Laughter is the best medicine: How one New York dentist uses humor to shape his identity

Dec. 4, 2012
It has often been said that laughter is the best medicine. Not only has Dr. Albert Fuzailof, DDS, of Flushing, NY, adopted this axiom, he has truly made it his own.

By Efrem Epstein
December 4, 2012

It has often been said that laughter is the best medicine. Not only has Dr. Albert Fuzailof, DDS, of Flushing, NY, adopted this axiom, he has truly made it his own. His office is in many ways a shrine to youthful happiness, with classic cartoon stills lining the walls and a ceramic Abbott and Costello greeting visitors as they enter the practice. People in the waiting room are offered the opportunity to laugh at the endless stream of jokes in Painless Dentistry & Other Savage Tales, co-authored by Dr. Fuzailof himself. The message he sends to his patients is clear: a smile is one of life's most precious gifts, and it is worth protecting!

Hollywood has not always been kind or fair to the dental profession, with many a character opining that they would rather experience a gross misadventure than undergo a root canal. If the reputation is being changed, it is likely due to practices like Dr. Fuzailof’s. “My aim was to always be the dentist that people looked forward to visiting,” he said. “We want the kids to be counting down the days until their next check-up and then to be the ones nagging the parents to make the appointment.”

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In many ways Dr. Fuzailof’s office sells itself, at least for those that physically venture through the doors. However, effective 21st-century marketing requires a strong online presence that compliments the tangible space. In selecting a web address, Dr. Fuzailof considered several options before deciding on www.InvisalignBuzz.com. "I wanted to choose a domain that could double as a memorable, effective slogan," he explained.

"With one URL, we were able to communicate our two most important messages. First, that we are a personable practice, and second, that we are the go-to location for those considering Invisalign. The ‘Invisalign’ lead reinforced our practice's expertise in the increasingly desirable procedure, and the ‘buzz’ captured a lighthearted edginess that is consistent with the messaging I want to convey."

In building his site, Dr. Fuzailof also partnered with iGenii, a unique New York based web solutions company, which includes features such as guaranteeing a top 10 listing on Google. "Everyone should ask themselves a series of questions before launching their online presence," said Rafael Abdurachmanov, Chief Financial Officer of iGenii. "In many cases, this will be your best chance to make a good first impression and you want to make the opportunity count." Equally important is keeping focus of your target audience and the message to be communicated. "It is often tempting to take cues from the last thing you saw on the Internet, but at the end of the day a web site for a dentist's office should look like a web site for a dentist's office," added Abdurachmanov. "What makes Dr. Fuzailof's site so effective is that he used humor to shape his identity while drawing the viewer into the product he is trying to promote."

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Dr. Fuzailof’s aims for both his online and offline presence to properly represent who he is. Both communicate the message that Dr. Fuzailof is a consummate professional whose number one priority is to insure that his patients receive top attentive care. But simultaneously, he wants his patients to feel good about coming to his offices. “If we can increase the number of people who actually look forward to dental visits, we could improve oral hygiene on a national level,” Dr. Fuzailof observed.

At the end of the day, it is Dr. Fuzailof’s expertise, care and personality that drive his practice – and marketing, no matter how savvy, can never substitute for the building blocks that make up the fundamentals of good business. When online marketing acts as an extension of that quality, it can be a powerful tool, not only for dental practices, but all small businesses. “The Internet is a chance to introduce yourself to a new audience” Mr. Abdurachmanov noted. “The only way you can properly introduce yourself is for you to be yourself.”

Efrem L. Epstein is a New York-based writer whose work has been featured in The New York Post and Entrepreneur Magazine. He is also the founder of Elijah’s Journey, a 501(c)(3) focused on suicide awareness/prevention in the Jewish Community.