Big brand, small budget ‒ Three important questions for every implant practice
By Gerry O’Brion
What exactly is brand? When I speak to groups of business owners, there are lots of common answers ‒ a logo, a feeling, an emotion, a commitment, an expectation and consistency, a promise, an experience, a color, your reputation.
In the simplest terms, your brand is: The culmination of all the experiences an individual has with your practice. Ultimately, it’s why a patient chooses you vs. a competitor. Your brand resides in the mind of the individual who is choosing. So, how do you get them to choose your dental practice?
Be different from competition in a way your patients value.
Patients today choose between lots and lots of practices when they choose to get implants. Not only is there increasing competition for market share between all dentists, including the various specialties and restorative dentists, but also between the many implant manufacturers and even the large dental organizations.
To compete, you must get clear on what your particular patients value, and deliver it in a way that stand out from competition. There are three simple questions that the best practices ask themselves year after year to stay relevant to their patients.
Who are your ideal patients?
I speak with hundreds of business owners each year ‒ over and over I hear a reluctance to focus on which customers they’re targeting for fear of losing out on revenue. Here is the secret: If you’re extraordinarily clear about who your ideal patients are, then those patients will be extraordinarily clear that you’re ideal for them. If you try to focus on everyone, no one knows you’re just for them.
For example, do you want to target patients who are”price conscious” or “quality conscious”? it’s easy to say that implants have become more a commodity with tag lines such as “teeth in a day.” That’s one approach, and a good one for certain types of patients. but what about “teeth for a lifetime”? There are many, many patients who want the best, not the cheapest. Especially for the first thing everyone sees ‒ their smile.
When you stop focusing on everyone, three things happen that help your business grow:
First, you attract passionate fans to your practice, and they start to refer others who are like them. They share about your practice because they resonate with what you do that’s special from all the other practices.
Second, your marketing efforts become more clear and powerful. If you know what’s important to those people, you can say it in your marketing.
Third, everyone in your practice will be clear on what to say to get your most ideal patients in the door. You’ll make them feel more special.
Focusing your targeting is unnerving, but is a tool that can exponentially grow your business, increase your marketing effectiveness and attract your ideal patients to your business. But inorder to do it well, you have to have a unique outcome that you deliver for that specific group of ideal patients.
What is your unique outcome?
Your patients don’t care about your practice, they care about themselves. They want to know what outcome you’ll deliver for them. The unique outcome or benefit you provide is the hook that gets patients to visit you vs. your competition. And it’s ideal if you can create something that is both rational and emotional. We use both sides of our brains when making any decision, so it’s ideal if the thing that makes you special includes both.
To create the most compelling outcome, you have to go beyond just talking about the basic thinks that all patients expect from a dentist. What do you do that is notably different or unique? What do you do that will make your patient’s experience better? What do you do that is distinct from others in your area? What can you do that might be hard for your competitors to copy?
What’s your “because”?
Your best and most cost-effective marketing is satisfied patients. There is no better way to build a strong brand than to deliver a great experience and get your customers to talk about it.
Yes, but how do you proactively get people sharing your business with others? The biggest reason that people don’t share about our business is one simple thing – we haven’t made it easy enough for them to know what to say! If you try to stand for everything, you end up standing for nothing, and people have no idea what to tell others about you.
When people give a referral, they want to say something specific, credible and compelling. So, I ask you this ‒ What’s your “because”?
It’s easy to say something general that pretty much anyone would say ‒ we’ve got better service, we care more, we’ve been around forever. If anyone can say it, it’s not powerful. Great practices grow word of mouth by delivering experiences with specific, credible, and compelling differences from competitors.
Now you’re ready for marketing.
Once you’ve figured out how to provide unique, sharable value to your patients, you’re ready to do marketing. What you say in your marketing message will be simple if you’ve done this work up front. There is a lot to do in any dental practice, but the time you spend thinking and planning is what sets you up for long-term success.