Jesse Dolan: Have you ever thought about going from an employee to the owner of the business that you’re working at? Check out today’s interview. We’ve got Dr. Charlie Sung from Choice Dental down under from Australia on one of our current clients, and that’s exactly what Dr. Charlie did. He was a dentist at this office, purchased the practice, transformed it, invested into marketing, and particularly the SS e o, which is what we’re going to talk about and is now a thriving business. Check this out, hope you’re going to like it. Welcome back to local SS e o tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks that get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Nolan here, as usual with Sue Ginsburg, Tom Brennan, and Sue, we’ve got a special guest on here today. Would you mind introducing Dr. Charlie to our audience and kind of setting up what we’re going to be talking about here today? I
Sue Ginsburg: Would love to, it’s a real honor and pleasure for us here today to have our client and friend, Dr. Charlie Song of Choice Dental in Australia, Brisbane, Australia, here with us to tell his story, which is a very interesting story and one that many business owners I think aspire to in that Charlie was a practicing dentist looking around to buy a practice, which he did, and then in my mind, totally transformed that business by being the smart business owner that he is looking at the marketing, looking at what he needed to do, changes he needed to make, including many technological and has been growing the business steadily ever since. It’s a great story and he isn’t stopping there, still growing and expanding and looking for more. So Charlie, if you want to start by maybe telling us a little bit of how you came to us and what you were looking for, what you had in the practice and what your vision is was and what you’re on your way to making happen with Choice Dental.
Charlie Sung: Yeah, sure. So back in, I would say around about maybe the 2018 or so, I just got the itch to become a dentist owner, sorry, a business owner, like a dentist business owner. At the time I was an associate in a practice working for someone else. So from then I was like, I have to go out and probably want to do my own thing and have my own business. So that’s when I started to look around for a practice to buy. At the same time, I knew I needed to level up in my business skills once I did buy a practice. So that meant learning new skills such as marketing and SS e o. And during that time I was a big podcast listener of this show, so local SS e o tactics. And so that was very helpful for me to learn what marketing is and what SS e o is and know what to look out for if I was to ever do s e o myself or most probably when I were to hire someone what they needed to do for me, just so I had some understanding of what they were talking about.
And yeah, so I eventually did buy a practice in November, 2020. This was actually the practice I was working in. Things worked out very, very well in terms of how it all eventuated, buying a practice that I already worked in meant that I already knew the patients, I already knew the staff, so the transition was a lot easier compared to if I bought a brand new practice or that kind of thing. So since then, basically just been trying to develop the IT side of things, the digital marketing and trying to get the name out there even more. The practice does have a good reputation and it had a good reputation when I bought it as well, and now it’s just trying to enhance it even further.
Jesse Dolan: Charlie, I like how you’re presenting this history and how it all transpired, and I feel like you’re being super humble because it’s like, oh, it just worked out good and was at the practice I was at, but you put so much work in ahead of time just hearing you talk about, I know I’m going to buy a business and I got to learn a few things for areas that I’m not educated in. Got to be smart about it. None of this happened by accident, even if it is serendipitous how it all worked out for you at the practice, but man, that was all laid by the foundation you were putting out there for what you needed to learn, what your objectives were and how you’re going to go forward. So I just wanted to say that to you. We’ve enjoyed working with you as a client and as a business owner, you get it and you’re smart, and that type of preparation and thoughtfulness and intention for what you’re doing shines through to our side working with you and hearing you just give that brief story of how you came to be where you’re at with the practice shines through as well too.
So any business owners or aspiring owners out there, marketing managers. Yeah, Charlie’s doing it the right way. And not to put you on the spot, Dr. Charlie, but how old are you right now as we’re recording?
Charlie Sung: 34?
Jesse Dolan: So not bad, right? Not bad for what you’re doing so far and we’ve enjoyed working with you. If you wouldn’t mind, could we back up even a little bit further? How did you decide you wanted to be an owner? You were practicing, right? You’re call it successful dentist, do it practice in your craft. What made you think that you wanted to take that next step with a lot of risk potentially coming with it? How’d you get in that mindset and what made you move forward?
Charlie Sung: I guess it was always something that this entrepreneurial business mindset, it’s something that I felt like I already had since a teenager, so even supporting myself through high school and university, I would buy and sell things online, so it’s on eBay and Gumtree and things like that. So this kind of feeling of trading, I guess controlling costs and making profits and all that kind of thing was always interest me. And so I felt like it was always going to be part of my plan because of my upbringing. And I guess maybe 2018, I think I just came back from a long-ish holiday and then I was like, oh, I like holidays, so I kind of want to have more free time. And so I was like, okay, well I need to get off the tools. And I felt like the best way to get off the tools was to own a business, and that also complimented my personality regarding being a trader or business person, personal, that sort of mindset that I had.
Jesse Dolan: That makes sense. So when you started thinking about taking that step, like you said you started to learn and seek out education and information for digital marketing among other things within the scope of just marketing. What other stuff did you look at or were you just saying it’s going to be digital, it’s going to be s e o, it’s going to be website driven, were there other types of marketing and maybe talk about how you weighted those or what the priority was on that as you were going through that stage.
Yeah, so I guess I did go on websites that were, that describe small business owner marketing strategies and I did read about people doing flyers and billboards and all that kind of thing, but I also hear about the r o I being quite low and it’s a lot of effort and it’s like a one hit sort of thing. You chuck the flyer out and that’s the only time for them to buy, and if they forget or throw it away, that opportunity’s gone. Whereas in my mind, I felt like if I put the money into SS e O, the website’s going to be up there forever, and then whenever the people want to see it, they will just find it so it’s not just a one hit sort of thing. They can come back to it as much as they want. They’re doing their research when they’re ready to buy, we’re still there. And so I felt ss e o was a bit more of a long-term option.
Jesse Dolan: No, it’s not as immediate maybe as a flyer on somebody’s door or in their mailbox or whatever, but to your point, it starts to become evergreen and everlasting. And Bob, we always say it doesn’t call in sick or go golfing your website and stuff. It’s just always there. Takes a little effort, takes a little while to get off the ground. But yeah, it’s the best r o I in marketing if it’s working. So as you started going through that, you learned a lot of things. Obviously you engaged in us and we’ve been having a great time working with you through that journey for, again, all the owners and marketing managers listening to this or watching this. What are some things that you learned early on that you carried with you and then inversely, what are some things you’ve learned maybe later now that you wish you knew sooner or maybe would’ve changed some things? Is there anything on either end of that spectrum that’s stuck out to you on this journey or some lessons you’ve learned?
Charlie Sung: Yeah, I guess lessons I learned early on. So before I engaged you guys, I had a marketing manager that was already working for the business from the previous owner. And I guess, yeah, things I learned from that experience was that it got a bit scary at one point because I couldn’t really get the password from my website after I took over. And then that previous marketing, digital marketing person was a little bit reluctant to give it to me, and then that sort of just rung alarm bells a little bit then. So that was a stressful time. I wasn’t sure what was happening. I hardly knew this person at that point and was withholding something that was very valuable to me. So that was something that try to avoid if you are a fellow business owner and in that sort of position.
So yeah, eventually I did that. I was able to get the passwords and decided to move my marketing business to you guys. And so that’s something that I learned early on to sort of work with people who don’t withhold your property, I guess. Yeah, so that was one in terms of things like probably I’ve learned till now, just creating new content helps. So I’m trying to get more, find time in my schedule to make more content for you guys to promote. You guys are good at creating content for me, but I still need to create some fresh stuff for you guys as well. So I think carving out some time in my schedule to do that, I’m going to try and get on top of that a bit more moving forward.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah, I think right before we started recording, we were talking about some content that you’re creating and Sue was giving you some praise and you were talking about, oh, I just kind of riffed on it and just put it out there. And I think that speaks to when we work with clients, like you said, we can create content and we can optimize content and do some great things, but at the end of the day, having an owner or having people with the organizations we work with that are experts and can give that expertise and create that, it truly is a collaborative effort. If you’re going to have a successful website and in good ss e o, nobody can craft your message for you without your input to an extent, and nobody’s going to be the expert. You are Dr. Charlie on these topics, even if we do research and things like that.
So I think that’s a real smart thing to highlight for everybody is for your business or the team that’s involved with running your business, their expertise, their opinions, their information should come through into your marketing and nobody should just do it for you. And I kind of put that in the same bucket of you said you got to own your property, own your assets, control them, have the passwords, kind of know how to access everything. Even if you have trusted partners doing a lot of the heavy lifting for you, it’s still yours and you have to be invested into it to a certain extent, or you could lose control or just have it not be as effective. So again, I think those are marks to where you’re doing it and you’re pretty smart about how you’ve been going about it. And we can see that.
I do want to talk about some of the things that we can see everybody listening and watching can check this out too. If you do some searching, just look up dentist Browns, planes Choice dental, Browns planes is particularly in the amount of reviews you’re getting. And Bob, if you want to chime in on any of this, I know this is a topic you’re always passionate about, but Charlie’s crushing it right now and the amount of reviews he has, especially compared to a lot of competition, and that’s always very important for us from an s e o standpoint, but you can’t get that if you’re not running a top to your business. People won’t give you great reviews if you’re not
Bob Brennan: Providing a great service. And I guess what I wanted to ask Dr. Charlie is when you came into the picture, what was the review situation? Was it always that good? Did you have to work on it? Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
Charlie Sung: Yeah, so when I took over the business, I think we had around about 27 reviews. So it wasn’t really a focus in the previous digital market strategy. And I guess one of the other reasons why I was thinking we weren’t a good fit was because when I brought up the topic of reviews and said how important it was, and it would be great if we try and get more reviews, you just shut down the idea and said, it’s not going to help and it’s just going to create a review wall between you and your competitors and no one’s going to win. And so I was like, oh, okay. I think this is not really going to, I think our ideas are too far apart, but yeah, we started off with about 27 reviews and I think at the moment we’re above 290 reviews, so it’s definitely been going well, and it’s a big part of, I do try to emphasize with the team that we need to get reviews and how important they are,
Bob Brennan: And I just want to state, we work with a lot of companies and everything from the tire store repairing tires or switching tires on cars or whatever to some of the most, well, I mean 1.4 billion in sales last year, we have the conversation about reviews and it’s just one of those things, they don’t take it serious. My point is, in your situation, you took it serious. It’s very difficult in the health field to get as many reviews as you have, and you have to be doing something right on the service side. In other words, you have to be doing a good job, and that’s impressive on its own. But then you saw, I would assume the results once you started getting all those reviews as far as what happened with business or new business, I presume that must have made a huge difference.
Charlie Sung: Oh, sorry, could you say that last bit again, Bob?
Bob Brennan: Yeah, so the number of reviews that you received, it must have over time. You must have seen a huge increase in new calls or new business during that time, and it’s very impressive.
Charlie Sung: So I think we have been getting more calls, and so when I took over the business, we were a three chair practice, and so this year we’ve finally opened our expansion, and so now we added three additional chairs. So we’re six chair practice now and then, so all the phone calls and things like that, it’s helping in trying to fill up those three additional chairs so we’re not full by any means for those three new chairs. It’s going to take time to fill that up. But I think all the new calls and things like that, we have somewhere to put them now before we had a lot of calls, which was great, but then we were losing some customers because some people just didn’t want to wait a few weeks to be seen because we were at capacity. So now we’ve got extra capacity. We could see these people a bit sooner and putting those new calls to good use.
Bob Brennan: Wonderful, wonderful. Good work though. I mean, we can only do so much. So our goal is to get our client sites to the top, but if they don’t have the reviews, they’re not going to convert, and you did your part, your share, and you’re continuing to do that, so your business is going to definitely grow. So congratulations.
Jesse Dolan: Hey everyone, just a quick message about our free s e o audit tool on local seo tactics.com, and we’ll get right back to the show. If you haven’t taken advantage of it yet, go on out to local seo tactics.com/free SEO audit or look for the yellow button up in the top right corner. Click that and it’s going to take just a couple seconds. You enter in the page that you want to optimize what you’re looking for the audit to score against. Enter in that page, enter in the keyword you’re looking to get optimized for and enter in your email address. Click the button and it’s going to take a few seconds, and then it’s going to send you off a P D F report via email. It’s a great report. It’s going to kind of give you an overall score of some vital SS e o areas for that page and for your website at large, even though it’s auditing this page, that’s going to tell you some of the good things that are happening, some of the bad things that are happening too, and give you basically a checklist of some things that you need to shore up and what you can do to improve your SS e o for that page, for that keyword that you’re auditing.
Now, you can use this as many times as you want. You can do multiple keywords, multiple pages, multiple keywords on the same page. You can even use this to check against your competitors. If you want to do a little reverse engineering, see how they’re scoring for a certain keyword, what they may be doing good that you’re not, and some things to improve there. So lots of different ways to use it completely free. Again, go on to local seo tactics.com/free SEO audit or look for the yellow button in the top right corner of the website.
Sue Ginsburg: I also want to add that you are a highly rewarded business. It seems to me sometimes that once or twice a month you’re telling us you got another award. Could we please put this new one up on your website?
Charlie Sung: Yeah, think we do try to enter in certain award. I don’t know if it’s a competition, but it’s just that sort of process where you put yourself out there and then there’s judges that have to pick who gets this award. And then, so I do try to enter the business in things like that as much as possible. And yeah, I think it builds confidence with new patients and even existing patients who might want to do some more business with us if they’re seeing things like that. So yeah, it is a part of the strategy
Jesse Dolan: And your team feels good too. These are good edification and just, I mean, who doesn’t like awards and trophies and recognition, and that’s segueing me back to I want to ask you about your team and your practice. Back to the reviews is where I’m going to get that many reviews. What was your strategy? Is there anything you can share with everybody else watching and listening? Like you said you were not against getting more reviews, but didn’t give it a lot of effort, a lot of credibility to needing them, but here we are. You have hundreds of reviews now, and it definitely makes a big difference in the s e o somewhat directly and indirectly, but then also just for the overall vibe and buzz, what’s happening, how you look online, what have you done to have your team and your staff help get these reviews, solicit reviews, what tricks, methods have you used and what’s worked and what hasn’t worked too, maybe if you have anything there.
Charlie Sung: Just to back up. Yeah, so it was also, it was the previous digital marketer that didn’t have a big emphasis on reviews, whereas I did have a big emphasis on reviews back then and then, so that’s where the difference was. But yeah, in terms of getting the reviews, I do try to incentivize the team, so not the patient or the customer, the team member to do the asking of the review. And so by doing that, if they get a review, if we get 10 reviews or 20 reviews or something like that, it might be that I buy everyone lunch or have some sort of small little token prize or things like that or a reward, and it’s sort of a team reward, so everyone has to do their part well, someone has to ask for the review, and that’s I guess, the front of house people have to do the asking, the back of house clinicians need to do a good job, and so you don’t get the review unless everyone does a good job. So that’s why it’s a team reward.
Jesse Dolan: That’s perfect.
That’s where Bob, again, we always talk with any service industry, particularly hospitality, medical, food service, whatever it is, if you’re interacting directly with that patient, that client, that customer asking for it right there, not always just an email later or the old back of the receipt, can you take the survey and give us a review? It has to be that personal connection to really get good quality reviews and to get them at scale like you’re doing. Charlie, that’s excellent. Let’s talk about to shift gears. So we’ve been working with you doing SS e o literally for years now and have had some good success. You’ve shared with everybody your business is growing and things are happening. Good. Now we’re getting into a phase where you’re starting to create that content, launching your own show, getting into the next phase of digital marketing, not just your website and your Google business profile, but getting content out there. What’s your plan for that, and do you have a direction for that, for how you see that impacting your business, your SS e o and just really your entity online? Do you have any comments you can share with that?
Charlie Sung: Yes. So regarding content, I think the easiest way is how Sue has recommended, which is doing these video interviews between myself and the INX team then. So it just makes, there’s a lot of talking points that I can get out in a short period of time. And then, so if it’s just recorded and then later on, the INX team can just it into words and then change it up into turn into a blog post or some sort of video or audio file. It just means that there’s very minimal effort for me and minimal time out of my busy schedule to provide good quality content, and then it can just be disseminated in the correct channels, and then I get the best exposure out of that five or 10 minute conversation that I have. There’s a lot of content that I can bring in five to 10 minutes if it’s done the right way, and it doesn’t take up too much of my time, which is what I like.
Jesse Dolan: And that’s our service, Sue. We call that course content accelerator. And Dr. Charlie, you’re hitting on the reasons why, right? Like you said, you can jump in there as an expert on these topics for 10 minutes and just kind of dump what’s in your brain out onto a recording now. You’ve got audio, you’ve got video, you’ve got the text, the blog post, and then of course you can cut all that up into little snippets and chunks that you can use in all other types of digital marketing. But for you, the creator and the expert, 10 minutes, maybe 20 minutes, if you did some prep ahead of time to get yourself ready, that would take hours and hours to write those blog posts or to type that stuff out versus just spoken. So I know internally we’re really excited for you to start operating in that manner as all of our other clients to do the same thing. And I’m excited to see where that takes you for just how Google sees you, not just having now your website and your Google business profile, but now you’re in all these other multimedia buckets and all this stuff pointing back to you. We’re going to get those chairs filled up, get those chairs filled up for you here with these efforts. So
Sue Ginsburg: I have something that I’d like to ask Charlie, just to give you some context. In the last few weeks, I have had conversations with two different business owners who are healthcare providers like you in different practices. And each one of them said to me when they thought about opening a practice, they thought, if I build it and if I put a website up, they will come. I mean, it was your classic, where are all the people? I opened my doors two years ago now, and where are all the people? You have been so different to that, and it makes me realize how much you’ve been pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. I mean, you’re trained as a dentist, not as a business owner. You’re a self-taught business owner, and with everything that you’re doing, whether it’s on the business side or the marketing side, I see you pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. And now especially with the videos that you’re making, what do you have to say about that or any advice to other business owners who are thinking of doing what you’ve done?
Charlie Sung: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of stuff that as a business owner you need to know. And so just trying to get ahead of it and prepare and the journey of learning is never ending, unfortunately. So yeah, I guess the sooner someone can embrace that reality, the better. And then that way, if they can just dive into learning rather than hesitating, because it’s going to be, you don’t need to do it. So yeah, it’s not, maybe it’s like, yeah, eventually you’re going to need to learn all the HR laws and marketing and all that stuff. So yeah, it’s good to have at least some understanding. So even if you do hire someone, you can sort of keep an eye on ’em and understand what they’re talking about and when they ask you for decisions, what decisions to give them. So yeah, I think the learning journey just never ends. So yeah, just jump on it as soon as you can.
Jesse Dolan: I like what you said earlier too, about when you first started tuning into our show, local s e o tactics. I’m paraphrasing, and I’m putting words in your mouth here, but you weren’t doing it to be an expert about s e o to do all the s e o yourself. You want to be educated on this in general, so you can make decisions, whether it be to hire somebody to bring on a company like ours to do it. And I think as you’re talking and making sure you get into that education mode, doesn’t mean we have to be experts in every single thing, but if there’s an area that you’re naive about and you’re not knowledgeable about it as a business owner, you at least have to understand what it is, right? To know how to select an expert or know some of the do’s and don’ts to be able to navigate that. So again, that’s super smart, and I hope everybody takes that advice from you. Curious, in that same vein, are there any particular books that you’ve read or that you’re reading now that have stood out and helped you along the way here too? Or are you kind of a YouTube and podcast learner? Any books come to mind that you want to share?
Charlie Sung: Yeah, I’d probably say I’m, I’m a YouTube, no, I wouldn’t say YouTube, just mainly podcasts. I had during that time in 2018 when I was in that mode to find a business and all that, I had a commute to work that was about 45 minutes. So podcasts worked well to sort of fill that time, and I didn’t learn without having to carve out time to learn. I just drove to work and listened. And so you can consume quite a bit of content in that 45 minute drive every day. So that’s probably the main thing is probably podcasts. And there’s a podcast on every topic these days that goes in quite deep, so that helps a lot.
Jesse Dolan: Podcast, I think, podcast every time
Bob Brennan: I think you’re like most professionals, doctor in that you don’t have your time is limited, and literally the only free time you have is driving to work, driving home. And if you’re like me, the last 15 minutes or a day as you fall asleep, you set your timer on the podcast for about 20 minutes, and hopefully you can catch a little bit of Tim Ferriss or somebody or some marketing tip or whatever the case is. I guess my question for you, my final question I guess is knowing what you know and the journey you’ve gone through right now, do you feel you have the confidence to repeat this in another market
Charlie Sung: In a completely different business? Is that what you mean? Or
Bob Brennan: Perhaps in the dental business, obviously. I mean, it’s something you know, right? And so I know you’re in Brisbane, that’s a 2.2 million market, unless you can split. Do you feel you can expand into, open up another practice in either another city or locale at this point? Do you feel confident in that or,
Charlie Sung: Yeah, I think I have the knowledge if I wanted to, but at this stage, it’s probably my desire not to have separate locations. I think one location is enough work, and I think I’d rather just grow the one site rather than have a smaller business multiple. And I think that might just give better bang for buck for my time and stress, but, but with the knowledge, if I had that desire to open up another branch, I think the knowledge is there to do that. Once you’ve done it once, you sort of know how it works. So I think it is easier to replicate and do it another time.
Jesse Dolan: Do you have any final questions or comments?
Sue Ginsburg: I was just hoping that you would ask the question that you often ask, knowing what you know now, Charlie, is there anything in particular you would say to yourself a few years ago about this or to somebody else who’s in a similar situation to you looking at, can I do this? Can I do this? I really want to do this. What advice would you have for ’em?
Charlie Sung: Yeah, I think for any big career change or something like this trying to get into business, there’s never a perfect moment to do it. You always feel like you’re not ready. You always feel like you’re not ready, but sometimes you just got to do it, even if you feel like you’re not ready. And then a lot of it is because it is a never ending learning journey, you’ll never really learn everything before you start. So it’s just better just to do it and then learn it on the go, and then you also have that motivation to learn it as well, because you’ve already taken that first step. So I think just take that first step, take that leap of faith and things will most likely will always work out and yeah, yeah, we’ll be fine.
Jesse Dolan: Well, I think, Charlie, we really appreciate you coming on today. I don’t know if we said it when we’re recording here, but you’re 7:00 AM your time, a little past 7:00 AM now we’re at the end of the day on our time, so we appreciate you making time early today to jump on and record this, share your story with everybody else, talk a little bit about SS e o and how we’ve been working together. And I think anybody who’s listening should be inspired by the things that you’re saying. Hopefully they get a little bit of a blueprint on maybe some things to follow in your footsteps, to do it the right way. Because like we said earlier, working with you, we see the professionalism, we see the intent, and see where you’re going on your journey. And definitely want to thank you for coming on to do the interview, to share your story and talking about this. So this has been fun. Hopefully it is for you too.
Charlie Sung: It’s been great. Thanks guys.
Bob Brennan: Thanks guys.
Sue Ginsburg: Thank you. Thanks for everything you do with us, Charlie. You’re a real pioneer.
Charlie Sung: Great. Thank you, Sue.
Jesse Dolan: Absolutely. Alright, everyone, thanks for checking out that great interview. Or Dr. Charlie, if you’re listening, whether you’re currently an employee or maybe you’re a current owner, whatever your situation is, hopefully you were inspired by some things that Charlie said there. Hopefully you’ll learn some things about maybe what you’re doing with your marketing, what you’re doing with your Ss e o, if you’re getting reviews for your Google business profile and your online listings. There’s definitely some important stuff in there and I hope you all enjoyed it. Stay tuned, we’ll catch you on the next episode. Take care everyone.