Facebook Dental Marketing (Video)

Dental marketing with FacebookFacebook dental marketing is picking up steam.

But a lot of dentists still don’t know how to use social media for internet dental marketing.

“It’s educational for new and current patients,” said a Minnesota dentist. “Facebook is a necessity in today’s social media driven society.”

“Not a huge hit yet, but lots of potential for referrals from our patients that not only ‘Like’ us, but love us: our raving fans,” said an Illinois dentist.

We conducted a survey asking dentists if they have a Facebook Business Page. About two thirds of the respondents have one.

Jim Du Molin and Julie Frey discuss how dentists are using Facebook in their dental practice marketing:

Most dentists use Facebook for dental practice marketing in the following ways:

  • to share basic information about their business
  • to share content like videos and images
  • to connect with current dental patients
  • to offer specials and discounts

About one third of our surveyed dentists use it for connecting with peers in dentistry.

Half of the dentists who aren’t on Facebook said they’re just not sure what to do.

“I don’t use it very well or very much,” said a California dentist. “I also don’t really know what to do. I’m sure it’s something I SHOULD be doing. I wish I could learn and arrange time to do everything I SHOULD be doing.”

“I’m not sure how the best, most cost-effective way to use it in a way that fits our practice,” wondered an Alabama dentist.

The best thing to do is to use Facebook as just one part of your overall internet dental marketing strategy — link your dental website and your practice’s Facebook profile to attract more new patients.

“We are able to connect not only with our own patients, but also with their Facebook friends when they like or share one of our posts or videos,” said a Missouri dentist. “It helps us to get the word out.”

Does your practice have a Facebook page?

Dental Practice Marketing is Part of a Dentist’s Job

Melinda Spitek The “New Patient” Mystique: Build It and They Will Come?
Special Marketing Feature
By Melinda Spitek, CEO, Hycomb Marketing

In the classic movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner’s movie character has a vision of building a stadium and attracting long-dead baseball stars to come back and play ball. We the audience get caught up in the dream and, like the hero, start to believe the players will truly show up. But the truth is, it’s only a fantasy.

It’s not surprising that even in today’s competitive market for the new dental patient, some of the powers-that-be advocate the classic approach to dental practice building: word of mouth referral from satisfied patients. Effectively, dentists are encouraged to “Build it and hope they will come.”

So, should you be actively involved in soliciting new patients, or merely waiting for your current patients to “tell a friend?”

The answer is both. We’ve all heard dentists say, “Our best patients are referred by our best patients.” Certainly, that’s true. But should you just sit around and hope? I’ll bet dentists who do nothing to stimulate referrals do a lot of waiting – not to mention have plenty of empty chair time.

Alas, new patients just don’t magically appear. Perhaps you’re disinclined to mount an aggressive direct mail effort to solicit new patients. Or maybe you feel newspaper, magazine, or radio would be overly restricted by your state’s guidelines. At a bedrock minimum, then, you should be getting referrals from the best source of all – your current patients – by asking for them!

I know that, for some of you, asking for referrals is tough. You may even think it denigrates your professional image. But I assure you, that’s not true. Your current patients are coming to you because they believe in your abilities. Why shouldn’t they be honored and flattered when asked to refer their own friends or relatives?

You can punctuate the referral process with patient referral cards – Smile Cards.* These are business-size cards in which space is provided for the new patient to write in the name of the person who referred them. A win-win situation: the new patient receives a monetary incentive to make an appointment with you, and the referring patient receives a similar reward.

You may want to supplement your referrals effort by reaching out to potential new patients in other means of advertising. However, there are a few things to keep in mind here. Some states are very restrictive when it comes to professional dental services advertising. Before you begin to spend, make sure you’re knowledgeable about guidelines. An even better idea is to hire a professional dental marketing agency familiar with your needs and your state’s regulations.

*Smile Cards (design and text) are a Copyright product of Hycomb Marketing Inc. (Created by Jim Du Molin)

Melinda Spitek is CEO of Hycomb Marketing Inc. Hycomb is an authority in marketing for dentists. Melinda has had plenty of hands-on experience as well, having worked 23 years in dental offices. For help with marketing, just call Hycomb at (800) 523-6961 or visit www.hycomb.com.

Is Cosmetic Dentistry an Industry or an Art?

Everyone Loses if Health and Aesthetics Are at Odds

Last week’s editorial, Is Cosmetic Dentistry Dying?, stirred several comments, both insightful and controversial, about the future of cosmetic dentistry. (I’ve added highlighting.)

Are dentists losing control of cosmetics?

“I’m not at all surprised that cosmetic dentistry is on the decline. In fact, I’ve been saying this for at least 3-4 years. The manner in which dentistry embraced the need for everyone to have white, straight teeth as a life-changing necessity reminded me of the economic bubbles which have lead to catastrophic financial decline. Tooth whitening booths staffed by non-professionals seem to be legal and now abound in shopping malls, advertising their services with statements like ‘Why pay dentists hundreds of dollars when…’ Will prep-free veneers be the next service available over-the-counter?”

Larry Barsh, DMD
Founder, SnoringIsntSexy.com

Is it our own fault for being short-sighted?

“The trend is really not that surprising. Part of the problem is that dentists began to advertise and market towards cosmetic procedures and treated these issues prior to getting the patient healthy. This of course goes back to the opposing views between being in health care (as dentistry should be viewed by both patients and providers) versus being a business in which the bottom line is profit. Since cosmetic treatments are generally not covered by insurance, and are usually financially rewarding, many of our colleagues lost sight of our basic requirement (to get the mouth healthy) and performed treatment modalities the patient desired. Some of these treatments have failed because of the short sightedness of the doctor and now add in the financial disarray of the country and the declining trend is obvious. People are now trying to get by with the minimum.

Lawrence Bartos

So what does it mean?

I see at least three themes here: (1) the economics of dentistry; (2) dentistry’s obligation to health care; and (3) consumer demand. The trade-offs of the first two can be argued to infinity. But these arguments all get thrown to the wayside in light of “Consumer Demand.”

Last week’s graph is characteristic of consumer demand.

Cosmetic dentistry web trends

We have to remember that Cosmetic Dentistry has become an industry. Just count up the number of “Cosmetic Gurus” on the speaking circuit, the Cosmetic Institutes, and the number of Cosmetic Materials and Equipment suppliers. All of these groups have a major economic investment in beating the drum and growing the industry.

Even more important are the tens of thousands of dentists who have invested their hard-earned time and money in this industry. Cosmetics allow dentists to express themselves as artists. “Art” is an emotion. And I believe that it is this artistic emotion that has driven the Cosmetic Dental Industry to this point.

The real question, which we will explore next week, is centered on the “Demand” side of the equation. Is the market for cosmetic dentistry dying in face of the lack of consumer demand?

Post your comments

Holistic Dentistry: Methods for the “Alternative Dentist”

Holistic dentist: alternative dentistryDentists: why should you care about “Alternative” dental approaches? Because large segments of your dental market care. In these tough economic times, it pays to know enough about these alternatives to be able to discuss them intelligently when patients ask questions about them. From a dental marketing point of view, it is imperative that you treat these questions with respect.

Do you know exactly what holistic dentistry is? How about “biological dentistry”? What about things like dental homeopathic medicine, Dental Somatic Integration™, and mercury chelation therapy?

Well, this week I’ll walk you through some of what “alternative dentistry” has to offer…

Dr. Weston Price, DDS (1870-1948) is the dentist often considered the father of the holistic dental movement. In comparing “modern” cultures with traditional, tribal peoples, he concluded that our modern diet leads to all manner of health and dental problems: caries, impacted wisdom teeth, allergies, fatigue, and even cancer. [Learn more about Dr. Weston Price]

Dr. Price also campaigned passionately against root canals, arguing that they leaked bacteria and other toxic materials into the body. To this day, many a holistic dentist opposes root canal therapy.

Holistic dentistry (sometimes called “wholistic dentistry“) – like all types of holistic medicine – dictates that the patient be treated as a whole person. This view of the holistic dentist is somewhat at odds with today’s widespread concept of dentists as oral health practitioners who have little to do with the rest of the body.

Nutrition and body chemistry are key concerns of holistic dentistry. Holistic dentists may use blood tests or hair samples to monitor patients’ nutrient levels, offering nutritional supplements or dietary counseling.

Holistic medicine strives to meet the psychological, emotional and spiritual needs of its patients, helping to tap self-healing potential. It also views the whole person as deeply connected to the person’s physical and emotional environment. [Learn more about holism]

Some holistic dentists also use homeopathic medicine, which is a particular form of alternative medicine. Based on the concept of “like cures like,” homeopathic medicines are successive dilutions of a natural substance that causes symptoms similar to those the practitioner is trying to cure. [Learn more about homeopathic medicine]

Though most often practiced by chiropractors, applied kinesiology issometimes used by holistic dentists. Dental Somatic Integration™ is based on the idea that fixing tooth problems can heal pain or injury in other parts of the body. [Learn more about Dental Somatic Integration™]

TMJ patients may be offered cranial therapy (also known as “cranial osteopathy” or “craniosacral therapy“) to relieve TMJ pain. This therapy involves manipulating the bones of the skull and jaw as well as the “rhythm” of the cerebrospinal fluid.

Biological dentistry focuses on using bio-compatible dental materials, acknowledging that different patients may have different biocompatibility. The biological dentist is particularly concerned with mercury and other metals used in dental restorations, both in terms of toxicity and “oral galvanism” (electrical currents generated by these metals). Biological dentists also argue that many patients have areas of decay and dead tissue, known as dental interference fields or foci. [Learn more about Biological dentistry]

Mercury-free dentistry (not quite the same thing as mercury-safe dentistry) has perhaps gained the most widespread acceptance. A number of dentists (according to our survey on mercury amalgam fillings, up to half of dentists) feel that mercury amalgam may not be a safe treatment. Most commonly, these dentists offer composite fillings instead. Some actually recommend patients have existing silver fillings removed. A few even offer chelation therapy as a way of removing toxic mercury from the body.

Want to learn more? Here are some links you may find interesting:

Dentists: Ever Search for Yourself Online? (video)

online searchesOnline reviews of dentists are becoming more important as more dental patients use the Internet to find a dentist. From a marketing perspective, they’re great — as long as no one is trashing you.

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey that asked dentists if they searched for themselves online. 83% of dentists surveyed answered yes.

“From a marketing point of view, all dentists should know if and where they are on search engines (increasingly patients pick their dentist from an Internet search), and what is being said about the practice/dentist,” said a Washington orthodontist.

Click on play to watch the survey video and hear the full survey results –

Here are a few free websites that can help you monitor your online reputation

1. Social Mention @ www.socialmention.com
A free online search tool that searches the Internet (especially social media) for any conversations being posted about you.

2.  Board Tracker @ www.boardtracker.com
A free online forum search tool that searches forums mentioning you or your dental practice.

3.  Twitter Search @ search.twitter.com
Real-time search for what is being said on Twitter. Be sure to try searches with a # sign in front of your name too.

4.  Google Alerts @ www.google.com/alerts
A free tool where you enter the topic you wish to monitor along with your email address and alerts will be emailed to you whenever Google discovers your topic online.

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