How often do you see your patients? Twice, maybe three times a year? In between those visits, how much communication do you have with them? Other than prompting them to make a new appointment, for most practices the answer is ‘not much’.
So why would your patients see you as anything other than ‘the dentist’?
Local businesses rely heavily on word-of-mouth recommendations to build brand awareness and REPUTATION.
Reputation is the key word here. With people seemingly happy to write blockbuster reviews on everything from a pencil sharpener and a cat flap, to solicitors and wasp exterminators, it’s more important than ever to ensure your reputation stands out from the competition.
IT’S REALLY VERY EASY!
Building reputation with your new and existing patients is staggeringly simple! Most readers will now assume that I’m going to tell you to bombard your patients with special offers and discounts.
If your patients only ever hear from you when you want to sell them something, this has the potential to create cynicism. Readers will automatically have their guard up if every time you email them you’re trying to get them to part with their money.
What you really need to do is talk to them. Simples! Give them useful information for free. Insider tips that they can relate to and appreciate. You’re the expert in your field and you care about your patients, so prove it to them.
Imagine you’re one of those people (and you might be) who still book their family holiday through their local travel agent. If they only ever sent you emails about cheap flights and special offers, would that be anything different to any other travel agent? Would you tell people about them?
Now what if they contacted you to say “Hey, I know you normally book your holiday to [destination] at this time of year, but we’ve had some information that there’s a ton of new construction work in that area at the moment and it can get noisy. Just thought I’d give you a heads up”.
Now how would you feel? Maybe you really were about to book your usual hotel in your usual resort. And maybe you were thinking of booking it through someone else for a change.
Your travel agent just saved your bacon! He didn’t try and sell you anything, he just gave you some seriously valuable information that you’ll probably act upon.
Are you still going to book your holiday with another agent? Or would you go back to your regular guy who KNOWS you and clearly cares about whether you have a good holiday? Will you now pro-actively recommend him to other people? Maybe even write a review?
The concept is exactly the same for any business, but especially important where your reputation really matters on a local basis.
As a dentist, all you need to do is talk to your patients, keep them informed and build that level of trust. Let them know that you know them and care about them. Engage with them and make them think that they also know you.
Special offers & discounts are great. But they should be almost an incidental thing. For every special offer email you send, make sure you send 2-4 articles that engage them on a different level.
Here are some examples of the kind of content that engage and build trust:
- Insider industry news which could be really useful to know (like the travel agent example)
- Tips and tricks – eg: keeping dentures / braces / implants clean
- Tell them about an upcoming TV documentary about dodgy dentists
- Experimental new product news
- Dental related celebrity gossip
- Amusing anecdotes from life in the practice (note they do NOT need to be dental related!)
- Patient stories – before and after treatment
- Daft competitions – ‘send us your dodgy tooth pictures’
Once you’ve created your article, use something like Hootsuite to distribute it across all of your social media platforms with a single click. You can even write a series of articles in one go and schedule them to go out at later dates.
And now ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for….
THE BIG PLUG!
If you’d like to find out more about building your practice’s reputation, or need help creating and distributing engaging content, give us a call on 0161 356 0346 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn more at www.mypatientfinance.co.uk/