Why You Need To Market Your Practice
Dentists, orthodontists, and all medical professions have (or should have) a similar goal - to provide the best care possible while doing your best to satisfy the patient based on their particular needs. All offices try to accomplish these tasks in different ways, using different techniques and procedures, based on their own particular skills sets and experiences. While the execution varies, the end goal is the same. How then, do you separate yourself from the crowd? How do you explain why someone should choose your office over the other guy? A long detailed explanation of the nuances of your techniques may be very interesting to you, but to most of your patients, that discussion is going to be very tedious and it will probably lead to a lot of naps in your office.
Perception is reality
Think of your practice as a product. The product that you sell is essentially the same product that everyone else is selling. Yes, your product may be of a higher quality, but people rarely buy a product because it is "technically" the best product on the market.
Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Southern California, Antonio Damasio, argues in his latest book that "When we are confronted with a decision, emotions from previous, related experiences affix values to the options we are considering. These emotions create preferences which lead to our decision. " Similar studies in consumer behavior have also shown that positive emotions toward a brand have far greater influence on consumer loyalty than trust and other judgments which are based on a brand’s attributes.
Why Doing A Good Job Is Not Enough
There are some people who are of the mindset that if you just do a good job that everything else will take care of itself. While we don't disagree that you should be doing good work, that alone does not bring in more patients. You have to actively promote your practice. Patient retention does not equal patient acquisition.
Patients have an experience with your practice long before they come into the doors. From their first exposure to your brand, they develop ideas and thoughts about what your practice is like. They may have seen a mailer that you sent, they may have gone your website, your social media pages, or looked at your reviews in search engines. Some may hear about your practice from other patients, both good and bad.
No matter how they interact with your practice, they will start to associate your practice with what they have seen and heard. These immediate impressions are how your practice and your brand are perceived. Even if someone has never been to your office, if they have seen your brand or heard about your practice, they probably already have an opinion about you, for good or for bad.
A magnificent demonstration of this concept was done by Cannon. In this video, one man was photographed by 6 different photographers. Each photographer was told a different story about the man. In one instance, he was a fisherman, another was told he was an ex-inmate, and so on. Each photographer met with him and took his picture based on the information they had, as well as an their interaction in the studio. Although it was the same man, in the same outfit, in the same space, each picture was completely different, with its own feel and take on his personality. The takeaway - A photograph is shaped more by the person behind the camera than by what is in front of it.
Just like a photograph, your practice is shaped more by the way you promote and brand yourself than the work you perform. It doesn't matter how good you are, if people don't know about your practice, you won't be getting many patients. If your website can't be found, it doesnt matter how good it is.
How Can You Market Your Brand
There are some people who are of the mindset that if you just do a good job, that everything else will take care of itself. While we don't disagree that you should be doing good work, that alone does not make your brand. Your brand needs to be nurtured and grown, not ignored. To do this, here are three ways that you can improve your brand presence online.
Consistent Brand Identity
Your brand needs to tell the right story, and it needs to be consistent no matter where it is seen. From your website to mailers to your office space, it should all have the same message. A strong logo will reinforce the values of your company, provide a color scheme for your website and other marketing materials, and ultimately it is a visual representation of your brand. If your logo looks generic, or unprofessional, or cheesy, that is how your brand will be perceived. If you haven different versions of your logo, different color schemes from your site to your flyers, it makes your brand look disjointed and unprofessional. Just like your logo, your website has to tell the right story. It also has to look good, no matter what device potential patients are using. A good website builds trust and confidence with patients, it show that you are a professional in every aspect. And if you don’t think that is important, you may be disregarding the new generation that demands a consistent user experience.
While we have mentioned the importance of reviews in getting new patients, it is worth noting that reviews are one of the first things your potential patients can find out about your brand and your practice. Having more reviews online makes you look more professional, more authoritative, and ultimately brings you more patients. And like we mentioned earlier, just doing a good job does not mean you will get online reviews. You should actively be trying to get more online reviews and make sure your patients are happy with their service.
SEO and Local SEO
When people are actively looking for a dentist, orthodontist, or any healthcare professional, most people are doing their research online. And if you aren't showing up in the search results, you are missing out on a lot of potential patients. And because you have a local office, you need to make sure you are locally optimized so people can find your office, get accurate information like hours of operation and phone number, and even get driving directions to your office. This consistency is crucial to making a good impression on potential patients.
We can help you
Whether you are looking to improve your branding, get more online reviews, or improve your SEO and Local SEO, contact us today for a free consultation to see how Market Igniter can help you market your practice and help you to get more patients.