By: Dr. Mark Paschen
Marketing starts with the first phone call to your office. Your receptionist should be answering the phone as follows: "Dr. Johnson's Office, General Dentistry and Orthodontics, this is Lisa, how may I help you?" Notice you add, and Orthodontics when the phone is answered. Don't take it for granted that your current patients know you do orthodontics. The fact you do orthodontics should also be apparent from signage on your building and from signage and pictures or posters within your building. Use photos of your actual patients (with their signed consent) and keep all signage simple, fun, and eye-catching. Our reception area has a large mural-type display with beautiful canvas-wrapped photos of my patients' smiles. These were professionally done and are much more effective than typical stock images that you purchase from a catalogue. You need to be cognizant of what the ethics rules are in your state concerning what a general dentist can display or advertise concerning orthodontics. I contacted my state's ethics committee before I spent any money on a logo or advertising pieces. Also, put up any continuing education class certificates that you have earned in orthodontic studies. Make sure these certificates are in a central location that can be seen by your general dentistry patients. Too many times, dentists only put the certificates in their consultation room, so they are only seen by patients going through the orthodontic evaluation process, not by all of their general dentistry patients. Your patients look at these and want to know your credentials.