When brothers and orthodontist team Dustin Coles, DDS, MSD, and Tyler Coles, DDS, MSD, co-founded a marketing firm in October 2016, they were hoping to solve a problem they had seen all too many times in their field: Busy orthodontists coming up with dozens of ideas for ways to market themselves, but no time or good ways to actually implement those ideas to make a difference in their practices.

Dustin says that’s what gave them the idea to start Orthomarketing DFY (which stands for “done for you”), on top of their Arizona practice, Premier Orthodontics.

“That’s the biggest part: Most orthodontists are super busy seeing patients all day,” Dustin says. “They don’t know how to market, they don’t know how to implement. … That’s the biggest thing for our businesses, they don’t have to do anything.”

Orthomarketing DFY helps clients with internal marketing to current patients, external marketing, event planning, practice automation, and more. Dustin says most practices the marketing firm serves focus on what’s called an “internal marketing master plan,” which keeps up consistent communication with patients using automated email, social media, and text messages.

Automation can help to shore up time for staff members to focus on other areas, too, and not add even more work to their plates.

“We’ve also found that even in our own practice, to get staff to do some of these things is a constant battle,” Dustin says, referring to internal marketing efforts.

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How Just One Event Can Add Patients to Your Practice

Tyler Coles, DDS, MSD, offers a guideline for orthodontic practices that are looking to attract new patients. He suggests hosting some kind of patient appreciation event. It can be as simple as giving away free snow cones in your office parking lot (like Premier Orthodontics did—they ended up with 27 new patients). You could also serve free food out of a food truck, or add entertainment, Coles says. The event might be tied to something seasonal (a Halloween party or office anniversary), or not. Here are his tips to get the most out of it:

1. Be clear with staff that the purpose of the event is to schedule new patients. This will likely involve incentivizing your staff, Coles says. He suggests potentially offering $100 to whichever staff member can schedule five new patient consultations.

2. Pick an event date that is 1 or 2 months away, so you have time to prepare but don’t keep pushing it back.

3. Make sure you promote. Send invites in the mail to current patients who have referred in the past (“VIP” patients, Coles calls them). Put up event fliers in and around your office. Create a Facebook event. Do email blasts to make sure former and current patients know about the event. Use every type of media channel you can. Make sure people know to bring people who aren’t patients.

4. Make sure staff is on-script at the event itself. Have them hand out fliers with offers exclusive to the event. OP


The company’s website refers to a practice’s patient list as its most valuable asset, because each comes with a network of family and friends that can help to “start building an endless chain of referring patients.” The idea is to ramp up patient referrals, improve a practice’s online reputation, and keep patients engaged.

“When I was a single-doctor practice, you’re busy seeing patients 4 to 5 days a week, you’re busy trying to run a business, busy trying to keep staff happy, make payroll,” Dustin says. “There’s a lot of hats you wear. And then there’s the marketing that needs to be done.”

Dustin says it’s common for orthodontists to go to a seminar, for example, meet and talk with dozens of other people in the field, and then get fired up and excited about a bunch of new ideas.

It’s much harder, he says, to keep that momentum going to put those ideas into action after that seminar is over.

It’s particularly important for orthodontists to find new ways to market themselves as referrals from dentists are falling by the wayside, Dustin says. At Premier Orthodontics, he and his brother have seen a big decline in the number of referrals from dentists, specifically because of the bustling corporate dentistry industry in their area. Now more than ever, patient-to-patient referrals are key, he says.

“There’s just a lot of things that have changed in the market,” Dustin says. “You have to be a lot more creative about how you attract patients.”

Dustin also sees it as an asset to their marketing firm that it’s run by practicing orthodontists.

“We’re in the trenches doing this, rather than a company that claims this is going to work,” he says. “We use these ideas in our own practice. That differentiates us from most other orthodontist marketing companies out there.”

He added that Orthomarketing DFY is also geographically exclusive, meaning that if there are two practices in the same market, the firm won’t do marketing for both of them.

Premier Orthodontics was founded in 2006, and Dustin says he practiced solo for about six years before his brother Tyler joined the practice. Now, Premier has five locations across Arizona. OP

A.J. Zak is a freelance writer for Orthodontic Products. She can be reached at [email protected].