Orthodontics: How to Master Community Outreach

Welcome to the latest episode of GrowOrtho, brought to you today by Hip Creative. Our featured guest is Lori Harris of Fishbein Orthodontics in Pensacola, Florida. She’s held several roles with the practice over the past five years, including admin, financial coordination and marketing. Lori is currently the community outreach coordinator for Fishbein Orthodontics.

Check out this conversation between Lori and host Luke Infinger if you want to learn about:

  • What a typical day looks like for Lori in her role as community outreach coordinator.
  • The benefits of a community outreach program for an orthodontist practice (hint: there are at least two big ones).
  • The best way for an orthodontist practice to launch a community outreach program, even with a limited budget.
  • Lori’s specific strategies on how to successfully partner with area schools — bureaucratic red tape notwithstanding.
  • Why Fishbein Orthodontics does so well with patient acquisitions via dentist referrals.
  • How to optimize your practice’s involvement in local nonprofits and charities.
  • How Lori was able to help Fishbein stay relevant and top of mind within the community during COVID-19 lockdowns — and what they’re doing to ramp back up now.
  • How to identify potential new partnerships and event opportunities within your community.

As always, here’s a brief summary of what you can expect to hear about in this episode:

  • There’s nothing like a global pandemic to force companies to adapt and innovate! In order to continue supporting their community and practice throughout 2020, Lori had to pivot toward a more virtual outreach strategy. The strategy worked, but lately, Lori has been “trying to get back out in the community.” This means she’s visiting with nonprofits and referring dentists, scheduling events, arranging sponsorships and more.
  • “A lot of what we do [in community outreach] is not necessarily for return on investment,” Lori says when asked about how her efforts benefit the Fishbein team. Nonetheless, you’d be hard-pressed to say her efforts haven’t had at least an indirect impact on the company’s growth — Fishbein Orthodontics is a highly sought after family practice in the Pensacola area with over eight locations. People actually recognize her and the brand “everywhere,” Lori says.
  • Limited by a small marketing budget? Lori says there are plenty of ways to start your outreach even with a low investment. Just don’t be limited in whom you reach out to — Lori makes sure to include as many groups as possible in her community support efforts, from first responders and local businesses to neighborhoods and PTA board members.
  • And speaking of schools, for better or for worse, getting your practice’s foot in the door with area schools can be a bit tricky, Lori admits. But years of experience have taught Lori several effective and trust-building techniques to create valuable partnerships with county school systems. In fact, one specific call to action she used last year helped them land partnerships with 14 new schools within a single county! She even recommends a specific time of year to go chat with school administrators for the greatest impact.
  • The recent trend away from dentist referrals has left many orthodontics practices struggling to acquire new patients. Lori credits Fishbein’s continued success with local dentists to frequent and meaningful interactions with both doctors and staff. Lori and the team also make genuine efforts to get to know dentists who are new to the area — think “welcome to the community” gift baskets containing local goodies for new providers and their families.
  • Lastly, Lori has a unique approach to helping Fishbein Orthodontics get involved in meaningful charity work, by first asking the doctors what missions they would love to support. This really helps open the door to other opportunities in the community. “We get emails every day asking for sponsorships,” Lori says.

Interested in contacting Lori? Reach out to her at lori@fishortho.com.

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