Every industry has its own style of marketing and anyone working within it has to learn it if they are going to make any success of promoting themselves and, ultimately, of their practice. If you’re in the dental sector, then one of the best things you can do is to pin down your patient avatar.
Your patient avatar is your ideal patient, the one (or hopefully more than one) who fits your service offering almost to a T. Of course, you’ll have many patients who are regulars and who come in every six months for a check-up and a polish. These patients are more than welcome, but they’re your bread-and-butter clients; they provide a steady but relatively small income stream and aren’t necessarily the ones to rave about you to their friends because they don’t use all your services.
Why you need to define your ideal prospects
Your first step in finding your ideal patients is to define and identify them. This is also the most important step because if you don’t have a clear picture of who they are, you won’t be able to find out anything about them and their lives.
If you can’t find them and suss them out, you’ll have to resign yourself to using that old-fashioned, inefficient scattergun approach in your marketing. This approach will get some results, obviously, because your avatar patients will be among the many that you market to. However, you’ll be spending unnecessary time and money on reaching them in this way by sending out 500 flyers or paying for 500 clicks when ten or 20 well-aimed communications would get you the same number of conversions.
Drill down into who your avatars actually are
You need to really get to know your avatars, as well as to find out who they know and confide in. Where do they go for fun? Where do they shop and, most importantly, where do they go online?
You may have the attitude that everyone who walks through your door is the ideal patient and while no-one will fault your dedication and customer service here, is it actually working for you as well as it could be? Do you want your twice-annually check-up and polish guy as your avatar? Or do you want a high-achieving salesman who really needs his pearly whites to stay that way and is happy to pay? Alternatively, if you have a real specialism and “feel” for acutely nervous patients, how do you find them and bring them in? Where do they go when they’re online? If you can find this out, you’re halfway to a new high ticket patient.
Tailor your message to your avatars
When you’ve found your ideal clients, you can start talking directly to them. You know them and what makes them tick, what motivates them to go to the dentist. If it’s cosmetic dentistry they’re after, you can reel them in with your fancy new laser whitening service that’s over in minutes so they can get back to their customer-facing role in no time. If it’s the nervous patients you’re looking for, then you can showcase how sensitive and patient you are and how they can have a touch of aromatherapy while they’re in the chair.
Think about your existing best patients as well
One of your best marketing assets is the pool of people who are already your regulars. Not necessarily the check-up and clean guy, because he rarely even mentions you to his friends, but the patients who come in for whitening, or because they have weak teeth and you’re a miracle worker, or because you’re the only dentist who doesn’t give them nightmares. They bounce out of your practice feeling confident and dazzling, or out of pain after another successful root canal, or just not traumatised (finally).
When you know what they’re thinking before, during and after they see you, you know what to say to them and (crucially) what to persuade them to say to their friends and family.
Stand out from the crowd
Everyone’s advertising all over the place and we see so many messages day in, day out that most people are actually immune to them. No-one will take any real notice of a “Come to see me, I’m really good with a drill!” message, but they will respond to an advert that touches on their insecurity, or their hopes for their kids’ future smiles. If your prospects feel that you already know and understand them and their lives, they’ll want to talk to you more.
Dental patients have two main needs
They want to be out of pain or they want to have a dazzling smile that people comment on and you have to show them that you’re their best route to fulfilling that need. If you don’t speak to those basic needs, you’re just another dentist with an online advert and they’ll skip over you for the next amusing cat video.
You need to find out where they go when they’re not with you
This really doesn’t mean you follow them around the shopping centre because that’d be just plain wrong (especially if you jump out at them every time they add sugar to their coffee…).
No, you need to find out where they go online. What are their favourite websites? What are their most-visited social media sites and which Facebook pages and groups do they like the best? Do they follow a particular celebrity or fashion house? Who influences them and, more importantly, who do they influence?
Understanding your prospects’ online activities and habits means you can isolate them further (in a good way, of course) and devise a message or a campaign that speaks right to their hearts.
To sum up
By identifying, finding and finding out more about your patient avatar, you can work out what the best message will be to communicate with them. Time spent on this research is well worth it because of the significantly higher conversion rates that targeted campaigns achieve.
Instead of a blanket, scattergun marketing approach that will be passed over by most people, we want to get right into the hearts and minds of the people who are already your ideal patients.
They might not know that they’re your ideal patients until they see your message, but once they realise it, they’ll be compelled to take action as soon as they can.
P.S. when you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your dental practice:
1.Register for our next pitch free webinar
Join us for a pitch free private training and learn how to attract and retain high-value repeat patients, increase annual revenue and live a freer, happier life than ever before. Click Here
2. Grab a free copy of our latest practice case study
It’s the exact strategies we used to help a local dentist get more patients and grow from 1 to 3 dental chairs in under 6 months. Click Here
3. Join The Dental Collective and connect with dentists trying to grow too
it’s our new Facebook community where smart dentists can connect and share on the way to getting more patients, income and independence. Click Here
4. Have me and my team work with you privately
If you would like to work with our team to devise and implement your growth strategy and go from struggling to booking, just reply to this message, put “Private” in the subject line, and tell a little about your business and what you’d like t work on, and I’ll get you the details.