Attracting Ideal Patients
Some new patients may be much more valuable to your dental practice than others. Depending on your niche, services you’re trying to expand, location, and a variety of other factors, there may be ideal types of patients you want to attract most. By understanding those patient types, you may be able to create more effective messaging and more successful marketing campaigns.
Before investing in any software or platforms, it’s a good idea to create an online strategy. Consider the type of restaurant are you, who are targeting, the services you offer and your goals. Without a detailed plan, your tech stack can hurt rather than help as you build your business. The time invested in creating an online strategy and how you build your software stack can make the difference between growing revenue or building an unsustainable business.
In the marketing world, specific consumer types are called buyer personas. By using patient or buyer personas to market to a very specific audience, you may be able to grow your practice in specific and deliberate ways. You may also be less likely to create generic, mass-appeal marketing that may not be specific enough to actually appeal to anyone.
Even for general dentists, buyer personas may be an opportunity to create a niche of patients they want to serve most or services they want to focus on. Once that mindset is in place, you may be able to attract more of those patients, faster, by naturally catering to them in all of your decisions and communications.
For example, something as simple as the art and furnishings in your lobby may be much more appealing to a certain type of patient. Just consider the difference between a high-end cosmetic dentistry practice and a pediatric dental practice. Nearly everything about the practices may be drastically different.
Buyer or patient personas may be used to create the type of marketing and practice that your ideal consumers naturally gravitate towards. Use them to your advantage.
Social media, print materials, direct mail, marketing software, email campaigns, blogs– no matter which marketing tools you choose to use, they may all be improved with the context of buyer personas. That may be because knowing your audience makes it easier to write messaging that says exactly what your audience wants to hear.
Think about it. Imagine sending the same postcard to a 45-year-old childless woman with a high income as you would to a young family of three children? Could you create messaging or offers that appeal to both? Or would it have to be so generic that it’s ineffective? Possibly.
Relatability is an important factor in the success of your messaging. Unfortunately, that may not be the easiest thing to accomplish with traditional marketing. The difficulty of making your messaging relatable may directly correlate to how diverse your audience is. Buyer personas may be a useful tool in segmenting your audience for targeted messaging that your ideal patients may relate to most.
Buyer personas may also be factored into modern marketing software and customer management systems or similar programs. This may allow you to send custom emails to custom groups of patients segmented by buyer persona. That strategy may be especially helpful for practices serving a diverse array of patients or services.
Creating Your Patient Personas
Once you’ve decided to introduce buyer or patient personas into your dental practice marketing, creating them may be pretty simple. Take some time to sit down with your staff and/or partners about your goals, the direction you want to grow and the types of patients that may help you to achieve those goals best.
Write down as many details as you all agree upon that describe each different patient type. Buyer Persona considerations and details may include;
- Education Level
- Family Size
- Marital Status
- Entertainment preferences
- Insurance type
- Decision power
- Objections to dental services
- Oral health issues
- Sources of information
- Pain points
- Best time to contact them
- Preferred type of communication
Once you’ve fleshed out the details, give each buyer persona a fictional name to make them easier to recognize and discuss. Examples of patient persona names might combine a defining characteristic with a common name such as Alignment Annie, Self-Pay Sam, Professional Patty, Denture Donna, etc.
Once you’ve developed one or more buyer personas for your practice, make sure they’re shared with everyone involved in your marketing. It’s especially important to communicate these insights with outside help such as website developers, graphic designers, or creative agencies.
Ask yourself, and your staff and/or partners, how this information can be used in your practice or your existing marketing in order to achieve your business goals. From your smallest amenities to your biggest decisions, you may be surprised how patient personas may fuel your growth in very specific directions.