Being a dentist in the twenty-first century means you are operating your business in a high-tech world, and dealing with digital natives. This makes it both a challenge and an opportunity to connect and engage with your patient base. Remember, new patients are wonderful to acquire, they are more costly than marketing to your existing patients, so you’ll need to balance how to market depending on your practice’s unique needs.
When exploring new digital platforms the question is how do you, as a doctor and practice owner, cut through all the noise and make a true connection with your existing patient base and beyond?
Approach your marketing strategy from an H2H or human to human perspective, and strive to connect with your patient base and community on a more human level.
Find your voice.
When conveying your message across all platforms be it social media, email campaigns, print ads, or direct mailers, remember you are a human being communicating with another human being. Be yourself; inject your practice’s unique brand and values into all your communications. Be direct, be personal, and leave all buzzwords and dental jargon at the door. Your communication and key marketing messages should be written in the language that people use in everyday conversation, infused with your personality and supportive of your practice values.
How you convey your message is nearly as important as the message you are delivering it. Make sure your marketing communications messages are thoughtful and represent who you are as a doctor and what your practice means to your community. Just because the competitor down the street or your dentist friend across town is doing it one way, it doesn’t mean it’s right for your practice.
Create Value-based Content.
The key to making genuine, valuable connections with your patients is real content and authentic storytelling.
In healthcare marketing, there is an overabundance of content that jumps right to the sale: “Call now.” “Click here for an appointment.” Avoid the fast jump to the sale by engaging your potential and existing patient base with meaningful, value-based content. Sharing an informative blog, video, or other value-based resources positions you as the subject matter expert that you are – a reliable resource and professional that a new patient may want to trust with their dental health. Give value to the people you are trying to reach before you ask them to buy anything.
Craft your story.
Given that you are in the business of healthcare, you are ultimately helping people in one way or another live healthier, happier lives. Connect your targeted patient base to your existing patient base through compelling patient testimonials, and stories of your successes.
What are your differentiators in the marketplace, and the value you bring to your patients? While the latest technology is important, it’s the how you do dentistry that’s important to patients. That is the story you should craft throughout all of the content you share.
Video is arguably the most powerful tool in connecting with your patient base on a human to human level. Patients want to know who you are and what defines your practice. Explaining who you are as a doctor on camera and your outlook on oral health for example immediately humanizes you as a person and creates a relationship with the viewer. When utilized correctly, video can further personalize your brand and make both you and your practice seem more approachable in an industry where people are often intimidated by doctors and dental procedures. Another benefit to this approach is that Youtube is actually the second largest search engine on the planet, making your content and brand easily available for anyone to find.
Remember, you are in the relationship business.
Though you are in the business of healthcare, you are more so in the business of building relationships. Keep in mind that every interaction a patient has with you and your team counts as an opportunity to make a positive impression that motivates your patient base to share their experiences with the community. How you interact with patients and conduct your practice matters; your patient base is an invaluable referral marketing network.
While digital platforms are key to establishing an engaging relationship with current and potential patients, your actions will always surpass any marketing strategy. You must live and breathe your messaging, create engaging and relevant content that makes your audience stay tuned, while also focusing on assuring that every patient has an experience they want to tell everyone about.
Rebecca Neill is Chief Operating Officer, Verasoni Worldwide, a marketing and public relations firm headquartered in Fairfield, NJ. The firm delivers meaningful integrated marketing, public relations, advertising, and digital strategies across channels to clients in the US, Europe, The Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Verasoni Worldwide serves Fortune 500 companies, middle-market firms and start-ups across the business spectrum.