For many within the dental industry, branding their practice generally means creating a catchy logo and making a continued promise to provide patients with outstanding service and care. However, branding isn’t just a practice for large, multinational brands. Health care providers like dental practices need to put time and energy into building their brand if they hope to continue getting patients to walk through the door.
Improving patient retention rates doesn’t just come down to having an effective dental practice management software system. It means appealing to what patients want to see in their health care providers, namely an established reputation for providing outstanding care. Surveys have found that patients cite a practice’s online reviews and reputation as primary factors behind helping them make health care decisions.
To appeal to patients looking for the best dentist in town, you need to appear as a dentist with a great reputation. Achieving that requires making branding your practice a top priority.
Why Branding Your Practice Matters
No matter your industry, successfully developing a brand works to help build consumer trust. For dental practices, consumer trust plays an outsized role in determining whether a potential new patient will choose your practice or the one down the street.
Visibility is another important reason why successfully branding your practice matters. For patients to schedule an appointment with your practice they first have to discover your practice even exists.
After sorting through their options when Googling for a “dentist near me,” a prospective patient will choose their next dentist based on factors that include the quality of a practice’s website, the reviews a dentist has received, and the position a practice ranks in search results.
Successfully branding your practice can help you achieve better results in each of these vitally important areas so that when a patient does find your practice, you come off looking like the most professional and competent option available.
Now that we’ve established the importance of giving branding the attention it deserves, let’s take a look a few ways you can successfully improve your branding efforts.
Use Design to Separate Yourself from the Competition
Most brands fail to leave much of an impression on the average consumer. For every Nike and Pepsi, there’s a soda and shoe brand out on the market that struggles with name recognition. In fact, one recent study found that 80 percent of consumers forget about branded content within three days.
Every dental practice will promise to give patients outstanding care. So to separate yourself from the competition, you need to embrace the use of interesting and innovative design choices when building your brand.
Just because you’re a dental practice doesn’t mean you can’t make your brand personable. From your choice in logo design and colors to the images and interface on your website, the more personality your practice exhibits the more recognizable and interesting you’ll become to new patients.
A professional graphic designer can assist you in creating a memorable logo that will immediately catch a patient’s eye. When designing your website, embrace the use of dynamic imagery that projects your practice as both a place to receive advanced dental care and that evokes a calm, welcoming presence that helps patients feel at ease. Use a color scheme that’s bright and bold rather than safe and boring. Each little element added to how your practice presents itself to the public will work to build and reinforce your brand within the community.
Once you’ve established your brand through a memorable design, make sure you place it consistently on all communication materials you use, not just in advertisements. From the toothbrushes and floss packets you hand patients to the emails you send out, everything needs to feature your logo and match the aesthetics of your brand.
Create a Brand that Cares About its Customers
Patients respond well to brands that are both interactive and friendly. For a dental practice, this is an especially important quality to exhibit, since patients want their dentist to exhibit empathy and compassion. Many people fear visiting the dentist, and want to know the person tending the health of their teeth and gums isn’t looking to inflict maximum discomfort. To develop a patient-friendly brand, your practice should pay close attention to both your messaging and tone.
When communicating with patients through social media channels, make sure to take a tone that’s both friendly and empathic. Let patients know you recognize their uncertainty about visiting the dentist and that you’re here for them and will help them deal with any anxiety. This attitude of compassion should also be present in all aspects of your practice, from how your staff answers the phone to the way you write emails.
Make sure to pay close attention to how your practice responds to online reviews. According to the Pew Research Center, 77 percent of people research a new health care provider online before making an appointment. If a prospective patients see negative reviews that you haven’t responded to, it becomes far more difficult to establish your practice as one that care about its patients than if you take the time to address whatever issue is at hand.
Offer Content Your Audience Will Find Useful
Creating memorable content that provides your audience with useful information offers an effective solution for increasing your brand’s appeal. Knowing your patient base will help to better inform you on the type of content you should focus on creating.
For example, if you treat a lot of younger patients, you may want to consider creating a fun video that helps to teach kids how to brush. If your patient base includes a lot of professionals, you may consider creating blog content that highlights different cosmetic dental care treatments that will keep their smile looking its best. An older patient base may benefit from content that talks about the types of common oral health problems seniors typically face and how best to treat them.
Once you’ve created content, you then have the option of sharing that content on social media channels, in email marketing campaigns, and on your website. Well written content lends credibility to your brand, and answers many of the questions potential new patients may have about your practice.
Running a successful practice requires finding the right personnel, using an effective dental practice management software system, and creating a brand that will enable you to attract new patients while standing out from the competition.