In the "old days" (25 to 30 years ago), orthodontists thought that if they were great clinicians, if they created board-quality clinical results, and if they built a pretty office, marketing for new patients would handle itself. In fact, that was often the way it was back then. Today, the idea that new orthodontic patients will automatically show up on your doorstep is a fantasy for the great majority of the profession. Today’s orthodontists—and their teams—must work hard to build their new-patient flow.

While the topic of marketing has been discussed over and over again for many years now, the orthodontic profession has gone through an evolution in the last 15 years, and orthodontic marketing must keep pace with that evolution to keep you at the top of the heap in your community. Successful practices do not wait for their telephone to ring—they make their telephone ring.

You have heard that it is important to have "internal" games running continually in your practice. You have also heard that entertaining your general dentists and other professional referral sources is what "external" marketing is all about. I believe a missing piece to the puzzle is "community" marketing, which gets neglected because many practices think marketing within the community is all about the taboo called advertising. In our increasingly fast-paced world of working parents, smartphones, iPads, and Facebook, marketing within your community does not have to be viewed as taboo if it is done professionally.

I am not talking about advertising on a banner on the side of a city bus, paying for ad space on the back of a pharmacy prescription bag, being the guest speaker for radio talk shows, or putting up a billboard. While all of these advertising forms of marketing work, they bring in what is called "curious shoppers," most of whom are looking for something inexpensive.

To read the rest of this article from the June issue of Orthodontic Products, click here.