Dentist Referrals a Thing of the Past, How Are Orthodontist to Go Forth?
Updated: May 19, 2018
A time ago Dentist and #Orthodontist would would work together, each specialize to care for the patient in different ways, this symbiotic relationship is now a thing of the past, leaving Orthodontist to market directly to their prospective patients due to more and more Dentist offering their own Orthodontic treatment. These old co marketing techniques destroyed have left the Dentist and Orthodontist to fend for themselves. So what are the trends in the markets involving Orthodontist which is now shark invested where once a beautiful relationship existed, and where will these trends lead are part of the purpose of this paper.
A surge in Dentist those known as Primary Care Dentist as well as online sites ran through channels like Ebay offering Orthodontist treatment, have and do leave the Orthodontist to fend for himself, from what was once a rich market, now is thinned out by these Primary Care Dentist and online providers. As mentioned above Orthodontist no longer can count on these referrals from Primary Care Providers and must instead reach out directly to the potential patients in the Orthodontist market. Some Orthodontist have thrived in this blood fest of a market, learning to market themselves without the aid of co-marketing with Dentist and instead rise to success solely on their own marketing endeavors. There are many things you as the Orthodontist can do to to Market Directly to prospective patients this article will go over this as well as the old ways Orthodontist use to once market themselves, what may have caused this change in co-marketing, to everyone for themselves, and how to work with what may be to come and what it is at the moment
Co-Marketing Once A Reliance On The Dentist, Now buried in the Past
There was a time when Orthodontist would wine and dine the Dentist building relationships that would lead to the Dentist sending their patients to the Orthodontist when the Dentist thought it was time for treatment for that patient, also true, it was not all wine and dine but also who the Dentist got along with best. Unfortunately it is true that some Orthodontist were taken advantage of by the dentist in fear of losing referral sources, it is not always the case many Orthodontist and Dentist honored each other working in harmony. Things like extractions, or when occlusion is the reason for TMJ, and age for treatment on the patient became the problem of some Orthodontist as these were once their specialties. For those taken advantage by the Dentist allowed the Dentist to not only dictate things like age that is right for Orthodontic Treatment but doing the extractions and working on patients whose occlusion was reason for their TMJ problems leaving these Orthodontist hanging, unfortunately not enough Orthodontist stood up early and began to show Dentist that while there is a beautiful relationship called co-marketing, the Orthodontist could market for themselves. The repercussions of this left Dentist in the driver's chair beginning to offer treatments such as anterior braces, Invisalign, myofunctional appliances like the Herst, and Orthodontist looking for a way that involved the Co-marketing with Dentist less and marketing for themselves on their own terms.
The Damon Memory Wire, and Invisalign - Blood in The Waters - and Coming Out Alive
Marketing that should be payed attention to is Invisalign their use of Ads in magazines high in their demographics. These magazines are tested at first, and the aim is not the gutter which is the side against where the Magazine folds but on the outer left page if you can, here the test begins with a small Ad. If you get results you like, run a bigger Ad. Still getting more success go with advertising using a whole page, and finally covers, stay away from the gutter, come up with a compelling offer and placing it in front of the right people, can lead to a victorious magazine campaign as will be explained next, one can negotiate reasonable prices. Commercials which can be negotiated to reasonable rates (a little secret, the advertiser is trying to sell you their full demographic range, Make known to them that only the percent that fits your demographics is what should be factored into the cost of advertising, why pay for something that is no help to you. Also you designing your own Ads will always be more effective, you know your business best) Here again the Ad is tested first try a 15 second commercial and run it on local cable network. If you get results you like, starting to sound familiar, you run a 30 second commercial on those cable channels, more results from that ad, go to running on major networks, remember you only want to reach your Demographic no one else. Local Movie Theaters can be Great. Often you can run a month long ad, of course demographics is key here again, and one type of movie are ones that are G-Rated and Pg-Rated where the Parents will be accompanying the child. While highlighting the children's concerns you must ultimately show the decision maker the parents if your office is right for them. Look at cereal boxes fun, and games for kids, but also comes with vitamins fiber and other things which they claim is healthy, here both the child and parents get their way. If you know your demographics the above and this next golden egg which many claim is outdated, direct marketing ads using Mail, can be very successful. Breaking down your demographics, Do children with parents that are together end up buying more than those with parents separated. Do they live in the Suburbans or apartments. Where do they spend their time outside the house. What is the age of the Patients you wish to reach, here thoughts would say if you can convince the Parents that bring their child for treatment to your practice, that if they truly need treatment that as a Orthodontist that you specialize in, that your Practice would be the right place for treatment with them as well. Are your demographics predominantly male or female or split nearly 50 50. As you start to answer these questions about your demographics you will start to build on a mini scale what and why i said to take notice is what Invisalign did for its marketing Campaign The last thing and my favorite is sending one of your employees to the local schools to give the children bags with your logo on filled with things that would make the parents happy like a children's toothbrush as well as things the child will like, such as little games maybe a comic book get two types one aimed at boys one at girls, however let them choose themselves, when the children bring the bags home the parents will see and ask them about it, along with dropping off the bag your employee gives a little mini lecture for the children, perhaps putting in a little questionnaire for the parents in the bag to ask their children when they get home to help bring fun facts up in conversation.
Damon enter the bracket arena with its memory wire and Thickened the blood in the waters hitting home as well, also like invisalign Damon marketing campaigns that Dentist could as well as Orthodontist do treatment with their system on the patients without need for Palatal Expander and other appliances. You as the Orthodontist need to ask yourself what are you Selling and why is it something worth investing in their child or themselves, as an orthodontist a unique treatment plan that comes from it the perfect smile, cheekbones, face structure of a model and gives the child a healthier life, let us face it the better looking you are life, the easier it seems to be, as well as easier to be confident, and it will last over the course of their life because of your understanding of occlusion, understanding of multiple appliances that in truth must on some patients be used and ultimately your education along with selling your experience, will lead the decision maker to choose you over a Dentist. Getting into a comparison war is trouble one should go about insuring that it does not become. And remember shooting the elephant in the room is goal number one, Perhaps the right words would be “The treatment for your child or adult cannot be done in 3-6 months but is one of years as being an Orthodontist I take the whole face into consideration, that the child not only come out with the face structure of model but that it will be done to last the life of the child should they take proper care” in the case of an adult a better smile that will be in occlusion lasting them a lifetime as well again should proper care be taken. Shooting the elephant without naming any companies is a friendly, sincere, and caring way to let the patient know treatment is a little bit of a journey and cannot be rushed for many reasons be sure to go over this with the patient and decision maker as well. Going forth with a well planned Marketing campaign that is backed by scientific proof, can lead you out of the bloody waters and back to doing the treatments you enjoy, that are really the best for the patients. Don’t forget always be building your resume documenting also does more than build your resume it also saves you money in court, even if you did nothing wrong photo documentation and documentation in general will cost you less to prove you did nothing wrong. In the end the patient and decision maker will be left to choose a dentist or an Orthodontist your goal is to educate them as much as possible that they choose you the orthodontist and not the Dentist.
What's to Come?
With social networking becoming bigger and bigger, i would only suggest touching this if you have the above marketing strategies running at optimum levels, as social networking can be costly, with needs to use funnels, this is where an email is gained and in some cases more information can also be found. With the email address you will send them articles aimed at educating and gaining trust with the prospective patient, if they have read 2 or 3 of your articles, which you will need an email setup that allows you to see information like this, send them a promotional ad. Like I said this can be expensive, it can also be time consuming, but done right is effective. I would suggest instead spending time on social media, that you get your website ranking for keywords that have a nice amount of searches, as well as getting your google my business ranking in the top three, this is done by writing well written descriptions about your Practice as well as using services like Synup and Yext. Don’t forget Bing local business, which will put you on yahoo as well. Having filled out and interacted with all the fill ins and options with these search engines you should have a nice looking profile with pictures and all, and don’t forget yelp, writing a well written description here with your keywords, as well as choosing the right description of what your business does helps rank highly as long as you have a few reviews to go with it. Yelp review and filling in the information help with ranking on Bing local business as well. After digesting all the above you should be able to Plan your own Marketing Campaign
With the Above Said, I will conclude that if you do not have someone who can handle solely your online endeavors, I would go after the old traditional techniques of marketing written before online methods in this article, as your business grows you will be able to tackle the digital world, designating one person to it and perhaps having them answering your phones as well. As for you if you are doing online marketing as the Orthodontist your time would be better spent writing blogs than spending time and money on facebook. Blogs in the long run help with seo as they contain many keywords. Don’t be afraid to write long blogs 2,000 words plus, for instance this article is nearly 2,200 words, google likes these well thought out articles that educate the people who use their search engine. I leave you with this, start slow testing in the ways mentioned above gradually growing your ad budget limit till you have optimized it on each platform. With a marketing campaign that is solid, you will have a Practice that is ready be built to where you are happy on the amount of patients you see. Now just be sure you have an Orthodontic Laboratory ready to take on these patients, that offers quality appliances. For how to communicate with the ortho lab see my article The Bridge Between Your Practice and The Ortho Lab.
By the works of Neal D. Kravitz, DMD, MS, and S. Jay Bowman, DMD, MSD T
A Paradigm Shift in Orthodontic Marketing