Josh Moore

Content Director
December 1, 2019

3 Things Patients Want

The Secret to Better Dental Marketing

Your practice is amazing, but it’s hard to describe it.

You want to create a website that encapsulates your practice, but finding the right words seems impossible. Or maybe you want to create some facebook ads, because you’ve heard the hype, but when it comes to writing the copy you hit a wall.

There is a secret to breaking through your writer’s block, and strike a chord with your audience.

The Secret

Marketing 101 will tell you all good marketing starts with understanding your audience. This is good... but not the secret. The secret lies buried in what it means to “understand” your audience. Why do your patients come to you in the first place? All patients come to fix a problem. You must affirm that problem and offer the solution. This is the secret.

Unless you speak in problem/solution language, your marketing is losing impact.

Your Patient’s Problem

So what are the problems your patients want fixed? Well, there’s quite a few. Your first thought may jump to fillings, implants, and the like – and you’re not wrong. Those types of messages make great targeted ads and custom landing pages, but they aren’t the messages of website homepages, or ads looking to attract lifelong patients. Rather, there are 3 problems you can speak to over and over again and never run out of patients that connect.

Problem 1: Fear

6 out of every 10 patients have a prevalent fear of the dentist (1). Myself included. Despite working for a company that helps dental practices connect with new patients, I struggle to find the nerve to visit my dentist when I’m facing an involved procedure. If the majority of patients see fear as a barrier to visiting your office, we need to talk about it.

It starts with empathy. A patient needs you to validate their fear before they will feel comfortable in your office. Let them know they aren’t alone. Promise to go through this with them, at their pace, in an environment that’s as safe and comfortable as possible. Let them see the humanity behind your website or ad message, and show them someone willing to enter the vulnerable space many other practices neglect.

The solution to fear is empathy.

Problem 2: Neglect

A recent study found that only 36% of medical providers inquire the reason for their patients’ visit (2). There’s nothing more frustrating than having a dental concern not taken seriously, or worse, ignored. My guess, based on the fact that you’re invested enough in the success of your practice to be reading an article on understanding your patients, is that you don’t have this problem. That’s great, but patients need to know that… So we have to tell them.

Similar to anxiety, start by affirming the problem. Let them know you also think it’s frustrating that they would go to a trusted medical advisor and not receive the attention they deserve. The promise you want to make is that when they are sitting in your chair, you aren’t going to rush them through without listening. Let them know you are invested in their care, and you will do everything you can to address their concerns. Let them know they have your undivided attention.

The solution to neglect is attention.

Problem 3: Distrust

Despite high satisfaction in overall care, only 34% of American patients express trust in their medical providers (3). Perhaps you’ve experienced similar issues with gaining the trust of your patients. Patients either doubt your clinical expertise, or believe you’re only trying to make as much money as possible on their care. Of course, this isn’t the case, so how do you approach it?

Address the issue head on and recognize that patients have been taken advantage of in the past, or feel they didn’t have all the information when making an important decision. Assure them they are in complete control of their dental care, by promising to disclose all the information they need to feel confident in their choice. By assuring them nothing is being concealed, they’ll have confidence in knowing they’re not being taken advantage of, and will grow to trust you.

The solution to distrust is transparency.

How to Apply It

There is nothing complicated about the concept of “problem/solution”, but writing about it on your website or ad campaign can still be daunting. Here are a few quick tips for applying it, and attracting new patients with your words:

  • Address the problem first. Don’t miss the opportunity to grab their attention right away. Patients want to know more than anything, “What’s in it for me?”
  • Establish a connection. Mentally explore what it must be like to experience their problem. If you have personal experience to share, great! If not, use this as an opportunity to grow your understanding.
  • Assure them you have the solution. Their problem is an easy fix, and you have the tools to make it happen. After hooking their attention, and connecting with their problem, your confidence to solve it will put them at ease and draw them into your practice.

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4432608/

2 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11606-018-4540-5

3 https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1407373#t=article