Picture this: you’re looking for a plumber to install a water-saving sink in your practice’s restroom. You visit eight different websites when you notice something – six of them have pictured the same smiling guy holding the same red-handled wrench. These sites have all used cost-effective but personality-free stock images. You are the best thing your practice has to offer and your patients want to feel connected to you, but how can they feel connected if your website and social network pages feature pictures of someone they’ve never seen? It may take some time and planning, but using original images in your marketing channels go a long way in letting your patients know who you are and how seriously you take your practice.
Hiring a Pro
Having professional images on your website conveys, well…professionalism. A professional photographer knows how to use lighting, angles, and poses in a way that lets your patients know what kind of practice you run. Once you’ve selected a photographer, consider the following:
- What kind of image does your physical space promote? If you want patients to feel at home in your waiting room, then you should provide a homey atmosphere to make them comfortable (plants, throw pillows, lamps instead of fluorescent lights, etc.). A picture of a living room-like waiting room on your site will let patients know that you view them as family.
- What shots are important for you to feature? The most effective is a combination of formal and candid shots. Images that are useful include: headshots of your staff so patients know who is who in your office; posed portraits of your staff together; photos of your clean-but-inviting treatment rooms, waiting rooms, and building; candid shots of you and your staff members interacting with patients. Make a list for your photographer, but be open to suggestions; they are the professional, after all.
Keepin’ It Casual
There is also a place for camera phones in your marketing toolbox. The best place for these types of photos is on social media. Real pictures that show your day-to-day activities and your one-of-a-kind personality let your patients know that you are approachable and reminds them that you are a presence in their lives even when they’re not sitting in your chair. When taking casual pictures for marketing your practice via social networking, keep these in mind:
- Only use clear, well-lit shots that will make your patients feel good. Having a birthday party for your office manager? A picture of him blowing out his candles is the perfect type of picture to share on FaceBook – as long as it’s in focus and everyone is smiling. Does your practice sponsor an adult softball team? A picture of you celebrating a win with the players is great – just be sure to keep the focus tight on what matters to your patients (instead of a wide shot of the entire sports bar).
- Be real! Let patients see your silly side. Let them see you giddy over a new piece of equipment that you can’t wait to share with them. Going to the dentist is intimidating for so many people, but seeing that you can laugh and joke could help cut back on their anxiety. You want to remind your patients that you are there for them year-round, but if you are posting stern and stuffy images of yourself or your staff, they’re not going to look forward to seeing you – even if it is only twice a year.
If you are not using photography to market your practice, you’re missing out on an opportunity to reach patients. Surfing the web on a break from work or browsing FaceBook while we stand in line at Starbucks, our perception of the world comes from the images we see online. Make sure the images that you use in your marketing channels convey that you are professional, trustworthy, and patient-centered.
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