Make a marketing splash

April 1, 2004
How do you market and promote your practice? How do you get the word out to patients — and to other dentists — about the quality of care you offer and the services you provide?

Steve Lynch, DMD

How do you market and promote your practice? How do you get the word out to patients — and to other dentists — about the quality of care you offer and the services you provide? While there are any number of ways this can be done, there's one in particular that I strongly recommend: Capitalize on the fact that you've installed digital radiography equipment. Create a marketing campaign around this revolutionary technology to convey to your patients (and your prospective patients) just how important the issue of quality care is to you.

Haven't installed digital radiography yet? When you learn how effective digital radiography can be in building your practice, my sense is that bringing it into your practice will be at the top of your "to do" list. I installed DEXIS digital radiography equipment in my practice several years ago, and I quickly discovered that an effective way to integrate the technology is to promote and publicize its benefits. DEXIS now provides a press release that you can easily tailor to your practice, announcing that you've installed digital radiography equipment. The release has been professionally written and is available as a download from their Web site. Most dentists I know have found their local newspapers are eager to publish this kind of material.

Issuing a press release is a good start in the strategy to publicize your practice's cutting-edge technology. The release focuses on key things that both current and prospective patients seek. For example, digital radiography reduces radiation exposure up to 90 percent more than many types of film X-rays, and the press release emphasizes this improved safety. It also explains, in terms everyone can understand, the improved diagnostic capability that digital radiography provides. It's a great way to kick off a marketing campaign.

After publicizing your new digital radiography system and your practice through a press release, the next step is incorporating this new technology into your team's patient education program. All of our new patients receive a tour of the office when they come in for their first visit, and we've found that digital radiography is one of the high points of the tour.

People are so used to film X-rays that they aren't aware of a safer and more effective technology is available. In our office tour, we're actually educating them about the reasons they should choose a particular dentist. I've never had a patient, current or first-time, say, "Well, I'm looking for an office that isn't concerned with patient safety and comfort."

Our team members explain the benefits of digital radiography, right down to the fact that DEXIS uses a smaller and more comfortable sensor. Every patient has responded positively to the enhanced safety and comfort our X-ray system affords.

These days, you can't separate the marketing of a dental practice from the practice itself. Dentistry today is highly competitive, and every interaction you have with your patients affects how well you market your practice. Again, digital radiography can make the difference.

One of the things you hear the first time the patient sees a large, clear, well-defined image on the computer screen is "Wow!" It's the patient's reaction to actually being able to see an X-ray image rather than having to take the dentist's word that the cloudy image on a tiny piece of film really does indicate a cavity is present.

The "Wow!" factor represents another aspect of your marketing campaign: word of mouth. People listen to what their neighbors say about their dentists, and this factor pretty much guarantees your patients will spread a positive message among their friends about how good and up-to-date their dentist is.

It's all part of a promotional marketing strategy built around digital radiography. If you've already installed your own system, you know what I'm talking about. If not, it's a strategy that you can begin implementing right now with a simple phone call to your DEXIS representative.

Steve P. Lynch, DMD, is in private practice in Oxford, Ala. Since 1995, he has been teaching dentists, team members, dental students, and faculty the applications of lasers and digital radiography. You may reach Dr. Lynch by email at [email protected], or visit his Web site at www.lynchdmd.com for more information.

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