How Can My Dental Practice Stand Out To Potential Patients?
“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” – Anonymous
Decisions, decisions, decisions. We make them all the time, and several sources agree that most of us make around 35,000 every day. Broken down, that’s approximately 2,000 decisions per waking hour or one every two seconds.
Still with us? Good, because we’re getting to the point: we live in a world that demands swift decisions be made based on the best information we have at a moment’s glance. This includes who we choose to be our dentist!
Make a Stellar First Impression with Your Website
The internet is like a sidekick. It gives us advice, it spends lots of time with us, it helps us shop, and it even helps us meet new people. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that 60-90% of new dental patients visit dental practice websites before ever setting foot in one.
Your online presence can make or break your business these days, so make sure it’s up to snuff. Your customers are scoping you out to see if you have solutions to their problems. If your website is a perfect reflection of what you’ve done to help patients, then congratulations. If you’re not sure, keep reading.
Even if you don’t have a massive dental marketing budget to spend on SEO and PPC, there are many facets to a great dental website that you need to pay attention to. We’re going to share three that consistently reel in great patients and help you stand out in the virtual crowd. The first elements are a fundamental piece of any website, yet we’ve seen them absent from so many practice sites: your phone number, address, and hours of operation. So many opportunities are lost simply because a prospective patient couldn’t locate your contact information or figure out if you offer flexible hours. This is lost revenue that can easily be avoided. Make it as simple as possible to communicate with your office. If you don’t, prospects will likely pass you over.
Next: focus less on you and more on your patients. On some level, patients appreciate what you do, all your positive reviews that prove you’re good at it, and your team rocks…but what they’re interested in is how you can help them. Save those credentials for your dental office wall, and use your website to make it shockingly clear that you can help them solve their dental problems. Make it obvious, and you will win.
Finally, keep it real. Having professional photographs taken of your practice and current patients, real video of you rocking it in your PPE, and patient testimonials/images (with their permission of course) give website visitors another avenue to “meet” without actually meeting you. It’s like watching your favorite show and feeling that connection with the actors. If you like them, you’ll keep watching and find your emotions in tune with theirs. The same can be true for patients. If you show them your personal side, they might just stick around.
Train Your Team
At first, patients care more about being taken care of and less about your credentials and online reputation, but once they step foot in your office for dental care, a new game ensues.
How your team responds to phone calls, appointing, and in-office visits are clutch to standing out and making positive impressions. Is your front-office friendly, knowledgeable, trained to properly answer the phone (you can rely on phone scripts to help support them) and effectively appoint? Investing in your team and patient experience is an investment in your reputation that eventually translates into shining in the marketplace.
You can motivate and keep track of team performance using appointing goals tied to a reward system or incentives. Invite your team to participate in creating this system, and they’ll be even more invested in the outcomes. Consider professional development training to help support your team in reaching their weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals.
Skip the costly marketing campaigns. Encourage your hygienists and front desk staff to take photos with patients and post them on social media. This type of promotion can be a potent marketing tool that you can leverage absolutely for free; your marketing budget won’t mind that!
A well-trained and motivated team can better serve patients and provide an exceptional experience. Patients will remember how your practice made them feel, and you might just be surprised when a blossoming natural referral program occurs. Now that’s the key to sustainable practice growth.
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Get Out in the Community
Standing out from the competition also means stepping out. Your community is a treasure trove for new patient opportunities, patient referrals, and reputation-building. The more people who know you or know of you, the more market share you can gobble up.
There are various ways to get involved in the community. You can open your practice doors and host an open house, providing helpful information (and some fun swag) to attendees. Something else to consider? Non-profits. They’re always looking for partners to team up with to help serve the community. This is a great way to build your reputation and gain word-of-mouth in your target audience by doing some good.
You could even go so far as attending local festivals, farmer’s markets, and fairs, giving you further exposure to the area. Depending on your state’s healthcare and dentistry laws (always check the legality before offering any promotion), running specials for new patients can also help attract a new wave of clients.
Make Your Services YOUnique
One last bit of advice in helping your practice stand out is to foster your unique competitive advantage. Do you offer a wide variety of services, flexible hours, or a specific dental procedure that’s hard to find anywhere else? Can you become the go-to doctor for that treatment? Use your unique selling point as a call to action to get your target audience excited about working with your dental team. The dental industry is vast, so spread the word, stake your claim, and make yourself the only choice. Consistently promoting yourself as the expert in XYZ will make it so to prospective patients.
Standing out in the crowd takes work, but the rewards are tenfold: new patients, more profit, a superb reputation with stellar online reviews, and a happy and effective team. Take a step back and assess your current website, dental marketing strategy, team dynamics, community standing, and services offered. Where can you improve? Where can you promote? Who can you further train?
Combining these elements and forging ahead with calculated improvements will help you stand out and above the crowd. Go forth and prosper!