These Aren’t Your Dad’s Dental Patients

As someone once said, the rate of change of the rate of change is changing.

That’s not a throwaway line. It’s a reflection of a stark truth that many dentists are slow to come to grips with.

Today’s dental prospects are very different from the patients dentists treated just 10 or 15 years ago. The problems aren’t different, but the expectations of dental patients most certainly are. And those expectations are continuing to evolve quickly.

The change in the rate of change poses significant challenges for dentists.

It’s A Competition Thing

Today’s dental prospects have access to far more information about dental practices than at any time in human history. At the same time, most markets have more dental practices than ever before. The prospects you’re trying to attract have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a dentist.

And while it may surprise you, dental patients don’t look for the best hands in town. They don’t understand your postgrad training, the CE courses you’ve completed, or even the differences between programs. They don’t care whether you’ve published papers, been honored for your accomplishments in a particular area of practice, or if you’re active in professional organizations.

Dentists today are assumed to be competent. Your dental prospects are looking for something else, and if you, your website, and your social media don’t give it to them, those potential patients will quickly go somewhere else.

Think about that for a second. If you’ve been in practice for more than 15 years, the idea of having a website probably sounded like a foreign language to you. And social media was barely a glimmer in someone’s eye. Now, just 15 years later, both of those are inescapable parts of life.

Your dental prospects expect a quality online experience. If you don’t give them that kind of experience, they’re gone.

Give Your Dental Prospects What They Expect

Every aspect of your marketing, online and off, should be aimed toward accomplishing a single goal – convincing your prospects that you’re the only logical choice to solve their dental problems. Once you’ve done that, it’s only a matter of time before they schedule an appointment.

Start with your website. Is it written for patients, meaning that it clearly explains dental problems and solutions in terms patients can understand? Does it emphasize the benefits of the procedures rather than the details? Guess which one your dental prospects care about.

Can your prospects find the information they’re looking for easily, or do they have to search around? A high level of functionality and intuitive, easy navigation are expected on websites today.

Does your site have a high number of glowing reviews from your patients? Those reviews should also cover specific problems that you solved and how the work you did benefitted the patients. Similarly, do you have before and after picture that won’t gross out the average person? This might come as a shock, but very few people want to watch close-ups of dental restorations or surgery. They’re interested in results.

Do you feature your own doctor videos on your site? Do you come across as likeable and approachable, or are you stiff and uncomfortable in camera? Are you speaking at a level that patients will understand, or are you using dentalspeak? If it’s the latter, you’ve missed the point.

Use these principles to guide your social media as well. You’re the likable, approachable, relatable dental expert. Above all, convey to your prospects that they can trust you to put their welfare first and to give them the best possible outcomes.

These aren’t your dad’s dental patients, but if you follow these recommendations those patients can be yours.