Abdur Rafay Zafar is a digital marketing consultant specializing in generating new patients for dental and medical practices through Pay-per-Click advertising. He is a Google adwords certified professional since 2012 and the owner of Reach Me FasterTM which he founded in January 2014. Reach Me FasterTM is a boutique digital marketing agency that currently manages Pay-per-Click advertising campaigns for over 25 small-medium businesses worldwide including 15 dental practices with 20+ locations based in US/Canada. In addition to marketing & advertising, Rafay is passionate about health and fitness and public speaking.
VIDEO - DUwHF #948 - Abdur Rafay Zafar
AUDIO - DUwHF #948 - Abdur Rafay Zafar
Howard: It is just a huge, huge honor for me today to be podcast interviewing Abdur Rafay Zafar all the way from Karachi, Pakistan. That is so damn exciting. I don't know if you guys know this, but the most exciting thing I did lecturing is I've got to lecture in fifty countries. Pakistan is actually the sixth most populous country in the world. China is a billion four, India a billion three, United States is three hundred and twenty-six million, Indonesia two sixty-six million, Brazil two ten, then Pakistan an even two hundred million, next would be Nigeria one hundred ninety-five million, then Bangladesh one hundred sixty-six million, then Russia at a hundred forty-three, then our neighbor to the south, Mexico, at a hundred and thirty million. Abdur Rafay Zafar you're the first homie I've got to podcast interview from Pakistan, I am so damn excited. Thanks for coming on the show.
Rafay: Thank you for calling me.
Howard: Well, I called you because I'm a huge fan of your two hundred and fifty posts on Dentaltown. You're a genius. You're a digital marketing consultant specializing in generating new patients for dental and medical practices through pay-per-click advertising. He is a Google AdWords certified professional since 2012 and the owner of reachmefaster.com, which he founded in January 2014. Reach Me Faster is a boutique digital marketing agency that currently manages pay-per-click advertising campaigns for over twenty-five small to medium businesses worldwide, including about fifteen dental practices with twenty plus locations based in the U.S. and Canada. In addition to marketing advertising, Rafay is passionate about health and fitness and public speaking, and you like to go by Rafay. So, Rafay, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Rafay: Thank you for calling and a warm welcome to all the viewers on Facebook, YouTube, iTunes that are joining us.
Howard: Well, we're exactly on the other side of the world from each other because it's 9:15 AM here and it's 9:15 PM there. Right?
Rafay: Exactly, yes.
Howard: So, if I just start digging a hole straight down, you're just eight thousand miles away from me, but I don't know if I can dig through the core of the earth. They say it's pretty hot molten iron down there. So, like I say, I called you, you did not call me. Your answers Dentaltown, where did you learn all this? Tell us about your journey. How did you end up working for a bunch of crazy dentists?
Rafay: So, basically, I got into dental marketing back in 2008. Back then I was studying engineering at an Indian university, and so, I started a blog that was related to my studies and from there I used to get a lot of requests from professors to publicize their books, publicize their articles, and that is how I got an introduction to digital marketing, the fact that you can actually promote stuff online and that gets traction. So, from there I was introduced to SEO, how to create a blog post, rank higher, and then eventually to pay-per-click advertising back in 2011. And from there, obviously, I completed my Google AdWord certification in 2012. I was lucky enough that within, I believe, the first year I got my first client who was a dentist and he had two offices back then and so, that's how, from the beginning, I was working with the dentist on his Google AdWords campaigns. And so, I worked with him until essentially 2016, so that's about four years, and within those four years he grew his practice to six offices. So, the budget grew from 3,000 to 30,000 a month. That's a lot of data spread over a long time. So, that's basically how I managed to get to know so much about the industry in the United States without ever visiting there. And he was the guy who introduced me to Dentaltown. I didn't know about Dentaltown. That there's a forum, a community of dentists. And I asked him for a referral. You know, I've been working with you for so many years, why don't you refer me to your friends. And so, he basically pointed me to Dentaltown. That's how I ended up on your Dentaltown community.
Howard: How do you like the Dentaltown community?
Rafay: I love it. I love it. I think you've done a great job creating a community that binds people from everywhere. I was accepted, which was surprising to be honest, because I was expecting my application to be rejected, being from outside the United States, considering the spam that comes from this part of the world in online forums. But, if you provide value, you get, I guess, the recognition.
Howard: Well, you know why I didn't join Dentaltown?
Rafay: You didn't join?
Howard: I didn't join. You know why?
Rafay: No, why?
Howard: I wouldn't join any club that would take me as a member.
Rafay: Why would that be the case?
Howard: That's why I can't join a Country Club, because I figure, h*ll, if they'd take me as a member, they'd take anyone! Okay, so this is Dentistry Uncensored, so I'm going to ask you some brutally tough questions. I don't want to talk about anything everyone agrees on. So, let's talk about the controversial stuff. So, you can buy love, you can pay for that. That's known as prostitution. Or you could earn love, where a girl voluntarily loves you. So, some people say that the best SEO is earning it by blogging every day. And then some people say that if you don't have a great website then you've got to pay for it, pay-per-click with like Google ads and Facebook. So, what do you think is more effective? Earning your SEO by having a great website and putting up blogs and writing regular blogs about things you're passionate about, or saying, "Man, I don't care. You can have the ugliest website in town. Just pay for it, dude, just buy a bunch of pay-per-clicks." So, what do you think is better? Earning love or paying for it?
Rafay: Well, the thing is, the challenge for especially new dentists is that right now where Google is with the AI especially, they are able to, with so much data that they gather, they are able to find out actually who the best dentists, who the top dentists are in the town. So, Google wants to provide a list of the top dentists, right? When somebody searches, let's say, 'dentist, Tampa, Florida', they want to provide a list of the top ten dentists in Tampa, Florida. That is their goal. And with technology, they are able to fine tune their algorithm so much, and they know so much about the consumers, the users that are using Google, that they're able to get that down pretty much all the time. So, that gives a problem for somebody who's just starting out. He cannot be the best dentist in Tampa if he's just starting out, that's just not how it works. He needs that experience, he needs to establish himself before Google will give him the top ranking. And that is where the problem arises. So, in the past, you were able to promote your website and get yourself ranked higher even though you may not have been the best dentist or one of the top dentists in the area, but as time goes by that is going to be much, much more difficult to achieve, because Google again, with all the data they have, with all the sources they have, they are able to rank the best dentists, the actual best dentists, not the best websites, not the most optimized websites, not the websites with the best design. No. The best dentists, actual people that matter, rather than the websites. And so, that is basically the dilemma that faces somebody that has just started out or who's still working their way up. And for them, Google AdWords is the perfect choice basically because, while they are building their patient base, while they're establishing themselves, they can still benefit from the patients that Google drives every day to millions of businesses around the world.
8.30 Howard: It's funny you said new business, because one of my favorite guys is Warren Buffett. I went to Creighton in Omaha, Nebraska, and that's where Warren Buffett lives. Berkshire Hathaway, greatest investor, he'd come lecture to our business class and he said only when the tide goes out, do you discover who's been swimming naked. And what he said is that recessions were ... the business cycle was very necessary because it cleans out all mal-investment, and in the last 2008 correction, which was a decade ago, about eighty-eight practices went bankrupt in the valley here, in Phoenix, Arizona, and half of them were brand new startups and the other half were niche, cosmetic dental offices, where these were a lot of my friends. Some of them were in my front room crying. They had lost their ability to do root canals, extractions, partials, dentures and all they had been doing is taking out everyone's crowns and amalgams and replacing them with all porcelain and veneers, and that market completely died, because in a recession smart people don't part with their money. And so, again, right now it's been ten years since that last recession and, being fifty-five years old, they seem to be a very repetitive business cycle at about every ten years. There's a lot of really smart people like Shiller, Alan Greenspan said last week that the stock market's in bubble territory. We just had the economic world forum in Switzerland and all the Roundtables said they see nothing but danger clouds, these multiples are crazy and you're right, startups, what you're saying is a startup website isn't going to get great SEO. So, what happened to these startups back in 2008? They went and rented in a retail shop, they put in a beautiful office and they just thought all they had to do was a bunch of advertising and everyone would come in, and it just stopped during the crash. But when you talk about AI, which is artificial intelligence, how would artificial intelligence figure out who the best dentists are in Tampa or Phoenix? How do they do that?
Rafay: Yeah, so, a lot of people just associate Google as, let’s say a search engine, but Google also has the biggest mobile platform, like Android. They have Gmail. They have Maps. They have YouTube. So, they can gather data. So, for example, if a dentist, he doesn't have a great SEO, he's not ranking, he doesn't optimize for certain keywords, etc., etc., but through Gmail, Google can see that he's sending appointment confirmations to, let's say, a thousand people, or whatever number, per quarter or something. Google can see that there. Similarly, people that are carrying Android phones, they're going from searching locations, searching that particular practice name on Maps, Google can see that data. And through that, they're able to better understand what people actually want, and that is where the AI comes in. Because now there's no human involvement, it's happening basically automatically. So, the algorithm is self-learning what dentist's names are being searched or where people are actually going to, and that is how they are able to better understand which dentist is actually the best in the region. So, in addition to, of course, backlinks and other criteria, but that's where Google is becoming smarter and very difficult to manipulate through SEO tactics, SEO techniques, in the future it's going to be much, much more difficult to manipulate.
Howard: Okay, so, next question. What do you think is better Facebook or Google, for getting people to end up being new patients? Because those are really the two main beasts.
Howard: I mean, Google and Facebook, that's more important than probably ... do you agree it's more important than Twitter and Pinterest and Snapchat?
Howard: What about Instagram and LinkedIn? Or is this mainly just about Facebook and Google? Or do you think any of the other ones like LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, do those matter or is the gorilla really just Google and Facebook?
Rafay: Yes, so it's Google and Facebook really.
Howard: Does anyone else matter?
Rafay: No, I think if you have those two covered, then you are basically 90%, 95% of the way there. LinkedIn, you can forget about that. And what else? Pinterest, you can forget about that?
Howard: What about Twitter? I'm on your Twitter, @ReachMeFaster, but I see your last tweet was 4/18/14, so do you want me to retweet that?
Rafay: No, I think that was not my account. I believe that's not my handle, somebody else basically hijacked that handle.
Howard: But it's from the link off your website though. When I go to your site, reachmefaster.com, and I hit Twitter, it pulls up this.
Rafay: Yeah, I think, it wasn't active, maybe it was registered by the person who created my website, but it's not ...
Howard: You don't work there?
Rafay: I'm not active on social media. I think it's a very low ROI commitment, social media. That's what I think. But video and YouTube and now obviously through mobile, you can create videos faster. So, I think that is a much higher ROI commitment.
Howard: What is a higher commitment? Video, meaning YouTube, video on YouTube?
Rafay: Yeah, it's easier to create. It's much easier and you actually get people's attention. And people just don't scroll past by your post or infographic. With video they can actually listen, they can see the passion, they can hear you, they can see you, and so, that's the more meaningful, basically. And I believe you can get your message across much better from video. I think video content, even on Facebook now, it's 95, 90% of the posts are video-related - the content.
Howard: There's sixty people in dentistry who put their podcasts on Dentaltown, on the app, and every one of them who's uploaded their podcasts on Dentaltown said their subscribers to iTunes skyrocketed. They found it on Dentaltown, then they subscribed on iTunes. But I always tell them, why don't you do Skype and do a video too, so that you have a video to upload on YouTube and Facebook. I mean, I've had ten shows on Facebook uploading the video that we're on, that had over a hundred and ninety thousand views. Why would you pass up video and do sound only? I mean you're doing the podcast, you're talking to them.
Howard: Why not do the extra step and just record the video? Even though I have a face for radio, I still do video.
Howard: So, let's go back and be specific. So, you're saying, just concentrate on Google, which includes YouTube, and Facebook. You say you just spend your time there.
Howard: Okay, so what would you do, because I know how my homies think. Here's what everybody's thinking, listening to you, they're saying, "Rafay, look, I pay all my bills, I pay my rent, lab, equipment, overhead, employees. I pay everyone. If I just had ten more patients a month. I've already paid all my bills, that money, minus lab bill, would drop to the bottom line. If I had ten more new patients a month, I would probably double my net income." So, if someone's listening to you and saying, "If I go to reachmefaster.com, Rafay, how are you going to get me ten more patients in my office a month?" Is that doable or is that too big of a request?
Rafay: Yes, that's doable for most practices. Now, the reason why I say 'most', is because it depends on the search volume, how many people are actually searching for a dentist in that particular area, city, town. And so, in most metros, like large metropolitan areas, it's definitely doable. That's definitely doable. But let's say in a rural area, perhaps that's going to be difficult. But for most urban areas, urban centers, ten patients is no big deal from Google AdWords.
Howard: Your go-to would be Google AdWords? That's where you would focus first?
Rafay: First, yes. The reason is because Google AdWords allows you to show your ad to people that need dentistry fairly soon. So, why would somebody search on Google? That's because they need that particular service. That's why they're searching. And so, you have the opportunity to show your ad just to those people who need your service, whether that's implants, whether that's crowns, whether that's emergency dental services, whether that's your orthodontic services. So, you can show your ad specifically based on the intent of the searcher. If people who have let's say, missing teeth, they may type in 'dental implant cost' for example. That's a search. So, perhaps you might want to advertise on that. Or they might type in a specific name, like All-on-4. Or maybe they type in a competitor, your competitor's name, ClearChoice. They type in 'ClearChoice Tampa'. So, that gives you an opportunity. Okay, so, why would somebody type in 'ClearChoice Tampa'? Perhaps they are considering getting implants or All-on-4. So, you advertise on those keywords. You bid on those keywords and you show your ad. Here it is. Are you looking at dental implants? Do you have missing teeth, or fix your missing teeth, or something like that? And from there, obviously, you get them on your website and that's how the process begins.
Howard: Well, this is why Google is the monster, because when I'm watching ... you know cable television has lost pretty much all the viewers under fifty - and when I'm watching this show, all the ads are non-targeted. I mean, I'm a fifty-five year old male and there are these ads that have nothing to do with me all day long, but if I'm searching for 'dentists near me', that is 100 percent targeted at the exact time that I'm looking for a dentist.
Howard: Whereas the ad on cable TV, it's always prescription pills, it's restless leg syndrome, it's Viagra, it's Cialis, it's getting a motorized chair up your stairway. This has nothing to do with me.
Rafay: Yes, absolutely.
Howard: They're non-targeted, stupid ads. They're interrupting the movie, they're interrupting the news. They're annoying and I hate them. But when I go to Google and I type 'Invisalign', d*mn, I want to know just that Invisalign ad and I want to know it right now. So, that's why Google is perfect. So, Google being your go-to, but I'm supposed to play devil's advocate, so let me throw what you say under a bus and go with the counter deal. They're saying, "Dude, come on, Rafay! Everyone's on Google AdWords. I'm going to go be unique and do Bing or Yahoo, because everyone's looking at Google and so if all the dentists in Tampa and Phoenix are all on Google, well maybe 10 percent of the searches are on Bing and Yahoo. I'll be the only guy over there." What would you say to that?
Rafay: So, the problem with Bing and Yahoo is that they do not have the volumes, particularly for local searches. They do not have sufficient volume. And so, if you make the effort then you obviously need to get a return. If you pay somebody to build a campaign, then you need to get some return. And that's why, unless it's a huge city like Houston or Dallas, you have multiple locations, and so, with so many [00:20:50] city people, [0.3] so many towns, such a huge population, maybe you can make it work. But for let's say, instead of Tampa, St Pete, if you consider St Pete, I don't think Bing has enough volume to actually get any decent traffic. And so, if there's nobody searching, there's nobody going to click your ad, and, of course, if no-one's going to click the ad, then no calls and no patients. So, that is why Bing is not worth the effort, unless you really are short of ideas and you just have to expand to that remaining 5, 10 percent of the search volume. The point I want to drive home is the one you mentioned just earlier, about the intent and how the ads are actually relevant to what you are searching for. So, just as you mentioned Invisalign. So, when somebody is searching for Invisalign, they actually want to see the best ads, they want to see the best offers, like best prices, discounts or deals. And so, the ad therefore becomes useful, and so that is why the Google AdWords search advertising ecosystem is sustainable. Unlike, for example, banner advertising or just like you mentioned TV ads, where the response rate is going to always decline because people will develop ad blindness, and they will not respond as well as they did perhaps ten years ago, twenty years ago. But on the other hand, Google advertising is always going to get better because people like us are always trying to optimize the ad, to make it more relevant to the user, to make it more attractive, and to generate more clicks, more calls, more patients for our clients.
Howard: So, what if someone listening to you, I mean, you said that it depends on the volume of ads, and in Phoenix or Tampa there wouldn't be enough volume for Bing or Yahoo. And you're saying there's more searches in urban than rural. I mean, half of America lives in a hundred and forty-seven metros, and the other half live nineteen thousand and eight rural towns.
Howard: What if someone wants to see if you can help them? First of all, how do they contact you and how much is the consultation cost to see if they're in an area where it might work?
Rafay: Right. So, the consultation is free, and they can e-mail me, or they can fill out the form on the website. I have another website specifically for dentists that is dentalmarketingdirect.com, which is basically a blog and then I expanded it to add some services as well.
Howard: Okay, so, you have Reach Me Faster, but you'd rather, if they're in dentistry, which all of my homies are, go to dentalmarketingdirect.com?
Howard: Oh, it's right there. Free Consultation. It says, 'Free Consultation unless you're short, fat and bald'! Why do you say that?
Rafay: I never said that! It's always free for you, Dr. Farran.
Howard: Please call me Howard. Locations we serve: San Jose, Dallas, San Diego, San Antonio, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City.
Rafay: That's the top twenty cities.
Howard: It's what?
Rafay: That's the top twenty cities of the U.S.
Howard: But do you do any city? What if they're from Parsons, Kansas?
Rafay: No, we do not, that's what I'm saying. First you call us or fill out the form, and then we evaluate using the keyword planner whether it makes sense for you to advertise on Google or not. And if it doesn't, then we tell you straightforward, it's going to be tough, or we do not recommend it. Sometimes people are already ranking high, maybe they are already ranking high on Maps and they also have a website ranking high on the first page of Google. Then again, we try to explain them that Google AdWords perhaps is not the best option since they're already ranking high on Maps, they're already ranking high on the website listings. Then perhaps they're already getting a big chunk of that Google search, patients from Google search. So, perhaps they should try other avenues instead of having another target listing to advertise on Google. So, it depends on those factors and, based on that, we actually give advice whether they should go ahead with the Google AdWords campaign or they should look elsewhere.
Howard: Now, when you take on a client, okay, so, the consultation is free, and you said there's a form at dentalmarketingdirect.com which they can just fill out. But you also said you have an e-mail, what's your email?
Rafay: Yes, the email is email@example.com.
Howard: Okay, firstname.lastname@example.org. And, so, they should really just go to Dental Marketing Direct and then fill out first name, last name, name of practice, city, state, email, phone. How did you find out about this? Say, "From this very handsome guy on Dentistry Uncensored." And then you say, I would like a free marketing consultation, a free website audit, a free SEO analysis.
Howard: So, when you do a free website audit and a free SEO analysis, what are you looking for? And I wish you'd do this for me, that would be fun, and post it on Dentaltown. I wish you would go to my website. I'm in Phoenix and my website is todaysdetal.com. But what are you looking for? So, my homie calls you up and says, "My name is Howard Farran. I'm in Phoenix, Arizona. My website is www.todaysdental.com." What would you be looking for?
Rafay: Right, okay, so, we no longer do web design and we no longer do SEO. So, SEO, the reason I already explained in the beginning, I don't think there is a future for SEO. SEO's will probably merge into public relations essentially, in the coming future.
Howard: Okay, explain that though.
Rafay: Yes, so, the reason basically is that backlinks and things like that, the technical part of SEO is becoming irrelevant, slowly but surely. S EO knows that, everyone knows that, and I also knew that, but I realized that a couple of years ago. So, that's why I stopped taking on SEO clients.
Howard: They thought they were going to outsmart Google and the SEO guys aren't gonna outsmart Google. That's what you're saying right?
Rafay: Yes, that's right. The thing with SEO is that you are actually trying to outsmart the algorithm. That's what you're trying to do. Otherwise, if the dentist is best in town, he would rank, over time he would rank naturally on Number One or on the first page. The work of the SEO is to get, let's say the number hundredth dentist, who is probably not in the top ten or doesn't deserve to be in the top ten - sorry about that - to optimize his website such that he appears in the top ten. That is what SEO does, but it does not align with Google's goal. Google's goal is to get the best ten dentists in any specific area, zip code, or whatever the location search is. That's what they want to show to the consumer, and the SEO wants to show something else basically. They want to optimize websites such that it fools the algorithm into believing that this dentist is the best in town.
Howard: I agree. I couldn't agree any more. So, on this free consultation, you will analyze if what you do, Google AdWords based on ... so, I've just filled out the form for you. So, you're going to go look at Phoenix and see what they're searching for in Phoenix? So, you can find the search terms?
Rafay: Exactly, and you can find the cost, what other advertisers are paying, and you can find the volume, how many searches are being made, and you can also get an indication of the competition. So, for example, let's say if you were advertising in a very competitive market where the cost-per-click is, I don't know, fifteen, twenty per click, then I would suggest that either you have $10,000 a month to invest in it, or otherwise you should think of something else. Because obviously, at $20 per click, it's going to be tough to generate enough clicks, to generate enough calls, that result in enough patients to actually generate enough production that pays for the advertising, for the management fee and leaves you some profit.
Howard: Nice. So, give us some averages, because they're going to be thinking averages, so, let's say you were in the hundred and forty-seven metros where half of America lives.
Rafay: Right, right.
Howard: Give some examples of what clients are doing, like I know you've got dentists in Tampa, right?
Howard: So, what are average budgets? What are people paying and all that stuff?
Rafay: So, mostly people pay the budgets that we work with, actually the range is quite high, but mostly around two to three thousand, that's a good number.
Howard: Two to three thousand a month?
Howard: And how much of that is your fee versus cash for Google AdWords?
Rafay: Yes, so, our fee basically starts at $250 a month. That is for a budget that is up till $2,500 a month, okay.
Howard: So, your fee is two hundred and fifty a month to manage up to twenty-five hundred a month in Google AdWords?
Rafay: Absolutely, yes.
Rafay: And so, in that price, what we're providing is the campaign, campaign management, we’re providing the landing pages, we are also providing call tracking. So, essentially, what we give you is patients. So, we give you the actual calls that resulted from the campaign and, from those calls, how many of those turned into appointments.
Howard: Okay, and for, let's say, the twenty largest cities in America, I pay you $250 a month for your fee, then I give you $2,500 a month for Google AdWords. So, I send you $3,000 a month. And this over PayPal, right?
Rafay: No, this is basically through our payment processor. It is basically 2Checkout. It is a Columbus, Ohio-based company, 2checkout.com. That is our payment processor.
Howard: But if I gave you ...
Rafay: But you can pay ...
Howard: But if give you two fifty a month plus twenty-five hundred a month to buy Google AdWords ...
Rafay: No, twenty-five hundred you pay directly to Google, because that ...
Howard: Right, right. But how many new patients on average do you think that would be?
Rafay: On average, right. So, that's a good question. Now, in some areas we're averaging under a hundred, in some areas we're averaging as high as two hundred.
Howard: Two hundred new patients a month?
Rafay: No, the cost per new patient. The number of patients volume depends on how much you want to spend.
Howard: Okay, but you're saying it costs $100 to $200 per new patient?
Rafay: Per new patient, yes.
Howard: Okay. So, then it just comes down to what your new patient value is.
Howard: I mean, if you're a dental office where the average new patient does $300 worth of dentistry. You know, it's a [00:31:48] [SOUNDS LIKE: P.A.], [0.7] a bitewing and extraction, then this might not be a good deal, but if your average new patient is a toothache and three fourths of them get a $2,000 root canal, build-up and crown, then this is a cash cow.
Rafay: Absolutely, yes. So, what we have observed is that it's a mixture. So, let's say you get ten patients per month from the campaign and you spend around let's say, $1,200 a month. You get ten patients. Out of those ten patients, most will be an extraction and things like that, emergency-related, but a couple of them will be good cases, like you said root canal and a crown perhaps, maybe a denture, and so, when you put together on average what we observe is that the ROI comes around to $4 to $5 for every $1 spent on AdWords. You make $4 to $5 at least on average, as a general dentist. However, if you're doing some specific procedure, like All-on-4, like dental implants, then the ROI can be $8 to $10 for every $1 spent on AdWords.
Howard: Okay, but I believe that a lot of dentists pay a lot of money for Google AdWords just so that a person goes to their website and their website doesn't convert them. They just look at it, bounce off and go to the next one. What can they do? I mean, because there are some people where Google will deliver ten people to open up your website and nobody converted, nobody called, nobody made an appointment, and then the dentist across the street, if ten people land on their website, one in four might call the office. Do you agree with that?
Rafay: Absolutely. That's why we provide the landing pages, because we have over time been able to work out, let's say, for example, for a dental implant, what kind of information, what kind of images, what kind of copy you need to get the best results and the best conversion rate. And so, I have some tips regarding that conversion rate.
Howard: So, you're saying you're smarter than having these Google AdWords land on a dentist's lame website. You're having your Google AdWords land on your landing page because your landing page has a higher conversion rate.
Rafay: Absolutely, yes.
Howard: That is genius! That's what I've seen you talk about on Dentaltown with your two hundred and fifty posts. So, my homies are dentists. They do root canals and crowns. They don't know the difference between a website and a landing page. What is a landing page?
Rafay: Right, so, the landing page, it's essentially a page that the person sees after they click the ad, and it is built to convert. It is not built to rank higher, it is not built to provide all relevant information. What really happens is that people forget, dentists forget that, at the end of the day, if they don't make a call, well, then, you've paid the cost-per-click. You've wasted that money if they do not convert. And so, what you need to really do is design the page in such a way that you get the maximum chance for every click to convert to a call or a form submission if you have a form on the page. And so, to do that you need certain elements. So, for example, over here I have prepared a list. Images, image selection. So, for example, if you're doing, let's say, implants or All-on-4 perhaps, you might want to use images of thirty-five, forty-five to fifty, sixty year olds, instead of some family-related image. Copy. Copy should be geared towards what the patient or prospective patient wants. So, they want to replace missing teeth, they want to be able to chew, they want to be able to eat, they want to be able to smile again, that kind of thing. So, the copy has to be there. And then, of course, the reviews, the testimonials, the before and after, the proof that you can deliver the thing. And one thing I notice in a lot of websites, is the About section. The About section has to be really in-depth, it has to tell your story, it has to tell that you are the guy that can deliver them that All-on-4, the beautiful teeth, the sparkling teeth, and that goes missing on a lot of websites that we analyze. The About Us page is not done properly.
36.15 Howard: So, what are the people searching for on Google?
Howard: And then you see how much money are other people already paying for these search terms?
Howard: And then you build landing pages for those search terms?
Rafay: Not search terms, but definitely topics. So, for example, procedures. Dental implants, that is a separate procedure, so a separate page for that. And similarly, let's say Invisalign would have a separate page. And other specific procedures would have a separate page.
Howard: What advice, what tips would you give to young dentists? The reason I ask that is because people who listen to podcasts are generally Millennials. Hardly any fifty-five year old senile dentists with two grandchildren walking and two grandchildren in the oven right now, are listening to podcasts. So, what would you tell the young kids?
Rafay: There are a number of things, actually. I have prepared a list of five. The one thing I learned recently after having experienced a lot of different cities, running campaigns, is that you want to move to, or you want to open up a practice in a location that has a middle-income group. You do not want a low-income group, you do not want a high-income group. A lot of times I see that dentists prefer to locate their practice in high income areas. The problem with that, I have observed, is that people who have a high disposable income, do not have many dental problems. They have good dental hygiene and so they do not need much dental work. So, what you're looking for a forty to eighty or seventy-five, a middle-income group. That is where they have the money, but they also have problems, and so that is where you have a better chance of growing your practice fast.
Howard: What is that income level?
Rafay: Well, it depends on the ... of course, it can vary, but having it around forty to seventy, eighty.
Howard: And is forty to $80,000.00, is that the household income or the individual income?
Rafay: It's the median household income.
Howard: Median household income? Median?
Rafay: Median, median, yes.
Howard: Yeah, and you guys remember the difference in median and average is, an average is there are ten people in the room and one was unemployed and one was Bill Gates - or now the richest guy in the world is the guy owns Amazon, Jeff Bezos, one hundred and five billion - and then the eight in the middle all made fifty thousand year, the average income would show, it'd be like four hundred thousand a year. So, you want to throw out extraneous ends and the outliers, and the median is like the mode. I do not like the mean, which is the average. I like median and mode. And so, you're saying that rich people have great teeth and poor people don't have the money, and the sweet spot is in the middle between forty and eighty thousand median household income, because they've got more dental work that needs to be done and they've got the means to get it done.
Rafay: Exactly! Plus, sometimes, what we observe from listening to calls, what happens is that, let's say somebody gets a promotion and they get suddenly upgrade insurance. Now they get all the dental work done that they were delaying for the past five, ten years. So, suddenly, you have this patient who has a lot of problems and he's got insurance to pay for it, and you don't get that in high income. I mean, you won't get that in high income. Right, so, that is one. The second thing is phone training, and that includes answering all the calls you generate. So, what we observe is that a lot of dentists miss calls and that results in a lot of wasted calls. So, you answer all the calls, plus you have to be more energetic, you have to be more enthusiastic. The receptionist, when you hire them, you got to pay them good money and you hire the best, because that is where we see a lot of difference. Because some offices are able to convert one in three, one in four calls. Other offices take seven or eight calls to convert one patient. Now, of course, there are other factors, but on average or volume, you can observe a difference in the way people answer the phone, whether they're enthusiastic, whether they're energetic, and they can close better. So, phone training is definitely something to look out for. And then the third thing for a new dentist is to start thinking like a patient. That's very important. So, as a dentist you'll be doing a lot of marketing, could be studying a lot of campaigns, like not starting, but reviewing a lot of campaigns, websites. You have to think like a patient, not like a dentist. So, as a dentist, you might want certain things, but the patient may not agree with. So, for example, you may want to allocate your time such that you are spending most of your ... let's say you want to spend three days in the office, but the patient, patients may want to have Saturday appointments, they might want to have early morning appointments, they might want to have evening appointments. So, when you're starting out, it's better to sacrifice that and basically think like a patient. Think about what value you can add in terms of benefiting the patient and that would help you grow your practice. And the fourth thing is trust-building elements. There is a number of ways you can do that. You can get third party registrations and show those logos that are [00:41:46] [INDISTINCT], [0.2] plus, of course, reviews definitely. You need to build up reviews and then display them, use those reviews in your marketing material. And, I mean, just for a comparison, I've seen some listings where you've searched let's say, for example, 'Dentist Dallas' - I don't remember the exact listing, the search results page - but if you search that, there is a dentist that has a thousand reviews, and the other competitors have hardly fifty, sixty. So, if somebody searches that, they're going to hit that listing with a thousand plus star reviews. I think it was 4.6, 4.7 rating average. Because the other pages do not have the chance, because over time he's built the reviews to such a high number that it becomes very difficult for others to compete. So, you've got to build reviews from Day One, and that would help you two, three years down the road. And then the fifth is, when you're hiring a marketing company, you must ask this question, and this question gets asked in a lot of interviews, and that is: why should we hire you? I mean, I have never been asked this question, but I think every dentist should ask this question before hiring any company, but not just for marketing I wanted to include this. And that is because you want to know the secret sauce. Has the company developed some unique selling proposition? What is different about them? So, for example, for an SEO company, if you're hiring an SEO company, you might ask, why should we hire you and not ABC D EFG? Well, they might tell you a good reason could be, we have links to local press and we can get you links from these websites, XYZ websites, that others do not have access to. That is definitely something worthwhile that others cannot offer you. Similarly, if you are hiring a pay-per-click marketing company, their answer might be that we have a huge list of negative keywords that we have developed over the years, we have a huge list of ad copy that we have tested over the years, we have a huge list of landing pages that we have tested over the years. Now that is, again, intellectual property that will benefit you and you don't have to waste that money that others might have to waste if they hire a general company or a company that has not built up that experience and that portfolio. So, those were the five tips for new dentists.
Howard: Okay, so then review them in just one line. So, what was Number One succinctly?
Rafay: Target middle income.
Howard: Target middle income. What was Number Two?
Rafay: Then phone training.
Howard: Phone training. Extremely important. And what was Number Three? Think like a patient.
Rafay: Yes, think like a patient. I think that should be Number One, but okay, Number Three, think like a patient, yes.
Howard: And Four was trust building, get reviews.
Howard: And Five was ask your marketing manager: Why should I hire you?
Howard: I want to ask you questions about things that annoy me - and I'm a small sample size, so just because they annoy me, doesn’t mean they annoy the consumer - but, when I click a link, if it doesn't open in like one, two, three, four, I say, screw it. Does that mean I'm just hyper or how fast does your website have to load before the average human just says, forget it?
Howard: Does a slow-loading website affect your dental practice website?
Rafay: Yes. Yes, it does affect the performance, it does affect the conversion rate, and definitely something that you need to look out for. However, it is not as bad as people like to portray to it as. So, I think it is a problem, but for the most part, the websites I see load pretty fast and it's only few of them which are overloaded with graphics and sliders and moving parts. Then, obviously, you're going to have problems. So, when avaScript is in the development on the back-end and it takes time to load. But, otherwise, if you go with, let's say for example, use one of these, Squarespace or any of these third-party websites builders, they are pretty fast and there's hardly any lag time and they give a very good upload time. So, there are many options available, and this is one of them, and this is not very expensive either.
Howard: I want to rant on your top five list. I want to throw in my opinion, my two cents. When you say, 'target middle income', it's like you go to these dental conventions and they always want to talk on All-on-4, which is twenty-five thousand an arch, and America, ClearChoice did seventeen thousand arches last year, in the country of America, with 323 million people. The money is 'all-on-none'! There's $10 in dentures for every one in All-on-4. There's more money in McDonald's than the nicest steakhouse in town. Number Two, phone training. There's a company that got completely built just on phone training. What's the one in Atlanta? Jay Geier's Scheduling Institute. G*d, I had Jay Geier's come into my office and he doubled my conversion rate for my staff and started taping their phone calls and all that stuff and training them - and a shout out to [00:47:08] [SOUNDS LIKE: Tom Madden], [0.5] who is my buddy across the street, a dentist, and he told me. He was telling me to do that for four or five years and I wouldn't listen. I was thinking, "My girl's been out there 20 years. She knows how to answer the phone!" But, man, they made her answer twice as good. Think like a patient - that's awesome. Trust building - that's awesome. But when you talk about hiring a marketing manager and you're talking about what do you know, what is your unique selling proposition. Well, I want you go to the other end. What are the top SEO scams? What do you think my homies are getting scammed on? Because you get emails for this all the time. Do you see scams in this industry?
Rafay: Right, yes, I think it's a little bit shady, SEOs, especially, but I think there's a reputation involved, yes. Definitely, there is scams going on, but that's why this question is built in. You've got to investigate how they're going to get you ranked, or how are they going to get you new patients. For example, if they give you a list, we are going to do this, this, this, this. Let's say they tell you we'll give you a hundred links, for example, back links, So, you've got to ask, okay, how are you going to attract those links? Just explain to me what the process is going to be. You have to be very specific because they can list anything, but you have to understand what they actually mean or what they actually do, rather than what they actually pretend to do. So, that's the most important thing, I think, and that's why this question really should differentiate between a data entry company and an SEO company. I mean, an SEO company that has developed some system, some intellectual property, perhaps they have tested their own technique which nobody else knows. It's possible they know of a technique that nobody else knows. Now, that would some company where they know of a tactic, a loophole in the algorithm that nobody else knows.
Howard: When you talked about, on your Number Four, is Number One: target middle income; Two: phone training; Three: think like a patient; Four: trust building reviews. I want to tell my homies listening, if you want to see reviews on this guy, go to dentaltown.com and read his two hundred and fifty posts. I mean, you've got raving fans on Dentaltown.
Rafay: Yes, yes.
Howard: You know you do.
Rafay: I have.
Howard: So, that just means you're working hard. Are you working hard or just getting lucky?
Rafay: No, no, I'm working hard.
Howard: I want to ask you something else. What percent of dentists do you think even do call tracking? What percent of dentists in America are sophisticated enough to even do call tracking? What percent would you say?
Rafay: I think, under 10 percent, definitely.
Howard: Under what?
Rafay: Under 10 percent.
Howard: You know, it's funny. Yesterday I had a doctor's appointment - and this is under 'Too Much Information', I shouldn't say what it was - but I'm fifty-five, so I had to go in for a colonoscopy, and I swear to g*d, I mean, you couldn't find that office. The website didn't ... I'm driving, and their own damn website didn't have the 'Push Number to Call'. So, what do I got to do? I've got to take a screenshot. Memorize it. When I got to this office, I mean, there was no sign. I mean, dentists ... and it's funny, because physicians are the worst business people on earth, and dentists always beat themselves up - and some of them are weird, they actually beat themselves up with beets. I find that very weird, when they start taking beets and beating themselves - but, I mean, dentists and vets and chiropractors are ten times more business-savvy than the M.D.
Howard: I mean, when I went in there, I said to the lady at the front desk, I said, "Do you get a lot of people who just like never find you?" "Yeah, you know, they get lost. I mean, I know it's hard to find." I mean, that's it? I mean, why don't you just go get a can of spray paint and write, "Hey, Proctologist. We're over here."
Howard: I mean, I had to park in a parking lot, walk through a construction zone, and then the elevator was in the parking garage, then I had to go to the sixth floor. It was just crazy. I just want to tell my homies that I'm very proud of dentists. And another thing is, when I walk in to the doctor's office, only the physicians still have a glass wall that they have to slide open because I'm annoying them, then they hand me a chart to fill out. I mean, the dentists have at least got rid of the glass wall and the receptionist will greet you by name. So, dentists, if you're beating yourself up with red beets, you're crushing it. Why do you think dentists and vets and chiropractors are ten times better than M.Ds? I mean, do you have any M.D. clients?
Rafay: No, not yet. Not yet.
Howard: Yeah, because they're not even smart enough to know what this is and that they need it! Unless they do cosmetic surgeries.
Howard: The only M.Ds who pull their head out of their butt are doing facelifts, tummy tucks, eyelifts, boob jobs, but the guy doing colonoscopies or pediatricians, they're clueless. They are at least ten years behind dentists.
Rafay: Yeah, they are, but I think they get so many patients either way, so it's not a need for them, I guess, to push hard, like for example dentists.
Howard: Okay, now I'm going to ask you the most controversial question in dental marketing. I know my homies. I've been a dentist for thirty years. I've lectured a thousand times in fifty countries. My g*d, they hate talking money, they hate talking price, and they hate discounts. They don't want ... they think the dentist who's offering a cleaning, exam and x-ray for $99 is a dirt bag. He's desperate. I mean, they hate it, but does it work?
Rafay: For Google, you don't need discounts. None of our clients, out of the fifteen, none of them use ... we do not advertise discounts on any of them. Not on the landing page, not on the ads, nowhere basically. Only if a patient says they do not have insurance, or how much does it cost, then their discount comes into it. But we do not actually advertise discounts. Our strategy, basically, is to rely on patients that need something done now. Whether that's an emergency, whether their tooth was chipped, or they have toothache, or their crown fell out, or maybe they've just got a new insurance, or maybe they've just moved into a new place and they're looking for a dentist. So, either way, on Google you will find patients automatically. The nature of the beast is people will search when they need something, and so, by speaking to that need, you avoid that discount category entirely, and you get patients that get dental work done without having to be lured into it by offering some discount or offer.
Howard: Well, you ought to talk about that on all your ads, because that's what dentists want to hear. But you know what? That's the difference. It sounds like you really love Google, because you're targeting an exact customer at the exact time they're interested in this.
Howard: Whereas a lot of dentists think the best thing to do is every couple of days boost one of their Facebook posts, but they're boosted ... but what you're saying is, they're boosting it to a lot of people who don't have a broken tooth or toothache, or wanting to find a dentist at that minute, so they're seeing you, maybe you're branding yourself, but you're targeting that person who lives near your office at the exact time they're looking for a dentist. So, is that why you're not talking about Facebook?
Rafay: Right. Now, Facebook is an entirely different category. On Facebook, I think a general dentist will struggle with a discount. You really need to offer something like crazy to get people to visit you on Facebook, because the nature of Facebook is entirely different. People are there, I don't know, to have a good time, to waste time, they're not there to basically look for a dentist. In fact, they are there probably to not think about their toothache. So, they are there to have fun. And so, I guess, the best way to advertise on Facebook is through the use of content. So, you create content, then you create targeting lists, so, for example, let's say you create a blog post related to Invisalign, and you target moms aged whatever demographic that is and income, and then you show them the article and then you redirect them with an offer. That could work. Again, that is worth testing. Similarly, you could get them on a list, perhaps. Let's say, for example, "10 Mistakes When Buying Invisalign" or "Getting Braces - Common Mistakes". Download this. So, you get people who consume your content, trust you and then you follow up with a funnel or with an email sequence, and that will help you get patients. But, for general dentists, it's going to be tough, but for procedure-specific stuff, like Invisalign, like All-on-4, because exactly what you want, it is easier to then create demographics, create audiences rather, audiences that relate to you message. Whereas for general dentists, I think it's tough really, apart from free consultations, discounts, you have to give away a lot to get new patients with Facebook, as a general dentist.
Howard: I can't believe we already talked for an hour. That was the fastest hour of my life, and I'm keeping you up past your bedtime - it's already 10.15.
Rafay: No, nobody sleeps at 10.15 over here in Karachi. We sleep at 11, 12, or even past midnight.
Howard: I cannot believe you live in a town of twenty-one million. That's bigger than New York City. Phoenix, the whole metro of Phoenix is 3.8 million. And you're on the Indian Ocean, that's the big commerce capital. I bet that's a rocking' hot town. Do you love it?
Rafay: Yeah, Karachi is the place to be.
Howard: Well, I hope someday I get to visit there. If you ever put together a group of dentists. Tell us what's dentistry like. They love the History Channel. They love - what's that big cooking show where that guy goes all around the world on CNN? One of the most famous shows in America is Anthony Bourdain. He's a chef who goes around the world eating at fancy restaurants around the world. I love that show, because you get to see all these countries. The most main reason I'm so glad I started dental lecturing is because, when I gave my first lecture, I had no idea that someday I would have seen fifty countries, and I hope to hell I lecture in Karachi, and I want to go to Pakistan to lecture in Karachi and Istanbul. But tell us what dentistry is like there. What's dentistry like in Pakistan?
Rafay: Yes, dentistry over here is a lot different, I think. It's more ... like very few people do preventative care. So, they do not get regular cleaning, and there is no culture of that, getting regular cleaning, regular preventative care. It's mostly when you get a toothache, that's when you get to visit a dentist. So, again, appointments, dentists, you don't really make an appointment. I mean, unless it's something like braces or something where you have to actually make an appointment, but otherwise most people just walk in and get to see the dentist, unless it's some big hospital and a very popular dentist. But most of the time, you can pretty much walk in and get some treatment or at least get a prescription. So, dentistry is not as well-developed over here.
Howard: So, how's the economy growing? How would you say your Pakistani economy is? Is it growing, is it flat, is it contracting?
Rafay: It's growing. It's growing pretty fast. In fact, I believe it's in the top ten fastest growing economies in the world. We're a developing economy, so obviously small base, so you can grow faster. But terrorism has gone down, so eliminated that. Thank g*d, that problem solved. But the main crisis that is stopping from explosive growth is the energy crisis. Power shortages and energy shortages. That is the main problem. If we can fix that, then we could effect 8 to 10 percent growth, easy.
Howard: Tell me this about your culture. For some reason, almost all dental and medical instruments all really start in Pakistan.
Howard: And half the time any physician or surgeon or dentist is buying forceps, 150s, 151s, I mean, how did Pakistan become the world leader in medical instruments? Why is that?
Rafay: Right, so, there's is an industry, they're up north. In fact, not up north, but it's in Punjab, Punjab Province, Sialkot, that is the center where a lot of these medical instruments are made, and they are of high quality as well. But Sialkot is also famous for sports goods. So, for example, FIFA is going to be having the World Cup soon, and Sialkot is going to be providing the footballs again this year, 2018.
Howard: Pakistan is at two hundred million. Brazil's at two ten. Do you think you'll ever overtake Brazil, and are your women making more babies than Brazilians? Do you think you'll pass Brazil or do you think Nigeria, who is underneath you at one ninety-five - they're only five million less than Pakistan? So, where is that race going to be in five years?
Rafay: No, I think Pakistan is going to be past that number. I think the latest census numbers ... the latest the census numbers have not been officially released, but unofficially in the news sources, we have read that it is around two hundred and thirty, two hundred and forty million, the population of the country in the latest census. It hasn't been released officially, so I guess that's why the Wikipedia page hasn't been updated. But that's what the numbers that are going around, unofficial numbers that are going around on the news stories. So, that's around twenty-three. Sorry, two hundred and twenty to thirty.
Howard: You know, really, it's kind of interesting. When you look at the twenty richest European countries, you need 2.3 babies to maintain the population, and have their girls are way into that. Japan's the lowest -they're at .9. How many people did we Google? How many people do Japan - Japan's island shrinks by how many people every single day? You know, starting six years ago, Japan sells more diapers for the elderly than for babies. Yeah, Japan's population has lost a million in the last five years. And if you take the twenty richest countries in Europe, if you backed out immigration, their populations are shrinking.
Howard: And the United States. So, it all comes down to do your girls have babies? In the United States, we're very lucky because we have fifty million Hispanics and they have twice as many babies as the other groups. So, it all depends if the women are having babies, your economy is growing. So, final question: tell everybody something they don't know about dentistry in Pakistan.
Rafay: That we have women dentists.
Howard: That we have what?
Rafay: We have a lot of female dentists.
Howard: What percentage of your dentists are female?
Rafay: I would say, from the graduating class, about 50 percent.
Howard: And how many dentists are there in Pakistan?
Rafay: I don't know the exact numbers, but this is an interesting fact actually, it's not just limited to dentistry. A lot of the graduating class of medical schools, most of them, the majority are females. You know that's interesting, right? And the reason for that is, perhaps it's a social reason, the reason is that the men want a bride that is a doctor. So, that's why a lot of women go to medical school to become a doctor, to get a good husband.
Howard: You know what my next bride is? Do you know what I'm waiting for?
1.03 Howard: I'm only going to get married again when artificial intelligence has made robots perfect. My next wife is going to be a droid. I'm not marrying a homo sapien again. I'm waiting for the updated droid version where she's ... so, when Obi Wan Kenobi is ready, I'll get married. But, hey, Rafay, seriously, a big fan of your two hundred and fifty posts on Dentaltown. Thank you so much for sharing so much time on Dentaltown, answering so many questions. I'm your biggest fan. You have so many fans on Dentaltown. It was also an honor to have my first guest from Pakistan and, dude, I would do anything to lecture in Islamabad and Karachi. I certainly don't want to end my lecture career without seeing the sixth most populous country in the world. But, hey, thank you so much for coming on the show today. It was an honor to interview you today.
Rafay: Thank you, Dr. Farran. Thank you for the opportunity and, of course, I would like to thank you for creating such a good community in Dentaltown and, obviously, other communities they have related to dentists. And it has been a pleasure. It has been a pleasure.
Howard: And one last thing. I don't know if you know this, but did you know that I took ... Dentaltown took five years, five programmers, twenty years to make. It's a half million lines of code. So, you know what we did last year? We took the entire website and made it so we can cut and paste and host it for you. So, if you ever want to start. What is the most common language that dentists like to talk in Pakistan?
Rafay: Urdu, yeah.
Howard: So, if you think there's a market for all those dentists in Pakistan, you can actually take Dentaltown and we host it, we cut and paste it and host it, and then it's all yours, baby. You have half a million lines of code. I mean, you would not believe how many features are on Dentaltown. So, if that's something you ever want to do, shoot me an email and then you can have Urdu Dentaltown, or Dentaltown Islamabad or whatever, or whatever you want to name it. But I do think it would be cool. So, it was so much work, and I wanted to share it with Indonesians and Chinese and Russians and Pakistan and so on. If that ever interests you, we'll hook you up.
Rafay: Okay, sure, sure. If something comes up, I'll definitely.
Howard: All right. Have a rocking hot day, buddy.