Building your brand

Marketing is a key component to any business. Establishing a strong, recognizable brand built on trust, integrity, and efficiency is crucial to attracting people to your business and standing apart from competitors. This is no different for dental offices. While patient care is and always will be the main focus of dentists and dental professionals, a dental office is still a business. Whether you're buying or renting practice space, providing a regular payroll for team members, purchasing equipment, or building an ideal team, business responsibilities are very much present in a dental office and must be accounted for.

Rick Workman, DMD

Fortune 500 companies

- 70% use Facebook for marketing purposes

- 69% use YouTube for marketing purposes
Source: The Center for Marketing Research UMass-Dartmouth

Marketing is a key component to any business. Establishing a strong, recognizable brand built on trust, integrity, and efficiency is crucial to attracting people to your business and standing apart from competitors. This is no different for dental offices. While patient care is and always will be the main focus of dentists and dental professionals, a dental office is still a business. Whether you're buying or renting practice space, providing a regular payroll for team members, purchasing equipment, or building an ideal team, business responsibilities are very much present in a dental office and must be accounted for.

Marketing your office is a prime example of an important business element that needs to be taken into consideration. Depending on the size of your community, I imagine there are at least a few other dental offices around. Most likely, you all offer similar dental services. So how do you set your office apart? Certainly traditional methods of marketing (direct mail, print ads, etc.) are excellent ways to spread the word about your office's expertise. But there are additional methods today's dentists can use to best market their offices. Here are a few thoughts:

Create the right image - From the moment patients walk into your office, every part of their experience is making an impression on them. Is your office clean and organized? Did the front desk staff welcome them appropriately? Did they have to wait past their appointment time, and if so, were they notified? Was your team's demeanor welcoming? Was your demeanor welcoming? Was the importance of the treatment recommendations clearly explained? These are questions that patients are continually considering, so it's essential you consider them as well. As you work with your team to create the best experiences for patients, set specific guidelines and expectations. Set team member expectations for ideal patient communication from the moment they walk in the door. Set expectations for yourself when communicating with patients and explaining treatment. Take the time to make your office clean and inviting. When addressing these areas of your office, you will create an ideal image in the minds of your patients. They will continue to visit your office and will be more likely to tell others about the great experiences you provide.

Stay involved in your community - After you create the right image within your office and demonstrate your high level of patient care, there are other opportunities to showcase your commitment outside of your office. By participating in community events, fundraisers, and more, or by holding your own charitable events, you can reach out to even more patients in need, showcase your commitment to your community, and build a long-lasting, positive reputation that helps your office stand out. Your office has many opportunities throughout the year to give back by holding free dentistry events, food drives, and other events. All it takes is a donation of your time and a little planning, and you can positively impact your community and demonstrate your values to the public.

Embrace social media - In today's society, social media is everywhere. From Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and YouTube, just about everyone is involved with social media in some form, including businesses. Social media platforms have become widely used for building brand images. The Center for Marketing Research UMass-Dartmouth reports that 70% of Fortune 500 companies use Facebook for marketing purposes, and 69% use YouTube. The health-care industry is not immune to social media. Doctors and dentists are using social media platforms to build campaigns and share stories that showcase their unique brands. By creating an online forum for sharing and engaging with your audience, you can build stronger patient relations and develop greater awareness for your office. It's an excellent way to inspire others to see what your office is about.

I know you did not attend dental school to be a marketing or social media guru. I understand this, and that's why one of Heartland Dental's focuses is to support dentists with marketing needs. But in today's industry, to be a successful dentist and effectively run a business all at once, you cannot ignore the benefits of learning cutting-edge marketing techniques and building a strong brand image.


Rick Workman, DMD, is founder and chief executive officer of Heartland Dental. After practicing full-time, Dr. Workman created Heartland Dental, a world-class dental support organization offering affiliated dentists nonclinical, administrative support. Heartland Dental has over 625 supported dental offices in 28 states. Dr. Workman may be reached at rworkman@heartland.com.

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