By Joan Fodor, Medical Marketing Strategist

If the word “marketing” makes you squirm a little, there’s good reason.  You are a healer, “a tooth saver,” not a salesman.  And yet, without building awareness in your community, you most likely will not have a vibrant, successful practice.

Traditional forms of advertising do not pertain to you

Newspaper ads, radio spots and billboards would be a waste of money. As you know, for the most part, patients do not choose their own Endo.  They trust their general dentist to refer them to someone they with great skills and compassion. Which means that it is a multi-step process to increase the flow of cases to your practice:

  1. BUILD CONNECTION AND CREDIBILITY WITH GENERAL DENTISTS. My advice is to provide general dental practices with something of value.  Not a box of chocolates or scented candles – something that actually helps the practice thrive. Here are a few ideas:
    1. Create a hand-out brochure that dentists can to give to patients who are root canal candidates with essential information written in a warm and friendly way.
    2. Develop a regular, informative newsletter with the latest in Endo treatment and send it to general dentists in your community. 
    3. Hold a webinar about the advancements in Endodontics that you use in your practice.
    4. Provide the opportunity for dentists to schedule a call with you if a case is particularly complex.
  1. CREATE PEACE OF MIND FOR PATIENTS.  It’s no secret most patients feel tremendous anxiety when they hear “root canal.”  As Endos, we can squash the myths (“No, we do not remove the root.  No, this isn’t surgery.”) Today’s referred patients will visit your website and social media to see you, hear your voice and read what’s pertinent to them.  Make sure what you communicate is authentic, informative (not wordy), easy to understand, and kind. Skip the formality. Just be real. Be sure to address their fears and most frequent questions.
  1. DETERMINE YOUR OWN “WHY” and build your practice around your most passionate goals.  Often, we plug along without the end result in mind. Is it to truly help patients save their teeth and to provide the most compassionate care?  Is it to allow you to have a flexible lifestyle?  Is it to build a business of your own with a great staff who also benefits from your work?  Is it the financial gains?  Whatever IT is, be honest with yourself. In your marketing, never promise what you can’t deliver.
  1. PROVIDE THE KIND OF PATIENT EXPERIENCE YOU WOULD WANT FOR THOSE YOU LOVE.  If you’re looking for easy ways to “market yourself,” start right in your office.  The person they will remember most after a root canal is YOU. So, be sure to think about and improve your “soft skills,” if needed. Develop a “wow” factor for your practice, things that are memorable and will be talked about, i.e. “They were so kind, they walked me to my car and called in the evening to make sure I was OK.”  Kindness goes viral! 
  1. HIRE STAFF MEMBERS THAT WILL ENHANCE YOUR PRACTICE’S REPUTATION – those who can deliver on your promise to provide the very best care. A desire to serve and make a difference needs to be inherent qualities in our team members.

Make sure those who answer the phone are trained to ask all the right questions and are adept at making a patient feel heard and valued. If you talk the talk on your site or in social media, make sure you walk the walk. Tom Peters, one of the great business gurus was once asked his advice on marketing.  He said, “Mean it.”

  1. DIRECT YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA TO PATIENTS. Case studies are popular with dentists.  So is insider news.  For patients – real patient stories are a hit. Make sure to mention Care Credit if you use it.  A no-interest loan that can be paid off in 6-12 months is definitely a big positive.  Answer the questions new patients might ask – in a video or Facebook post. As you well know, education is a big part of Endodontics.  Most people don’t even know what an Endodontist does!

Hire people to run your social media (and all your marketing) who knows the ropes. Assigning your office manager to do it will not get you the results that a pro can get. The best money you can spend on your marketing is to hire designers, blog writers, web developers, professional photographers and videographers who know what they are doing, are completely aware of patient needs and trends. 

  1. ASK FOR TESTIMONIALS.  A few days after a procedure, send out a warm note and ask the patient, if they like, to write a testimonial and provide a link to make it easy. If you do get a negative review, respond to it quickly in a helpful, “how can we make this right” tone.

If you’d like to take a look at any element of your practice, including the identity you hold in the community, contact Dr. Rick Simcock at