Through: Jennifer Murphy
Everyone wants to be liked and we all want to be seen in a positive light, especially when it comes to us as dentists and our dental practices. How does a graduate dentist who enters a whole new world develop that? How can a new and/or young dentist build a brand and reputation?
Seems a bit daunting, doesn’t it?
I’m here to tell you it’s possible and to give you some tips to get you started.
How to build a brand as a dentist
It might be easy to think that all dental practices are the same. But most certainly they are not. One of the first steps to differentiating yourself is developing your brand.
A brand is defined as a name, term, design, symbol or any other characteristic that distinguishes a seller’s good or service from that of other sellers. So ultimately the goal would be that when someone thinks of a dentist, they think of you and your practice — aka your brand.
You want to stand out among dental practices. A brand communicates not only the services, but also the experience you provide. A quote from Seth Godin about branding says this well,
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that together are responsible for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
Create a logo
When we think of brands, we often think of a logo or symbol first. As a dentist, of course, the first thing that comes to mind is teeth or a tooth symbol. However, patients who see this, a tooth, may not have the most positive thoughts in their minds, so it may be wise to rethink what seems like a first simple answer, with a tooth as the logo.
When creating your logo and brand, you want it to align with the mission and values of your practice. Part of creating your brand is looking at your practice values and the type of patients you want to reach. You want your brand to be specific and unique. Think about the feeling you want to create and give to your patients – we want them to have positive, warm thoughts about your office versus pain and negativity.
How do you build a good reputation as a dentist?
Building a brand builds a reputation. And this applies to you whether you are an owner or an associate dentist.
I believe that building a reputation is one of those things that doesn’t happen overnight, but building a reputation happens by doing the right and small things over time. Like building a house – it doesn’t go up in a day, but by laying brick after brick every day. As Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. When you think about that, you do things differently.”
A big part of building a reputation has to do with consistency. Consistency with your patient care. Consistency with your team. We can all appreciate going somewhere and seeing the same person – whether that’s someone like our doctor or the barista at our favorite coffee shop.
If you provide consistent, excellent patient care and customer service, it should be relatively easy to ask patients for their testimonials and reviews. This will of course help build your reputation! Quality care and putting the patient first will get you there.
Most of us turn to an online resource to evaluate a business before choosing it. If you build a lot of positive online reviews, you will definitely come a long way!
Word of mouth certainly still works, so building your reputation within your community is an excellent idea, as well as online. This can be in the form of an informative table at small neighborhood fairs. I’ve also heard that dentists go to their local schools to teach students about oral hygiene. It’s also a great idea to get involved with different community groups to get your name and practice in any way you can. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities, because they exist!
Build tension in practice. Let the team talk about you and your skills as a dentist. The patients will be positive and excited to meet you before you enter! Then of course you have to live up to what is said and offer a positive patient experience that the patient can walk away from and that they want to tell others about. And then that goes back to building those great reviews and old-fashioned word of mouth online!
When it comes to building your online brand and following, there are several avenues. Google reviews, Facebook page and reviews. A nice idea I’ve read about is to have patients who are not that familiar with the internet write their review on a post-it and post a picture of the post-it itself!
There are always ways to get around challenges.
As we know in social media, a post with words does not attract attention but a photo or better yet, a video! You can do a video testimonial just by recording on a mobile phone. You want to find ways to communicate: create a blog, create content and send an email newsletter. Make it a point to come across as communicating versus selling. Someone may not always be ready to come in, but when they are in need, they will remember seeing that content and communication and feel comfortable reaching out. Hopefully this sparks some creativity and sparks ideas, because the possibilities are truly endless.
Having a working and active Facebook page is ideal. An up-to-date website is also a must. When I look at a practice and see neither of them as a doc, I see it as a red flag — that office isn’t marketing itself, isn’t marketing itself, investing in itself, and staying current. Also, as we discussed when looking for a business or even a restaurant to eat at, going online is our first route to information.
Social media can also help you build a relationship with your patients. And building relationships is a big part of building a strong, loyal patient base in a dental office. Social media is a place where you can connect with people, communicate with them and build trust.
If you’re starting to think this brand and reputation isn’t that important, I’ll leave you two quotes to make you think again.
Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.
If people like you, they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they will do business with you.
Next one: How One Bad Experience Can Destroy Your Dental Practice
photo by Andrea Piacquadio