This article originally appeared in July/2023 on DentistryToday.com.
Using Patient Testimonials in Dental Practice Marketing
By: Jackie Ulasewich Cullen
Patient success is the mark of a successful dental practice. There is no better way to prove to the public that you’re as good as you claim to be than by showing real results with real patients. Before and after pictures are important visual evidence of your skill, but they are often missing the personal element, the story behind the photos that ties it all together. That is where patient testimonials come in. Beyond just showing results, patient testimonials resonate with people on an emotional level, and that’s what makes them such powerful marketing tools.
Why Use Patient Testimonials
No one tells a story better than the person who experienced it. When patients use their own words to express how thrilled they are with the results of their treatment, it automatically rings genuine with the audience. While the dentist will certainly tell a great story about how they were able to improve their patient’s health and quality of life, the patient — who had to live years with a dysfunctional smile, then went through a complete treatment process, and is now happier and more confident than ever — will tell a better one. No one else can accurately convey emotional changes as clearly and as honestly as the patient who experienced them. Whether it’s in writing or on video, a patient telling their own story will automatically bring credibility to the practice because their words are going to be unrehearsed and sincere. Of course, the dentist believes in their own skills, but when a patient goes out of their way to say that they believe in their dentist, it’s that much more impressive.
How to Capture Patient Testimonials
The first step is to plan a strategy for collecting video testimonials. Start by setting a goal of how many to get each month. Work with the team in the office to help them get comfortable asking patients, and be sure to choose the right types of patients to ask. The patients with the most dramatic cases usually make for highly compelling testimonials. Patients who underwent a major transformation are also great to consider for testimonials. However, any patient who is willing to talk about their experience can be a good candidate, especially if they are relatable and represent the majority of the patients visiting the practice.
Next, pick a spot in the practice to shoot patient testimonial videos. It can be anywhere, as long as it is quiet, without distracting background noise, if at all possible. Before recording a testimonial, have 3 or 4 questions ready to ask the patient. They can be the same for each patient. Some easy questions could be:
- Why did you choose the practice?
- What was your situation before treatment?
- How do you feel after treatment?
- What has changed in your life?
- Which 3 words would you use to describe the practice and the care you received?
Once the patient’s testimonial is recorded, all that is left to do is edit the video and post it where others will see it.
How to Use Patient Testimonials
Videos can be posted anywhere. If the practice website already has a section devoted to patient reviews, adding testimonial videos can make that section even more impactful. If the practice has any type of social media or a YouTube channel, patient testimonial videos work there as well. Marketing emails and blog posts can easily link to patient testimonials on the practice website or its YouTube channel. With emails and blog posts, there is the added ability to provide even more background and interject information not included in the video. The real takeaway is that patient testimonial videos are extremely versatile. Use them alone or combine them into longer videos. Think patient testimonial montage. Insert pieces of patient testimonials into other videos for the practice. For instance, if the dentist wants to make a video highlighting the benefits of dental implants, including snippets of two or three patients talking about how happy they are with their implants will add even more credibility to what the dentist is saying.
Patient testimonials are an excellent marketing tool that any dental practice can use to its advantage. They are relatively easy to acquire and typically don’t cost anything to produce because they don’t necessarily need to be staged or professionally recorded. Most importantly, patient testimonials emphasize the personal side of dental treatment and the life-changing, emotional impact it has on patients, which is extremely persuasive but often not conveyed adequately in other types of marketing. In summary, patient testimonials should be a part of every dental practice’s overall marketing strategy to add a distinguishing element that is guaranteed to resonate with the public.