What does it mean to be actively involved with your community, and is it really that important for orthodontists?
Spoiler: Yes it really is, and for many reasons! Your practice’s community involvement can boost your word-of-mouth marketing, attract more patients, support people in need and help make your community a better place — all of which are great things.
Practices that dedicate resources to bettering the community and become a true participant in the community tend to build some of the most recognizable, successful brands in their area.
1. Community involvement helps you understand your community’s needs.
When your practice and team are actively involved with the community, you gain a better understanding of your community’s needs. When your goal is to provide the types of services and care that your community needs, gaining a firsthand understanding of your area is incredibly valuable.
Community outreach allows your practice to hone in on your market audience and identify your audience’s true desires to better optimize your brand identity or the types of services you provide. It also gives you the opportunity to represent your brand the way you want your brand to be perceived.
Simply hearing and reading about community events doesn’t lend you the same insight that participating in, sponsoring and/or attending these events does. Community outreach programs allow your team to get hands-on with the community, build genuine relationships within the community, represent your brand positively, and discuss the community’s needs.
2. Community involvement gives you the opportunity to showcase your core values.
You can create a beautiful brand with a warm color scheme, family-focused imagery, and website content that highlights your dedication to the community, but if your practice isn’t actively living up to its word, it can come across as a bit phony.
Don’t just talk about it; be about it. Community outreach enables you to showcase the core values that your practice lives by and was founded on. The specific ways you choose to reach out to the community (whether it’s through donations, school event sponsorship, or supporting local businesses) speak to your unique values and the initiatives that your practice cares to support.
Choose community outreach initiatives that align with your orthodontic brand.
Take one of our partners, James River Orthodontics, for example. This highly-successful practice dedicates itself to the community through various initiatives, such as advocating for and providing funds to help protect the James River that provides water to one third of all Virginia residents.
Beyond their conservation efforts, James River Orthodontics donates to a Richmond-based organization that provides aid and support to families faced with physical and health conditions, and donates to every new patient’s school as well as a school in need.
Through their community involvement, James River Orthodontics showcases its core values, strengthens its brand and builds lifelong relationships within the community.
3. Community involvement boosts word-of-mouth marketing.
Getting involved with your community is one of the most effective ways to boost word-of-mouth marketing. By organizing community events, attending events, or sponsoring events, you’re placing your practice at the forefront of the community and you get to meet your ideal audience one-on-one!
Not only can this have a direct impact on the number of patients you attract, but representing your brand positively to the community will encourage people who may not be in the market for your services to refer their friends or family to your practice.
The more active you are in your community, the more familiar your community becomes with your brand. By boosting brand awareness and brand recognition, you keep your practice top-of-mind as the go-to orthodontist for families in your community.
One of our long-term partners, Fishbein Orthodontics, does a fantastic job at word-of-mouth marketing! This practice is highly involved in its community, and their brand is one of the most well-known brands in the area.
Fishbein Orthodontics established the Fishbein Foundation, dedicated to providing free orthodontic treatment to children in need. This practice is constantly showing its face around town, helping out in the community, and building strong relationships that expand the practice’s patient base.
4. Community involvement strengthens your brand identity.
What better way to differentiate you from your competition than through your community involvement programs and community outreach initiatives? Not only are you making a positive impact on your neighborhood, but you strengthen your brand identity and set your practice apart from the rest.
You attract like-minded patients who want to support your practice and like-minded team members who want to work with your practice. If a patient is on the fence, deciding between two practices, your community outreach initiatives could be the push they need to feel comfortable choosing your practice.
What do successful community-involved orthodontists have in common?
And no, this isn’t a trick question. We’ll tell you from experience!
Here’s one thing we found in common with some of the most successful, community-oriented orthodontists: they don’t do it for ‘sales’, they do it with a genuine desire to make a difference.
These practices aren’t solely focused on attracting new patients from the get go. They truly care about giving back to their community, supporting people in need, building relationships within the community, and building trust around their practice.
New patient acquisition is almost an indirect benefit of these practices’ community outreach initiatives—and this approach has proven to work very well.
When your focus is on truly bettering your community, dedicating your time and offering your resources to the community, trust is built and the results follow.
Community Outreach Strategies for Orthodontists
Community outreach comes in plenty of forms, with a variety of budgets and levels of investment. Not every practice is able to found an organization, make a significant donation or offer free treatment—and that’s okay!
There are a number of community outreach programs for practices of all sizes. If you’re looking for a lower investment to start, you could sponsor a small, local school event or offer a community discount.
Maybe you want to reward first responders, teachers, and essential employees with a “thank you for your service” community discount. You may reach out to local companies to offer discounts for their employees. You could run Facebook contests and encourage your community to support a local shop or restaurant.
Practices often establish partnerships with schools in the area, through sponsorships, local school discounts, donations or contests. If you’re not sure where to start, ask us!
We’re here to help guide you in making informed decisions for your brand, your practice, and your community. We’re proud to work with a number of orthodontists who value community involvement and go above and beyond to leave a positive impact.
Want to join eNox Media’s network of amazing, community-focused orthodontists? It all starts with a complimentary discovery session. Request yours today.