November 2010 | Dental Lab Products
November 2010 | Dental Lab Products
The popular phrase
“a picture is worth a thousand words” is commonly thought to be a Chinese proverb attributed to Confucius. A Google search will lead you to a number of interpretations of the actual origin of this phrase; however, the meaning does not change. An image, photo or picture will go hand in hand with words to convey a meaning or purpose without having to provide an explanation using a handful of words-let alone one thousand words. Good images and photos will help gain the reader’s attention and interest, as well as help the ad or article get noticed.
Since the first widespread use of photographic images by the press in the early 1920s, marketers have included images to help sell products and services to consumers. Imagery alone is not enough, for if you were to just look at a picture without words, you might not know what the intended message is. Now, combine imagery with words and you can convey a powerful message when selling products and services, especially to your dentist customers as most are very visual.
In every dental publication, almost all of the articles and advertisements use imagery to convey a thought and to help explain what the article or author is trying to communicate. Advertisements, technical and non-technical articles use lots of photos and images because most readers would not read text-heavy articles.
Show off your success
Esthetic dentistry and cosmetic cases are all about visualization, and it is what you see that counts. Imagine how difficult it is to talk about your skills as a cosmetic technician without being able to provide samples or photos of your work. Yet many laboratories try to accomplish this without photos of their work.
Yes, it can be time-consuming and expensive to develop samples of your work; however, pre-planning and making a commitment to document cases through photography is an excellent alternative, and might be the best option because it won’t add much extra time to your workflow. Photos of actual cases, along with some explanation, tell the best story and just might get you the best results in selling your skills.
Manufacturers will provide product photos of their dental materials in use, and these can be helpful to use in promoting your overall portfolio of products and services. But while many laboratories use these in their marketing collateral and on their websites, these stock photos from a manufacturer only help you to convey the types of products and services you offer, but are not representative of the quality of your actual work. If the desire is to promote your expertise in esthetic or cosmetic dentistry, having your own images will do a better job for you and your laboratory.
Start to finish
One of the most effective uses of photography for dental laboratories is before-and-after images of actual cases. By providing these photos, you are showing your technical and creative abilities. As mentioned, dentists can be very visual, and by showing your actual work they can get an idea of what you might be able to do for their patients and practice.
Every dentist has a number of patients who might have similar cosmetic challenges. By presenting your cases, you just may interest them enough to give you a call or try out your laboratory with a challenging case.
Here are a few suggestions on how to get started, and are not necessarily in chronological order.
Get trained in dental photography: The main goal is to take photos that tell a story, are visually appealing and are of high quality. There are educators and companies that can help you learn more about taking good photos of cases, what equipment is best, how to take before-and-after photos, and how to put together a photo album of your best cases.
Work with a good clinician: Having a dentist who is not only a good clinician but a good marketer is ideal. These dentists can be effective in getting the right patient for before-and-after photos.
If you are using photos for marketing purposes and not to support a clinical or technical article, consider eliminating cheek retractors and use smiling lip photos (where you just show lips in a smile position and showing teeth). Also include a full-face smiling photo (this helps to show the difference of the before and after). Don’t forget to get a photo-release form from the patient prior to taking the photos.
Select your advertising medium: How and where you will use the photos should be decided prior to getting started. You should definitely include them on your website, and you also could include dentist or patient testimonials. Your corporate brochure and direct mail brochures are another effective means of getting the message out to existing and prospective customers. If you exhibit at trade shows, your booth graphics and a computer presentation also would be effective uses for your photos.
Successful marketing today means taking advantage of different strategies to get your message out to the right audience. Attracting the attention of your audience through direct marketing pieces as well as your website is critical to that success. The photos or images you use will have a significant impact on the success of your efforts. Make it the impact you want.
Good imagery combined with proper messaging helps you fulfill the meaning and intent of the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and should help your messaging stand out.
Photo: photosindia/Getty Images