As dental practice marketing completely transforms from the simple (run a few ads in the yellow pages) to the complex (update your website and regularly contribute to social media), photographs are becoming more and more important to your practice. There are a variety of photos that can be useful in dental marketing:
- Clinical pictures – for case presentations and before/after on your website
- Dentist / staff photos – on your website and in your practice brochures
- Events / holidays – for Facebook/Linked In/Google Places/your website and the local newspapers
Thinking about a typical week in your practice, there are great opportunities for photos every single day. The really cute 7-year old girl in for her checkup that just earned a spot in your ‘No Decay Club.’ The teenage boy that just got his braces off and is grinning holding a goody bag of candy he can finally eat. The beautiful 25-year old girl that’s in for a quick ‘check whitening’ visit to make sure her shade is just perfect for her upcoming wedding. Each of these patients makes for a great photo opportunity that can be shared on Facebook (with a signed release, of course). Snapping photos, getting releases, sharing these photos along with appropriate captions – all of this is a great task to assign to your office manager.
Now, before office managers start rolling their eyes and saying ‘you’ve got to be kidding me, one more thing on my plate?!’ – let me clarify what this task entails. The office manager is usually the one person that keeps the practice organized – this is just one more system to set up. At the morning huddle, the office manager should be asking for great photos and testimonials that can be shared online. The staff should know where the release forms are kept and be responsible for taking the photos, downloading them into the patient’s file and giving the release to the office manager. If clinical staff are tight for time, then the office manager can come to the rescue (especially if this is a really great photo opportunity) to take the photo instead.
On top of regularly identifying photo opportunities, the office manager can also learn how to take attractive pictures. I’m not referring to clinical intra-oral images, I’m thinking marketing – she needs to take flattering photos of people either in portrait or in action. Close ups are key. The camera makes all the difference – if you haven’t yet purchased a SLR camera for your clinical photos, now is the time. You can use this one camera for both intra-oral images and for dental marketing pictures and you will be amazed at what a difference a good camera makes in your photos.
Another way office managers can use their organizational skills to improve the practice in relation to photos is by gathering before/after clinical photos. Most general dentists are providing crown/bridge, dentures/partials, implants, composite fillings, and whitening. For each of these procedures, the dentist can identify a satisfied patient and request a photograph and testimonial. The office manager can use the photo and positive comments to post on Facebook, etc. and once she has one of each procedure – she can create a hard-bound book through Shutterfly (or another photo album company). This book can be shared with patients during case presentations and left in the lobby as proof of the dentist’s quality of work.
Snapping fun pictures of staff events (office Christmas party or summer picnic), holiday celebrations or contest winners is another way to use photographs for dental marketing. This is what Facebook was made for. If the office manager takes a few pictures (remember close ups are best) at each staff event and holiday and shares them on Facebook, you can bet that the staff in the photos are going to go online and share them with their friends. In fact you should encourage your entire staff to always “Like” and “Share” all the photos/posts on Facebook just to increase your reach. These holidays and events give you the opportunity to post interesting pictures. For example, my favorite photo I’ve taken in the last 2 years is one where my pediatric dentist is holding a dozen giant red heart balloons to give to kids for Valentine’s Day. All the bright red balloons and his giant smile grab your attention every time – I have used this photograph literally dozens of times to market his practice. When you get a great photograph, this can be used everywhere!
The last responsibility of the office manager regarding photographs is storage. There are dozens of photo storage options available – Windows Picture Gallery is one example, or you can simply create a folder and store your images by year, month and topic. Every few months, it’s time to go around the practice and take a bunch of new pictures that can be used for all sorts of marketing projects. Having these photos saved and easy to find makes your job so much easier when it’s time to find a photo to use for a new direct mail piece you decide to send out or to use for a new brochure you want to create.
The more great photographs you have, the easier it is to market your dental practice. By giving your office manager responsibility for gathering and storing photos, you can increase your case acceptance, welcome new patients to your practice and strengthen your social media presence.