Editor’s Note for the e-book ‘Dental Marketing the 101 guide’, special new year feature by DentalReach, January 2021.
We live in a world of cut-throat competition, where all want to be the best. A hard working dentist will work on his skills to be better than the dentist next door. A smart working dentist will work on his skills, and make it known to the world! If you want a good practice, you must primarily be a good dentist. But it may not be enough in a situation where clinics are mushrooming in every street. The one thing which can give you an edge is – dental marketing!
To be a good clinician, you must be updated with clinical knowledge and practical skills. To be a popular clinician, you must be a good clinician with a good marketing system!
That is why, Team DentalReach decided to come up with the perfect companion for your dental practice journey – Dental Marketing the 101 guide – completely authored by Dr Rockson Samuel*, an aspiring unicorn marketer and in this editor’s note, I* present to you 4 experts*, providing valuable insights into this relatively unknown world of marketing.
Ethical Vs Unethical Marketing – Know the difference
The first roadblock to marketing is we think, as healthcare professionals, it may be unethical, but it is not, if done in the right way. Making tall claims or false promises, or a sharp contrast in your market description and your actual skill level in the clinic is definitely unethical. To know what to do, first you must know what not to do. Dr Chandra Mouli*, Marketing Head, GC India agrees with me when I asked him if there is a difference between ethical and unethical marketing.
He said “Unethical advertising has been the best tactic to gain attention. For example, the recent case of a dentist talking about the ₹ 170 denture…such a low cost denture… you can see what it did for her. It gave her publicity. But the effect it had was detrimental to the whole profession, which made people lose trust in us. My opinion is, marketing isn’t wrong but when we market ourselves, we should also keep in mind what effect it will have on the whole profession…because if it degrades the profession, ultimately it will have a long term impact on us. There is a 2 point difference between unethical and ethical marketing:
1. Unethical Marketing or advertising is selfish marketing and a deception. It may seem lucrative but its effect is short lived.
2. Ethical marketing keeps the standards high without compromising your stature and the profession’s stature in the long run.”
Why do dentists shy away from marketing?
Digital dental marketing is never on the immediate to-do list of dentists. I asked Dr Gireesh Likhyani*, dentist, digital marketeer, and former DentalReach team member, top two reasons why dentists don’t do digital marketing.
“I’ll be honest!,” he said. “We keep our clinical skills up to date, we don’t think twice before spending that extra 5 Lacs for the dental operating microscope. But, we lack business and marketing skills. For example, we don’t know our numbers – How much do we make in a year and how much of it is ‘profit’? How much can we spend on new upgrades or education (based on our profits)? How much more we should make to keep up? Or what the concept of ROI (return on investment)is. So, if someone doesn’t know their numbers, how would they know how much to spend on marketing?”
“This is also why dentists don’t want to hire anyone for a lot of things. From repairing dental chairs to filing of IT (income tax) returns and well, even marketing, you’ll see a dentist do everything! This may sound fancy but is detrimental. This is where ego comes into play. We, as dentists, try to be the ‘know-it-all-ninja’! We don’t know much about marketing, but we won’t let marketing agencies work. We hesitate to trust. We over-calculate (just like how our business works – the cost of material, cost of instruments, cost of disposables in a case) the spends of someone who is offering online marketing solutions to us (questions like – why their hosting costs more if it is advertised to me by a random company for 500 rupees). We tend to save on pennies but don’t focus on earning more. Let’s change a few things. Let’s learn to trust. Let’s focus on getting the job done well!”
New Year, New You, New Tips!
The new year is here and we all want to be a newer version of ourselves! I asked Dr Kevin Mirasol*, a dentist and a dental marketing consultant from Philippines, for two tips on dental marketing from his experienced pockets.
He said, “Well doc, this year start your dental marketing with a vision. Analyze your past goals and determine it for your dental practice and for yourself. Vision is the heart of growth for your team and yourself. It’s what helps you drive your dental practice system. Next is, to focus on your team to gain the most leverage for your dental marketing growth and team development. Teach them the confidence and entrepreneurial mindset, and you will find your clinic benefiting from their attitude.”
What about his two cents on digital dental marketing?
“With digital marketing, artificial intelligence and quality content will help your dental practice not just survive, but thrive in this age of innovation. Artificial Intelligence is now being used in different Teledentistry systems and Apps, try implementing it in your marketing, for example, in your social media and website customer support. Quality Content is still king when it comes to dental digital marketing. I recommend mastering relationship marketing through social media . Social media provides the stage for telling that story. You’re treating people, not teeth! Build trust, comfort and confidence from your dental practice to your dental social media.”
What to share on social media for a start?
After a good case, in our excitement we share it with the world on our social media pages. Is there any guideline for what to share and what not to share? Here’s what Dr Anisa Patel Shaikh*, a dental business master and social media marketing specialist had to say:
“Picture this – A blood soaked new born still attached to the umbilical cord, on your favourite baby product brand! Unless you are a gynaecologist or a medico who just did her first C -section or her first twin delivery, you’d cringe at the sight! Well that’s exactly, how patients feel about that beautiful surgical implant case that you posted on your clinic FB page! I realised this , when I got the most cold response after enthusiastically sharing pics of my first GA case with a non dental friend. She refused to see it because she felt she won’t be able to have dinner! Well, to this day, that comment is enough reminder for me to stay away from blood and lot of other similar intra – oral pictures in my clinic social media pictures. These kind of images, are best suited for Facebook groups which are specifically made for these kind of discussions.”
So what kind of pictures to post on social media?
“Pictures with ‘Story Telling’, that show the emotional outcome of
the treatment that was offered. Pictures which inform, entertain, inspire or motivate your non-dental friends, like:
- A happy confident smiling girl in her interview of her dream airline job.
- A bride who can’t stop smiling at her wedding reception without trying to hide her conscious smile beneath her cupped fingers.
- A 60 year old smiling father, attending the graduation ceremony of his daughter overseas.
- Stories of patients…
- Stories of transformation…
- Stories of teams…
- Stories of why you do what you do…”
Bonus: Take-away Advice for Beginners & Established Dentists
You’ve worked hard to get to where you are now. You studied through dental school, did your trainings and set up your own practice. I discussed the next step ahead with Dr Rockson Samuel*, dental marketing expert, and the caring boss of DentalReach, who’s given free tips by the dozen in each article of this book. What is the one advice he’d like to give dentists for assuring the success of a dental marketing strategy?
Dr Rockson said,“My advice for both beginners and established practitioners would be – to find your USP (WHY?) before you start dental marketing. To brand your practice, you must take your strengths and unique aspects and turn them into a unique selling proposition (USP). Don’t let yourself become a commodity. Businesses that sell commodities end up in an unending price war. After all, if there’s nothing that separates you from your competitor, then it’s a race to the lowest price.”
“So, you have to find your “secret sauce” and make it known. To find it, reflect on:
- Who your ideal target patient is
- Why you got into the dental profession
- What makes you (as a person) unique
- How your techniques are different
- Why your current patients chose you”
“This may be challenging. How do you stand out when you’re offering the same services as your competitor next door? You might want to ask friends, family, staff, and patients for adjectives that describe the experience or feelings they have about your practice. All in all, your USP should answer two questions by patients:
>>> 1. What can you do for me (‘I provide quality dental care for your entire family’)?
>>> 2. Why should I choose you (‘You should choose me because I use gentle, pain-free techniques’)?”
Dr Rockson has been gracious enough to share his expertise in this free e-book, over 6 articles, heavily filled with information and loaded with tips. Please feel free to send in your feedback on email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org!
Author, Dental Marketing the 101 guide, Dr Rockson Samuel is an aspiring unicorn marketeer based in Bangalore, India. He is the community leader at DentalReach and founder of rxnstudio, with 10+ years of experience in creative design and content marketing in healthcare industry. Dr Rockson was a former house surgeon in Kuwait and has been attached to various national & international organizations, institutes and brands performing versatile roles and bringing laurels to his name.
Editor, Dental Marketing the 101 guide, Dr Nupur Shrirao is a consultant prosthodontist based in Chandigarh, India and is pursuing a fellowship in advance esthetic dentistry from Germany. She is the Editor at DentalReach & Editage, Cactus Communications.
Expert, Dr Chandra Mouli is an esthetic dentist from Hyderabad, India and a digital marketeer since 20 years (self, Quintessence Publications and GC, India).
Expert, Dr Gireesh Likhyani is a practicing dentist in Jaipur, India and the CEO of Underdog Dentist Media Solutions, with 10+ years of experience in online marketing industry.
Expert, Dr Kevin Mirasol is a general dentist from Caluya islands, Phillippines, and the founder of PRODM -a marketing healthcare agency & DDM Masterclass – dental digital marketing coaching for dentists.
Expert, Dr Anisa Patel Shaikh is an esthetic dentist from Mumbai, India and founder of Your Social Dentist, with an expertise in digital and social media marketing.