Let the Government Help You Market FOR FREE

When was the last time you got something useful from the government for FREE?

Actually, you’re getting it now. You just didn’t know about it.

The U.S. government is driving patients to you right now, and if you’re not taking advantage of it, then you’re not getting your tax dollars’ worth.

The government is spending money to help you market. Not with some small-business program or tax rebate. They’re directly doing your marketing for you. The only things the feds haven’t done is put your name on it.

Do they intend to do your marketing for you? No. It’s a public health initiative that you can capitalize on for your practice.

This marketing is about the video spots that you find on national TV networks and online. Both use the damage that smoking does to your teeth to encourage people to quit.

One is from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign. In this ad, a 49-year-old man named Brett removes two prostheses from his mouth, exposing his missing front teeth on both the front and bottom rows.

“Your smile says a lot about you,” Brett says. “What does this say?” and then he removes the prostheses.

If you haven’t seen it, you can find it on YouTube by searching “tips from former smokers and Brett.”

The second spot is from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Real Cost Commercial campaign.

In this one, a convenience store clerk tells a patron that he doesn’t have enough money to pay for his menthol cigarettes. The patron takes out a pair of pliers, pulls out a tooth, adds it to the cash, and takes the cigarettes.

“What’s a pack of menthols cost?” the narrator asks. “Your teeth.”

You can find this commercial by searching YouTube for “real cost commercial your teeth.”

These two commercials mean that tens of thousands of people, maybe a couple of hundred thousand, are at least CONSIDERING the damage smoking is doing to their teeth. This is marketing to you.

And it’s free in the sense that you didn’t pay for it directly. But your tax dollars paid for these, so you might as well take advantage of this opportunity.

That could mean:

  • writing a blog about the dangers of smoking.
  • doing a video podcast or series of videos about what smoking does to your teeth and gums.
  • using social media to talk about the causality between tobacco use and oral cancer.

And remember, this has nothing to do with whether you think the government should be discouraging people from smoking or not. This is about seeing a public health issue and contributing to the conversation. In fact, your blog, video, or social media post does double duty: continuing to raise public awareness while potentially attracting new patients to your practice.

And this advice goes not just for these two videos but to any public topic involving dentistry. You’re a dental expert, and you can and should join the conversation that people are already having.