Showcase your personality

Differentiating your dental practice online

briefing-dental-patientWhilst we may not wish to acknowledge it, there is a tendency for the general public to view dental services as a commodity, with price being the key differentiator.

There used to be a saying which went along the lines of “there are only two things you won’t change in life, your bank and your dentist” but today this is some way off the mark. The vast majority of people are shopping around for services and increasingly, dental services.

Consequently it is incumbent on any practice to examine and implement techniques which will really set them apart from their competition. With patients prepared to travel some distance for non-routine dentistry, this means you could be competing with lots of service providers and not just the guy down the road….

Selling yourself and your services

Differentiating yourself doesn’t simply mean providing beautiful facilities, excellent clinical skills, attentive customer service and ensuring a comfortable and successful patient journey. Frankly lots of dental practices can demonstrate this and to be frank its a “given” to even get into the game.

Now you have to go several steps further to establish a personal and emotional connection with patients, stimulate engagement and in marketing parlance, build brand loyalty. Those who do this successfully and become an essential part of their patient’s lives, are much better placed to show customers that there are lots of other reasons to do business and not just a low price.

This became increasingly clear to me this weekend during a meal with extended family when the small talk changed to dental services. Two elderly family members were present and recounted how they had switched providers a few months back. The underlying reason for this was simply that they needed emergency out-of-hours service and no-one at their usual practice had been able or willing to assist.

They checked on Google (“silver surfers”!), looked at various websites and patient reviews and were fairly quickly accommodated at another local practice – out-of-hours and at a reasonable cost. “Eddie”, their new young dentist is now the best thing since sliced bread and they couldn’t stop talking about him – oh and as a double-bonus, guess what? They’ve recommended him to their wide circle of friends!

What informed the decision to change provider?

“Eddie” the dentist clearly had an enlightened view about patient services and will be rewarded ongoing with two new loyal clients and very likely, some of their friends too. However, I also took a look at Eddie’s website to see what else made him stand out from the crowd. This is what I found:

  • a professional website with a bespoke design – not an amateurish “out of the box” DIY dental website. The site conveyed the personality of Eddie and his team and didn’t try to give the impression that they were “dentists to the stars” – just a local provider of high quality, affordable dental services with reviews to back it up.
  • personalised photography – the website looked friendly with lots of pictures of Eddie and his staff, not just “stock” images.
  • interesting, empathetic treatment text, written in such a way that it was really simple for the patient to understand.
  • a short practice video plus interviews with Eddie, his practice manager and a couple of obviously delighted patients.
  • social media and a practice blog – Eddie or someone at the practice was clearly starting to make in-roads into the world of social media and the seeds of patient engagement were just starting to show.

show-and-tellWhat I was seeing was not the typical dental practice website. These guys were clearly switched on to all of the main factors needed to help them stand-out on the web as well as the practical customer service and clinical skills to match.

All of these components combined to provide a compelling reason for my (discerning) family members to switch providers – they haven’t looked back and what’s more, they’re busy telling all of their friends about the great service.

Summary

Differentiating your dental practice doesn’t just mean the provision of high quality clinical care, modern facilities and appropriate customer service. Humanising and personalising your brand, including your website, blog and social media, will provide a deeper engagement with patients, build brand loyalty and make you more than just a commodity. Just ask Eddie….

For personalised marketing services and websites that engage your audience, please give the Dental Media team a call on 01332 672548.