Saturday, April 26, 2014

Put It Out There For Free

Recently, I was asked to speak on marketing and social media.  Our large group pediatric dentistry and orthodontic practice requires a solid marketing plan to keep the practice healthy.  We actually spend more time that I think we should on what is vaguely called "marketing."

Seth Godin, guru of the marketing world, a while back recommended aspiring writers to "give away" their first book?  Really? I can see writers saying, "No way.  I spent thousands of hours of effort on this thing to just give it away for free".  How can this work?  As he explains, you gain a following, you gain (deserved) notoriety as an expert and authority.  Then, when your second book comes out, you have a built-in audience.

We as professionals, usually view with disdain trying to "sell" our services.  We want to spend time on dentistry and patient care.  We are above such pandering.  Still, in the modern marketplace, if you do not let people know who you are, what you do, and that you are accepting and want new patients, your practice will slowly whither away.  This is especially true of practices like Pediatrics and Orthodontics.  Your patients eventually grow up and need to be replaced with younger patients to maintain your practice.

I will not go into great detail on dental practice marketing, that would take several books worth of text and seminars to get all that across.  I will say, the number one way to grow your practice is by giving good service and the word of mouth that is generated from that.  Sometimes, however, that is not enough.  It is obvious that part of our profession is to give of our talents.  We do charity work, do overseas mission trips and work for free at local charity clinics.  There is great value just in that.  I think the general public has no real idea how much free service dentists give away every year, sometimes not by choice, -but I will not get into that here.

What I have tried to do with this blog is inform and entertain.  I don't earn any money off this blog.  In essence, I give it, the content, away for free.  Why?  Well, first off, I just enjoy informing and educating.  I enjoy writing.  Secondly, in a business and marketing sense, reputation leads to increased business, to increased patients wanting your services.  They know you, they respect you because they know you know your stuff.

Other professionals are doing this and vary from musicians to English tailors.  I follow  a music group called Postmodern Jukebox.  They make music videos and post them online.  They are very good, but offer these online for free.  Now, after gaining notoriety, they are offering their songs on iTunes and are starting an American and European tour.  Another musician, Christopher Bill, a trombone player, makes free videos on his websites.  You may have heard of his version of "Happy."  He now has an album on iTunes and is well known enough I am sure he is getting offers for paying gigs. An English tailor, Thomas Mahon  long ago began blogging about the inside details of his profession.  He now has a thriving business.

All these professionals offered the public something for free.  If anyone wanted to used their paid services, they were certainly welcome to do so, and many have.

So, if you are getting frustrated with your practice marketing, consider offering to be a speaker, offer seminars, blog, write, do online videos---all for free.  Now people can tell if your love it or not, if it is a chore or not.  In the process, you may actually help people.  You will help yourself as well through the process of creating content.  If you show your passion, it will show and return to you in time.


Violet Campbell said...

What an insightful article. Everyone with their own practice needs to be a marketer as well as a dentist. I think that's true for any industry when people compete as fiercely as they do for attention on the internet.

Violet Campbell | Kingswood Dentistry

Anonymous said...

Totally off topic question.....can a tooth colored sealant or veneer be placed over a pediatric patients silver crown? It is on the lower second molar and she is beyond upset about it. She even tried to paint it with her white paint the first week she got it.
Thanks for writing such a great blog. So helpful.

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

Basically, no. Sometimes the face of a stainless steel crown can be cut away and composite white filling placed, but it's not idel. --and that is only in front crowns.

Bill Stewart said...

I'm glad you are doing what you can to bring in more patients. Some people don't understand the importance of pediatric dentistry. I am glad to hear that the awareness is growing.
Bill |

Robin said...

Great article! I have found this to be very true. Preparing to give free lectures or presentations is time consuming and may seem thankless, however it always seems to pay off in the end, whether with new patients or just the satisfaction of doing something for someone else.

Danen Sjostrom DDS said...

Great article! I have found this to be very true. Preparing for a lecture or presentation is time consuming and may seem thankless, it always comes back to pay off in the end, whether with new patients to the practice or simply the satisfaction of doing something for someone else.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Dean Brandon:

This is off the topic. Hope it catches your attention. My 3 yr old son has cavities on his upper middle teeth and few other places. His dentist recommended pulpotomy for the front two teeth and general filling for other cavities. The cavities on the front two teeth haven't reached the nerve but are close to it. He recommended two options for the pulpotomy - (1) under sedation and (2) under general anesthesia - and hinted that the latter is better because it would allow him to go in there and do the work without the child's cooperation issues. Which one would you recommend under what circumstances? Thanks much for your advise.

While treatment under general anesthesia in a pediatric surgical center is expensive, that is really not our concern. We are wondering if general anesthesia is really needed for a 3-yr old, and if it has any associated risks. Our son is in good general health.

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

See here for some answers. Good luck I know it's a difficult decision.

Several posts with comments in each link:

Behavior Management

Anonymous said...

This is completely off topic but i tried to reply in an on topic conversation but you blocked ppl from replying. Ive noticed that (piece of flap) cant remember the name, that connects the lips to the gums are both detached from my gums. Is that at all normal? Im not sure when or how it happened

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

A frenulum or frenum attaches the lip to the gum as you say. Most of the time it's no problem but if you are noticing it pulling away the gum tissue from the tooth is at least get it looked at. Also brush very thouroughly. Comments are closed on posts that are several years old and or have a large number of comments.

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

Oh also a frenum year is not uncommon especially in young children. Read about that on my post on frenum tears trauma and emergencies.

Troyjjefferson said...

Marketing can be difficult an any field, but Dentistry is a field that I can imagine is harder than most. The idea of giving away a book for free, or publishing it to an open domain online is extremely disheartening. But it's like you said, gaining a following is important. Getting your name out there so that people have access to you is a necessity. So while it may be difficult to do, your insight of someone freely marketing themselves is a fast way to build a following and boost business for the future. Dentist

Brian said...

Great advice for those aspiring to bring in more patients organically in the long term.

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

Here is a great example of this --very funny too: