You may pride yourself on being up-to-date with the latest procedures, the most advanced imaging equipment, and state-of-the-art operatories. Do you pride yourself as much on the dental marketing you’re using using to get patients to fill those chairs?
Dental schools prepare dentists to be clinicians, not how to run a business. They particularly spend zero time teaching you how to market your practice.
So, it should come as no surprise that most dentists market like most other dentists, and that’s the problem. Unless you’re in a subspecialty, you’re basically marketing the same services as other the dentists in your area.
It’s almost the same as having four Chevy dealers in your market. Selling the same products and services as your competition makes you a commodity. When you sell commodities, your customers are almost always price-driven. There’s no other reason to choose between dealers, or dentists. The one who wins the customer is usually the cheapest or offering the best deal.
You might think that dental patients are impressed by post-grad training, by publications, and by professional memberships. They aren’t. Dentists are assumed to be competent, and most of your patients won’t understand what your post-grad training means, won’t read your publications, and couldn’t care less about your professional affiliations.
To most of your prospects, you’re as good as any other dentist – unless you give them a reason to think differently. And you do that by marketing yourself differently than your competition markets themselves.
Time to Stop the Chase
Advertising for dental patients based on prices, coupons, discounts, and availability is a race to the bottom. You’re chasing the very patients who will cut your margins to the bone.
There is a distinct subset of dental prospects in your market who have the ability and desire to pay more for a dentist who they trust and relate to. Those are the patients who will help you grow your practice.
You won’t attract those better patients by being the low-price leader in your area. They simply don’t care. They’re interested in superior outcomes and superior patient experiences. Note how that contrasts with the attitudes of the price-driven, the insurance-driven, and the one-and-dones that your marketing is drawing now.
Your marketing has to work together to convey that you are the only logical choice to solve your better patients’ dental problems. Your marketing has to convey that you’re the dental expert who they can relate to and trust.
Let’s be clear: attracting those better patients isn’t a quick fix for your marketing problems. It takes time, work, and patience to build an online presence robust and focused enough to make you the preferred choice among your competition. You won’t accomplish that through advertising in your local newspaper and media.
Instead, start by taking a look at your website. When was the last time it was updated? Does it look modern and function flawlessly? Your better patients will be turned off by a website that doesn’t look good or function well. In particular, your patients are looking for answers to their dental problems. Your website has to provide those answers in ways they can understand and relate to. Far too many dental websites are written to impress other dentists.
Does your website give patients a chance to get to know you? Do you have well-produced “doctor” videos on your site that your prospects can watch, learn about you, and hopefully come to like you? Do you have patient testimonials on your site to provide the social proof that you’re a great dentist and that your staff is wonderful?
Your website is the linchpin of your dental marketing efforts, but there’s much more involved in attracting the patients you want. For more information, visit smartboxdental.com.