Written by: Todd Boak | Partner, Strategic Marketing
You’re looking for a dental marketing company who just gets you, right? A company that specializes in dentistry and can propel your practice to the next level. Chances are you’re looking in the wrong place. Let’s just be honest here — the term “dental marketing” has been used to take advantage of an under-serviced market for around two decades. Website companies that make claims to specialize in dental marketing typically operate to sell templated websites loaded with stock images because it’s easy. It’s been too easy for a long time. What makes my opinion worth reading? Well, that’s debatable, but let’s move on assuming it is.
I’ve been in the dental marketing space for the last 15 years. I started marketing for a small group operated by an owner-dentist when I was fresh out of graduate school. It didn’t take long for me to realize that very few companies care about quality or connecting with real people when it relates to dentistry. From there, I’ve operated as the Vice President of Marketing & Communications for two different large group practices (70+ locations) one, of which, I helped create from the ground up. But, back to the question at hand. What is the best dental marketing company? The answer is simple – there isn’t one. There isn’t a single company (or person) that is the answer to this question. Frankly, it’s a silly question. Marketing is about story-telling and metrics. It’s about creating and communicating your story online in an honest and engaging way while doing your best to capture as many data points along the way that you can. Let’s be real – people connect with other people. The phrase “based on a true story” always resonates with audiences. Stock images, video, and generic Facebook posts will do you no good. It’s not time or money well spent. If you’re not using digital technology to tell your story to potential patients, you’re missing the mark. There isn’t a website company that can do this for you without engaging you and your staff on multiple fronts. That means the company must do the following three things and do them well!
1) Encourage Custom Photography – Do not miss this step! It’s simple — aside from finding a truly talented photographer to capture live and real images of you working with staff and patients — so, that’s actually not simple. Do your research before hiring just anyone with a camera.
2) Leverage Story Video as a differentiator. While videography isn’t cheap it’s the best way to connect with an already distracted audience online. People want to watch videos and engage in real stories. The key here is to never (ever, ever, ever, ever) use a script. That’s not how engaging content is created; that’s how cheap, short videos are sold. Find a team willing to do the work to tell YOUR story for you.
3) Consider Your Project as a Partnership, not a Sales Pitch. Engage with a marketing company that wants to know you and your needs, not a company that only sells specific services. Chances are high that the website company that has sold thousands of websites and has loads of sales staff is nothing more than a company looking to make money from nameless faceless customers. Likewise, you can almost guarantee a company of this type is not a company looking to partner with you to grow your business. Find a small to mid-sized agency to work with that values your partnership and expresses a desire to grow your business alongside you for the next 10 + years, rather than the sales team working towards an end of year quota. It sounds simple but this is complex and often overlooked in the dental industry and other similar markets. Now, I’ll answer the question again. There just isn’t a single group or type of group that’s right for you. There are just as many marketing agencies that truly care about your success as there are that want to take your money and treat you like a nameless, faceless number. For this reason, I encourage dentists looking to market their practice to have conversations with the groups that pique their interest. Don’t just talk to sales people or account executives. Ask about the company and what their story is. If they can’t communicate their own story to you in a compelling way, how can you trust them to do differently with yours? The groups that understand how to tell the story of a brand are the groups grounded in real marketing philosophy. Often, the small agencies will treat you better, give you better results, and even become part of your team along the way. Just like the term “script” in video production is a huge red flag, so is “dental marketing.” Don’t make the mistake your competitors make – find an agency that can help you with your unique needs. Being an “expert in dental marketing” means nothing if the agency treats dentistry as merely a service to be sold. The best marketing firms know business is relational and will use things like custom photography and videography to become your business partner for the long haul.
Interested in building a StoryBrand yourself? Check out this super easy read that shows how marketing isn’t something you can just hand off to someone else anymore.
-Todd Boak Partner, Strategic Marketing Harris & Ward