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Ask The Dental Practice Marketing Expert: How Do I Build Credibility With My Dental Advertising?

May 16, 2008
Dear Dental Practice Marketing Expert,

I am tired of having to offer discounts and such just to get new patients in the door. I want the patients to see how trustworthy, and honest I am, as well as how much experience I have (I've been in practice 35 years). How can I convey this through my dental advertising?

Signed, Average Frustrated Dentist

Dear Average Frustrated Dentist,

While it would be nice to simply go on the seniority principle when we promote dental practices, that is not the type of society we live in anymore.

Today's consumers are increasingly smart (no matter what Britney Spears and Paris Hilton may say) and are looking out for their best interests when shopping for anything. This includes dental care, and considering dental advertising.

With that being said, here are the five rules for building credibility in your dental marketing.

Credibility rule #1: What others say about you is 1000 times more convincing than what you say about yourself.

Using testimonials from current patients saying how good you are at what you do is much better than telling them yourself. Self promotion has it's place, but third party promotion is always better. Try and integrate this into your dental practice marketing strategy, and see what happens.

Make sure the testimonials are sincere and convey a direct benefit to the consumer. A testimonial saying "You're great!" is not as good as "I enjoy coming to your practice because you always take the time to answer my questions!"

Credibility rule #2: Nobody cares about the letters.

I call this the show off rule, because it has turned into a contest over who can put the most letters behind their name. You see it all the time in dentistry, John Smith, DDS, MBA, MAGD, FAACD.

Nobody knows what those mean, and thus they are ignored. Sure, you have the qualifications to put them after your name, but save it for your business card. If anything, keep it simple and just use DMD, or DDS. Those, although not known by everyone, are the most commonly recognized acronyms in the dental profession.

Credibility Rule #3: Third party endorsements are huge.

Take the concept of a testimonial one step further, and you have a third party endorsement. This includes getting a separate non-related party to write about, or feature you as an expert.

This includes writing an article for the newspaper, or getting featured in an article.

It really doesn't matter what this article says, just the fact that you give a quote about an issue, or have your practice featured in a charity event adds to your credibility. This may be more time consuming, and costly, but it is well worth it to be labeled as an expert.

Credibility Rule #4: Educate to excess

You need to educate people so they can make better choices. Writing articles for newspapers, speaking for groups, or anything else you can do to get your name and mind in front of people.

This should be simple information. A report like "Seven signs you may need a crown" is a good one, and would instantly make you look like the crown expert. This not only builds your credibility, but people will pay more to see the "expert."

This also goes for your patient newsletter. Put good solid information in there that is easy for the regular person to understand. Then, if one of your patient's friends has a problem, your patient can say "Oh, Dr. Smith wrote about that in your patient newsletter, you should go see him." Plus, if a patient is looking for additional services, they can learn from the newsletter which is right for them.

Credibility Rule #5: Don't be afraid to give them the test drive

Finally, as the saying goes, "Don't tell me, show me." One of the best ways to prove how nice, competent, gentle, and kind you are is to give a test drive. This means giving a special offer so the new patients can come and experience for themselves your credibility.

Once they se it from their own eyes, they are more likely to return, and refer their friends. Don't be afraid to give them a small discount to get them in the door, then treat them like a celebrity, whether they are or not. They new patient will realize how credible you are very quickly.

With these five rules in your dental marketing arsenal, you should have all the credibility you need to run a smooth sailing dental practice. Realize that these five rules are powerful in and of themselves, but if you combine all five of them, you can crank up your credibility and believability to levels previously unseen, and you will be rewarded.
About the Author
James Erickson is the President of EMC Dental Marketing which gives Dentists a resource for turn-key dental marketing programs and dental practice marketing education including new patient attraction, and internal marketing systems. Visit www.EMCdental.com and get a free practice
building kit sent directly to your home or office.
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