Know your neighborhood - how Dr. Blackburn built her practice
It’s always a good idea to go the extra mile for a patient’s smile, but at Growing Great Grins Pediatric Dentistry in Spring, Texas, Dr. Leslie Blackburn and her team make it their mission to go an extra lightyear or two. They set their practice apart with clinical excellence and special needs programs, but the highest emphasis is placed on one area - customer service. Your average dental practice doesn’t look anything like this.
Dr. Leslie Blackburn and her team at Growing Great Grins Pediatric Dentistry
“We are ‘experience dentistry,’” Dr. Blackburn told us. “My whole vibe is I want people to feel taken care of. I want them to feel like we’re going as out-of-the-way as possible to make sure every aspect of the experience is positive, soothing, and wonderful. The whole emphasis is over-the-top customer service. Make everything easy and painless and fun.”
Growing Great Grins has the usual amenities, like screens in the operatory. But they also have something you don’t see every day - a comfort menu. From it, the patients can choose from a wide array of extra comforts including blankets, heated wraps, Bose headphones, moist lavender towels, medicated lip balm… the list goes on and on. And that’s just what the patients get. Their parents get their own special treatment in the waiting room.
“For the working parent we have lap desks and chargers, things like that. But we also have some stuff for them to luxuriate in. A neck massager. A list of healthy snacks and some drinks - Starbucks frappucino, Perrier, etc. There’s something for everyone. Something crunchy, something chewy, something chocolate for the moms. It’s all about making them as comfortable as possible.”
A Nemo-themed operatory at Growing Great Grins Pediatric Dentistry
But it isn’t just all about the trimmings and surface-level comforts. Dr. Blackburn makes sure all her services are top-of-the-line, and does it while specializing in cosmetic pediatric dentistry.
“Cosmetic isn’t usually something you’d think of for kids - you usually think of adults for that kind of thing. Most of the time, it’s for kids who fall and break their teeth. Now, there are easy and hard ways you can fix that. I’m proud to do it the harder, better way to make it look as good as possible.”
“The hard way” includes things like composite linears for kids - direct, not indirect - actually built in-house. It also includes aesthetic but adjustable light crowns using brand new fiberglass technology. But the tech isn’t just for cosmetic procedures, either. With laser dentistry, Dr. Blackburn can do both soft and hard tissue procedures, including releasing tongues or lips in neonates to facilitate better feeding. The lasers can even be used as anaesthetic, which means no needles are required.
This is all to say nothing of their special needs program, which has been successful in getting nonverbal autistic children to sit for full exams, free of restraints or sedation. Like we said up top, this is not your average dental practice. Going above and beyond for their patients is the entire mission. And when that’s the case, convenience is key.
That made online scheduling the next logical step in providing the best experience for their patients. “I found out about LocalMed through Golden Proportions, my marketing company,” Dr. Blackburn told us. “We were looking for a way to catch people that called after hours, and I’d contacted a few services. Didn’t think any of them were great. But LocalMed has been a completely different story.”
“We’ve only been using LocalMed for about two months, but in that time the difference has been amazing. We’ve gotten 30 families through it. Within the first week and a half, we got ten new patients. Ten. We usually get between one and three per week.”
Those are some impressive numbers. ...So how did they earn them?
To learn more about how Dr. Blackburn is achieving such great marketing success, we spoke with Christina Sarge, Dr. Blackburn’s Marketing Strategist at Golden Proportions. She told us all about how they built their strategy.
“When we build a marketing plan, it’s completely custom for every practice,” Sarge told us. “We won’t just build a website, or do Google ads, and hope they work. We dive deep into research. There are no off-the-shelf packages. So we started examining Growing Great Grins to figure out what would work best for that specific practice.”
“First, we took a look at the last five years of the practice’s numbers in order to understand what challenges we were facing. Was the current marketing broken? Did something internal need revision? Maybe the practice’s market positioning didn’t align with the socioeconomic landscape of the neighborhood. There are so many angles to examine, and we wanted the complete picture.”
After a SWOT analysis against other practices in the area, Sarge and Golden Proportions found that the practice’s high-end services and amenities were perfectly positioned. They deployed a comprehensive strategy which included SEO, a presence with Google My Business, Facebook & Youtube Advertising, Google Ads, and more, all of which were fairly sophisticated. The baseline for success was there, but there was still opportunity for improvement.
“We found that the front desk was missing a lot of calls,” Sarge told us. “They were busy with patients at the front desk and letting calls go to voicemail, they were missing after-hours calls - things like that. And we told them, for the amount of money you’re investing in marketing, you really need to capture every lead possible. I suggested two options, online scheduling through LocalMed, or an answering service.”
“We decided on LocalMed for a few reasons. First of all, I recommend that every practice with some baseline success should use it. But it wasn’t just that; the demographics of the area were perfect. There are a lot of people working in tech around there, and they’re used to that instant convenience. It takes them too much time to pick up a phone and answer a lot of questions - they just want to go online and get scheduled.”
Because of LocalMed’s success, Growing Great Grins hasn’t had to look into an answering service. Within the first two to three months, Dr. Blackburn doubled the new patients from her marketing efforts.
“That’s the average result our LocalMed clients see,” Sarge told us. ”It depends on the practice, of course. For instance, it’s easy to go from 5 to 10 new patients a month, but it’s a bit harder to turn 30 into 60. That said, it still works, and our average client does double their new patient numbers in a few months. Some even reach triple later on.”
So what to take away from all this? First of all, know your strategy. Do some research about your area, and your own strengths and weaknesses. Then get real online scheduling. It’s an easy change that’s repeatedly been proven to generate results.
If you’re ready to have your own marketing breakthrough, check out Golden Proportions.
LocalMed lets patients schedule appointments straight into your practice management system, just like your front desk would. You set your scheduling rules, and they’ll start booking appointments around the clock - even at 3am on a Sunday.
Learn more about how LocalMed can help your dental practice fill its schedule, 24/7.
Topic: LocalMed Success