A report in Scientific American from a few years back stated that there’s a large body of evidence to support the idea that people universally prefer people who are more like themselves.
That makes sense to me. If I meet someone who dresses on about the same level I do, speaks the same language I do, maybe has a few of the same interests I do, and has the same cultural background, I can relate fairly easily. But the more perceived differences there are between us, the harder it is to relate.
That universal tendency to like people similar to ourselves can pose a challenge when it comes to your dental marketing. Even if you live in the same town, how can your prospective patients possibly view you as being like themselves? After all, you’re the expert. You graduated from dental school. You likely own your own business. You spend your day with your hands in people’s mouths.
But patients are people with dental problems. Few of them are business owners, they’re certainly not dental experts (Google notwithstanding), and if they frequently have their hands in other people’s mouths, they have serious issues.
So, if all your patients see and know of you is your dental expert/business owner role, it’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, for them to relate to and like you. And likeability is a big factor in dentistry, because dentistry is a trust-based business. Dentists are assumed to be competent; what leads prospective patients to choose you over a competitor is whether they believe can like and trust you.
Your potential patients need to see you in a broader context, one they can relate to.
Let’s be clear – you are the expert, and your marketing has to reflect that. But being an expert isn’t all you are. You’re not just what you do.
E-newsletters, emails, and social media are some of the best ways to help your patients see you differently and come to trust you. What you choose to share about you matters, though. If your patient base is largely working class and maybe lower income, your Barbados vacation pics won’t score you many points.
On the other hand, telling your patients about your recent backyard barbeque with folks from the neighborhood just might. A quick anecdote about a recent parent-teacher conference is something that just about every parent gets. Anniversary dinners, birthday parties, or other family milestones are pure gold. Even blogging or posting about the traffic challenges in your town makes you relatable.
That’s the kind of context you need to provide to your followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or Pinterest – in addition to helpful articles that offer solutions to patients’ dental issues.
Broaden the context in which your current and prospective patients see you, and you’ll be more likeable. Those patients will be motivated to choose and/or keep you as their dentist, which after all is (or should be) the goal of every piece of marketing you do.