What’s a Dentist Need To Do To Get Some Press? Not That Much!

Editorial
by Jim Du Molin

It doesn’t take a marketing genius to realize that getting your name in the local paper could be good for business (as long as you’re not making headlines for a scandal!). But perhaps you’re not sure what you do that’s newsworthy. Well, the bar is sometimes a lot lower than you might think – it just takes one small good deed, at the right place and the right time. And it doesn’t hurt to have a photographer nearby.

Dr. Tom Davis, a dentist in Binghamton, NY, made news in his local paper after he stopped to help a neighbor whose car was stuck in the snow. He was driving home when he saw a woman spinning her tires in vain, her small sedan no match for the pile of snow it was perched atop. So Dr. Davis called two assistants, grabbed a shovel, and helped the woman extricate her car. When a local reporter with a camera happened upon the scene, the simple favor became a newsworthy act. Now everyone who reads the Binghamton paper knows what a great guy Dr. Davis is. Not bad for free publicity, huh?

But let’s say no reporters stumble upon you in your most heroic moment. Have no fear! It doesn’t take a lot of work on your part to get yourself and your practice in the news – and that’s free publicity. Let’s take a moment to look at the power of press releases.

First off, you need to start with some
newsworthy item. Some examples:

 

  • You or your practice has received an award or honor.
  • You’ve gotten new equipment or introduced a new service.
  • You’ve done or are going to do something for the community: free dental care to local kids, a charitable donation, volunteer work in another country, etc.
  • Your practice has moved to a new location.

 

 

In creating your press release, think locally. Be sure the text includes your city, state, zip code and possibly county. Remember, most users search the internet to find local products or services. Including information about where you’re located makes the local media more likely to notice and pick up on your story. You’ll also want to send copies of your press release to the local media – they are your friends! You’ll pick up more clients from a spot in your local news than from any national media.

Make sure your press release is long enough to look respectable – that means at least 150 words. In fact, your release can be as long as 500-1000 words (for your reference, this article is about 650 words long). Keep in mind, however, that most news outlets won’t reproduce the whole thing. That’s why most press releases are written in the inverted pyramid format, which means that the most important information is at the beginning of the document. That way, it reads smoothly even if paragraphs are lopped off the bottom. Remember the old adage: who, what, where, when and why.

Finally, if it’s an option, consider scheduling your release in advance. This gives the local media, bloggers and consumers time to read your release and research your practice beforehand. That way, you’ll get more press on the day of the big announcement or more visitors to your event.

Press releases can seem daunting at first, but they’re pretty simple, and they’re a great avenue for publicity. If you’re not sure where to start, see Wikipedia for a good overview of press releases. There are lots of sites for press releases out there (for example, PR News Wire and Business Wire) – a quick Internet search will show you hundreds more. And don’t forget to include the local media – not just newspapers, but TV stations, radio stations, and popular local websites.

Jim Du Molin

Dental Care Is Health Care Too

Wyoming Dental Hygienist Offers HIV Testing

A Wyoming dental hygienist has teamed up with an AIDS educator to offer HIV testing right in the dentist’s office! The CDC recommended this fall that voluntary HIV screening become a part of regular medical care for all teens and adults. Hygienist Stacy Smith is doing her part by offering to take an oral swab as part of her standard dental cleaning routine. The swabs are sent to an outside lab for analysis, and results take about two weeks. Once she completes her training, Smith will offer OraQuick testing, which returns results in only 20 minutes.

Other dental practices have not been quick to join the trend. Fear of a positive HIV test result has kept some doctors away. A crucial aspect of offering testing is being able to properly handle notification and follow-up should a positive result arise. In addition, some dentists may be wary of being perceived as “the AIDS dentist.” And last (but certainly not least) are financial considerations: the program is state-funded and so offered free to patients, but that model doesn’t apply to dentists in private practice.

Wyoming’s HIV rates are relatively low. With a population of about half a million, the state’s Department of Health estimates that about 140 residents are living with HIV/AIDS. Of course, 25% of those infected with HIV in the US don’t know it. Since they don’t know they’re infected, they’re far more likely to infect someone else. Smith is enthusiastic about making testing more commonplace. She also thinks it’s a natural match for dentists and dental hygienists, because HIV infection can lead to changes in the mouth.

Learn more about this innovative program by reading the full story.

Radio Contest Great for IDA Dentist!

How to Turn Free Dental Work into Free Advertising

One IDA dentist has been working hard to use the marketing know-how he’s picked up from The Wealthy Dentist to pick up new patients and increase name recognition of his practice. Dr. Jeff Clay of Shady Spring, West Virginia, teamed up with local radio station WTNJ-FM to offer a holiday dental giveaway.

Listeners are invited to enter on the radio’s website (where there’s a prominent link to Dr. Clay’s IDA site, of course!). Visitors get to vote on which candidate needs dental work the most, and the winner will receive up to $2,000 in free dental work from Dr. Clay’s practice. In return for providing free care, the radio station is airing 100 60-second contest promos and another 100 five-second spots – that’s a $2400 advertising value!

How brilliant is Dr. Clay’s strategy? Remember, there are more ways to pay for advertising than with money alone!

Check out Dr. Clay’s “Two Front Teeth” radio ad, and look how the contest is being promoted on WNTJ’s website!

All Dental Marketing is Systems!

Editorial
by Jim Du Molin

94% of success is the system, 6% is creativity.

This statement comes from W. Edwards Deming, the master of system design and technology. After WWII, Deming went to Japan to rebuild industry using systems that target quality. He practiced it, he preached it, and it’s now become accepted truth in business that 94% of success is the system and 6% is creativity.

I’m going to be giving you systems as part of the TheWealthyDentist.com program for marketing. These are straightforward, step-by-step systems, and it’s important that you follow them.

All you have to do to personalize our system is enter in your contact information. Change Dr. Sample to your name, change the 123 Main Street address to your own address, and use your phone number. That’s all you really have to do for success with our training programs.

I’ve seen lots of marketing problems over the years. Sometimes a doctor will say, “Hey, I got this great idea from Jim Du Molin of The Wealthy Dentist. I also talked to Pride and went to their seminar. And then I had a great seminar with Bill Blanchford. So I took the idea from Jim, and I took one from Blanchford, and I took one from Pride, and I kind of combined them together into this one big great idea.

Guess what? It won’t work. To be successful in your dental marketing, you must preserve the integrity of the system. I don’t care what system you use. The key thing here is to use one system consistently because it is designed to work as a whole. When you take bits and pieces of different ideas and put them together, you can defeat the entire system. So stay with your system.

First, choose systems that complement your personality. I can’t stress this enough. It’s important! For example, I know one doctor who has an elephant. A literal elephant. And this doctor would go on late-night TV in his jeans, flannel shirt, and cowboy hat, riding his elephant. He’d say, “Come one, come all, and come on down and see the biggest teeth in town!” He was comfortable with that style of practice marketing.

Now, the question I’ve got to ask you is: would you be comfortable sitting on the back of an elephant telling everybody to come on down to your dental office? Perhaps not. What works for one doctor is not necessarily going to work for all doctors. This is what you’ve got to be careful about when you’re selecting your marketing strategies. You’ve got to make sure that they complement your personality.

Next, we want to start with strategies that have the lowest cost of acquisition. Why spend a dollar more than you need to before you have to? So start with the strategies that cost the least to acquire, then build up as needed and as new patients join the practice.

The third thing to remember is to choose systems that target the types of patients you want and screen out undesirables. We all know who the undesirable patient is. It’s the patient who calls you at 11:30 on Saturday night with a toothache and wants you to prescribe drugs over the phone. The systems that we’re going to teach you through The Wealthy Dentist are geared to pushing those types away and attracting those kinds of people who appreciate a true professional in the community. That’s what we want.

And finally, we want marketing strategies that preheat the patients for case acceptance. You’ve probably all heard this one, but the best patient you can get is the one who walks through the door and says, “Doctor, Mrs. Weatherbee sent me. She said that you were the kindest, best doctor in the entire community and that she’s never been to a better dentist. I’ll pay for all my services in cash. I just want to be a member of your practice.”

So what do you say when you hear this?

You say, “Yes!”

What did it cost you to get this referral? Absolutely nothing other than treating your current patients correctly. That’s a highly preheated patient. She’s going to accept the dental treatment that you recommend. She’s the ideal patient, and the Wealthy Dentist wants to help you find her and others just like her!

Jim Du Molin

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