10 Questions: Fred Joyal

July 14, 2014
Issue 6

01 Many people are already familiar with Futuredontics. What would you say are some of the most common misconceptions about the services you provide? Well, on the consumer side of things, many of them still think we’re a chain of dental practices. That notion is finally starting to go away, but the one I’d really like to eliminate is the misconception among dentists that all we do is provide new patient leads. We’re actually a complete marketing partner for dental practices, with internal marketing, front desk training and more.

01 Many people are already familiar with Futuredontics. What would you say are some of the most common misconceptions about the services you provide?

Well, on the consumer side of things, many of them still think we’re a chain of dental practices. That notion is finally starting to go away, but the one I’d really like to eliminate is the misconception among dentists that all we do is provide new patient leads. We’re actually a complete marketing partner for dental practices, with internal marketing, front desk training and more.

02 When it comes to internal vs. external marketing, do you think dentists tend to focus on one more than the other?

I think they tend to focus on external because it seems to have a better payoff - a new patient offers all kinds of opportunity.

03 Isn’t that true?

In reality, they could have more immediate success by consistently marketing to the patients they already have. Those patients already have a relationship with the practice, so they’re more likely to accept big-ticket treatment a lot sooner.

04 How does your Patient Activator program help overcome that emphasis on external marketing?

By giving dentists a simple, effective way to market to their existing patients. Most dentists realize the importance of internal marketing, but feel like it’s a lot of work. Patient Activator takes the effort off their shoulders while keeping the practice involved in the process.

05 It sounds like something that could be a huge benefit for practices. How do you take that kind of program to the next level?

By offering variety and options. Patient Activator provides both print and digital customized communications to reach all patients.

06 Something that a lot of people don’t realize, you offer dentists free marketing self-assessments. What does that entail?

It’s a brief, but revealing survey that provides us with key insights about a dental practice and a clear understanding of its marketing needs. It’s followed by a free consultation, where we discuss our findings and present the practice with solutions. The dentist is free from any obligation, and the information on its own is valuable to have. I don’t think there’s a practice out there that couldn’t benefit from taking the assessment.

07 Last year, you published Everything is Marketing. Since then, you’ve been traveling, speaking and writing a lot, trying to get the message out there. What is the question you hear most from dentists?

Most of them want to know how to use advertising to attract high-end cosmetic patients.

08 How do you respond?

I usually tell them that it’s unreasonable to expect that there are that many people who don’t have a dentist but are ready for veneers. You’re better off targeting your surrounding neighborhoods and providing the patients who come in with a phenomenal experience. If you can build loyalty among those patients, they’ll start referring friends and family. And they will eventually accept comprehensive care.

09 What advice do you offer dentists looking to incorporate social media into their marketing plans?

Be realistic. You’re not going to bring in a ton of new patients just by setting up a Facebook profile and Twitter account. However, you can strengthen the relationship you have with your existing patients, and possibly gain some new potential patients.

10 What about peer review sites? Where do they fit into the social media strategy? Online reviews are a wave of the future.

Websites like Yelp can be a little scary since anyone can review your practice, and the reviews remain on your profile pretty much forever. However, this also makes them a powerful tool. You can counteract any negative reviews by asking your loyal patients to write a review. If you’re providing a great experience for your patients, eventually the good reviews will far outweigh the bad