The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Dental Marketing

Editorial
by Jim Du Molin

I’ve learned to travel with my digital camera just about anywhere I go these days so I can capture examples of interesting signage — both the good and the truly bad examples of dental marketing. I really lucked out when I recently visited a newly-refurbished outdoor shopping mall with a great example of a “banner ad” marketing solution for a dental practice buried behind the front line stores.

Cosmetic Dentistry SignageThis doctor almost perfectly achieved the trifecta of shopping mall marketing, starting with the banner strung in front of his practice. This banner had it all:

 

  • “Personalized & Comfortable:” This is his value statement. What more could a dental patient want from a dental practice?
  • “Cosmetic Dentistry:” This is his targeted high-value patient. Why ask for ordinary dental patients when you can ask for a specific type of high-value patient with an ROI that is four to five times that of a standard patient?
  • Practice Logo: The practice’s logo adds an attention-getting graphic to the banner; it also clearly states the practice’s name, “Strawberry Village Dental Care” – in the Strawberry Mall, in the neighborhood known as Strawberry – a great geographically descriptive name.
  • And most important, a clear call to action statement: “Welcome. Call for Your Appointment Today! 389-3600”

 

 

The second part of this great three-fer mall marketing program is Dental Practice Signage the doctor’s perpendicular drop-down hanging sign from the roof of the mall walkway. The only thing I will have to check next time I visit this site is if this sign is properly lit at night for visibility.Always light your signage (in this case, from both directions for clear visibility), even at night when you are not open.

Strawberry Dental SignageFinally, the third part of a great dental signage promotion is the practice logo painted on the entry door to the office. This is the only flawed part of the presentation – and it’s only a minor flaw. As you can see from the photo, the glare from the glass makes the logo hard to read as you walk by the door. The solution would be to paint a base layer of white paint and then paint the logo on top of the background layer. This eliminates the glare and provides contrast to the logo, making it “pop” on the door, easy to see and read.

My only additional marketing recommendation for this practice would be to attach a clear plastic box to the wall next to the door that would contain a simple new patient offer for walk-by traffic. If you are paying big bucks for a shopping mall location, you want to do everything possible to maximize your marketing opportunities!

Jim Du Molin

Dentist Offers Dental Care for Trade

Uninsured Patients Invited to Barter for Dental Care

Dr. Harry Rayburn of Tupelo, Mississippi, experimented recently with a “Trade Day” at his dental practice. He offered fillings, extractions and cleanings in return for traded items. The event was more about helping uninsured patients than bartering for the actual value of the dental work involved.

Patients started lining up before 6am. Not long after the office opened at 9am, 60 patients had signed in, and the rest had to be turned away. Though that’s three times as many patients as Dr. Rayburn sees on a normal day, he was committed to treating every last one.

Traded items include artwork, bicycles, cakes and pies. Some will be divvied up among the practice’s team members, and the rest will be donated to charity. Dr. Rayburn (who cites the movie “Doc Hollywood” as his inspiration) says he’s considering making “Trade Day” a regular event.

Read more

Dentures: Do They Ever Fit Right?

dentures do they ever fitYou never know what kind of a reaction you could get when you upset a woman — especially one who is 85 years-old, unhappy with her dentures and sitting in your dentist chair.

According to The Smoking Gun, dental patient Virginia Graham became upset when her dentist, Dr. Hammonds, tried to adjust her poor-fitting lower partial dentures.

The adjustment hurt enough for Graham to scream in pain and, remove the partials from her mouth and throw them at Dr. Hammonds.

She demanded a $900 refund, to which her dentist flatly refused, so she felt is (it) necessary to try and grab the dentures from the his hand. A “brief tug-of-war” ensued until, “Graham allegedly bent down and bit Hammonds hand forcing him to let go of the partial.”

Graham then attempted to leave the dental office, but Dr. Hammonds “got in her face and began screaming at her, causing her to fear that he would potentially cause her harm,” as reported by Sheriffs investigators. Deputies report that Graham stated that the dentist physically kept her from leaving his dental office.

Investigators documented “multiple bruising” on Graham’s upper arms and forearms, and her “left upper arm was bleeding due to her skin tearing when Hammonds grabbed her arm.”

Dr. Hammonds was booked into the Volusia County jail on charges of assault, battery, false imprisonment, and a variety of felony charges. He is out on $4,000 bail.

When I first starting working in dental consulting, over 25 years ago, there was a story about a dentist who tried to repossess an unpaid denture. The doctor tackled a female dental patient on the front lawn of the practice. The dentures popped out and he grabbed them in the grass.

The net of this incident was a lawsuit and, if I remember correctly, a $19,000 settlement against the doctor. This case has a lot more drama and it will be interesting to see how it settles out.

How would you have handled this situation?

To see more on this story go to: Denture Battle Leaves Dentist In Braces.

How Dentists Feel About Dental Peer Reviews (video)

How Dentists Feel About Dental Peer Reviews (video)When there is a conflict between dentist and patient, peer-review boards often mediate the dispute.

This means that dentists frequently end up on the losing side of the peer review equation.

Said one dentist, “Review boards are not impartial and fair, just interested in giving money back to patients.”

One endodontist professed, “It’s far better that getting involved in the judicial system!”

These are just two of the comments dentists offered The Wealthy Dentist when surveyed about the dental peer-review process.

Click on Play to hear more from dentists on how they answered the survey question: Have you been disappointed by dental peer-review?

What are your thoughts on dental peer-reviews?

Dental Marketing: Dentists See a Difference in Online Dental Patients

Dental Marketing: Dentists See a Difference in Online Dental PatientsIn The Wealthy Dentist’s weekly survey, we recently asked: Are patients who find you online any different from patients who find you via more traditional methods?

The dentists we polled were pretty split on this dental marketing issue.

34% of those polled said, “No, I don’t see a difference.

While 23% of the dentist respondents felt that online dental patients are more likely to follow through with treatment; the other 24% felt online patients are less likely to follow through with treatment.

Another 19% felt that word-of-mouth referrals by patients are the best type of dental patients to follow through with treatment.

One dentist replied, “Word-of-mouth referrals brings in the most loyal patients!

Dental Marketing: Dentists See a Difference in Online Dental Patients

Dentist certainly have different opinions about online verses traditional patients! Here are some of the comments we received on this survey:

“Referral patients have more trust from the beginning. Online patients are typically younger and not as financially able to afford treatment.” (General dentist)

“The majority of our big cases the past few years have come from the Internet.” (Minnesota dentist)

“The younger dental patient is more tech savvy and tend to believe what they read on-line. They are less critical thinking and very wed to their smart phones. They are also not big conversationalists.” (California dentist)

“They were motivated to look for a dentist. However, they also are more likely to have been regular patients elsewhere and have little work to be completed; may be prophy only.” (Texas dentist)

“The stronger the site encouraging appointments the better the lead. Most dental websites are so easy to give information, but the prospect is not ready or willing to come in.” (New York dentist)

“For me, a cold online lead is not unlike a patient who drove by and saw my sign. They are a tougher sell than a true internal referral. A Facebook referral can be close to an internal referral when referred by an existing patient.” (Georgia dentist)

“Online patients have done their research and know a lot about our office before becoming patients. They are certainly more likely to follow through with recommended treatment.” (Ohio dentist)

“Online patients are generally young, looking for the best price and not dentally educated. Anyone who chooses a dentist based upon online reviews sees dentistry no different than a gas station or a supermarket.” (Massachusetts dentist)

The rising popularity of researching dental care online proves that for an increasing number of dental patients, factors like online reviews and easily finding a dentist online, seeing what dentist family and friends recommend online, and getting to know the dental practice before ever stepping foot through the front door may continue to outweigh the advantages that traditional offline dental marketing has offered in the past.

What are your thoughts on traditional verses online dental patients? Do you notice a difference?

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