Beyond The Chair™ Episode #4: “Ethical Marketing- The UNmarketing Way To Attract New Patients Without Being Obnoxious & Unprofessional.”

Over the last few years, there have been HUGE CONTROVERSIES over what’s “ethical” in the realm of dental marketing and what’s “scandalous” and unprofessional.

Marketing in Dentistry can walk a blurry line. This video brings that line into FOCUS and keeps YOU on the RIGHT (and EFFECTIVE) side of it. In this episode of Beyond The Chair, we define Ethical Marketing in the world of Dentistry, and how doing it right can lead to fewer tire kickers and lower fee resistance.

Topics include:

  • Getting Tactical: differentiating yourself from the competition the right way
  • The ADA’s definition of ethics
  • 3 ways to ethically position yourself as an EXPERT
  • The difference between making light of competition without attacking or belittling them
  • Ethical marketing within specific niches

This is a hot potato in dentistry these days, and our conversation holds NOTHING back. Drop what you’re doing and watch now.

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Learn How To Get A Custom Marketing Plan To Beat Your Town’s Competition By Clicking The Link Below: 



Graig: Hi and thanks for joining us on another episode of Beyond The Chair. My name is Graig Presti and I’m C.E.O. of Local Search For Dentists®, a full-service dental marketing agency and I’m joined by Dr. Chris Salierno, Chief Editor of Dental Economics Magazine and practicing dentist, and today we’re going to be talking a little bit about Ethical Marketing and what is considered to be ethical marketing and we’ll dip into what’s not ethical, and I know this is one of your favorite topics to talk about; so I’m going to let you sort of start the conversation because I’m sure there are a lot of folks out there who haven’t been involved and heavy marketing campaigns and maybe are looking to get into it or ones that have dabbled or want to improve and want to make sure that they’re keeping their image and brand in order.

So tell us a little bit about what your idea of ethical marketing is and when you’re looking at marketing, what quantifies those things.

Chris: There is unfortunately not always a very clear line that can be crossed from ethical and unethical territory. The eighty eight does provide in their ethics and bylaws do give some guidance into what would be considered unethical marketing and you can imagine from a business term, it’s fine to refer to what a dentist as competition that’s accurate but in a professional sense, we like to think of ourselves not in competition with each other but from a business standpoint, we can talk about that.

Unethical marketing would certainly be anything that puts down other dentists or inflates your own expertise beyond what is appropriate. So if you are a true expert in implantology or in sleep dentistry and you’ve taken courses, that’s fine to list the credentials but to make a claim that can’t be substantiated, I am the best dentist or any of those kinds of superlative certainly would be crossing into that territory. But we could also say and I think you would agree it’s not the most effective marketing either, right?

Unethical marketing may get a couple people in the door but is it always the type of person that you want to be attracting to your practice? You want to be compelling people to come to your practice because you’ve educated them, you’ve informed them about a problem they may be having and you’re hopefully touching on a pain point such as lose dentures or trouble with their c pap, sleeping device; by touching on a pain point, educating them about alternatives that you can provide not only is that staying in ethical territory but we’re also hopefully bringing in a higher quality patient into our practice not just someone who’s looking for a bargain and you know coupon cutter.

Graig: I think your point about the competition and making sure that you’re not attacking them and I think there’s ways to make a light of what other dentists are doing in your marketplace that maybe differentiate yourself where you’re not necessarily happy with without calling someone to the mat, and I think for me in terms of marketing, I think what we look at is what words can we use that convey that message in a educational informative way that isn’t going to get you in hot water, remains ethical and your competition, you’re not going to get in this huge sort of fight with them.

So from my standpoint, some of the tactical things that you could do is write down the differentiated services that you offer and come up with the words that you want to use that actually separate you from them without taking potshots or saying things like oh I’m the best at this, because I do think that authority and being the expert go to dentist in your area is in terms of perception is critical because I think people want to associate with experts. It’s what is being coined ‘the Oprah effect’.

Dr .Oz for example is an M.D. But he’s not the world’s best M.D…but he happens to have his T.V. show, he happens to have medias and magazines and I think as a local dentist, you can do some of those things on a smaller scale. You can have your monthly newsletter that positions you as to what services you’re offering; are you doing charities? What’s going on in the community. All great things that keeps a relationship going with your consistent patients that are visiting you or ones that are inactives and that in itself will be media that you control that will make you an expert, an authority.

Chris: I think it’s a great goal for ethical and effective marketing to, as you said, position yourself as being an expert and a leader in the field. You can do that without saying I’m the greatest and I’m the best. Just by educating people, they will of course believe that you are an expert.

When you’re able to do that successfully and position yourself as a thought leader, as an expert in an area not just dentistry but in a niche of dentistry, implantology, dentistry whatever it might be, what helps then too is patients who view your services not as much as commodities and unfortunately the commoditization of our services is a growing concern.

What’s to say that my crown is any better than someone else’s crown, a dentist down the street. I can charge more and maybe that signals to the patient that therefore my crown must be better but for a lot of folks they’re like, well I’m just getting this crown for less money over here so I’m going to go do that.

What can help us earn more and command the higher fee, a fee for service fee is if the patient perceives that we are offering something that’s truly unique and not a commodity. So whatever the service is, sleep dentistry whatever you’re going to- I think have fewer tire kickers coming into your practice from your marketing efforts if they’re hoping to establish you as offering a truly unique service and not just a product or a commodity.

Graig: Right and I think if you’re doing that ethical marketing, that is information based that you are allowing your patients to access your fear resistance drops dramatically, it’s kind of what you’re really getting at and I think when it comes to fear resistance and I’m not saying you have to be a celebrity by any means or be on T.V. and doing different things but I think when you do position yourself as an authority piece, and a lot of that authority and go to has to do with your online brand, right; making sure that you have fresh and new Google reviews, you have everything organized, your name and businesses spelled properly and all those kind of things that that we see on a daily basis at our agency, allows you to have someone who comes to the computer ends up in your chair, who is educated, qualified and understands that this person knows what they’re talking about, I’m going to listen to them and I’m more likely to accept treatment and not be fear resistant and not be like you said either tire kicking or haggling over price and become a commodity.

Learn How To Get A Custom Marketing Plan To Beat Your Town’s Competition By Clicking The Link Below: 

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Be Bold And Make Things Happen!
Graig Presti, MBA
CEO Local Search For Dentists® A 4X Inc 500/5000 Approved Dental Marketing Agency

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