In the age of information, there is so much competition for patients’ attention that you can’t afford to let your dental advertising get lost in the sea of messages. There are hundreds of competitor websites and thousands of related blog posts published each minute, and somewhere between the time it takes you to drink a cup of coffee and have lunch with a friend, people have formed an opinion about your practice.
The question is this: How do they feel about it? What kinds of messages are they getting from you as the dental owner and the team members representing you? How does everything compare to what you want them to think and know about you?
In our digital age, it’s no longer enough to have a simple website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed. Your online presence has to be much more robust, with a clear brand identity, personality, and a consistent voice that expands across multiple platforms. You must also showcase more about your brand identity.
To accomplish this, you must first understand that your online presence is about more than just your practice: It’s also about you. When people search for a dentist, they are really looking for you. They want to know who you are and if they’d feel comfortable and trust you. They want to know if you can meet their needs and expectations, so getting the right communication across requires much more than having a nice-looking website with primary content and contact information.
Here are more reasons why your personal brand matters, even in dentistry.
A Good Reputation Is Key
The foundation of any good dental practice consists of four things:
- An excellent staff
- A clean and comfortable environment
- Patient-focused care
- Access to the latest technology and resources
Each of these elements ties into your personal brand and helps to foster a good reputation. You need excellent staff to deliver exceptional service and results to patients, from the front desk to the chair, imaging, and scheduling. You must make your patients feel welcomed and comfortable with a clean and inviting front office, waiting area, and exam rooms. Your equipment should be clean and well cared for, and the staff should reflect this high standard of cleanliness. Patient care must be the first priority.
Hygienists should take note of their patients, remember things about them, and engage in light and friendly discussion. Front office staff should make scheduling and payments a breeze, be friendly and welcoming for patients, old and new, and keep inventory on stock, enabling the dentist to do what they do best: care for their patients. Finally, dental offices should try to offer their patients a top-of-the-line experience with access to the latest technology and resources for imaging, molding, and any other dental procedures.
By ensuring each of these components meets and exceeds patient expectations, we foster a positive experience. This also reflects kindly on you as the dentist, as patients associate their experience with you and your staff as a quality one. This is essential as new patients place significant value on online reviews and you want to ensure your personal brand is highly regarded and stands out in the sea of practices when searching for “dentist’s in my area” on Google.
Research about online reviews reveals that
- 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends;
- 91 percent of consumers regularly read online reviews; and
- 94 percent of customers report they’ve avoided a business due to negative reviews.
Based on this data, it is evident that patients look closely at reviews before choosing a dentist, so you need to do all you can to build your positive ratings on Google and other review sites. If you fail to prioritize creating a solid foundation on which patients thrive and share positive reviews, you risk losing new patients to your competition.
Patient Testimonials Drive New Acquisitions
Another reason why your personal brand matters, even in dentistry, is that dentistry tends to be a word-of-mouth industry. That is, happy patients tend to refer other patients. It’s essential to use every opportunity available to create a positive image of yourself as a professional who cares about each individual in your care and maintains the resources to help them achieve healthier, happier smiles.
Your online presence is a valuable resource for those who want to know more about what’s going on in your life, so it’s essential to update it regularly with photos from events, blog posts from other professionals in related fields, relevant news articles, and other items that will create a positive impression. This will also help to boost brand awareness, a natural association of trust that customers develop with brands with which they are familiar.
For dentists who are up and coming, it is an excellent idea to post testimonials from patients who have a great experience with you in the office or on social media. You can even ask friends and family to take a moment to write a review about their experience with you, so you have more reviews to reference when someone is checking you and your personal brand online.
Remember, when looking for a dentist, patients want to know more about you—not just your practice. If all they find is a list of contact information with no insight into who you really are, they’re going to keep searching until they find someone else who seems interesting or trustworthy. Don’t wait for patients to find you; go out there, make a positive impact in your office and online, and be visible.
For more tips on how to build your personal brand in dentistry, check out this article.