Putting the patient first with your marketing
It is very tempting to start with your dental practice when looking at the marketing - focusing on your team, the 'hi-tech' equipment that you have and the skills of the dentists. However, it is best to turn it around and start with your patients - focus on their wants and needs first and then then look to how you can communicate that your dental practice can match and fulfil these wants and needs.
Reasons why people buy products/services
The reason why people purchase goods and services is all down to motivation. Perhaps the simplest way to explain it would be a division of two reasons:
- Transactional – for example putting fuel in your car because it is empty, or in the dental world; booking an appointment because a tooth has chipped. Transactional purchases fulfil a basic need
- Relational – for example buying a holiday, or, wanting a smile-makeover. Relational purchases fulfil more high level and complex needs such as a desire to be more attractive and feel more confident.
Want or need or both?
The human psyche is pretty complex. No two individuals are the same and no-one will always act and react in the same way – that’s what keeps life interesting! There are blurry lines of needs and wants and sometimes a purchase fulfils both.
The treatments and services that a dental practice provides fulfil both basic and higher level needs (both transactional and relational) and as such patient communication needs to address both rational and emotional angles.
Branding isn’t just your logo; it is about your promise to your customers/patients. So think about what your brand is telling your audience. Does it ‘tell’ them what they need to know? Does it re-enforce what your practice is all about; the ethos, your price point, the key messages that you wish to communicate?
Brands aren’t just about how a business perceives itself but how customers wish to be perceived themselves by purchasing certain brands and what they believe this says about them. Branding also helps us to establish relationships with our customers so that we gain loyalty and referrals from them.
Most patients will be unable to judge the quality of your dentistry. Instead, they will be making judgements on their perceptions of the quality of your dentistry by all the touch-points that affect them – the way your receptionist speaks to them on the phone, the tone of the letter that you send out to them, the impression they get from your website, the decor in the waiting room and so on and so forth.
Branding is quite literally everything that you say and do!
How to effectively market your dental practice
A useful framework to use when looking at your marketing communications as a way of influencing a consumer’s decision to buy is:
- Utility - Is the information easy to understand and find?
- Credibility – Does the communication instil a sense of trust? Are there any testimonials or reviews to back this up?
- Relevance – Is the information useful? Does it have a bearing on helping people decide to purchase?
Ask yourself the following:
Take a look at your website but rather than looking at it from a dental practitioner’s point of view, pretend you are a patient:
- As a patient what are you looking for?
- What information do you need?
- What don’t you need to know?
- Is the tone of the website informative or is it too sales-focused?
- What would help you to decide?
- Are there clear call-to-actions telling you what you need to do next?
If you feel you need help with your marketing then do get in touch by either calling 01463 223399 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org