It’s sad but true: dentistry is still associated with pain, discomfort, and embarrassment in the minds of too many people. That leads to untreated decay, untreated gum disease, and a host of other dental problems.
Dentistry has begun to reverse that perception by emphasizing pain-free dentistry, additional comfort items for patients, and sedation dentistry for the anxious and fearful. In fact, patient comfort and a patient-centric approach have become the defining hallmarks of many successful dental practices.
The takeaway from this is that patients today are less concerned about outcomes than about their experiences with the practice.
For a dentist, that sounds counterintuitive until you remember that dentists today are assumed to be competent. Patients expect to get excellent results from any dentist they visit. The experience they anticipate will often make the difference in which dentist they choose.
The Problem with Dentists’ Marketing
Far too many dentists market for other dentists, not for dental patients. Their websites and bios are about their education, their training, their fellowships, and their publications.
Very few dental patients care about that. Again, dentists are assumed to be competent. Your prospects aren’t going to read your publications, track down your alma mater to determine its reputation, or look up that seminar you attended. Another dentist probably would, or might ask around for who has the best hands in the area.
Your dental prospects don’t care.
Give Your Prospects What They’re Looking For
Dentistry is a trust-based business. Your prospects want a dentist and staff who they can trust to put their needs first. Patients want to be taken care of, in all senses of that phrase. Some patients need assurance that their procedure will be painless. Others want to know that they can be distracted by music or TV while they’re in the chair. Some are most concerned that they won’t be shamed for their poor dentition. Some want to be “knocked out” and remember very little of what happens. Some actually do want assurance that they can get the results they want from your hands.
All of those are parts of the patient’s experience while they’re in your practice. That’s what your marketing has to address. Your marketing really isn’t about you; it’s about what your prospects can expect once they walk through the doors.
Take a hard look at your website. Are you touting procedures that other dentists in your area offer? Or do you focus on the changes that those procedures can make in your patients’ smiles and ability to eat?
Is your website copy focused on technology or on the patient’s needs and wants? How many patients do you think care about the fact that you have in-house CAT scan capabilities? They care that you can provide an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan that will save them time, inconvenience, and money.
Your Dental Practice Must Be Patient-Centric
If you want to attract prospects that are driven by more than price and insurance, your marketing has to convey that patients in your practice will be comfortable and well taken care of. In today’s environment, that’s how you get patients who will stay, pay, and refer.