Winning The Patient Dating Game
(a.k.a. Writing a Dental Website)
As a dental website copywriter, I’m a matchmaker and storyteller.
My mission is to connect your story to their story, your practice to people – making a match that leads to a first visit and initiates a long-term relationship.
Connecting with potential patients through a website is much like getting a first date. You put on your best smile, communicate your interest, share what makes you different and worth the risk, create the hope of a memorable experience, and close the deal.
But before we make the big ask, we need to understand the game.
Understanding the Game
Who is your target patient and what do they want?
Who is your target patient?
To get the first date, we have to know whom we’re trying to date. (Families. Moms. Middle class. Underserved. Professional. Busy. Insurance. Fee-for-service.) Audience clarity in writing is like high-definition digital imaging in dentistry – more precise pictures lead to more effective treatment.
What do they want?
(Implants, whitening, Invisalign, healthy teeth, happy children, fear-free experience, etc...) We must understand what they want to highlight a solution that fits.
A few raw truths about your audience…
-They don’t care as much about dentistry as you do
-They will never choose a trip to the dentist over an amusement park
-They don’t need all the complex details, they just want results – the crooked made straight, the missing replaced, the broken fixed, and yellow teeth made white.
How do I get them to notice me?
Years ago, marketing expert Jack Trout wrote a simple book called, Differentiate or Die. The message is clear – if your business is like every other business, you won’t make it.
If your dental website is like every other dental website in your area, you won’t get noticed. We notice things that stand out. The unexpected. The unique. The surprising. The driver who cuts you off in traffic. The stage actor who goes off script. The dentist who __________.
If you don’t know what makes you different, find it or create it. As a writer, differentiation is gold. That’s why we dig and keep digging until we discover what sets you and your practice apart from everyone else. Then we repeat your differentiation over and over again throughout the narrative.
How do I draw them in?
People are drawn to people – more than people are drawn to a practice.
Throughout your story, introduce yourself and your team, highlight who you are and why you serve patients the way you do. No one is perfect, but feel free to be aspirational –share with your audience the kind of person you strive to be.
Below are some powerful people magnets.
We are drawn to people who are…
- Humble. Humility with confidence opens doors. (Arrogance repels.)
- Real. Authenticity sets the tone for a trusting relationship. (Fake repels.)
- Inspiring. Everyone loves to be around someone who inspires them. (Cynics repel.)
- Professional. Confidence without condescension. (Egotism repels.)
How do I move them closer to action?
Give them hope.
Here are some elements to include throughout the story to motivate action…
- Use testimonials and a narrative that evokes hope to show that you can deliver the results they want.
- Intentionally highlight easy on-ramps to help them experience hope without a huge commitment. (i.e. complimentary consultations, specials, etc…)
- Drive every element of the story to the hope-filled conclusion that your practice is what they’re looking for – right place, right result, right price, right location, right hours.
Writing to Win the Game
Words have power to get the first date. They set the tone, shape the experience, and cause people to feel, think, and act in ways that either draw them to you or send them running away.
Here are the essential elements to winning that first date…
1. Capture your Personality
Your audience needs to feel the unique personality of your practice
What makes you tick? What are you passionate about? Why are you practicing dentistry? The answers to these questions begin to capture the uniqueness of who you are so we can share that with your audience. These questions can also reveal your values and brand promise.
Not sure about the answers? Try reverse engineering the answer by reading patient reviews and asking team members what makes you special. Sometimes others see us more clearly than we see ourselves.
As part of capturing your personality, we always seek to uncover one thing that makes you stand out from the crowd. We call it your X-Factor. It’s a memorable distinction, and often the one thing patients highlight when talking about you with others – “My dentist hiked the Grand Canyon, or served in the Army, or took a mission trip to Nicaragua, or loves to dance, or coaches soccer, or plays the guitar, etc…”
2. Craft your Voice
Your audience needs to feel your voice (adding video multiplies the impact).
What is the special feeling, tone, personality, and flavor of your practice? (Comfortable. Inviting. Luxurious. Modern. Captivating. Patient-focused. Unrushed. Fun. Happy. Calm.)
What are the common phrases a patient would hear around your practice? (Long-term results. Invest in your health. Confident smile. Treat you like family. Patients come before profits. Art meets Science. Precision matters.)
The goal here is to “speak human” in a way that connects with your audience and is authentic to who you are. For example, we should feel the fun in a fun-loving doctor’s writing voice. We should feel the wonder of art and beauty in an artistically oriented doctor’s writing voice. We should feel the precision in a clinical genius’ writing voice (though maybe you should make sure you put the clinical jargon on a shelf that’s accessible to your audience.)
3. Create the Narrative
Your audience needs to experience your story.
A distinctive tagline that represents you well starts the ball rolling as it shapes the tone of your story and sets up the home page narrative.
Keep them walking
The home page walks visitors through your compelling narrative, like a path with clues, curiosity hooks, and distinctions. The goal is to give them reasons to continue scrolling, clicking, and walking deeper into the site.
Connect the story
Good copywriting connects the overall story with multiple threads (similar feelings and distinctive phrases) that repeat in different ways throughout the pages of your website. Connected narratives not only build momentum throughout the site to schedule first visits, they also lay the foundation for trust before a patient walks through your doors.
Fewer words, better words – repeated often
In our information-saturated age, skimming is the norm. That means we need fewer words and better words. It also means we need to repeat often so even the skimmer can’t possibly miss the story.
4. Connect your Story to their Story
Your audience needs to feel a connection to your story.
Your story meets their story. Human-to-human. Heart-to-heart. Problem-to-solution.
Psychologists and sales experts tell us that every decision we make is emotional. Whether we’ll admit it or not, we decide based on a feeling, then we look for evidence to support that feeling. That’s why it’s critical to write in a way that evokes feelings people connect with – like hope and caring, comfort and security, restored confidence and beauty, assurance and trust.
The clinical, technological, and educational elements on your dental website provide rational support for a visitor’s emotional response. For example, your relational narrative makes them feel like they might be able to trust you, and your training and expertise supports that feeling. Maybe your fresh narrative makes them feel like you might be on the leading edge of modern dentistry, and your technology and treatment options support that feeling.
In the end, people never want to feel like they’re making a bad choice. Effectively connecting your story to their story on an emotional and rational level makes them feel like they’re making the best choice.
5. Compel Action
Your audience needs a reason to take action.
They’re intrigued, interested, and almost ready to take action. Now is the time to dangle an irresistible carrot to push them over the edge. It could be a Complimentary Consultation, or a New Patient Offer, or Whitening for Life. Whatever your carrot, make sure it connects with your audience and offers a strong enough magnet to make them contact you.
With Great Power Comes Great Opportunity
Words have phenomenal power to change hearts and minds and to tell your story. At Studio 8E8, we write websites that do just that. We’d love to help you craft a beautiful website that tells your story, engages your audience, and helps you win the Patient Dating Game!