This article originally appeared in October/2023 on DentistryToday.com.
Patient-Centric Marketing: How Dental Practices Can Build Trust and Loyalty
By: Jackie Ulasewich Cullen
Dentistry is about more than just creating healthy smiles. It’s also about fostering strong, lasting relationships with patients. Because patients have a wealth of choices and plenty of information at their fingertips when it comes to selecting a dental practice, it is crucial for dentists to adopt a patient-centric approach to marketing. Building trust and loyalty is vital not only for a dental practice’s success, but also for the overall well-being of the patients who rely on it for the sake of their oral health.
Patient-centric Marketing in Dentistry
The Importance of Patient Trust and Loyalty
Trust and loyalty are essential if a dental practice wants to build and maintain a quality patient base. To create a thriving dental practice that truly centers on the patients’ needs and expectations, dental practices can take advantage of various strategies to enhance patient communications and leverage online reviews and testimonials.
Trust is the cornerstone of any successful dental practice. When patients trust their dentist, they are more likely to follow through with treatment plans, be diligent with preventive care, and refer others. Building trust is not just about acquiring clinical expertise however. Making patients feel comfortable, respected, and valued is a big part. Creating solid, long-term patient relationships plays a major role in building a consistent and predictable patient base. Loyal patients are more likely to return for regular check-ups and recommend the practice to friends and family.
Enhancing Patient Communication
Effective communication builds trust. Dentists should not only excel in their clinical skills but also in their ability to communicate with patients, existing as well as potential. This includes listening actively to patient concerns, explaining treatments in plain language, and being available to address questions and doubts. In marketing terms, it means being able to convey the practice’s personality and culture through various media. Social media, blog posts, emails, online ads, and websites, should all have a certain element of continuity to ensure that the practice’s brand is easily recognizable and the overall message is clear.
Embrace Digital Marketing
In today’s world, digital communication is essential. Dental practices now have plenty of opportunities to use email, text messages, social media, and other digital platforms to stay connected with and engage patients between visits when they are not actively seeking treatment or thinking about their oral health.
Empower Patients with Information
Educational communications focusing on oral health and dental procedures in general, highlighting the practice’s specialties, explaining how the staff and doctors help patients overcome fear and anxiety, and outlining what patients can expect from their first visit are all excellent opportunities to engage and inform patients. Not only will these communications keep the practice top of mind should a need arise, but informed patients are more likely to make better decisions about their oral health and feel more confident about seeking treatment.
The Power of Patient Reviews & Testimonials
Encourage Online Reviews
Positive online reviews are incredibly influential in today’s digital consumer culture. To take full advantage of this free advertising, dental practices need to make it easy and enticing for satisfied patients to leave reviews on platforms like Google, and Facebook. Additionally, responding to reviews, positive and negative alike, demonstrates the practice’s commitment to patient satisfaction and goes a long way towards building credibility.
Solicit Patient Testimonials
Displaying patient testimonials on the main website and featuring them in social media posts, YouTube videos, emails, and blog posts also builds rapport with patients who may be in the market for a new dentist. Asking satisfied patients to share their stories is another cost-free way to promote the practice and can have a profound impact on potential patients seeking a trustworthy and caring dental provider.
In today’s competitive dental landscape, being patient-centric is not an option — it’s a necessity. Building trust and loyalty should be at the core of every dental practice’s marketing strategy. By fostering strong patient relationships, enhancing communication, and leveraging the power of patient reviews and testimonials, dental practices can carve out their own niche and thrive in a highly competitive market. Patients who feel valued, heard, and informed are more likely to stay loyal, leading to a sustainable and successful practice that benefits the dentist and the patients they serve.