How to Create a Practice Everyone Talks About with Fred Joyal

In this podcast episode, the host interviews Fred Joyal, CEO of TruBlu Social Smiles, on the power of patient video testimonials in dental marketing.

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Welcome to How I Grew My Practice, the podcast where health professionals share the behind-the-scenes stories of how they built a thriving practice. Each episode will uncover surprising challenges, victories, and life lessons learned throughout their journeys. Let's get started.
Welcome to How I Grew My Practice, a 15-minute podcast sponsored by NexHealth. My name is Alec Goldman. I lead content here at NexHealth. Being joined today by Fred Joyal, the CEO of True Blue Social Smiles, talking to us about why patient video, video specifically, testimonials are so impactful. Fred, welcome to the show. How are you doing? Just doing great, Alec. Excited to talk to your people. We're very excited too.
I guess quickly, Fred, if you don't mind, just tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience in the dental industry. Yeah, so I go back a long way. I started a company called 1-800 Dentist back in 1986 and ran it for about 25 years. We spent about half a billion dollars in television advertising, promoting the business, and really sort of revolutionized dental marketing.
by using television and really just showing how to promote it. And so I subsequently wrote two books on dental practice marketing. Everything is marketing and becoming remarkable. Both of them, a lot of people tell me they're like the Bibles of marketing in the dental industry. And so having sold 800 dentists several years ago, I am now moving into what I think is the next
critical wave of dental marketing and the most effective way, which is capitalizing on the power and impact of patient video testimonials. And so that's what my new company is, True Blue Social Smiles. Very cool. I guess even just before jumping into the patient testimonial bit, how have you really seen dental marketing change from the early days of 1-800 to now with True Blue? I mean...
When I started the primary form of advertising for practices was yellow pages. Um, and then it, and then a little bit of direct mail, then gradually, some people did some broadcasts, but it wasn't easy to do, uh, so they were trying print advertising dentists were trying all sorts of stuff. And then eventually. Websites came along. That became a primary way of promoting your practice and, and something that you.
constantly was evolving. That was the whole thing is the moving target even within the medium kept changing. As you know, you know, seven or eight years ago, nobody worried about SEO. That's now all you worry about on your website. And then social media comes along. And it becomes another way to promote your practice. But and that changes even more rapidly. And there's interlopers that come in and disrupt.
the predominant social media. So, and practices are really struggling because a lot of the normal ways that they used to promote their practice have disappeared. And the number one way you should be able to promote your practice effectively is by word of mouth. That should be attracting patients more than anything else. Otherwise, you're not giving a great patient experience because people aren't willing to talk about you. That was why my book.
was called Becoming Remarkable, Becoming Remarkable, How to Create a Dental Practice Everyone Talks About. And I introduced the idea then, which was seven years ago, of how important it was to get video testimonials from your patients. That's evolved considerably since then. But what you're trying to do with testimonials is digitize word of mouth so that you can use it more. Otherwise, how do you amplify word of mouth? You just...
call your patients every night, you can't do it. So. You've seen a whole lot across, you know, from, I guess, 1990s, 2000s, I mean, a whole lot in the dental marketing space. I guess, in your words, what is exactly a patient testimonial and why do you think they're so important? Why do you consider it like the next frontier of really dental marketing? Well, because there's so much noise out there and so much advertising that comes at you.
What people are looking for in every industry is what is the customer saying about this business, about this product, about this service. And so the thing that's powerful is, is not just a video testimonial. It's one that some patient just does with their phone. Um, and does it in, as we say in Hollywood in one take, um, it's
because it's before practices where they would have a video shoot, they'd have a videographer and lights and makeup and edit these beautifully shot videos, they're just not as believable because they're edited. People, you know, we are very savvy video watchers at this point and we're looking for the information quickly. So a patient saying something in 30 seconds about why you, why they go to you.
is incredibly persuasive and incredibly versatile. You can use the videos in all different media, most of them free. That's the other amazing thing is you get to leverage this, the most powerful marketing tool ever created in my mind, in all sorts of free media. Instead of paying thousands of dollars, now all of a sudden your patients are doing what you wanted them to do, which is talk to people about you.
but you're in control of it. So Fred, I look at tons of dental websites. You see tons of stock images. You don't see a dental website or a dental company's brand shine through their website, right? Why do so few dental practices have testimonials? And I guess what are some misconceptions about patient testimonials? Why wouldn't they think to have more or any?
There's two parts of it. One is that you have to get them from patients and know where they are and get them in the right format. And then up to now, you've had to go to your webmaster and say, could you put this video up? And you know, you have to pay them every time to do it. And where are they gonna put it? Where's the place that they're gonna put it? And so that's what we did is we basically said,
We want to create a window of video testimonials on the website that the dentist can control. It can add and delete videos and they automatically access from the cloud. Never have to talk to your webmaster. So that was the other thing is it was so hard to get videos up. They'd shoot four or five, be a big deal to get them shot and maybe they'd get them on their website. But then they're the same ones and they're too professional looking.
What you want is ever-changing content to make Google happy and to make patients happy. You want these authentic videos and they want a bunch of them. They want to hear what they want to. They want to look for somebody like them. If they're an older female senior, that's who they're going to listen to. They're going to search for the video from an older senior. And they want to hear what a new patient says and what somebody who had implants.
said and what somebody who's done veneers said or you know, they want to hear that stuff. Oh, they treat snoring. I want to hear about that. What the patient actually fixed that. I want to hear that. And so that's, that's what people are gravitating towards. And that's, that's why it's been such a struggle for practices because of, of all of the moving parts.
We tried to eliminate as many moving parts, reduce the friction as much as possible. So it's easy to get the videos and easy to put them where you want. So we always hear from dental practices that, time's greatest resource, and they don't have time to collect these video testimonials. But from what it sounds like from your perspective here, is that you're really trying to reduce the amount of friction and making the ask for that of a patient to provide a testimonial. But when you're working and speaking with dental practices using True Blue,
How are you recommending that dental practice both ask and shoot the patient testimonial? It's not gonna be this big production. What is the very specific tactics that you guys are recommending? So what we do is we give the practice a QR code that they can display in the office, and the patient uses their phone, scans the QR code, it opens a web app right there in their browser where they can record the video.
and re-record it if they like, and then it automatically uploads to the cloud, which becomes part of the practice library. So it all happens in one quick step, including agreeing to let the practice use the video in all media, in perpetuity, as part of the terms and conditions. So we simplify that process, and now it's done on the patient's phone, so, and it's identified as the patient making the video.
And now it's instantly in the practices library for them to use in their social media, put it on their website, put it on their YouTube channel, show it in the morning huddle, use it in all these places. And it's simple. It's all in one place, downloadable, shareable, and the patient's done. The patient's, you know, in a minute and a half, they've done all they need to do. So I can imagine as a patient, it might, I'd see this QR code on the wall.
And I'm not sure what I would do it, right? So the doctor or the office manager has to make the ask and you don't want it to be awkward. So what's the best way to ask for a testimonial? It's always use the words that work. That's what I tell people and just use the same ones. The simplest way to ask is you're the hygienist or you're the dentist. Just say, would you be open to doing a video testimonial for us?
And sentences are all you need to get somebody to do this every day. And you don't need everybody to do it. You don't need 50 of these a week. If you've got one a day, you'd have a huge supply of these things and you'd get some really great ones that you could use everywhere. That's really cool. I've seen it at practices. It's it is incredible technology. How does this compare, right? There's a whole lot you'd be doing as a dental practice to improve.
a variety of things that you're doing in marketing, but how do patient testimonials specifically video compared to other types of marketing? Well, most of the advertising people have to do now, and it usually appears on social media or they either got to buy Google ads or keywords or they got to do social media advertising and they're advertising the same thing.
$1,000 off clear aligners, free examine cleaning, 50% off whitening, free implant evaluation. Those four things, everybody's doing it. Exactly the same thing. So 50,000 practices are all promoting. Nothing distinguishes them. What video testimonials do is they capture what's unique about your practice.
why patients love you and go to you. And that's what distinguishes you. And that's a giant leap in the other direction from me to advertising, which is what's out there right now. Of course, you've got to have a great looking website. You got to have great utility in that website. People got to be able to appoint immediately on the website. It's like baseline stuff. They got to be able to fill out forms right there.
on the website. Those things are becoming basic. And if you don't have those, you need those too. But because a lot of stuff is happening on the website and should be happening on the website, but you want testimonials right there so that they don't keep searching. They say, I want this practice. How do I get into this practice? Oh, I think I'll schedule an appointment right now.
piece of content that really talks about why a practice, the authenticity of the practice, what makes, I mean, you ask any practice, what makes them different. The first question, or sorry, the first answer is always the team, right? So having the testimonials to talk about the team that served that individual patient, it's going to make the difference. Quick question on customer stories and how have you seen this really grow practices, but can you share any customer stories? Who are some dentists top of mind
patient testimonials as well for viewers to go check out their website and see how this is really done. Yeah. So if you go to bitnerdentalgroup.com, that's B-I-T-T-N-E-R dental group, you'll see how that window appears on their website. And they've got a great looking, highly functional website too, nice and clean and modern. And now this...
just appears and shows the patients. And they're starting to add it on other landing pages as well. And that's the thing, you can put these videos on multiple pages. If you've got an implant landing page, put implant-specific videos on that page. Cause that's what people, you know, if they're gonna spend 20 to $50,000 on implants, they wanna hear that it went well for somebody that is willing to say that.
Of course, the practice is going to say they're great at it. They know that it's not believable. What's believable is the patient saying, I should have done this 10 years ago, but I'm so glad I found Dr. Ross because she's amazing and she was the best choice I could have ever used. Now they're ready to go. Fred, thank you so much. For anybody who is curious, Fred is at True Blue Social Smiles.
This is the technology that we are highly recommending for those to really increase the number of video patient testimonials. Fred, thank you so much for joining, sharing why you think patient testimonials are so impactful and really teaching dental practices on ways to reduce the friction and actually retrieving those. It was awesome having you on the show. Thanks, Alec. My pleasure.
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In this digital age, people are bombarded with advertising everywhere they look, making it harder for businesses to stand out. In this episode of How I Grew My Practice, we’re inviting Fred Joyal, CEO of TruBlu Social Smiles, who has been in the dental marketing industry for over 30 years, to share how to create a practice that everyone talks about. 

Dental Marketing in the Modern Days - Authentic Video Content

In the early days of dental marketing, practices relied on yellow pages and direct mail to advertise their services. Later, websites became the primary way to promote dental practices, followed by social media. However, with so much competition in the digital space, it's harder than ever to get noticed.

That's where patient video testimonials come in. According to Joyal, testimonials are a way to digitize word-of-mouth recommendations so that practices can use them more effectively. Testimonials allow prospective patients to hear from real people who have had positive experiences with the practice, making it more likely that they will choose that practice over others.

Fred emphasizes that patient video testimonials are especially effective because they are authentic and unedited. In the past, dental practices would hire a videographer and spend thousands of dollars on professionally shot videos, but such videos can come across as staged and less trustworthy. Patients who record video testimonials on their phones, on the other hand, are more likely to be perceived as genuine and trustworthy.

Benefits of Patient Videos

One of the benefits of patient video testimonials is that they can be used in a variety of media, most of which are free. For example, practices can post video testimonials on their website, social media platforms, and YouTube channels. They can also include them in email campaigns and use them in paid advertising.

Another benefit of video testimonials is that they can be used to target specific patient demographics. For instance, a practice that wants to attract more elderly patients could feature testimonials from seniors who have had positive experiences with the practice. Similarly, a practice that wants to attract families with young children could feature testimonials from parents who appreciate the practice's child-friendly environment.


Fred suggests that patient video testimonials are a powerful tool that dental practices can use to attract new patients. They are authentic, versatile, and can be used in a variety of media. By featuring real patients who have had positive experiences with the practice, video testimonials make it more likely that prospective patients will choose that practice over others. As digital marketing continues to evolve, patient video testimonials are likely to become even more important in the dental industry.

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