Podcast #103

Driving Growth for Dermatology: How to Craft a Winning Marketing Strategy for Your House of Brands with Steve Estévez

Dive into the dynamic world of dermatology marketing with our latest episode of Ignite, featuring Steve Estévez, VP Marketing at DermCare Management! Steve joins Cardinal CEO, Alex Membrillo, to share his insights on leveraging marketing wins to solidify brand identity, the impact of COVID on search marketing strategies, and the importance of a robust online presence. Tune in to Ignite for an enlightening conversation that will leave you with actionable insights and a fresh perspective on the future of dermatology marketing in 2024 and beyond!

Episode Highlights:

Steve Estévez: Since 2020 to 2023, we generated over 35,000 reviews with a 4.8 out of 5-star rating. The reason for that, why we are so interested in that metric, is because not only are patients that leave a 5-star review super satisfied with it, but by prompting them to leave a review, they are more likely to actually recommend the practice. As someone is talking about dermatology needs, they immediately remember, ‘I left a review for them. You have to go to them.’ They’re actively now promoting your practice because they left a review.

Episode Overview

Get ready for another enlightening episode of Ignite where we unravel the intricacies of dermatology marketing with Steve Estévez, VP Marketing at DermCare Management, and our host, Alex Membrillo. Beginning with a focus on content creation, Estévez underscores the importance of strategic video and how the right footage can elevate branding. The duo explores marketing strategy, planning, and branding integration across diverse media platforms, ensuring a cohesive message delivery.

Dive into the world of performance marketing as Steve and Alex discuss attribution metrics and the collaboration with in-house copywriters to maintain a distinctive brand voice. The episode also delves into the post-COVID evolution of search marketing, emphasizing the need for brands to adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape.

Our hosts emphasize the pivotal role of patient reviews in driving volume and brand advocacy. Steve shares the success story of accumulating over 35,000 reviews with a high satisfaction rating, showcasing the influential impact of positive patient experiences.

Scaling marketing efforts across multiple locations presents its challenges, and our hosts address this by discussing the development of marketing playbooks and aligning initiatives with the business objectives of healthcare providers.

In this episode, you’ll gain insights into the synergy between operations and marketing, the influence of user experience on website design, and the strategic onboarding of new practices and physicians. This episode is a goldmine for marketers navigating the healthcare industry, offering a strategic blueprint to leverage digital marketing effectively. Don’t miss this opportunity to glean wisdom from industry experts and discover the strategies propelling growth and success in the competitive realm of dermatology marketing. Tune in and empower your marketing journey with actionable insights!

Related Resources

Announcer: Welcome to the Ignite Podcast, the only healthcare marketing podcast that digs into the digital strategies and tactics that help you accelerate growth. Each week, Cardinal’s experts explore innovative ways to build your digital presence and attract more patients. Buckle up for another episode of Ignite.

Alex Membrillo: What’s going on, everybody? Thank you for turning down your volume in your car on the way home, I’ve got a very sharp marketer and you guys are going to love hearing from Mr. Steve Estevez. No, he is not Emilio’s brother. Yes, he lives in the rat mouth in Florida. He’s sharp and he’s got a giant house of brands in dermatology. This is going to be fun because derm is really exciting for a lot of PE groups.

It’s a really exciting place for marketers because it has to balance the general side with the cosmetic side that’s often very lucrative cash bank and ramped very quickly. Then you’ve got all the HIPAA stuff you got to deal with in the middle that’s ramped up. Derm, very exciting just like dental was a decade ago. No offense, dental, you’re still very exciting, but derm is the new dental.


This is cool. Steve, welcome to Ignite.

Steve Estévez: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me, Alex.

Alex: It’s another Esteban. Where are you based?

Steve: South Florida. Currently live in Boyton Beach very close to Delray Beach, Florida.

Alex: This dude’s chilling. For those of y’all that can see him on video, he’s got a cooler studio than the guy that’s hosting the podcast. It tells you a lot about-

Steve: It’s a hobby of mine.

Alex: -how cool he is. Yes, man. Dude, you get on the call with this guy and like me he looks good, and the background’s good. He has a four-month-old baby, looks rested. Imagine how–

Steve: By the miracles of the derm gods.

Alex: [laughs] That’s what I need. I need to get these cholesterol deposits.

Steve: You’re laughing, but it’s crazy how much I recommend to my guy friends, do you have a skincare routine? They’re like, I wash my face when I’m in the shower. Come on. Especially at this age. You’re 29 right now?

Alex: Yes, right. 29. I celebrated 29. Jennifer Lawrence in that movie. I celebrated 29 just last year. I’m 39, but she would correct me on that. Tell them where you work.

Steve: DermCare Management, a dermatology management group.

Alex: That’s right. House of brands. Tell them about house of brands. How many locations? Where are we based? We got a lot of Florida. What’s going on?

Steve: Our corporate location, so DermCare is based out of Hollywood, Florida. We operate over 70 different locations across four states; Virginia, Florida, Texas, and California. Our brands range from completely full-on medical dermatology to a mixture of dermatology and cosmetics, to plastic surgery practices and research facilities as well.

Alex: How many brands total between the 70 locations?

Steve: 20 to 30 different brands. [crosstalk]

Alex: Gosh, each one has two location average. That’s 30 brands. Steve, what’s your team? You got 30 people in in-house marketing with you, right?

Steve: No, we’re a very nimble team. Right now we have six people but very, very great vendor partnerships and they help us a lot.

Alex: Of course. The best agencies in the world. What does the in-house team look like? Everyone always asks me the reason I’m asking, what’s my first hire? Talk about what your first hire was. Because you’ve been there six and a half years, a year and a half before that in derm, so you love derm. What was the first hire and then where did you go from there?

Steve: My first hire while I was– I’m at DermCare, was somebody that looked like me. Not physically.

Alex: Handsome.

Steve: Somebody that could manage day to day. We were a scrappy startup in the beginning. What you’re looking for is just somebody quick to help you with the tasks at hand. As you start developing an actual structure or a vision, then you start hiring for what you need for strategizing, for reporting analytics. I want to say my first hire truly was one of my current marketing managers, his name is TJ. One of my first marketing managers for, we call it a digital and performance team. We have two teams in the marketing department. One of which is digital and performance. The second is brand and engagement, which focuses on social media PR.

Alex: Got it. Do either of these teams work directly with the provider owners that sell?

Steve: We encourage that. We’re very much hands-on. One of our guiding messages, value propositions of DermCare’s is we’re here to enhance your brand. Every medical director that partners with DermCare has a heavy hand in guiding that brand as we work to continuously make it thrive and grow.

Alex: They’re like partners. You guys actually follow through when you’re acquiring practice. It’s not like, “Oh, thanks for selling. Actually, we’re going to run whatever advertising we want.” That screws out. You don’t get any acquisitions after they tell their friends about that. TJ was the first hire Swiss army knife. Then where would you go from there?

Steve: The next one was socials. It was actually one of my first hires for one of our plastic surgery brands. Her name is Afroza. She was sharp. She could create just amazing content, but not only that, she looked at the operational needs of content creating. Meaning, where were our deficits? What services do we want to highlight? That was very important. She’s grown so much in the company. She’s now leading socials.

Alex: Nice. For 30 practices. [crosstalk]

Steve: Imagine.

Alex: Guys, keep in mind when you’re listening, all eight of you. By the way, we appreciate each one of you. I need to get you birthday cakes. Happy birthday for listening to Ignite. Social, very important with dermatology. Not all groups. I don’t know if you do that, and if you were running dental or behavioral, I don’t know if you do that, but so important in derm to put someone fully in charge of social, because it is a good patient acquisition. Machine or social no matter what?

Steve: Social no matter what. It’s where attention is currently, whether you’re doing it on Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok, just free content that aligns with your message.

Alex: I know my boy, Kevin Dugan – I just interviewed him from BrightView – he would agree. Listen, social’s just a distribution method it’s the content that calls. If it’s social or email or whatnot, it doesn’t really matter. Did you say it’s performance and then brand are the two teams?

Steve: Yes.

Alex: Sorry. That’s right. Is it performance? Did I get that right?

Steve: We call it digital and performance, and brand and engagement. In order to scale multiple brands, you need to have a structure where you can define marketing calendars for each brand. We needed distinct teams that I could be able to delegate functions of what are the deliverables for each of these brands, and these are the heads of those teams.

Alex: Smart. Then for the performance, what are you measuring in your practices? I see some have online booking. Do they all have online booking, or what are your main KPIs? Whatever you’re willing to share about how you look at performance, and what you measure, what you accelerate.

Steve: That’s the main reason for having a performance team, let’s say, is first you want to establish attribution metrics. Those are whether you have online booking. Did they come through a recall campaign? Did they come through new patients or existing patients? Did they come through social? Getting these reporting and KPI metrics dialed in that, you know exactly where your patients are coming in and that this team can report on that. Then also working with our in-house copywriter so that each brand has their distinct messaging, whether you’re communicating over email, whether you’re communicating over social, whether you’re on your website, doesn’t matter where your patient is interacting with your brand. They get a similar messaging throughout.

Alex: That’s so much to do. Whether it’s search or email, they’re getting a similar message. You really want to personify the brand as best as you can. The in-house team has to roll out all messaging, creative and distribution stuff like email for all these 30-some groups?

Steve: Yes.

Alex: Wow.

Steve: Look, I don’t have all the answers. I’m over here talking about experience mostly, so I’m not going to– They are amazing. I told them today, you guys are going to get shout-outs throughout this thing. They do so because they’ve really honed in their skills in the last two years. Consistent email send-outs, there’s segmented lists, consistent content creation. We’re not perfect but we’re certainly trying to be.

Alex: I love that. You guys do have a patient reactivation and retention system. Is that also reporting up to you, Steve, in marketing, or is that an ops function, or is it–?

Steve: It’s a marketing function, but it is traditionally an operations function. We share what’s called the physician liaison role because ultimately it is a marketing role but it’s completely, I want to say triggered by operations. Operations really knows what payers we’re missing. If they have a brand new provider that’s coming on board and there’s a need for a ramp-up, it’s a quicker communication if the role is shared because they get physician liaisons. They get as much support from marketing as possible to deliver the message.

Alex: I’ve been hearing a lot about this MOps thing marketing and ops sitting at the same table. This seems to be the case. Email very close to the patient and only ops knows where and when we need more patient services, we need to push in this location, I guess. Because that’s being fed out of EHRs. Then they say, guys put more emphasis here?

Steve: What’s interesting about DermCare, specifically our CEO, Jeffrey Schillinger, he had another company for emergency care. One of his philosophies is breaking down silos. That means I know everything operations knows when they know it. I know what billing is dealing with on a weekly basis. We have weekly meetings on every Thursday and Monday, where we’re talking about the bad news. it’s not just wins. What’s going on? Where are the pain points? How do we fix this? Marketing is directly involved. Operation’s directly involved. Recruiting is directly involved. I know exactly what everyone is dealing with. I’m able to communicate with my team in real time so we can address these issues as quickly as possible.

Alex: Y’all are having very transparent standups every week. Marketing is sitting at the leadership table. You are not just, hey, go clean it up. You are part of the business decisioning and working together with ops and everybody else.

Steve: Offering at least insight.

Alex: That’s what we’re trying to get our marketing leaders to understand. Guys, too often we are getting blamed. CPL is not low enough. Patient volume, not high enough. You didn’t bring me in to tell me where the capacity was when you’re going to onboard a new provider or what services you want to push. Oh, all of a sudden we’re the problem. No, we’re not the problem. Your call center sucks. You’re the problem. Sorry. [laughs]

Steve: You touched upon something there. I tell my team, you got to be accountable because that’s affecting you at the end of the day. I do not like excuses. I’m very nimble. I can say, I can understand this and I am very reasonable. The excuse of I couldn’t do this or the other, I don’t like. I rather you have an explanation and say, maybe if we did this, we can, we can perfect it.

Alex: We’re on the same team. When the egos get in the way, we send fake and stuff. We’re big on respect, I’ll say. Dude, just tell me a problem. I don’t mind. When mistakes are made is when we learn. I personally learn nothing when things are going well. I’m like, everything’s going well. I don’t know. I don’t know what I did to get there. That doesn’t feel right.

Steve: I like bad news to be told up front, very quick. I like good news. Of course I like wins, but I’m very much about bring it up, let’s solve this issue.

Alex: The wins come from all the straightforward losses and feedback that we got. That’s when you get big wins. What’s the key to scaling to 70 locations? You guys have a media playbook, hey, we just acquired, and then we do these things, we run these campaigns? How do you keep up with all this?

Steve: It changes ever so often, but yes, we do have a playbook. We’ve developed one for– it keeps changing ever so often. We do have a playbook for onboarding positions. We have playbooks for onboarding practices on exactly what deliverables need to happen and what time frame, whether it be printed assets, website updates, copywriting. There’s no easy way to scale multiple brands. At some point you’re going to hit a wall and you’re like, wow, I am tired. Then you have five other brands, six other brands that need updates. There’s no easy way to tell it. Yes, marketing playbooks, very, very important for growth. Yes, we do have those.

Alex: Good. That’s important for our listeners to know, it works. We used to get brought in at the earliest. Now we mostly work with the larger groups that have playbooks already, but you have to develop the playbooks. If you are more an agency, one of your goals for the first year with your agency should be, we are going to develop a playbooks and we onboard the next 20 locations or practices next year where everybody knows what they should do, you do. Not a lot of people want to put the time in.

Steve: You touched on something there, because I don’t think people realize, especially in derm groups, I don’t think we realize how important agency relationships are and how they help deliver not just your corporate messaging to your positions, but the staff as well. We’re not complete experts. Agencies help drive whatever it is that we’re trying to accomplish to all stakeholders. What you just said is perfect that there’s brands bringing you guys in early on and explaining what those relationships are. That’s amazing.

Alex: Marketing can be an acquisition tool for the PE firm. Mr. Schillinger, is that what–?

Steve: Yes. Jeffrey Schillinger.

Alex: Jeffrey. Jeffrey, next time he goes to an acquisition, look, this is what our marketing team can do. Within six months we’ve ramped your patient. Because they want the second bite. That’s why those providers are selling out. You guys with your playbook, you can go say within six months we ran patient buying, we have providers, we can fill their schedules in three months. We increased cosmetics. You guys are that growth engine. We, as marketers, I think too often we forget the business reason we exist and we don’t align with what ole Jeffrey wants.

Steve: You literally said things that we’re talking about in our business development strategy meeting, is leveraging our marketing wins in order to solidify what DermCare means to a selling physician.

Alex: That’s right. I love it. That’s the whole point. Hildred Capital, I think y’all are back.

Steve: Hildred Capital.

Alex: They’re the ultimate decision maker. Then Jeffrey, the whole thing is business. We came out of scaling up our conference in December and we heard from a lot of the PE guys and the C-level CMOs including, they said the biggest issue marketers have is they don’t understand the business reason we exist as marketers. They too often do marketing things with no business implication. All right, enough of that. What works best for driving patient volume, Steve?

Steve: First of all, that’s a hard question to just answer immediately.

Alex: Give me a one-word answer.

Steve: What drives patient volume is patient satisfaction. Ultimately. At the end of the day, you ask established practices. If you ask them the questions, how are you getting most of your patients? Word of mouth. What are you doing to continue getting more word-of-mouth patients and not having to rely on Google Ads?

Alex: [crosstalk] acquisition. I love that. What role do you play in helping get–

Steve: Generating reviews. One of our top selling metrics is DermCare Management, since 2020 to 2023, we generated over 35,000 reviews with a 4.8 out of 5-star rating. The reason for that, why we are so interested in that metric is because not only are patients that leave a 5-star review super satisfied with it, but by prompting them to leave a review, they are– I don’t know what the exact number is right now. I do have that metric. They are more likely to then actually recommend the practice. As someone is talking about dermatology needs, they immediately remember, I left a review for them. You have to go to them. They’re actively now promoting your practice because they left a review.

Alex: I like that. It’s interesting. It’s like they go from just experiencing the brand to then they’re getting it in their phone and they see [crosstalk]

Steve: Now they’re active.

Alex: They have to click and it’s like activating their brain. I’ve never thought about that, but certainly that would help. drive– A lot of groups have review gen systems, but you guys are probably more focused, and there’s probably, I assume a practice– not practice admin, office assistant, everybody who check out is like, by the way, leave a review. It’s not just an email that’s going out, I assume. This is like an ethos of–

Steve: It’s an ethos. This is driven by operations, but it’s coming down by, again, linking with marketing. It’s a very, very important metric. You should be very jealous of reviewing these on a daily basis, leveraging those reviews. You asked the question, I gave you the quickest answer. Obviously.

Alex: I love that. Then you got to have appointment availability. Website’s got to be off the chain. We get that. I like that. Reviews. I would have said search. That’s because I run a PPC. Dude, I need to show you this t-shirt. Look at this t-shirt. You’re going to love this. Hold on.

Steve: Oh my God. I want that. Can I get one of those? I love that. Even that, so you just– PPC, we’re not even there yet, but I’ll talk about it. We’re getting to a place where prior to COVID, there was a few players that really knew what they were doing in search marketing, and they were doing it really well. There was a pie in every single community and everyone got a really nice piece of that pie. After COVID and after the backlog of people trying to ramp into the PPC world, Google doesn’t have a limited traffic for everyone.

Alex: That’s right.

Steve: There’s things you have to then do to educate your community.

Alex: We have to educate our clients all the time. PPC can’t drive your entire capacity needs. You need to look elsewhere. That’s why a lot of clients are really interested in the full funnel advertising. All right, so we got to be social and we got to educate, which means content has to be better, which means you have to invest more in creative and educational stuff. It’s like, wow, we have to do marketing now. [laughs]

Steve: You just said it. I’m not going to say easy, but it was certainly helpful to know that you had your PPC and your website ranking really well. That was super helpful for some time and you knew you were going to generate a good amount of new patients from those channels. I tell my team, you got to go back to basics now.

Alex: Remember those marketing classes in school where they taught us product positioning and differentiation. It’s like, now we have to go back and do all that. Let’s interview everybody and learn what our unique value props are. With you, I feel bad. I have empathy for you. I feel bad. Probably not though. See, my wife teaches me how to talk. I have empathy for you–

Steve: No, please continue to feel bad for me, please. [laughs]

Alex: You have to go to 30 practices and try to understand their unique position. They’re all different and they’re small. They only have two location average. They have a mom-and-pop feel, and that provider needs to feel heard. Trying to do personalization at scale, that is hard.

Steve: It’s very, very hard. I’m also a creator at heart. What helps is making sure that you’re doing as much planning previously. I’m just giving you just general thoughts. If you’re at a location, one of your employees is at one of these locations, make sure you get shots that you can intersperse with other B-roll. If you’re going for something like that, that’s still– You can combine branding with. If it’s talking head about specific conditions that you can have a narrator complete that video if you need it. not everything is going to be sold that way. There’s plastic surgery brands. Unfortunately, that’s one of those things where you have to have multiple people on staff generating content. There’s a little different there.

Alex: De novo’s part of the plan this year.

Steve: I don’t have information right now that I can disclose that they will be. They haven’t been necessarily a big part of our growth strategy. We have two de novo’s currently.

Alex: They’re more like a test bed, but it’s [crosstalk]

Steve: Two successful ones so far, but there’s so much opportunity still out there. I’m sure our business development and executive team is in the weeds with our pipeline.

Alex: They say that this year is going to be the biggest year and quite a few years for healthcare investment from the private– they have so much money. Deployer interest rates are what they are. I think the election starting in July, nothing’s going to happen for six months, but the first six months will be fun and then [crosstalk]

Steve: Without going into details about specifically DermCare’s position, but just generally in the market, you’re seeing a softening of banks now, being more open to lending money, interest rates softening. It ican be assumed that that’s something that’s expected for it. Feedback groups continue to grow.

Alex: We’ll see, man. I think it’ll be a fun year. I’ve got you over time, but I want to ask you one or two more questions. HIPAA, all of the regulations came out this January ’24 to date. ’23 was a big year for HIPAA stuff. How have you adjusted, whether in systems of marketing? Are we just as effective as before?

Steve: There was a few changes we had to make early on last year in the middle of 2023. Thankfully, a lot of our new patients, again, back to basics. How has your brand depended on developing referral networks? Yes, if you do lose some of the ability to do remarketing because you can’t install Pixels or you’ve lost some ability with Google analytics, there’s third party solutions.

Again, making sure that your brand is translating in the real world outside of digital marketing. How are you connecting with your community at large of businesses in your community that you share audiences with? Are you reaching out to them? Are you providing them with valuable resources that they may find that they can leverage for their own consumers and they can then share those consumers with you?

Alex: Long story short, not just relying on digital advertising to drive patient volume.

Steve: I’m digital first. I’m the one, but I realize everyone’s on there. What am I doing differently for not only my practice, but my providers as well?

Alex: That’s right. right. Steve is smart. Steve focused on digital and did all the digital things correctly and then says it can’t drive all patient volume. We got to start looking outside of it. The referral, so what is that, high school, that’s PCPs? What are parts of the referral network people could focus on?

Steve: The first thing you think about, or any marketer in any group or practice, the first thing they think about is I need to go out to referring providers; PCPs, cardiologists, anyone that’s close to–

Alex: Cardiologists? That’s interesting.

Steve: Yes. You’re opening your chance to put the EKG and then they think about, oh, shoot, I’m seeing some stuff. That’s like, I don’t know, have you seen a dermatologist? You never know. Yes, we’ve had very successful relationship with cardiologists, gynecologists, ophthalmologists, so optometrists, you never know. Not just your medical community, businesses have–

Alex: You just walk in and you say, listen, you got an ugly staff. Y’all need to come in.

Steve: The staff usually in these big corporate groups, corporate businesses, all have commercial insurances. What are you doing to acquire those individuals so that they could come into your practice?

Alex: Do you give special spiffs or something like that? I’m not–

Steve: No, nothing like that. It’s more so, how can I provide value to you? Educating your local community importance of skin safety. You’ll be surprised how many people do not have dermatologists. There’s a crazy opportunity for you to generate that from local businesses.

Alex: Do you find that the general side is the feeder to the cosmetic side? Where do you put more focus? Is it general? I know the PE firms love the general side, the multiples are better, but where do you put the focus and then you hope it feeds?

Steve: If you looked at it in 2016/2017, that’s normally how it would occur. They had a robust practice with general derm, and then you started introducing cosmetic services and, oh my God, I’m starting to generate cash revenue here with my existing patients. As you deplete those patients, you now have to start competing with med spas and plastic surgery practices. You start realizing, I’m paying for these leads, it’s actually quite competitive out here. Then it becomes something else. You start using digital marketing channels and so on. That’s the best way. Social media really is going to be the best way for you to educate your local market in the type of cosmetic services you offer.

Alex: We’re trying to do TikTok right now with a large behavioral client. We’ll see if we can figure it out.

Steve: That’s not bad actually. Actually, that’s behavioral and TikTok. You see [crosstalk]

Alex: BetterHelp is everywhere.

Steve: They’re killing it.

Alex: BetterHelp has launched. I saw over the weekend, either they realized I need a couples therapist or they’re just bad at targeting, but they have a new platform called Regain, I think.

Steve: I haven’t seen that.

Alex: They split out the couples therapy into a different– I love behavioral, I find it really interesting. BetterHelp, they split it out. Behavioral is very good at marketing in general. They get away with just overspending to hope. Anyway, the cosmetic side, you used to be able to get it fed from general, but then you run out and you have to compete. Med spas, I figure easy to beat because you have MDs. That’s like a more– No?

Steve: No.

Alex: No? I would have trouble beating the plastics because it’s MD versus MD. Why med spas? Because they have a better patient experience. What’s the deal?

Steve: Multiple factors. That’s definitely one of them. As I was doing research in 2021/2022, I started just doing some secret shopping, just competitors in the market. Because I used to see the ads come up and then on social, I saw these really great creative ads. I started interacting with them and in less than five minutes, someone was responding. Let me do that with my brand. No one’s responding. Let me see, I need an appointment. When do you need it by? Oh my God. Wait, what’s going on here? This is our availability. When you reach out to the doctor from the Instagram there, then within 10 or 15 minutes, I was seeing that they were putting me in contact with somebody.

Then you call them. They’re nimble. I’m not going to generalize. There’s a lot of PE-backed med spa practices right now. A good portion of the ones that I’m looking at or have been looking at, they’ve gotten the game of social media. They understand that a lot of these conversions are happening over DMs. They’re able to establish trust over DM because of how quick they’re responding, how open they are about pricing. Especially with your younger demos, they want to know exactly what they’re going to get when they come in. Ffor spending $500 to $1,000, you want to give that type of a level of service. Med spas are killing it in that.

Alex: Patient access experience. They’re just better at the retail side and general [crosstalk] like, we’re doctors, you should wait to see me. They’re like, no, I want to get injected tomorrow.

Steve: Right away. One of the things I talk to my team is what’s your expectation when you’re dealing with any local brand, whether you’re a barbershop, whether salon or nail spa? Your expectation is they’re going to reply right away. They want that business. We have to bring that level of service into our derm practice. Traditionally, it’s sometimes hard to get to someone on the phone to explain something to you, or it wasn’t until 2022 that everyone at large understood how important it was to have an online scheduler. Some people did it, but it wasn’t that large. Again, med spa’s beating us, connecting their schedules with Google right away, or with Instagram, or what have you.

Alex: Having humans follow up. Guys, just having online schedule, step one. DermCare has a good one. That’s just step one. Having appointment availability tomorrow or not running advertising for that location, also more important. That’s just step one. Stop running advertising where you don’t have visibility, you don’t have capacity. So silly. You don’t have online scheduling and calls and email. A lot of bad advertising out there.

Steve: You know a lot, obviously you’re like the guy. Having availability is key. Especially for, let’s say you have something on ZocDoc. A lot of these individuals, new patients that you’re getting, they’re literally comparing the availability as ZocDoc is publishing all of these doctors. They’re seeing what’s the next available and they’re picking one. Obviously they’re looking at reviews, but ZocDoc is doing the trouble for you and stacking them up appropriately. Yes, they are looking for, when can I get in? Can I get in tomorrow? You need to make sure that that’s how you’re competing on those.

Alex: You got to be as good as ZocDoc. I’ll tell you this-

Steve: Oh, you just said it.

Alex: -I needed to find a cardiologist a few months ago for this AFib thing that the watch actually found. The health techs like saving lives. I went and I tried to find a cardiologist. I type in cardiologist in Atlanta. Then I go to a practice website. Nightmare to get an appointment. You got to call, you got to email, and then they don’t hit you back. Then I went to ZocDoc, and I hate ZocDoc because it takes a lot of business, and they’re terrible, and they charge blah, blah, blah. They don’t have first party data.

Steve: No comment.

Alex: They’re good at one thing, which is appointment availability for the first doctor. I didn’t get the best provider or whatever. I ended up switching. It does get you in– their retailification is better than individual practices 9 times out of 10.

Steve: I have a relationship with Zocdoc. I’m not going to bash them too much.

Alex: They’re great.

Steve: We did an exercise, I think it was at the end of 2021. It was, how do our profiles compare to Zocdoc? Let’s say Zocdoc is on the top. Then at the bottom, what are we doing to literally be the Zocdoc of dermatology for this particular practice? It’s crazy how that exercise makes you think about user experiences on your website, especially mobile at that time. Now it’s like mobile first.

Alex: They’re better than everyone. That’s a good exercise too. It’s just this really smart SEO company. I wish I had started something like that.

Steve: At this point, I have some conspiracy theories. Because Zocdoc is a Google partner in a way, more ways than we will ever know. Amazing, amazing SEO company. Just on dermatology, I think we researched over 100,000 to 200,000 pages. There’s only 11,000 active dermatologists in the states.

Alex: They have a page for every city, every state. That’s just a good SEO company. It’s good. They need to stop charging practices for return patients. The drop-off rate is tremendous because-

Steve: A lot.

Alex: -when someone goes to Zocdoc, they’re like, “Zocdoc is not a practice. I’m just not going to show up.” The no-show rate is tremendous. It’s a great place to get the practice off the ground. It is quick patient flow. Then over time, most of our clients will build their own first party marketing system and then [crosstalk] Whatever. Steve ending on a high note, anything exciting you’re looking at 2024 that you’re going to invest more into?

Steve: DMs.

Alex: You’re going to be sliding in there.

Steve: Yes. Sliding in those DMs, making it personal. You have to be able to meet the patient where they are. Patients are spending an abnormal amount of time on these devices, especially on meta platforms. Do you really believe that once they’re interacting with your brand, that they want to leave the platform to give you a call or send you an email? No, they want to interact on the same platform and go back to scrolling. If they see one of your ads, make sure that you can respond behind that ad, that you have someone, and if not, just connected to an automation like, I don’t know, ManyChat.

Alex: Woo, ManyChat. You have Frosa?

Steve: Afroza.

Alex: Afroza. She’s in charge of the socials and she’s answering.

Steve: We’re training staff at our practices to have someone-

Alex: Oh, boy.

Steve: -managing this.

Alex: This sounds scary. A lot of people [crosstalk]

Steve: You have quality metrics, so we also work very closely with our support services director, who’s in charge of the call center, but we’re doing training for these. We’re starting off slow with more of our cosmetic brand, so they are already in tune with giving that concierge-level service. That’s the goal. That’s our 2024 goal.

Alex: They’re used to the concierge and now it’s just a new platform, new way to do it.

Steve: Exactly.

Alex: Man, that’s smart. I hadn’t heard anybody tell me that yet, so I learned a lot from you Emilio’s hermano. [laughs] Thanks for everything, Steve. Where can people find you?

Steve: LinkedIn, Instagram, just my name. You’ll find me. Hopefully.

Alex: It’s not Emilio. It is Linkedin.com/in/steveestevez.

Steve: Steve Estevez.

Alex: Where is your family originally from?

Steve: I’m from Dominican Republic originally. I am 38 years old right now. I moved to the States when I was 24. Law grad from Dominican Republic originally.

Alex: I saw you worked at a law firm first, and then you came to the– you went to the dark side, then came over here and helped people.

Steve: Thank God. It’s the best decision I made.

Alex: [unintelligible 00:33:50] but I bet there’s more. All right. Thank you for joining Ignite, Steve.

Steve: Thank you for having me, Alex. It’s been a pleasure talking shop with you.


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