Check out the 1-minute video tour of ROE Dental Laboratory's new facility!
Thanksgiving is a time to come together with friends and family, eat delicious food and give thanks. We’d like to hear about one person—a lab owner, employer, mentor, staff member, colleague or teacher—in the dental laboratory community for whom you’re thankful. It’s a great way to recognize someone who’s had a big impact on your life!
Click here to fill out the form: https://lmtmag.wufoo.com/forms/s1hbkxjc1560n0a/. We’ll be featuring these stories on our website and social media accounts around Thanksgiving so please submit the form by November 11th.
Thanks for your help in spreading the gratitude around our community!
LMT’s survey offers some optimistic news, but many respondents are still uneasy about the state of the market which, in turn, is affecting their personnel decisions.
When creating the social media content here at LMT, I’m always looking for eye-catching graphics to accompany my posts. I’m far from a graphic designer, which is why I lean on a few online-based graphic design tools. These tools also take away the guesswork of figuring out what size to make your graphics since every social media network has image size guidelines you should follow so your image will look its best in the news feed, timeline or stream.
Here are my three favorite design tools that are not only really easy to use, but also free!
Canva is my go-to website for most of my social media graphic needs. Whether I’m creating an infographic after one of our LAB DAY shows or posting about an article, it helps me make professional looking graphics in a snap!
One thing I really like about Canva is that it uses a drag and drop interface, making it perfect for people who don’t have a ton of graphic design experience. It also offers thousands of beautiful layouts...
After learning about the benefits of content marketing at a dental conference, Dianna Carroll, Business Manager, Carroll Dental Lab, a 27-person lab in Kinston, NC, felt a blog would be the perfect vehicle to provide added value and go the extra mile
More and more businesses are adopting content marketing strategies since social media has made it easier than ever to share content. In its June/July issue, LMT looked at the benefits of content marketing and profiled six laboratories that have implemented it into their marketing efforts. Read it first here.
Below, Derek Van Volkom, VP of Account Services, Lanmark360—a marketing agency specializing in dentistry and healthcare—shares some additional tips he feels every lab owner should keep in mind as they focus on content marketing:
Pictures are powerful. Videos and photos are gaining the most traction on social media. If you feel like video is too cumbersome, remember photos are super easy and can be uploaded to any medium you’re using (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). If you have a great looking case that looks amazing, snap it, upload it and see how many “likes” it gets. It could be something the doctor hasn’t seen before.
Don’t forget LinkedIn....
“Social media is a great tool for developing brand recognition while also promoting audience engagement and providing opportunities to convert users into customers,” says Jayme Hong, CEO, IDOC Dental Lab, a 40-person laboratory in Orange, CA.
Because of the limitless reach, immediacy, interactivity and cost-effectiveness of social media compared to many traditional marketing strategies, content marketing has become the Next-Gen marketing strategy. It’s a soft sell and relationship buildin
Read More 4 minute read
In 2013, frustrated by the changes he was seeing in the industry—mass digitization, commoditization, consolidation—Von Grow, Owner of Dark Horse Dental Studio in Pleasant Grove, UT, sent out a rallying cry via social media to his fellow technicians:
“I propose that we all band together in the name of high-end, handmade, esthetic restorations and do not let machines take over our jobs. …Instead of hoarding all of our secrets and techniques, we give the information away freely to other like-minded technicians and dentists,” proposed Grow. “…everyone within the sound of my voice who is feeling helpless, downtrodden, fearful of the future or just wants to get excited again about the work you do, let’s take a stand. Let’s get a worldwide network going that is so big, it cannot fail.”
His words struck a chord and technicians responded in droves. The result? The Dental Technicians Guild (DTG), a closed Facebook-based group where members...
Although Rick Sonntag owns his own four-person laboratory, he has the power of a much larger operation behind him. Sonntag is a member of the OPT-In Dental Laboratory Cooperative, a group of small, independently owned labs focused on helping its members build their businesses and strengthen their competitive advantage.
“All of our members have common goals and values and are committed to sharing information as freely as possible,” says Sonntag, RDT, AAACD, Owner of 4Points Dental Designs, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL. “And, since we’re all small businesses, we all have the same competition: big box labs and private equity-backed group labs. If we act as a group, it makes all of our individual laboratories stronger.”
That synergistic effect was the vision Dean Mersky, DDS, had in 2012 when he created the OPT-In Cooperative, an aggregate of small labs with 20 or fewer employees. Potential laboratory members undergo an interview process to ensure they fit with the...
What should be included in a personnel manual?
The length and complexity of your manual should be tailored to your lab’s needs and environment. You can include attendance and other employee expectations, holidays and vacation time, sick/personal time, overtime, benefits and insurance, digital device use guidelines, leaves of absence, safety practices, non-compete contracts and grounds for termination.
Experts also say two items are a must: a disclaimer stating that the manual is not an employment contract and a policy that prohibits sexual harassment and discrimination based on race, gender, age, physical ability and religion.
Once you’ve drafted your policy, have an attorney review it, provide copies to all existing employees and make it standard practice to review the manual with each new employee.
What’s the average end-of-year bonus for a technician?
+/-$1,000, according to LMT’s 2014 Wage Survey.
Which position is the highest paid in the laboratory?
LMT surveyed our readers to learn more about what makes you you!+
How are you connected?
More than 70% of you own a smartphone, computer and/or tablet
76% of you spend 1-6 hours per day using digital devices including computers, laptops, MP3 players, smartphones and tablets
What are the top five ways you use your devices?
Of the 50% of you who attended a non-dental technology college, what degrees do you hold?
How many children do you have?
What are your favorite hobbies?
Watching/attending sporting events
TOP DOG: 59% of you own a dog—what other pets do you own?
What are your top 3 hot button issues?
How many of you are active in regional or state dental laboratory associations?
How do you spend time off the bench?
The majority of you...
Read up to 6 books per year
Sleep 6-7 hours per night
How can I get more work from current accounts?
Cross selling your services to existing customers—rather than getting new business from new accounts—is easier because they already know you and your work and they’re more likely to be enticed to try your other offerings. Given that most dentists use at least two laboratories, try to hone in on why your clients are sending work to another lab; it may be that they are simply unaware of all the services you offer.
Here are some other cross-selling strategies:
Every case that leaves your lab should have a case stuffer about the other services you offer.
Offer a “no-hassle” return policy to clients who want to try another department in your lab; promise a full refund if the dentist isn’t happy with the case.
Train staff to continuously look for cross-selling opportunities. For instance, if your lab is making a crown that is going to receive a partial and the dentist is sending the partial case elsewhere,...
Read More 7 minute read
- November 2015
“We knew we could no longer build a value proposition around technology that can be procured by anyone,” says Lab Owner Mike Hill. Read about his strategies for engaging clients on a new level.
An estimated 25 million adults in the U.S. suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Oral appliances have proven to be a viable option for treatment and a huge opportunity for dentists and labs, but there are numerous complexities in the market.
Read More 9 minute read
- September 2015
Your website is a reflection of your laboratory; many times it’s the first impression a potential client will have of your lab. Jordon Comstock offers tips to keep in mind when designing your website.
A record-breaking crowd welcomed LMT’s LAB DAY East to its new Atlantic City, NJ venue on September 19. More than 1,020 attendees flocked to the Atlantic City Convention Center for a jam-packed day of education, networking and comparison shopping.
Social media is a relationship-focused, human-to-human marketing approach that can open up communication between you and your customers. Author Mark Schaefer offers some tips to help you take on the social media world headfirst.
Respondents to LMT’s 2015 Marketing Survey are using new as well as tried-and-true strategies to cement client relationships, boost loyalty and increase referrals.
Read More 6 minute read
- June 2015
Whether you have two technicians or 20, there is perhaps no greater challenge in the laboratory than managing your staff. From morale issues to interpersonal conflicts, Lab Owner and Manager respondents to LMT’s Personnel Survey share their strategies for achieving pleasant and productive work environments.
Read More 9 minute read
- December 2014
Every now and then something comes along to add spice and extra-rich texture to the make-up of our community and that kind of energy is both welcome and contagious. If you’re familiar with the group that calls itself DTG, the Dental Technicians Guild, you know what I mean. It has an edgy cool that exudes energy and also draws it in. Its goal is to celebrate a passion for restorations that mimic natural dentition in both form and function.
Social media plays a large role in keeping members of the group active and engaged 24/7. DTG members share photos of their work on the Guild’s members-only Facebook page and enhance their skills and capabilities by openly sharing tips, techniques and ideas with one another. The Guild also has its own magazine featuring member contributions and hosts an annual meeting in Utah every year.
The exclusivity factor has its appeal: to keep the group functioning as well as it currently does, it needs to be manageably sized, so it isn’t all that...
- June 2014
SEO ensures that your target audience has the ability to quickly find your laboratory’s website through a search engine; it’s what gets your website found and helps build traffic to your site.
- April 2014
“Change, consolidation and new business models are inevitable, but survival, growth and a seat at the table are optional. Your future in the next several years is dependent on what you decide to do,” said Mark Murphy, DDS, in his State of the Industry presentation at the 88th Annual Cal-Lab Meeting. “We have tremendous control over what our role will be in the future. You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you sure can set your sails.”
Other speakers during this year’s meeting offered ideas on exactly how to set those sails. Terry Fine, President of AMG Creative, encouraged attendees to embrace social media as a marketing tool during his presentation, Social Media: Truths, Perceptions and Myths, citing these statistics:
70% of small businesses use Facebook for marketing.
69% of dentists have a Facebook page.
On average, for every eight minutes people spend online, one minute is on Facebook.
The fastest growing demographic group on Twitter is...
- February 2014
In its infancy, laboratory owners didn’t immediately see the internet’s application to their business. However, in the past 15 years, the number of laboratories with internet access has tripled, with 88% of U.S. laboratories LMT surveyed now having online capability. The ability to transmit data over the internet is fueling the growth of milling centers and subcontracting businesses. Emailing questions, case considerations and photos with clients has become the norm. And the opportunity for far-reaching promotion has prompted more than 40% of laboratories to market their nother third to use social media to network with clients.