Have you ever thought about what you can do to help attract more patients to your dental practice? I would say most dentists have, as they are business owners first and doctors second. Your patients are your customers and every business needs customers to survive. Simple economics. So back to our question, “how to attract more patients?” My answer, Branding.
Branding is practiced by every major company and consumer product and this does not exclude dental practices. By definition, “Branding” is the identification of a product or service with the manufacturer or provider. It sounds boring but it really is a lot of fun. We’re talking about injecting your personality and what you want your patients to see, feel, and experience while they are at your practice. For example, this practice in Tokyo, Japan, branded itself as the “Hello Kitty” dentist. Kind of a campy idea, but when you read that Sanrio (the parent company of Hello Kitty) made $1.08 billion off of Hello Kitty products last year, that idea starts to look like a giant bag with a dollar sign on it.
So what can you do to help brand you practice? Here are 5 tips:
1. Write a Mission Statement
Your mission statement should tell patients, and your internal team, what you want to accomplish and what they can expect from you as their dentist. Start by putting yourself in the patient’s shoes. Ask yourself, “How do I want to feel when I’m at the dentist?”
2. Define your “Unique Selling Point”
The best way to brand yourself is to find out what you do that sets yourself apart from everyone else, or as Jerry Jones of Jerry Jones Direct calls it, your “Unique Selling Point” or USP. Once you have your USP, you can use it to brand your practice and yourself. Be sure to communicate your USP to your team and your patients. Remember, you are your practice!
3. Create a logo
James Kuster wrote, “your logo is not your branding but a small piece of your branding.” It should be designed to be instantly recognizable to create and reinforce brand awareness.
4. Think Color
Room color has a tremendous effect on how we feel. Consider the image you are trying to convey to your patients; are your clients mostly young and trendy or are you a pediatric dentist? Choose your color accordingly. According to a study done in London, a mid to light pink helps relax patients and is an ideal color for a dental practice. But beware of getting too pink. Hot pinks to reds can increase heart rates, respiration and anxiety.
5. Brand Your Customer Service
As I mentioned, your brand is an emotional response that stems from the sum of all experiences your patients have with your practice. In order to ensure that this response is positive, make a list of all the actions your team can repeatedly implement in order to ensure that each patient receives the same, pleasant experience. For example, decide how your staff should answer each phone call and greet every patient. You could establish a protocol where you personally call each patient after a procedure to follow-up. These special, unique touches will enhance your patients’ experience of your brand.
Once your branding is in place, keep your messaging consistent throughout all of your marketing and advertising. Each newsletter, flyer, direct mail piece, radio spot or TV commercial should reflect your mission statement and your Unique Selling Point. Soon you’ll be the one holding the big bag with the dollar sign!