Category: Author: David Hall
In an earlier blog post, I made the point that when we market a dental practice to a prospective patient, what we are really doing is selling trust.
When we market a client, here is an outline of our strategy. We start by creating a positive visual impression for the prospective patient. Neuromarketing research shows that decisions like choosing a new dentist are made subconsciously and very early in the investigation process. When a prospective patient is searching on the Internet, that decision is likely made with the first impression made by the website. Note that I said this decision is subconscious. In other words, the prospective patient is unaware that they have made this decision. They then either browse or scour the website (depending on their personality) looking for validation for that decision. As they do that, they are looking for logic to back up the decision they have already made. If they find reasons to justify that decision, they will make an appointment. If they don’t, they’ll move on.
That validation is what we’re striving for in the content we create for our clients. The design brings them in, the content validates.
Content gives prospective patients a reason to believe
An important marketing principle involved in creating this content is the reason to believe. We train our writers to keep this principle top of mind with every point they make. Let me illustrate with a hypothetical client, Dr. Jane Doe.
Let’s create a “reason to believe scale” of 0 to 10. And let’s say we make the claim that Dr. Doe is caring. If that’s all we’re doing, I’ll give that a rating of “0” on our “reason to believe scale.” That claim is going to fall totally flat because every dentist is going to claim that and people are going to be very skeptical.
Let’s say that we then add a testimonial from a patient named Linda that says “Dr. Doe is my dentist and she is very caring.” Well, we’ve upped that maybe to a rating of “2.” It’s still not very high because there is no substance to the testimonial.
But let’s say that Linda’s testimonial goes further than that, and she illustrates with a story. Maybe she says that Dr. Doe came in on a weekend just for her. That’s going to give a big boost to our claim. We may be up to a “7.”
Let’s say we add another example with a story from a second patient and also add that Dr. Doe has been on humanitarian missions to Haiti. We may now be up to a “10” on reason to believe.
Now not all undocumented claims will have a “0” reason to believe, because you’re not going to get the same level of skepticism with all claims. “Dr. Doe cares,” that is going to have a high level of skepticism. People who have much experience in life know that everyone thinks they care, and many people are self-deluded on that. With a claim like “Dr. Doe believes in running on time” you’ll have less skepticism because the issue, how long patients have to wait, is easier to document. Same with “Dr. Doe believes in conservative treatment.” There, you’re expressing a philosophy, and we’re more likely to take Dr. Doe at her word. So we might try to make some of these points without any documentation. But on the issue of caring, or, say, a generic claim of delivering quality care, you cannot just make the claim–you have to provide some kind of evidence.
And then different types of documentation are helpful for different claims. If we are trying to establish a high level of expertise of the dentist, patient testimonials may not be as powerful as peer recognition, awards, or educational achievements on the part of the dentist.
The bottom line? Providing a Reason to Believe is an important marketing principle, and it’s especially important in marketing dentistry because we are selling trust.