wrong medium for the audience that you are trying to reach. So, let's say, for example, you are trying to reach families and you decide you want to do a lot of Facebook advertising. I'll tell you what, the young families, they're over on Instagram right now. So, if you are not on the right medium where your audience actually lives and is engaging with your message, it’s going to be a flop. You're going to be wasting a ton of reach with people that just aren't your right target.” (07:23—07:57)

“People aren't putting the strategy before the tactic. They're just picking the shiny object, the, ‘I want to do social media marketing funnels,’ or, ‘I want to do an infomercial that comes out,’ because they're excited by the tactic. So, if they are not actually thinking strategy . . . You've got to have a long-term goal. You've got to have a plan; the tactic fulfils the strategy. The strategy is the goal and the plan of what you're trying to accomplish. So, if you don't know what that stuff is, you're throwing darts at the wall.” (09:51—10:25)

“Do you know their age? Do you know the income of the person you're going after? You're going to have a very different target for income if you're going after families than if you're trying to target people who need implants. You've got to think about what problem it is you are trying to solve for the person. That is also part of your target marketing. So, am I trying to solve a problem of dark teeth, or missing teeth, or the fact that somebody just has a really tight schedule and can only be seen in the mornings or late evenings? Figure out what that problem is. And then, the last part of defining that target market is really thinking about what is the want of the person you are trying to reach.” (11:41—12:20)

“The best place to start is by looking at your own practice demographic. Just dig into your practice management software. Pull up, by zip code, how many patients are coming from a particular zip code. And you should also be able to see the total revenue that is coming from that zip code. So, you can see, are these people that are high dollars that have money to spend and are willing to spend it with you. It’s easy to want to say, ‘Okay, my target audience is the super-wealthy community that's 20 miles away from me.’ That's a target, sure. But that's a terrible target because you're not going to get a lot of people to come see you. We know people still have convenience in mind when it comes to dentistry.” (13:28—14:09)

“The seventh reason that your marketing is a flop is, sometimes your competition has just completely outpaced you, and you didn't realize that going into it. A great example of this is ClearChoice. If you are in a market where you want to do a lot of implants, ClearChoice — at a minimum — spends a million dollars a year in a given market for their marketing. Good luck trying to compete with that. That's part of their national brand. Every single location, whatever city they're in, it’s a million dollars in marketing exposure every single year.” (16:16—16:50)

“Think about the three things that are unique about you. Because if you take a list of every single thing that you do, it’s going to be hard to find just one that is completely different from everybody else, unless it’s a brand-new technology that nobody’s touched before. So, list out all the things that you do really, really well, why your patients choose you. I'd say read your reviews, read your testimonials. What are the reasons people are saying they loved to come to see you? Do the same thing for your top couple of competitors that you're going toe to toe with and figure out where you are not competing with them. Pick three strong ones, and that becomes your unique selling proposition.” (18:30—19:11)

“Calls to action have a couple components that make them really valuable. One, there has to be urgency. I always say people are begging to be led, ‘Tell me what to do, but tell me to do it right now.’ So, give me some sort of a deadline before an offer runs out or, “Call now!” with an exclamation point. We need some sort of urgency. It should also be short and sweet. It should be like three words of what you want them to do. And it needs to literally be an action word.” (20:55—21:27)

“I'll give you a great example of a call to action. Those websites that use a button that says, “Schedule My Appointment” do two to three times better in getting that call-to-action response than someone who says, “Request My Appointment” because “schedule” implies action. “Request” implies somebody else has to do something.” (21:37—21:58)

“It could be that your product or your service just sucks. There's a reason your marketing flops, and it might be you! And I know that's horrible to say.” (22:57—23:07)

“If you spend a ton of money and your marketing actually works and people are then taking that next step, one of the first things they're doing is they are looking for social proof that they are not the only person who is going to go check out this doctor. So, they are looking at your cases. Maybe your case work isn't great. They are reading your reviews. Maybe you have more negative reviews than you're aware of. Or maybe you have negative reviews that weren't even valid. But if you didn't respond to them, from the patient’s point of view, you don't care if I haven't had a great experience. You don't care about the patient, in general. So, you've got to see what your reputation looks like online.” (23:30—24:10)

“We use this language in our agency called above the line, below the line. You can either blame the patient, make excuses, deny that their review is valid, or you can be an adult about it, and you can play above the line and say, ‘I have ownership of this person’s perception of what happened. I am accountable to the results. Whether or not I agree with them, I have to do something. There's some truth, and I am responsible for making a change.” So, if you're willing to play above the line, you can get past this reputation issue and then actually let your marketing not be a flop in the future.” (26:03—26:39)

“Sometimes, you can't cheap out on stuff. I would rather see doctors go all-in and give enough budget to just one strategy and do it right than try and dilute it and try and do everything and give it just a little bit of money. I mean, I'm sorry, but marketing costs money. It’s not cheap. And it is true, in this world, you get what you pay for. So, you’ve got to spend money to make money. And you've got to know that this is an investment, because it doesn't happen overnight.” (27:37—28:05)

“If you are not putting call tracking or some sort of digital measurement on every piece of marketing you're doing, you might think it’s a flop, and it might not be. Because if you are just relying anecdotally on what your front desk tells you they saw as a result in terms of, ‘How did you hear about us?’ and they recorded it in the practice management software, you're getting this gut instinct of what they think they heard, or what they heard most recently. So, if you're not measuring it, you have no way to know if it was actually a flop or not.” (34:59—35:36)

“The number-one reason that your dental marketing flopped, because you made it difficult for people to buy from you. And we do this all the time; we aren't answering the phone. 35% of your calls do not get answered. Existing patients, new patients, specialists who are trying to refer to you, 35% of your calls do not get answered. This isn't just me with millions of phone calls that we have data for, this is reported nationally. This, frankly, happens in most businesses. But the ADA also reports this. And of the 35% of people who you don't actually answer the call, 75% to 80% of them don't leave a message. They hang up, they go to the next one. So, that makes it really difficult to buy from you.” (37:43—38:29)


Xaña’s background. (03:55—04:33)

Why failure is important to talk about in dentistry. (05:33—06:17)

Number 10: You're not using the right medium for your target audience. (06:43—09:18)

Number 9: Put the strategy before the tactic. (09:45—11:25)

Number 8: Think about what your target market is. (11:28—16:09)

Number 7: Sometimes your competition has outpaced you. (16:14—19:27)

Number 6: Your call to action didn't actually inspire somebody to action. (20:33—22:30)

Number 5: It could be that your product or service sucks. (22:54—26:39)

Number 4: Your budget wasn't big enough. (27:29—30:27)

Number 2: You weren’t patient enough. (30:52—34:36)

Number 3: You didn't measure. (34:46—36:40)

Number 1: You made it difficult for people to buy from you. (37:41—40:22)

Q&A for Xaña. (41:12—44:32)

Xaña’s contact information. (44:56—46:10)

Reach Out to Xaña:

Xaña’s full-service company website: www.goldenproportions.com

Xaña’s email: [email protected] 

Xaña’s Instagram: @xanaathena https://www.instagram.com/xanaathena/?hl=en

Xaña Winans Bio:

Xaña Winans is Golden Proportions Marketing’s CEO, founder, resident visionary, and lead strategist. As one of the industry’s most sought-after dental marketing consultants, she collaborates with our team on a diverse group of clients to create strategic marketing solutions with measurable results. Her passion for dentistry is evident in the work that she does and in the award-winning products GPM produces to help your practice thrive.

Around the office, we all know that Xaña’s knowledge and drive extend well beyond GPM’s walls. You’ll often find her lecturing at some of dentistry’s biggest conventions and study groups as a recognized expert and international speaker on dental marketing. Couple that with over 20 years’ experience of marketing dentistry, and it’s easy to say that she’s pretty much seen it all.

Xaña’s been married to an accomplished cosmetic and restorative dentist, Dr. Larry Winans, for over 25 years. Their two incredible children, Ryder and Savannah, regularly remind their parents that they are successful adults, so now all parenting attention is delivered to two furry companions. She may also turn up courtside with Jen Bernstein at any number of Bucknell basketball games, helping cheer the Bison on to victory. 


Get The Best Practices Magazine FREE!

YES, it is now in print!  See the Best Practices from the very Best Practices in Dentistry, so that you and your team can create a Better Practice and a Better Life!

Send Me the Magazine!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

You will be notified when new blogs are posted when new podcasts are broadcasted, and a variety of other industry resources.

Contact Us
ACT Dental
220 E. Buffalo Street Suite #320
Milwaukee, WI 53202
[email protected]