When you think back to WHY you chose to become a dentist, what springs to mind?
You might think of the science, artistry, and aesthetics of dental care. You may think of the opportunity to serve families in the community. Perhaps you’ve been fascinated by dentistry from a young age.
Whatever the reason, I’d venture to guess SALES probably doesn’t even make the list. Realistically, the idea of selling or promoting yourself and your services may put a bit of a bad taste in your mouth.
However, whether you’re new to dentistry or you’ve been practicing for many years, the reality is that you HAVE to promote yourself and your services. Dentistry is a business, after all.
There is good news: You can do this without the icky “salesy” stigma!
“The more virtual our lives get, the more we hunger after something genuine. What people really want now is not just a product or a service, it’s an experience.” – … This text opens a new tab to the source of the quote…Neil Patel
In this post, we’ll share four simple steps to marketing your practice and services with authenticity.
4 steps to marketing with authenticity
Step 1: Think about the problems you solve.
I’d like to take a moment to help shift our mindset regarding “marketing.” What do you think of when you hear that word?
Sometimes we think of “advertising” or “selling,” and, as mentioned before, if we’re not a natural-born salesperson, it’s unappealing.
But in order to understand what marketing really is, take a moment to think through the following questions:
- How do you help people in your community?
- Why do they need your services?
- Why is there value in what you do? In what your team does?
- What are the problems you solve for your patients?
Really think about those questions for a minute.
This is really special! You and your team help people:
- Regain confidence
- Smile and laugh freely again
- Get out of pain
- Avoid potentially serious health problems
- Live a happier and healthier life
- And so much more!
Now… when you think about it that way, how do you feel about it? You want to shout it from the rooftops, right?!?
Marketing is sharing with the world how you solve problems and the value you can offer your community.
Now that we’ve shifted our mindset, let’s move on to the next step:
Step 2: Put yourself in patients’ shoes.
Put yourself in your patients’ shoes when thinking about a service you’d like to promote – take a moment and think of what YOU consider when choosing a service provider for your own family:
- What qualities are most important to you?
- What makes you choose one provider over another?
- What factors might make one provider’s services more appealing than another’s, even if they cost a little more?
Step 3: Identify and overcome patients’ obstacles and barriers.
Marketing with authenticity requires recognizing your patients’ needs, fears, and goals and addressing those with empathy. Therefore, the next step is to think about the individuals who might need this service. Empathize with them. What barriers or concerns might prevent them from accepting treatment?
Here are some common barriers many dental patients may experience:
FEAR: Many dental patients have deeply ingrained fears of the dentist, possibly from a bad experience. Others might fear for their safety post-COVID.
COST: The majority of patients worry about the bottom line: “What’s this going to cost me?” They may delay necessary treatment because of this barrier, or it could even keep them from visiting the dentist at all. Or, perhaps they’ve recently lost their job and/or their dental insurance.
TIME: Most would agree we’re all busier than ever! The idea of squeezing in a dental checkup or multiple appointments for a specific procedure could be a major barrier for some. Or they may worry that they’ll have to take time off from work in order to get in, which might not be feasible at this time.
Once you’ve identified the potential obstacles, brainstorm ways to overcome them. This leads us to step four of marketing with authenticity (my personal favorite!).
Step 4: Create authentic, trust-building content.
Steps one, two, and three have helped you identify some basic truths:
- the value we can offer to our community
- how people want to be treated
- the concerns that could prevent them from accepting treatment
Now, here’s the secret sauce.
You can use these to create trust-building content to promote your services in that non-icky, non-salesy way.
“Slow down. Start at the beginning. What do you do? Why do you do it? That’s what everyone wants to know.” – … This text opens a new tab to the source of the quote…The Everygirl
Use trust-building and barrier-busting content on your website, blog, and social media accounts to promote dental services with authenticity and empathy.
First, make sure EVERYTHING on your website is reflecting your practice’s personality. This is such an important key to marketing with authenticity! From the voice and tone of the copy to the photos and videos featured, show off what makes your team unique and special.
Here are a few content ideas to overcome the barriers we mentioned earlier:
To overcome the FEAR barrier:
- Safety first: Be open and transparent in all of your marketing efforts about all of the things your practice is doing to keep patients safe, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic is an active threat. Communication = confidence!
- Patient review: Share a review from a patient who WAS fearful but was put at ease by your caring team and comfortable amenities.
- Video: Shoot a short video of the doctor describing exactly what you’re doing to keep patients safe and how you help patients feel comfortable during their visit.
- Your story: Were YOU at one time (perhaps as a child) afraid of the dentist? Did you have a bad experience? Share your story and describe how it’s shaped your philosophy and mission.
To overcome the FINANCIAL barrier:
- Make information easy to find: On your website, make it easy for patients to find information about financial options, including the insurances you work with, any third-party services you accept, and how they can get in touch with you to ask questions.
- Membership plan: If you’ve implemented a membership plan, include details on your website in “patient-first” language – make it abundantly clear how the patient can benefit from this money-saving option. (P.S. If you’re interested in implementing a membership plan, we highly recommend … This text opens a new tab to Kleer’s website…Kleer!)
- Patient testimonial: Feature a testimonial from a patient describing how a specific service has changed his/her life. This sells the benefits instead of focusing solely on the treatment.
- Video: Share a brief video of the treatment coordinator describing exactly how you can help maximize most patients’ dental insurance benefits.
- Special offer: Create a special offer that generates excitement and motivates patients to book a free consultation with you. This can’t be a boring, dusty, tired promotion – choose something that REALLY excites and motivates!
To overcome the TIME barrier:
- Appointment flexibility: Do you offer early morning, lunchtime, evening, or weekend appointments? TALK about it! Feature this on your website and highlight it regularly on your social media and in marketing communications.
- Same-day services: If you offer same-day services, ensure it’s clearly stated on your website so patients can fully understand the convenience and how they’ll benefit.
- Virtual consultations: Virtual consultations may have been a necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they’re here to stay because patients and doctors LOVE the convenience.
Remember: If you’re REAL, TRUE, and GENUINE when promoting your dental practice and specific services, you will appeal to patients’ needs, concerns, and emotions to influence their purchasing decisions.
We’d love to hear from you: How do you show you’re real and authentic when marketing your services? Comment below!
This post was originally published in 2016 and has been completely revamped for accuracy and timeliness.