You know how personal the doctor/patient relationship is. People hold their practitioners in a special place because they need to share intimate details of their lives and health with them.
Like all relationships, it takes connecting on a personal level to develop a good one. In the dentist/patient relationship, in a very competitive environment, and in an era where half of your audience is avoiding dental visits, it’s even more important that patients feel like you’re just like them.
Patients choose a dental provider because of convenience, a special service they need, insurance handling, credentials, and technology … but ultimately they choose the dentist. It’s reported that the number-one page visited on a dental website is “about the dentist.” You already know what happens when you connect with a patient because you’re both parents, or you’re both into fitness, or you happen to share a passion for photography. With that tiny piece of commonality you help the patient connect with you. With each subsequent appointment, meeting, or visit, a little more sharing of information strengthens that relationship.
Stronger relationships lead to more trust which leads to easier acceptance of treatment, longer relationships, and more referrals. So if you want to attract more new patients from your community, or strengthen relationships with existing patients, doesn’t it make sense to start sharing a little insight into you the person in your marketing and advertising initiatives? Yes. It makes sense and it makes a difference in results.
Your direct mail ad campaigns are the first place you can help your target audience connect to you. Consider replacing your formal headshots or scrubs images with one that’s fun, or shows you enjoying personal time with your family or engaged in your favorite hobby. Tell patients about your connection to the community and what you enjoy doing when you’re not in practice. Over time, and with consistent messaging, you’ll build rapport with prospective patients who haven’t even met you, which will contribute to the level of trust they offer you when they do.
DO: Identify yourself with your brand and keep your image welcoming. Patients want expertise but they also want friendly.
DON’T: Be inconsistent – it can negatively impact perceptions and the trust you’re building.
DO: Consider all of your marketing initiatives as an extension of your communication with patients.
DON’T: Only talk about credentials and expertise. Include friendly pictures of you and your team in your marketing materials.
DO: Develop your “marketing” attributes and share the real you in an interesting and compelling way.
In the end it may be you, your offers, products, or conveniences that will get a new patient to call. All are important so do keep them all in focus … but remember price and product won’t keep your patients long term … you will! So be yourself, “be real,” and have fun with it!
Talk with your Account Manager about how they can get more of “you” in your campaigns. It will establish an even better connection between your practice and patients and prospects. “You” are good for your business.