smiling girl with braces

A Case Study on How We Increased Phase II Conversion Rates by 16.3%

A 3-step plan to boosting Phase II Patient Conversion Rates

By Anthony Bonavoglia, DDS, MS (Orthodontist and Founder of SmileSuite – the pending patient solution)

Did you know the national average of patient true conversion rates who have completed Phase I treatment, and are presented with Phase II treatment is approximately 50%? Yikes. That’s 15-20% lower than the average overall practice conversion rate. 

As they say, the most cost-effective marketing method is to focus on the lowest hanging fruit. And Phase II patients are it! They are existing patients who are already familiar with your practice, so you don’t have to spend marketing dollars to “acquire” them as patients.   Continue reading

Woman collaborating with her team

How to lower hidden costs when recruiting and onboarding new Treatment Coordinators

Orthodontists need money to hire and onboard new employees.

Just ask the folks at Bersin and Deloitte whose recent study concluded that the average US employer spends nearly $4,000 to hire a new worker. When orthodontists tally up the cost to post on job boards, conduct background checks, plus the time it takes interview, train, and onboard candidates. The price of these hidden costs can add up quickly.


Reduced productivity among new hires

Another cost that can gnaw away at your practice’s profitability is the hidden cost that comes in the form of reduced productivity among new hires. It takes time for employees to settle into their new roles. This is especially true for Treatment Coordinators. They need to understand all your complex presentation rules, and feel confident in presenting appliances, treatment options, and payment plans. The learning curve is steep for Treatment Coordinators and costly for Orthodontists.

Considering today’s competitive landscape and high turnover among Treatment Coordinators ‘“ how do Orthodontists recruit and onboard TCs as efficiently as possible, minimize the time it takes to make them feel confident, and keep costs down? You could hire a TC with previous ortho or financial experience, but let’s face it, searching for candidates who fit either of these profiles is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Your best bet is to use SmileSuite, an orthodontic presentation system aimed at turning consults into contracts.

SmileSuite minimizes the time it takes for new Treatment Coordinators to onboard and feel like a rock-star in your practice.

Its interactive features, such as photos and videos, make it easy for TCs to explain appliances and treatments ‘“ throwing the need for required orthodontic acumen out the window.

SmileSuite is also fully customizable so that practices can automate ALL of their presentation rules. This “plug and play” feature makes it easy for new TCs to create presentations and setup payment plans ‘“ getting it right every time. The new TC only needs to worry about capturing important patient data and connecting with patients on a personal level . . . SmileSuite will take care of the rest.

Minimize your hidden costs and make your new Treatment Coordinator’s onboarding easy peasy with SmileSuite.

We Are Like A Fitbit For Your Practice

The first step in the investigatory process of making data driven decisions starts with a question. We will use Fitbit as an example. Fitbit is a wrist worn device that tracks the number of steps an individual takes.

Our goal in this example is to determine a data-driven decision on, “what activity can I do to increase my number of steps per week?”

Data analytics can be broken down into three levels.

Data, Information and Insight. With each level of the triangle we get closer to being able to make data driven decisions that positively impact our organization.

  1. Data – the raw numbers collected while doing some process. The “data” Fitbit provides would be the total number of steps a person took in one week. Although important to know, it’s hard to turn this raw data into action that can make a meaningful impact on your steps each week. Just because you know you took 57,000 steps last week; you can’t tell if the steps are trending up, trending down, what time of the day do we have the most steps, etc.
  2. Information – the aggregation of the data points put together in an effort to show trends. Again, looking at Fitbit data, this could be a graph showing which days of the week on average you had the greatest number of steps. It provides an increased level of scrutiny and shows trends but still falls short in answering questions in the investigatory process of determining how to improve number of steps per week. It certainly would be helpful to know that on Wednesdays you averaged an additional 2,000 steps over the other days of the week, but without digging in deeper we won’t know “why” we took more steps on Wednesdays.
  3. Insight – This is where we answer the “why” question. In our Fitbit example, we want to look at our routine on Wednesdays and see what we are doing that results in more average steps on Wednesdays. Upon investigating, we find that Wednesdays are the days we walk to our favorite coffee spot during lunch. From this discovery, we make a decision to increase our steps per week by walking to our coffee spot every day of the week rather than drinking the coffee that is made in the office. This is a data driven decision made based from insight derived from looking at historical data.

Actionable insights that will grow your practice

In orthodontic practices, the “Data” we derive would be the raw data you can get from your orthodontic practice management systems such as overall conversion rates, production and starts. These numbers are important to collect but as standalone information, have limited ability to improve systems. “Information” would be your dashboards. It will show you trends in a format that is easier to read then raw data but can still be difficult to turn into actionable insights that will grow your practice.

At the height of the pyramid is “Actionable Insights.”  This is where you can turn the data into action that will boost profitability and improve systems. This is where you answer the “why” question.

SmileSuite was created to provide actionable insights and answer the “why” questions. With our three-pronged approach to analytics, our In-depth Reporting System, StartAlytics Data Engine and team of analysts, we provide orthodontic practices all they need to reach the pinnacle of the triangle to make data driven decisions that lead to increased profitability.

Have a “why” question? Contact our team today so we can provide you the data driven solution.

What Does A 15% Boost in Conversion 1 Hour a Week Add Up To?

How to Leverage the Time of Day to Maximize Patient Starts

Ever wonder what time of day has the highest patient conversion rate? Believe it or not, the time of day can affect how your patients make treatment decisions. Recently, scientists put this theory to test and early studies have shown that purchase decisions are influenced based the time of day. It’s an interesting metric for orthodontists to consider to rack up starts and gain a competitive edge.


But how do you easily track this metric?

Hmm, you can manually update spreadsheets, but manual processes are inconsistent and yield unreliable data. Your best option would be to use a smart system, such as SmileSuite, a presentation system aimed at turning consults into contracts.

SmileSuite’s proprietary data engine, StartAlytics, allows orthodontists to dive deep into their patient data and see what time of day patients are saying “eyes” to treatment. Never before has this metric been tracked by other systems.

Finally, orthodontists can see if conversion rates differ between early morning consultations, the after-school rush, and the midday slump. By identifying the time of day patients are most likely to convert, orthodontists can match their highest converting patients to the highest converting time of day. It’s an easy optimization that maximizes starts, and makes your practice more profitable. Use SmileSuite’s data analytics to ramp up starts by reserving your highest converting time for your highest converting patients.

But that’s not all StartAlytics can track.

Here are a few other key data points that can help you make better business decisions:

  • Potential revenue of patients yet to start
  • Average accepted and unaccepted fees for each procedure type
  • Analysis of discount strategies
  • Patient conversion rates
  • Discount analysis to determine if discounts are helping conversions rate or are unnecessary costs
  • Volume of new treatment presentations
  • Top performers
  • Top selling treatments

With the click of a button, SmileSuite can display this information in real-time. No need for complicated reports or tedious spreadsheets. Are you ready to maximize your starts with big data?

Reduce New Patient Lag Periods and Increase Your Practice’s Profits


We’ve previously touched upon the patient journey, which explains the steps patients take from the time they discover your practice to the time they sign the contract. Here’s a brief overview of that journey.`

— Phase 1: Discovery’“ This is when a patient discovers you through your marketing content and learns more about your practice
— Phase 2: Consideration ‘“ During this phase, a patient attends a consultation and is considering treatment
— Phase 3: Decision’“ This typically takes place after they leave the consultation room and it’s the phase when patients decide whether or not to start treatment


Great marketing content will make your practice discoverable; an impressive presentation will give your practice credibility during the consideration phase; and proper follow-up will help patients decide that your practice is right for their treatment.

All orthodontists need to pay close attention to the “decision” phase, especially the amount of time patients spend deciding before signing the contract, in other words the “lag period.”

If your practice has an average lag period that is very long, it is likely that potential patients are dropping off, resulting in thousands of dollars in lost business. A long lag period could also indicate that you are not following-up enough, or that there are inefficiencies within your follow-up protocol.

But how do you measure the lag period?

Say hello to SmileSuite, an orthodontic presentation system aimed at turning consults into contracts. Prior to SmileSuite, practices haven’t been able to efficiently track this metric, making it impossible to know whether follow-up protocols are effective.

With SmileSuite, not only can you track follow-up on all patients, but also follow-ups on individual treatment recommendations.


For example, you can track the lag period for patients who are presented clear aligners. If there’s a long lag period, you can make adjustments with the way Treatment Coordinators are following up. Perhaps more follow-up is needed, or more information about clear aligners should be provided to educate the patient to help them decide sooner.

Simple changes to your follow-up protocols could lead to bigger profits. So isn’t it time you had a system like SmileSuite, to help you figure out what you need to fix?

How to Identify the Right Patients for Virtual Orthodontic Consultations

Is your orthodontic practice wasting a lot of time presenting treatment to patients who don’t convert?


In the last month, how many hours has your treatment coordinator spent presenting to patients who passed on treatment or went silent after the consultation? We don’t want to turn away business, but we can maximize profitability if we provide our top converting patients the best consultation times?

One solution is conducting virtual consultations.

It’s a growing trend where patients only visit the office for standard photos, x-rays, and models, followed by a video or teleconference for their treatment and financial options. This is usually reserved for low converting patients.

Easy way to save time? Definitely! But how do you know which patients are “low converting” and should receive a virtual consult? You could take a guess. But before you do that, think of your business as plane, and you are the pilot. Would you “guess” which direction to steer the plane? No way. Smart business decisions are not born from guesses. Smart businesses’ decisions are backed by data.

Meet SmileSuite, an orthodontic presentation system aimed at turning consults to contracts.

This powerful presentation system was created to help orthodontists steer their businesses in the right direction. Instead of guessing which patients are the ideal fit for virtual consultations, SmileSuite’s real-time data will reveal common patterns among patients who are less likely to start.

For example, log into SmileSuite and run reports of your conversion rates over the past three months. You’ll notice trends that you can use to determine the right candidates for virtual consults. Maybe adult patients referred from a certain referral source are your lowest converting patients. Maybe it’s patients form a particular zip code. With SmileSuite’s Startalytics you’ll be able to dissect the data with expert precision to identify your lowest converting patients and in turn, determine your best candidates for virtual consultations.

Thanks to SmileSuite, it’s now easy to identify which patients are ideal candidates for virtual consultations.

Tape measure showing 10feet

Finally, A way to Accurately Measure Marketing ROI

Measuring the return on investment of your marketing efforts ensures you are not wasting time and money on ineffective marketing strategies.

Marketing ROI is measured by the total profit you receive, minus the marketing investment. Ideally, you’ll want a positive return on your investment, which means you are making more profit than what you’re spending to attract new patients.


Many orthodontists don’t bother tracking the ROI of their campaigns. This is a big mistake. According to a Nielsen study, “on average, advertising effectiveness could be increased 30 – 40%, simply by taking a look at how well your campaigns are performing.” The key takeaway is that you need to observe the performance of your marketing campaigns so that you can spend more on what’s working, and eliminate what isn’t. The end result is more money in your bottom line.

So how do orthodontists measure the ROI on direct mail pieces, commercials, billboards, and other forms of advertising?

Easy! You use SmileSuite, a presentation system aimed at turning consults into contracts. Within SmileSuite, you can create referral source tags, so you can track which marketing campaigns drive consultations and starts.

Here’s an example of how to track the ROI of a direct mail piece using SmileSuite. Begin by creating a referral source code labeled “Direct Mail – April 2019.”


Check back within a month or two, after you’ve compiled enough data from your consultations. Log in to StartAlytics, SmileSuite’s proprietary data engine, and pull up the referral source.

SmileSuite will unveil:

  • The demographics and zip codes of patients who were referred by the direct mail piece. This will help you identify whether or not you are attracting your target patient. If you’d like more information on attracting your target patient, we think you’ll enjoy this article. LINK TO Improve your marketing ROI by honing in on your ideal patient with laser precision –  Link to Marketing #1 Article
  • How much production the direct mail piece generated. You’ll see the straight value this marketing effort brought to your practice. It should be at least 3x more than what you spent creating the direct mail piece.
  • Patient conversion rates. This will show you whether or not the direct mail piece is resulting in starts. You may find the direct mail piece is generating many consultations, but they are not converting. This is an indication that this marketing effort is wasting time in consultations with patients who will never start treatment in your practice. It’s a strategy you’ll need to reconsider.
  • Appliances patients are choosing. Again, is this marketing effort attracting your target patient? Perhaps you set a goal to generate more clear aligner business, but you’re finding that this direct mail piece is bringing in children. You may want to reevaluate its design, so that it is more aligned with your target patients’ needs.


Based on this data, you no longer have to waste time and money on marketing efforts that simply don’t work. Let SmileSuite help you make data-driven decisions so that you can increase the profitability of your practice.

The Perfect Match – How to Pair Patients With Treatment Coordinators to Increase Starts

On any given day, your orthodontic practice may see a wide range of treatments, including everything from mild Class I crowding to extreme skeletal deformities. Every treatment is different, and obviously requires its own triage. No two cases are alike. And just like there are a variety of treatments and options, it’s important to also understand that the personalities, ages, and backgrounds of your patients also vary. The demographic makeup of each patient is unique.

“Why is this important?”

We’re glad you asked! You see, Treatment Coordinators may be more compatible with certain demographics over others. It’s important to understand how well your TCs convert patients along all demographic lines, so that the right TC is matched with the right patient. A perfect match could result in more starts.

But keeping track of TC conversion rates against patient demographics hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been nearly impossible’¦until SmileSuite, an orthodontic presentation system aimed at turning consults into contracts. SmileSuite easily provides you with important metrics that will help you make smarter decisions, so that your orthodontic practice is more profitable. It is the only system that can track the conversion rates of your TCs based on in-depth patient demographics.

For instance, do you know how well your TCs performs with kids versus adults?

You can use SmileSuite to run reports on the performance of all your TCs based on patients’ age ranges. If you find that one TC performs very well with adults, you may want to match this TC with all adult patients that come in for a consultation. Another alternative would be to provide training to the TC on the demographic group they don’t connect well with. After making changes, be sure to check back with SmileSuite and see if there is an overall improvement in start rates.

Finally, there’s an easy way to make smart, data-driven decisions. Increase your starts with SmileSuite by matching patients to the perfect TC.

Times Square buildings and advertisement screens

How Data Metrics can be used to Create Impactful ads for your Orthodontic Practice

Whether you need to create a flyer, a direct mail piece, a billboard, or even a Facebook ad, knowing your target patient is essential in order to create an effective advertisement piece. Here are a few tips that will make your ads stand out and drive more patients to the consultation room.


Learn about your patients and top performing treatments

Use SmileSuite, a presentation system aimed at turning consults into contracts, to learn more about which patients are likely to start treatment in your practice. SmileSuite’s powerful data engine, StartAlytics can help you identify the zip codes you can expect the highest conversion rates based on your practice’s previous performance. You can also identify which treatments and appliances perform best and uncover key patient demographics.

Design your ad with your target patient in mind

The messages and images on your ad should be created with your target patient in mind. If StartAlytics reveals that certain zip codes have high conversion rates with a particular demographic, such as young children who are Phase I patients, you may want to consider creating a direct mail piece that highlights your family friendly treatments. It’s important for your target patient to see themselves in your ads and connect with the message. The more data you can provide your marketing team about your target patient, the more effective your advertising strategy will be. Use SmileSuite to precisely measure your marketing ROI.

Add a patient testimonial

Adding a patient testimonial to an ad or flyer gives you credibility in the form a third-party endorsement. It’s an effective way to earn trust from potential patients. Make sure the patient you feature in the testimony reflects your target patient, and always ask for permission to use their testimony.

Include an effective call to action

A call to action inspires an immediate response from potential patients and tells them what they should do next in order to engage with your practice. If you would like them to book a complimentary consultation, make sure to list exactly how they should do that. Whether it be to call for an appointment or to schedule a visit online, include a detailed statement that will help the patient take the next step.

Using Data Analytics to Maximize Marketing ROI by Honing in on your Ideal Patient

Successful orthodontists understand how important marketing is in order to attract new patients.

A good marketing strategy will keep you afloat. But in today’s competitive environment a “good” strategy is not enough. You need a great strategy to give you an advantage over the competition. So, if you don’t have a marketing plan in place, perhaps it’s time to finally create one. Think of a marketing plan like a roadmap, a guide that will show you how to go from a few patients to a full appointment book. The first step in creating a great marketing plan, is to understand who your target patients are and where to find them.


Dare we ask . . . Do you know who is your target patient is and where they’re located? You may be thinking, “anyone in my city who needs orthodontic treatment, obviously.” Yes, you are correct, but the answer is a bit more complicated than that. You need to not only understand:

  • Who is your target patient – children, teens, or adults?
  • Where are they located – zip codes, proximity to the office, etc.?
  • What types of treatments and appliances do they need ?

Most importantly, you need to understand who are the patients that will provide you with the highest value, at lowest possible cost to market to them.

Understanding this is key so you know where to send direct mailers, which newspapers to place ads in, and where to geo-target your Facebook ads.

But if you’re like most orthodontists, you probably need some help figuring this out.

How do you find where potential patients are located?

Say hello to SmileSuite, an orthodontic presentation system aimed at turning consults into contracts. Before SmileSuite, there wasn’t an easy way to extract important data needed to create a marketing strategy that actually produced results. Let’s look at how SmileSuite, with its groundbreaking StartAlytics, can be used to craft a marketing strategy that will generate a positive return on your investment.

Start by logging in to StartAlytics and use the filters to show you which zip codes have the highest production AND conversion rates. You may find some areas have good production, but low conversion rates. This means you should probably avoid a high marketing investment in this area, as it will likely lead to a negative return. You don’t want to spend marketing dollars on patients who are not likely to convert.

On the other hand, you may find some zip codes have very high conversion rates, but low production. A-ha, here’s an opportunity. This looks like a zip code you’ll want to have more marketing presence in. This is definitely an area you’ll want to move to the top of your marketing plan.

Based on this data, you no longer have to guess where your patients are located.

You’ll know with certainty where to deploy marketing campaigns that will produce a healthy return on your advertising investment, and will result in more patients starting.

It’s time to put SmileSuite to work. Create a smart marketing plan and improve your marketing ROI with StartAlytics.