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18 April 2023

Dr. Chris Phelps presents dental marketing tips at IAOCI 2023

Paola Omini


Dr. Christopher Phelps is an entrepreneur, general dentist and an Amazon best-selling author of the book, “Grow Your Dental Membership Plan.” His latest book, “The Complete Book on Dental Marketing,” is available through Edra Publishing. 

Phelps held a dental marketing workshop at the start of the International Academy of Ceramic Implantology (IAOCI)’s annual congress in Atlanta, which took place April 13 to 15. This was the twelfth year for the event, which will feature some of the world’s foremost biomaterials experts, bioceramics industry leaders and experienced clinicians in the field of ceramic implantology. 

At the workshop, Phelps described seven pillars to successful dental marketing. These foundational elements include:

  1. Who makes up or defines your market?
    - Run demographics report in practice management software

       - Divide them into categories: gender, age, location, retired, single, family

- Use technology to identify your market

- Identify the top 20 patients who spent the most at your practice last year

- Identify the top 20 patients who referred the most people to your practice last year

- Niche procedures: look at who said ‘yes’ last year

Phelps said that some of this research can be conducted organically when the dentist or dental team has a patient in their chair. 

You and team members can ask:

- What local media, including radio, magazines and newspapers and TV stations do they listen to, read or watch?

- What, if any, online neighborhood groups do they follow?

- What other places do they visit online to get medical or health information? 

    2. What is your message?

Phelps said your message to potential patients is not about pricing or what others are doing. These things do not define you. Your message does not equal your services either. 

Your message should differentiate you from other clinicians and your message or “headline” is about how you solve someone’s problem. Think about the service you offer and promote; identify problems your patient has and define how your service solves their problem. That’s your marketing message or headline, Phelps said. 

    3. Define your content

What stage of the consumer buying cycle are you trying to attract? Understand what emotions you want to elicit from patients.  

Phelps said defining your content includes written materials, visuals (photos, video, memes) and color, using the psychology or study of colors.

    4. Select your offer

Phelps said that creating a “good” offer should include:

- Making it beneficial to your patient

- Making it something that patients want

- Giving patients a choice

- Creating a sense of urgency

Everyone makes monetary offers, he said. What’s better? 

- Gift with purchase

- Convenience

- Reciprocity

- Authority

    5. Add more influence

Use the six principles of persuasion: reciprocity, commitment, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity.

    6. What is your medium? Phelps shared multiple options, including:

- External marketing

- Website

- Internal marketing

- Parasite marketing (referrals)

- Symbiotic or network marketing

- Public relations

    7. Track your ROI – This is an important ongoing process, and it will help you adjust your marketing efforts as you see what is working and         what is not. 

Read more about topics including parasite marketing in Phelps’ book, “The Complete Book on Dental Marketing,” on the Edra Publishing site.  

Learn more about Phelps and his work at: https://www.thephelpsinstitute.com/

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