Do you run a dental practice? Are you struggling to make an impact online? Dentex is offering one lucky practice the chance to overhaul their online presence with a Digital Marketing Grant!
With the best will in the world, we can’t do it all: it’s a struggle we’ve seen time and time again in practices, where stretched teams are attempting to cover areas of the business that may be outside of their comfort zone or skillset (think HR, legal, IT…).
One such area is marketing – and yet the power of successful marketing can transform a practice, leading to more patients through the door and often unprecedented growth.
This is why Dentex have launched the Dentex Marketing Grant: through their own community of practices, they’ve witnessed how the support of their award-winning marketing team has had fantastic results (there’s a reason they’re award winning!)
They will be offering one winning practice a marketing support package, valued up to £4,450. The grant will include:
- A full audit of the practice’s online presence
- Rebranded social media assets
- Website UX and technical on-and off-page SEO review and recommendations
- A logo refresh
- £2,000 contribution towards advertising – whether it be print, online, or social
- A day onsite with their clinical director, Rahul Doshi, to explore how the winner can grow their treatment mix.
To qualify for entry, you need to be an independent practice (not part of a corporate) and not currently within the Dentex community. All submissions will be judged by our brilliant, industry-renowned judging panel.
We want to offer you an introduction to three of them here: Barry Lanesman, Rahul Doshi and James Goolnik.
For many of you, Dentex CEO Barry Lanesman needs little by way of introduction – but here’s a bit of background: Barry qualified as a dentist in Australia in 1982 and practised for about seven years, before spending more than 25 years building a specialised dental finance business.
Corporate dentistry is very different in Australia: rather than the aggregation approach we’re familiar with here in the UK (where practices are bought en masse, with dentists retaining little or no vested interest once they sell), it’s a partnership model. The result is that Australian corporates have less trouble retaining, attracting and motivating superb clinicians.
Barry had a lightbulb moment on moving to the UK – he recognised a gap in the market for a better model of dental business ownership that could transform the (at the time, poor) reputation of corporates, and offer dentists an alternative to simply selling up.
Dentex’s partnership model was the solution, providing a new way to practise dentistry. It gives partners a secure long-term future and also the ability to remain invested in dentistry.
For Barry, marketing was a natural choice for our grant prize, having seen first-hand just how much of an impact it can have on a practice (with over 100 in the Dentex community, they’ve had the privilege of witnessing this many times).
‘Most dentists have the ability to learn new clinical skills, but not all dentists have the ability to market something,’ he explains.
‘The difficulty is not their clinical skills; the difficulty is getting patients in the chair for their practice to grow.’
The Dentex community
One of the things Dentex is most proud of is their community, and Barry explains that it is access to this group that makes the grant so special: ‘I think that what we do at Dentex really well is network as a community.
‘There’s no single person that knows everything about the best way to do something. And when it comes to marketing, the more networking you have – the more input you have from different practices, different people, different ways of doing things, different results – the better you’re going to be able to do that.
‘Effectively what we do is draw information from many different sources, collaborate and share it with others.’
Anyone can apply
Barry was keen that the grant was for practices outside of Dentex, as a way to share the expertise within the network, which brings so much value to practices within the group.
‘At Dentex, we want to support general dentistry broadly and share what we know with others. We have intentions and obligations to help the whole dental community.’
Who should apply?
As for who he’d like to see apply, Barry says: ‘It could be a very broad range of practices, but probably more somebody who is trying to understand what they can do to make their practice more successful.
It could be a young person starting a practice or it could be somebody that has a really successful practice, but marketing hasn’t worked for them.
‘We’re looking for an individual that wants to interrogate what they are doing, and wants to grow, learn and develop from others, so we all learn and grow.’
The winner might be…
In terms of what the judges will be looking for, he elaborates: ‘Somebody who may be thinking: “I’m doing all I can, I just want to know what else is out there that can help.”
‘My ideal winner it someone that really engages with Dentex and is open to doing things differently.’
Rahul Doshi is a man with many strings to his bow.
For those unfamiliar with his many accolades, let us take a moment to run through just some of his achievements: Rahul founded the Perfect Smile Studios Practices, and was one of the pioneers of cosmetic dentistry in the UK, graduating from the University of London in 1991, and continuing his studies in the US, where at the time there was access to training in cosmetic dentistry not yet available in the UK.
Alongside building his practice, Rahul is an international speaker, founded the Advanced Training Institute, where he has taught dentists worldwide, is past president of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a board member of the British Association of Private Dentistry and a business consultant at Dental Wealth Builder.
He brings plenty of judging experience to the table, having been a judge at the Private Dentistry Awards for the past 18 years and at the Dental Industry Awards. He is now clinical director at Dentex.
Rahul has always taken a keen interest in marketing: as one of the first UK practices to pioneer cosmetic dentistry, he recognised the need to publicise what they were offering.
Initially this was offline and with Rahul’s dedication to marketing, his practice enjoyed a regular presence in national media (including on the television programme Extreme Makeover).
When it became clear that online marketing was where real growth was happening, Rahul switched focus to his practice’s website –attracting thousands of potential patients with his online strategy.
Understanding the importance of digital marketing, Rahul trained in key areas – such as SEO – to fully understand what his practices needed and what was expected of his team.
His Dentex role
Perfect Smile Studios was the second practice to join the Dentex group in 2017, and Rahul soon took on a role as a regional partner, sharing his expertise with practices in the group.
This expanded to his current role of clinical director in 2019, in which he brings his experience and knowledge to the whole Dentex community of practices.
‘My role is to help practices and dentists develop and grow. That’s my big remit,’ he describes.
‘Every practice is unique and you have to figure out exactly what’s going to make each different practice grow.
‘We create bespoke, tailored plans for each practice, that will be the most beneficial to them and their needs.’
A day with Rahul
The winner of the grant will have the opportunity to benefit from Rahul’s extensive marketing experience. They will also spend a day with him as part of their prize.
‘The day will offer the winner a chance to pick my brain and for me to deliver guidance on what their practice might need – but this will be tailored to them and dependent on what their issues are, what their vision is, and guidance on where they can get further information on strategies,’ he explains.
‘It also might mean introducing them to other people within Dentex, whether it’s clinical or non-clinical, that may be able to help them as well’.
Who should apply?
‘People who want to grow their practices, but perhaps aren’t sure of their vision or strategy,’ Rahul advises.
‘They may have attempted marketing, but without success or direction. We want to look for people who have a skill set, maybe clinically, but that doesn’t show through on their website, or social media, and the marketing.’
Eyes on the prize
Considering what may be the biggest benefit of the prize, Rahul believes it will be the access to the knowledge and experience of the Dentex team: ‘There are so many things that people don’t realise about websites that the marketing team can help with.
‘Also, helping with strategy guidance is all about the vision: if people don’t have a clear vision, they can work hard but not see results.’
As a man voted the most influential person in dentistry in the UK not once, but twice, James Goolnik is well placed to bring a wealth of expertise to our judging panel.
Having qualified from King’s College London in 1992, then gaining a masters degree in conservative dentistry at the Eastman Dental Institute, James founded the Bow Lane Dental Group in the heart of the City of London in 2001, where he still practices alongside his multi-specialist team today.
Alongside dentistry, James is also a member of the British Society of Occlusal Studies and the British Dental Association. He has written two books, lectures internationally and founded a charity, Rewards Project, which aims to help educate the world on how to kick sugar.
Quite simply, he’s a busy man.
As the founder at Bow Lane, James is passionate about marketing as he’s witnessed the significant impact it’s had on his own practice.
‘When I first started in dentistry, there wasn’t much marketing – it was simply a case of putting an ad in the Yellow Pages and waiting to see what happens,’ he describes.
‘We were the first practice in the UK to have a big website… We spent time on marketing and branding, trying to get our message very clear and differentiate ourselves from other practices, especially in central London.’
James and his colleagues looked to the US, where they’d attended conferences and seen first-hand the power of good branding (which had yet to be recognised by the UK dental market).
As their website grew, they recognised that sharing before-and-after imagery was an incredibly useful tool to help encourage patients to consider their practice for more than just when ‘something hurt or broke,’ as James describes, but for when they wanted to improve their smile.
Now with social media, there are so many avenues for marketing, and yet James sees that it’s more important than ever to have a consistent message and clear customer journey: ‘When you’re working in a business for so long, it’s hard to see it from a patient’s perspective – you don’t necessarily see the whole journey, you don’t see what people are looking at.
‘You may jump from one bandwagon – perhaps you see something on Instagram or TikTok, and then copy it, and then jump to something else. But that doesn’t take into account a long-term vision for a practice and where it’s supposed to go.’
So, where to start?
For James, having a clear vision of your practice is key: ‘The first thing really is to ask, what you are and what’s different about you? Why should somebody come see you? What are your long-term aims for the business? Are you eco-friendly? A family practice? Are you a kids specialist practice?’
He stresses this clear identity is key to building the right team, too: ‘I think people can forget that marketing is not just for patients, but you’re also trying to attract the right employees.’
And the winner is…
As for what he will be looking for in a winner, James describes a practice keen to get all they can from the opportunities the grant will offer.
He describes: ‘Ideally it will be somebody who is happy to try things they haven’t tried before and perhaps step out of their comfort zone.’
He adds that consistency, and also an openness to testing things and tracking changes will be vital.
‘I want them to understand where they are at the moment, and where they want to be. While the Dentex marketing team may make a plan, the winner will need to be someone who is open to revisiting it and assessing what is working and what isn’t.’
Why the Dentex Grant?
While James isn’t a member of the Dentex group, he was keen to be on the panel – recognising that he shares the same goals as his fellow judges: ‘We all want the right thing for the profession – for people to grow and to get the right message out there.’
He’s excited to see the impact the grant may have on the winning practice: ‘There’s no reason why a small practice with one surgery can’t have the same online presence as Dentex with 130 practices,’ he says.
‘If you’re doing the right thing, and you have the right message, you can achieve the same thing, which is brilliant.’
Nominate your practice today!
Get in touch and tell us a bit about you and why you should win.*
All submissions will be judged by our brilliant, industry renowned judging panel: Barry Lanesman, Rahul Doshi, James Goolnik, Tif Qureshi, Pat Langley and Shiraz Khan.
Entries close 31 August, with the winner announced 14 September. We can’t wait to meet you!
*T&Cs apply. Please see link for further details. Please note this competition is only open to independently owned dental practices in the UK (i.e. not dental practices that are part of a corporate dental group). Entries close 31st August, with the winner announced 14th September www.dentexhealth.co.uk/digital-marketing-grant/.