Dental Practice Marketing for Dentists

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Dental Marketing a “Necessary Evil” for Dentists

Dentists know they need dental practice marketing to bring in new patients, but many are still reluctant to be perceived as unprofessional by touting their own services. Nonetheless, fully 95% of dentists in a recent Wealthy Dentist survey acknowledge that marketing is a part of their job.

Dental Survey Results
April 18, 2008 (San Francisco, California) – When dentists were asked if dental practice marketing is part of their job as a dentist in a recent Wealthy Dentist survey, many complained of what a pain dental practice marketing can be. Nonetheless, 95% of respondents acknowledge that they won’t get to practice dentistry if they can’t run a successful business. Only 5% maintain that their job is to fix people’s
teeth and improve oral health.

One dentist summed up how many seem to feel about dental marketing: “Hate it. Can’t live without it.” Though the financial benefits are clear, some dentists still feel it’s somehow unprofessional to actively market their practices.

Most dentists acknowledge that marketing is part of doing business. In response to those who feel it’s unprofessional, a Minnesota dentist said, “A restaurant can’t say, ‘We won’t do marketing because we just want to cook good food for people.'”  Agreed a California implant dentist, “A successful dental practice is a business. It requires the inclusion of several elements that were never taught in dental school, and one
of those elements is marketing.”

Dental marketing comes in two forms: internal and external. Not all practices engage in external marketing, which focuses on reaching the general public through advertising. Internal marketing seeks additional business and referrals through existing patients. “First things first,” declared a Michigan dentist. “If you aren’t doing internal marketing, you should not be doing external marketing.”

It’s clear that dentists have a love/hate relationship with marketing. “It’s a ‘necessary evil,'” said a prosthodontist. “I hate it,” agred a Kansas dentist, “but it’s a necessary effort and expense.”

Lots of practices find that their dental practice marketing is worth every penny. “Every dentist is involved in marketing and PR,” declared an Oregon dentist. “Generally, the more thought, time, effort and money one puts into it, the greater the benefits.” “Marketing should be a fun and integral part of a fun and rewarding dental practice,” agreed a Washington orthodontist.

Of course, not all dentists are in love with marketing. “It can be difficult to get a good return on your investment (ROI),” complained a New Jersey dentist. “I don’t really like it. I’m not sure how it will be perceived. Lots of opportunity for misunderstandings with patients,” worried an Oregon dentist.

Some dentists find that marketing helps them attract the most desirable patients. “I love marketing,” declared an Illinois dentist. “If you market you get to do the type of work you want. My internet dental marketing brings in a steady stream of patients, leading to a lot of big cosmetic and reconstruction cases.”

These days, dentists find they have to market themselves to stay afloat. This is in stark contrast to just a few decades ago, when the mere idea of dental marketing was generally considered unprofessional. “I have learned to do it. It was not needed years ago!” commented an Indiana dentist who has been practicing since 1966.

“I’ve spent decades watching dentists struggle with dental marketing,” said Jim Du Molin, dental management consultant and founder of dental website The Wealthy Dentist. “The fact of the matter is, dentistry is a business, and dentists who don’t market themselves are going to fall behind the rest of the pack.”

“Dental practice marketing doesn’t have to be unprofessional or offensive,” added Du Molin, an expert on the subject. “And it doesn’t have to dominate a dentist’s time, either. That’s what qualified dental marketing firms are there for!”

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