After buying the practice where he had been an associate in a few years ago, Dr. Ash Vasanthan wanted to start from scratch when it came to rebuilding his brand.
“I had a client base and an active website, but I wanted to rebrand myself,” said Dr. Vasanthan, a periodontist who has been practicing for 5 years in Roseville, California.
In January 2013, he started working with PBHS, the ADA Business Resources-endorsed website design and practice marketing firm.
Working with a graphic designer, one of his first decision was choosing colors, which led to the creation of his practice’s logo. Both colors and logo are used throughout his practice, from his website and stationary to letterheads and coffee mugs.
Meanwhile, PBHS also built Dr. Vasanthan’s website — which, for people searching for periodontists in his area, is now the top result online.
“Everything had to be very precise,” he said, when it came to working with PBHS. “Building my brand was a defining moment for me because I was a new business owner.”
Dr. Vasanthan spoke with ADA New Dentist News to share some suggestions and advice for making the most out of working a marketing firm.
“PBHS isn’t the only marketing firm around,” Dr. Vasanthan said. “But dentists need to do their research to find the best firm for their needs. I really wanted a company that would take me and say, ‘We can brand you, we can start from scratch.’
“I zeroed in on PBHS because I felt they would be able to provide me with what I was looking for. It’s also a good idea to just call around. I partly chose PBHS because their customer service was great. I never reached a machine. Jay Levine, PBHS president, was always available and accessible to answer any questions despite being the very busy.”
When it came to building a website, which Dr. Vasanthan considers his top marketing tool, he compared the construction of a house.
“If you want a beautiful, sturdy house, you have to find the best builder in town for you,” he said. “I called a few places, visited several websites and asked friends for recommendations before I found the one.”
Consider your budget
“For new dentists starting a practice, you have to spend money on so many things on top of trying to repay student loans,” Dr. Vasanthan said. “For me, I didn’t go for PBHS’ top tier offerings. I went with somewhere in the middle. I would tell new dentists to really look at what you’re getting for what you’re paying. Sometimes, you don’t have to choose the most expensive package or service to be happy and to get the results you want.”
Get a website
Dr. Vasanthan said his main focus when he hired a marketing firm was to increase his Web presence.
“My website is my number one marketing tool. It’s my face on the Internet,” he said. “When starting a new practice, it’s important to have a website immediately. I would say it’s only second to having a phone number set up for the office. A potential patient can only reach you 8-5 on the phone. A website allows them to access you 24/7.”
Make things easier for patients
Just because a website or a successful marketing strategy help potential patients find you easier, it should also make things more convenient for them, Dr. Vasanthan said.
“The simplest thing a new dentist can do is to have a responsive Web design with a fill-able patient registration available online,” he said.
Dr. Vasanthan’s website allows potential patients to fill out and submit new patient registration forms when making an appointment. This way, the patient doesn’t have to fill it out at the office and it helps his practice track how many new patients are coming in due to his Web marketing.
When it came to the designing your brand, you have to be very involved, Dr. Vasanthan said. He worked exclusively with Alejandro Salazar, a PBHS graphic designer, who translated his vision into art and helped design his logo, business cards, letterheads, etc. Dr. Vasanthan said he is extremely proud to hand out his business cards just because of the many times he gets complimented on the design and the quality.
“I put my logo on everything. I’m very proud to show it off. To me, being able to explicitly express what I wanted or looking for was very, very important,” Dr. Vasanthan said. “What you’re doing should reflect who you are.”