As a great provider, you already put quality of care first.
But your stellar care isn’t the only thing that affects how patients feel when they show up to and leave your office. The way you brand yourself and your practice shapes how current and prospective patients feel about your practice.
Strong branding is especially important in the digital age, where roughly 90 percent of new patient “introductions” happen on a digital platform and patients are increasingly likely to book appointments without picking up the phone. You need a strong Zocdoc profile, a stellar website and a consistent social media presence to make a great first impression. If you do branding well, patients will feel compelled to book with you. Do it wrong, and they’ll probably find someone else.
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If you’ve never really thought about your brand before, we’ve got good news: You don’t need to be a marketing guru to create a strong brand. You just need to define who you are and what your practice is about, then communicate that to your patients. Here’s how.
Define your personal brand
The term “personal brand” may feel a little cliché, but crystallizing your defining strengths and values is important. As head of your office, your personal brand sets the tone for your employees and shapes the brand of your practice.
You’ll likely have an instinctive sense of your personal brand. Putting it into words might be more challenging. If you’re having trouble, sit down for a self-interview and answer these questions:
- Why did you decide to go into medicine?
- Why did you open your own practice?
- What do you enjoy most about practicing medicine?
- Who are your ideal patients?
- What do patients say you’re best at?
- How do patients describe you in their reviews and testimonials?
- How are you different from similar providers in your area?
Use your answers to write up an elevator pitch for your practice: a few sentences that introduce who you are, what do you and how you’re different. To craft the best pitch possible, write the way you speak, inject enthusiasm and take your time. You’ll refer back to it repeatedly when you’re branding your other marketing materials.
Communicate your brand values in your marketing
Once you’ve defined your core message in your elevator pitch, it’s time to make sure your website, social media and online profiles reflect your personal brand. Strong branding gives prospective patients an accurate glimpse of who you are. It evokes positive emotions — the key to creating long-term relationships that increase the lifetime value of a patient — and builds trust before they ever contact your office.
Use these tips to make sure your online presence reflects your personal brand:
- Resist the urge to keep it “all business”: Sure, you want to keep your marketing mostly professional, but let your personality shine through. Write in a conversational tone that reflects how you really talk to your patients to keep your readers engaged and help readers feel like they’re getting to know you.
- Make great use of photos: The visual elements of your website communicate more about your brand than words can. Simply including a photo of yourself enhances your credibility. And including photos of your office and your support staff gives visitors a look at your warm, inviting office atmosphere.
- Keep your tone consistent: Your website, Zocdoc profile, and social media pages should all maintain a voice that reflects the core values expressed in your elevator pitch.
Walk the talk
Online marketing brings new patients into your office. The real-life experience should feel true to the brand that got them through the door. If you’re a family-focused dental practice, for instance, decorating your waiting room with portraits of your patients’ happy, healthy smiles can back up your branding.
And, of course, hiring support staff that shares your core values is essential. A fantastic team not only helps you deliver on your brand image, they also offer stellar customer service that keeps patients coming back — a true win-win for your practice.