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Are You Happy with the Quality and Quantity of Your Patient Base?

Issue: Spring 2013
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Are you happy with the quality and quantity of your patient base? What is the secret to building a quality patient base that allows you to achieve your growth and profitability goals? It has everything to do with communicating your brand; yet we have found that branding is one of the most misunderstood ideas in dental marketing.

What is a brand? A brand is how you are perceived. In other words, my understanding and perception of your practice is your brand to me. Every touchpoint and interaction that you have with a patient or potential patient helps them form a perception of your practice. These perceptions will determine their actions as they relate to your practice. How you are perceived will determine if someone chooses you, and more importantly, why they choose you. Perceptions also determine if your current patients are loyal, accept treatment plans and refer others.

Therefore, the quality and quantity of your patient base is a direct result of the perceptions you create. If you are not happy with either the quantity or quality of your patient base, then you are not creating the right perceptions. This means it is time to look at your brand, define it correctly and ensure it is being implemented consistently and accurately at every possible touchpoint.

The obvious question then becomes, “How do I define my brand correctly?”

Here are the three keys:

  1. Identify your true and best self.Every dentist and every dental office is unique in the experience they provide to patients. Take some time to think through the experience you offer and identify what you do best. Then, answer the following questions:

    • What services are you complimented on most frequently?
    • What is your vision for your practice?
    • Why should someone choose you over other dentists in your area?
    • What do you do best?

    Define your primary audience. It is important to understand who your ideal audience is and where it is located. Take a look at the top 20–30% of your patient base and look for common demographic characteristics. We recommend you purchase a demographics report for your area. Use it to identify where ideal households are located and the number of households with ideal demographics. Ensure your message is tailored to your ideal audience. Remember, the more we try to be all things to all people, the less effective our message becomes.

Take the time to understand how to communicate your unique story; it will change your practice.

  1. Understand the competition. The most important thing you can do in your awareness marketing is to clearly differentiate yourself. Most dental marketing is canned and generic. If we looked at three dental websites or three mailers, we could erase the dentist’s name and write in a different dentist’s name and it wouldn’t change anything because there is no compelling message that differentiates each dentist. The messages simply sell dentistry in general. Ensure your message is different from the other dentists in your area.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of correctly defining and implementing a strong brand in building a thriving practice. Take the time to understand how to communicate your unique story; it will change your practice.

About the Author:
Douglas Sligting is President and CEO of Dental Branding. With over 20 years of brand and marketing experience, the past six specifically focused on practice marketing, Doug is uniquely qualified and possesses a rare understanding of the correct way to market your practice in the dental industry.