Jeremy Tuber

What dentists need to know before pressing ‘record’ and film a marketing video for their practice

If you’ve ever kicked around the idea of promoting yourself and your practice through a video on your website by speaking to patients, this article is for you.

Creating a video is easy. Creating a video that’s effective, well, that takes a little more knowledge an effort. However, with a newer smartphone with a video camera, microphone, and a window to let in light, you can get it done.

Testimonials and action footage (called bRoll) is beyond the scope of what’s covered in this article, but if getting in front of the camera and speaking to patients about who you are and what you do, read on…

Why invest time in creating an online video for your dental practice?

Consumers, including your patients, aren’t logical or rational when it comes to their buying habits. Surprised? They buy what they want and not what they need; they buy on emotion and justify it with logic; and they tend only to buy from people/companies they perceive to know, like, and trust. How this relates is that if you’re able to make a personal, emotional connection with a potential patient watching your video, the chances of them calling for an appointment go up significantly. “People,” as one dentist in SADS told me, “only know two things: are you nice and do you hurt.” Sure, that’s oversimplified, but if a potential patient perceives you are nice and gentle while watching your video, you’ve greatly reduced the risk and anxiety associated in seeing a new dentist. If that makes sense to you, let’s move to how you can make an okay video into a great one.

You can do this, but you’re a dentist and not a polish politician, so being in front of the camera is harder than you think

If you’ve never been in front of a camera or made a presentation to a crowd of people, you’ll want to avoid taking the experience lightly. Speaking on camera is more demanding that you’d guess. You may have been in practice for ten or twenty years, but there’s a tremendous difference between talking to a patient about a procedure in your operatory compared to looking directly into a camera lens and articulating why you became a dentist.

Being on camera for the first time can be unnerving—after all, you’re a clinician, not an actor. However, don’t be too tough on yourself if things don’t come as naturally as you hoped. Unless you’re using 8mm film (please don’t do this), you’ll be filming digitally, so you can always reshoot if you didn’t like how things turned out. Really, if you have to shoot twice, it’s okay.

What should you talk about? Persuade patients to make a dental appointment rather than inform

After four years of undergrad and at least another four years of dental school, you have more than your share of knowledge. Save it for the operatory. To get the most out of your videos, focus on giving patients a feeling and sense of who you are, why you are passionate about dentistry, and what the experience is like to visit your practice.

If you’re specifically recoding informational videos, that’s a different story. However, for an overall video that promotes your practice, remember that a little information/clinical knowledge goes a long way. As mentioned, patients can’t accurately gauge your clinical skills in person or in a video, but they can develop a sense of whether they like you, kind of know you, and trust you.

If you’re able to establish a personal, emotional connection with them, there’s a fair chance that they will look to come in for treatment, and isn’t that what you want them to do?

You love dentistry, so speak from the heart

Avoid worrying about whether you’re a smooth-talking speaker with impressive dental lexicon. You’re not running for political office or ADA president.

Potential patients watching your video just want you to speak clearly, audibly, and from the heart. This isn’t to suggest that a relaxed, confident delivery on camera isn’t important, but potential patients will decide whether to make an appointment primarily on what they feel about you and your practice. Therefore, genuineness trumps eloquence. Be yourself. The potential patients watching your video will focus less on what you say and more on how you say it, so be yourself.

If you have access to a video editing program, you’ll have the advantage of being able to splice your sound bites together—eliminating the occasional “uhh,” “umm,” or awkward pause. But there are aids you can use to help you stay focused and on topic while you’re in front of the camera.

It’s hard enough to speak on camera, but trying to remember everything you want to say is impressive if not impossible. With that in mind, below you’ll find three aids to help you keep focus in front of the camera.

1) A makeshift teleprompter using an iPad or laptop
While a teleprompter may seem like a natural fit (after all, elected officials make it look easy) using it while looking completely natural on camera is terribly demanding. Being able to read the teleprompter while making it appear that you’re looking at a camera is an acquired skill. What’s even more demanding is being able to speaking naturally while you’re in front of the camera. Most people, dentists included, look like they are reading, which is not a good look. Unless you have a successful track record with the teleprompter, or you have time to thoroughly practice, leave it for the news anchors and politicians.

2) Cue cards
Using cue cards just off camera can be effective in providing some quick mental notes while you’re speaking on camera. Keep in mind there’s only so much you can write on a cue card, so you still need to be comfortable on camera and know your material. The biggest mistake people who haven’t been on camera before make with cue cards is that they rely on them too heavily.
They don’t practice reviewing and delivering their material/content ahead of time. The result is that they deliver an on-camera performance that’s choppy and unnatural.

3) Interview format
Of these three choices, an engaged, experienced interviewer is the easiest option for most dentists. If this person isn’t available, ask a family member, friend, or dental team member to step in and help. The interviewer will position herself in close proximity to the camera(s) so it will appear you are looking at or close to the camera lens.

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