Frontier Dental Lab’s Direct-to-Consumer Marketing Connects Dentists and Patients
Dr. Caylin Frye, a cosmetic dentist at Mid-City Smiles in New Orleans, has worked in the dental industry for over two decades. In all that time, she has never had a dental lab bring a patient to her office door. However, that’s exactly what happened when Frontier Dental Lab Group connected her with Ignacia Soto-Aguilar.
The inspiration behind Frontier Dental Lab’s direct-to-consumer campaign
Gil Villavecer, Chief Marketing Officer at Frontier Dental Lab Group, was well aware of two key factors influencing Frontier’s marketing strategy. First, he knew his clients were dentists who tended to stick to traditional marketing methods as simple as word of mouth. Second, he knew that most people didn’t realize dental labs even existed. For these reasons, labs like Frontier have historically been absent from the direct-to-consumer marketing space.
“I like to be a trailblazer,” says Villavecer. “My lightbulb moment came when I realized that we have far more horsepower than the average dentist. After all, what dental office has a full-time marketing department? To better serve our dentists, I shifted our approach to a direct-to-consumer campaign.”
Villavecer’s first hurdle was introducing Frontier Dental Lab Group to a public that, up until that point, had been unaware of its existence. In general, dental labs have avoided digital marketing, but Villavecer knew the internet was the only way forward. So, Frontier uploaded educational clips to YouTube and fired up an Instagram account with a new mission to “Educate, Entertain, and Connect.”
Frontier Dental Lab’s DTC marketing in action
Frontier Dental Lab’s most innovative initiative is its Smile Simulations. Through this program, potential patients upload selfies to Frontier’s website and receive before and after pictures showing the possibilities of a smile makeover.
Soto-Aguilar first encountered Frontier Dental Lab through the Smile Simulation initiative and was blown away by her digital makeover. “The assessment was so quick and personal,” she remembers. “I received my before-and-after shots in an hour, and I couldn’t believe the amount of detail that Frontier put into it. That was my first insight into how much Frontier cares about its patients. They enabled me to visualize exactly how I would look with a new smile.”
Along with the Smile Simulation, Frontier Dental Lab sent a list of seven Trusted Frontier Dentists in Soto-Aguilar’s area who could make her simulation a reality. “We try to make research easy for people,” says Gil. “We believe that educated consumers are the best consumers.”
Frontier Dental Lab builds trust between dentists and patients
For convenience, Frontier linked each cosmetic dentist’s Instagram profile. When Soto-Aguilar clicked on Dr. Frye’s Instagram account, she felt an instant connection.
“Dr. Frye and I are both artists,” she explains. “I saw the care she put into her online presence and knew I would be in good hands. In this digital world, we put our work out there to show our clients what they can expect before we ever meet them. It’s visual and very intimate.”
Soto-Aguilar’s trust in Dr. Frye grew with every new piece of information she learned. She scanned through before and after shots of smiling patients and read a feature article about Dr. Frye dancing with her clients. Above all, she was struck by Dr. Frye’s honesty in describing her practice.
“I felt like I already knew her,” recalls Soto-Aguilar. “She wasn’t trying to sell anything to me. She was just talking about her passion for beautiful smiles.”
Within two days of uploading her selfie to Frontier Dental Lab’s Smile Simulation Center, Soto-Aguilar was talking with Dr. Frye in her office as if they had known each other for years. At that consultation, she scheduled an appointment for 20 veneers.
Dr. Frye says this is the most straightforward case she has closed in 21 years because of the foundation of trust established before the consultation. “Ignacia contacted me through the email from Frontier Dental Lab and was so excited that she even brought the smile simulation to our consultation. By the time we met, she trusted my work as a cosmetic dentist and Frontier’s work as a dental lab.”
In fact, Dr. Frye was so thrilled about the direct-to-consumer marketing that connected her to Soto-Aguilar that she shot a text to Villavecer that day: “Hey, Gil! Super cool story! A patient went through the smile simulation on your site, you sent her my info, and she’s coming in tomorrow. That’s the power of your marketing in the flesh!”
Villavecer counts that among the most exciting messages he has ever received. The only one he might enjoy more came days later from Soto-Aguilar. Along with pictures of her new smile, she texted: “Hi, Gil! You’ll love to see this! My smile is just how you imagined it!”
Currently, Frontier is focusing on harnessing the power of digital marketing to reach consumers. Its ground-breaking efforts to Educate, Entertain, and Connect potential patients prove that this marketing campaign is about much more than sales — it’s about building relationships and helping potential patients imagine the possibilities.
How to Help Your Child if You Think They Might Have Autism
Do you suspect your child might have autism, but you’re not sure? While only a professional diagnosis can tell you for sure, there are many ways you can support your child while you get a diagnosis and create a plan.
Here are some of the best ways to support a child you think might have autism.
- Try a variety of therapies
While you’re in the process of getting a formal diagnosis, start trying different therapies with your child to see if anything resonates with your child. Every child with autism is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. There are several types of therapy you can try that are low-cost or free, including play therapy, speech therapy, floortime, ABA therapy, and more.
Although your child will need a formal Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis to get ABA therapy, it’s worth noting that once you have a diagnosis, you can get in-home therapy, which will make things easier on you and your child. Organizations like Golden Care Therapy in New Jersey will send an ABA therapist to your home to work with your child in their own environment. Getting in-home therapy will reduce the stress your child may feel from being in a new and unfamiliar place.
The more therapies you try, the better chance you have of getting a head start in supporting your child, whether or not they get diagnosed with autism.
- Get your child some sensory toys
Kids with autism need to stim, which is just a fancy way of saying they need something to stimulate their senses in a way that allows them to mitigate and disburse the sensory overload they’re feeling. Without toys, kids will find ways to stim using just their bodies and their surroundings, but toys can be extremely helpful and less damaging depending on your child.
Every child is different, so it might take a bit to find toys they like. However, you can find some excellent suggestions from The Aspie World on YouTube. Some toys spin, squish, make noise, or are a series of magnets that can be reshaped. If your child is already fixated on certain types of toys, try to find something that matches their existing interest. For example, if they like soft textures, find some plush toys with a velvety-smooth texture. Try all types of toys to see if they help your child.
- Seek a professional diagnosis
Getting a professional diagnosis is the best way you can support your child when you think they might have autism. Once you have a diagnosis, that opens the door to getting services that will help them immensely. Not just while they’re young, but it will help them in their adult life, too. For example, if your child moves out on their own, and they struggle with self-care and household chores, they’ll need a professional diagnosis to get in-home services from the state.
A professional diagnosis will tell you if your child is on the autism spectrum, or if they have a different disorder. Depending on the therapist you choose, they’ll likely be able to diagnose your child with any relevant comorbidities, which are common with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
- Learn about autism
Next to getting your child professionally diagnosed, learning about autism will help you support your child in many ways. There are many misconceptions about autism that can make it hard to spot the signs of autism. One of the best people to learn from is Tony Attwood. He’s considered the leading expert on Autism Spectrum Disorder and is extremely knowledgeable.
One of the most important things you can learn from Attwood is how to spot Autism in girls. For various reasons, it’s harder to spot autism in girls and some girls don’t get diagnosed until they’re in their 40s. Attwood gave an excellent talk about Asperger’s in girls back in 2015, and you’ll learn a lot from this speech.
Although Attwood’s speech focuses on Asperger’s, it is part of the autism spectrum. As a diagnosis, Asperger’s has been officially merged into the diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
Support your child in every way you can
When you suspect your child might have autism, it’s important to support them in every way possible. While you’re seeking a professional diagnosis, start trying simple solutions, like play therapy and toys for stimming. See how they respond. Once you get a diagnosis, your child’s therapist will suggest next steps to help your child long-term.
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