It's not about you!

July 1, 2008
Every dentist I meet thinks that for some reason he or she is a master advertiser and marketer.

For more on this topic, go to www.dentaleconomics.com and search using the following key words: dental branding, dental marketing, dental advertising, Prosites.

Every dentist I meet thinks that for some reason he or she is a master advertiser and marketer. The dental ads we primarily see are basically ego trips for dentists, who plaster their faces on the ads, and create copy that reads how wonderful they are.

I have a simple lesson to teach you about marketing that I hope you'll take to heart. The American public, the average consumers, your patients, at the end of the day, do not care about you, your education, your car, your clothes, your house, your kids, or your life. Patients care about themselves! If they're coming to you for treatment, it's in order to make them look and feel better, not to make you look and feel better.

Let's learn some examples from the leaders in dental advertising and marketing about where dental marketing should be. The two dental companies that are currently the most well known to consumers are 1-800-DENTIST and the Lumineers Smile Discovery Program.

The first lesson we can learn from both of these companies is branding. Branding is when people recognize a name as soon as they hear it and understand the purpose of the name. Most dentists think that their personal name is the brand of their office. They couldn't be more wrong.

We branded our office 25 years ago by calling it The Healthy Smile. Most people in our community know the name because of our external marketing efforts. You should come up with a good branded name to help patients remember who you are and what you do.

The second big lesson we can learn is to identify what patients want and advertise to those needs and wants, not ours. Patients care about themselves first and foremost. If a patient needs a dentist for his or her general needs, 1-800-DENTIST can help that patient find a great dentist immediately. The Lumineers Smile Discovery Program advertises to what patients want, which is minimally invasive, no-pain esthetic dentistry. They will then refer the patient to one of their members.

The third lesson we can learn from these companies is how to talk to patients, and how to treat them when we have them on the phone. Our office recently received referrals from both of the programs mentioned above. The patients had never met the people they spoke with, but were still told how wonderful our office is. Treatment acceptance then becomes very easy when a referral like that comes into the office.

There is a lot more to external marketing than what I have presented here. An esthetic Web site is essential for every dental practice. You should outsource your Web site to a company with well-prepared modules to which you can just add your name and address. We looked at about 15 different companies before deciding on Prosites, a Web site company that came from the plastic surgery field. The company provides some of the esthetic Web sites in dentistry at a reasonable cost. Go to prosites.com/smile for its meeting special.

External marketing takes time, money, and the ability to try different things. I sincerely recommend outsourcing your external marketing to companies that can do it well, and do it much better than you can. Hopefully, this article has given you a little insight as to what is involved in branding to help you create the practice of your dreams.

Dr. Louis Malcmacher is a practicing general dentist in Bay Village, Ohio, and an internationally known lecturer, author, and dental consultant known for his comprehensive and entertaining style. An evaluator for Clinical Research Associates, Dr. Malcmacher is a consultant to the Council on Dental Practice of the ADA. For close to three decades, Dr. Malcmacher has inspired his audiences and consulting clients to truly enjoy doing dentistry by providing the knowledge necessary for excellent clinical and practice management. His group dental practice has maintained a 45% overhead since 1988. You can contact him at (440) 892-1810 or e-mail [email protected]. You can also see his lecture schedule at www.commonsensedentistry.com where you can find information about building the best dental team ever, and sign up for his affordable monthly consulting programs, audio CDs, and free monthly e-newsletter.

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