Dr. Laura Milnor has owned Milnor Orthodontics for almost 11 years in Ft. Collins, Colorado. She started her practice under the tutelage of another orthodontist, then bought out his practice after being in business for about a year. Recently we asked Dr. Milnor to tell us a little more about herself and her practice.
What made you decide to become an orthodontist?
I like the interplay between art and science, which I feel is a key component to orthodontics. Additionally, I enjoy “solving” each patient’s malocclusion and providing a service that makes a significant difference in their life. It is incredibly rewarding to watch someone go from hiding their smile to showing it off.
What made you decide to open your own practice?
I knew I wanted to come back to Colorado and had an opportunity to practice in my hometown of Fort Collins. I was very happy to have someone to work with that first year but also happy to start making decisions and updating systems.
I don’t think I thought about it as much in the beginning of my career, but I have really enjoyed creating the culture and systems we have established in our practice. I try and grow in my leadership skills constantly and evaluate what is working and what is not. I am big on goal setting and following through on these goals. I understand I can’t be successful by myself and am fortunate to have an amazing team to help me.
What has been your biggest marketing challenge?
We are in a competitive environment and I would say time, knowledge, and trust are my biggest challenges. I simply don’t have the time to dedicate to marketing and I don’t have enough educational background in it to know where to focus my dollars. I also don’t trust many of the marketing companies that I have talked with. It is difficult to find a company to manage everything from website, analytics, social media, blogging, PR, graphic design, etc.
Where do the majority of your new patients come from?
I still find the majority of my new patients are referrals from dentists and current patients. The second biggest component is Google and social media.
What social media networks do you use and why?
We currently use Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Facebook remains our most interactive platform. I find we get several comments on Facebook when we post interactive content, and we use Facebook advertising as it is still fairly inexpensive. Instagram has the next highest engagement. Although we have people of all ages that use Instagram, I do think it is a fun way to connect with teenagers and college-aged patients.
We recently started a Pinterest page, which has been surprisingly fun and easy. We tend to get a good amount of views and I don’t feel as if my competitors are doing this.
What made you decide it was time to outsource your marketing needs?
I wanted to upgrade my website but didn’t want to have the same generic site and content that you see over and over in the dental community. My social media advertising expert gave me the name of Ortho Sales Engine. I had several meetings with them, first about a website, then also discussing the other services they provide. I was impressed with the way their team dissected my current website and discussed what would be important in a new website. In addition, they go way beyond just creating a website. They analyze what parts of the website are working well based off what customers are doing and update it monthly to account for this.
Basically I find Ortho Sales Engine to be the total package. They help with social media, website, call monitoring, marketing, growth, email campaigns, Google Adwords, PR, and much more. Most importantly, not only are they very good at their job, they are also genuine people that I trust. When they say they are going to do something, they do it. I have found this to be an invaluable asset to my practice. It has helped me achieve community engagement to the level that I have always wanted and taken over an important part of my business that I didn’t have time or enough knowledge to handle.
What advice can you give other orthodontists who are in a similar situation?
It is always with a great amount of skepticism that I approach salespeople and marketing companies. If you are wanting these services I would definitely recommend a video conference call with Ortho Sales Engine. I didn’t have the same feeling that I had when I talked to other companies, and you will know the difference when you speak to them. They are individual in their approach and their quality of work is what you will want for your practice.