April 25, 2017

Internal Dental Marketing: Why Does What Your Patients Want Matter?

Because doing the things that your patients want is the best way to grow your dental practice.

dental practice marketing

There are three essential ways to marketing your dental practice. They include:

  • Offline Marketing
  • Online Marketing
  • Internal Marketing

To master all three of these different types of marketing you will need to have a firm grasp on what your patients actually care about. When you do, your message, whether it be on your website, a road side billboard or a conversation between two people in your community, will resonate better.

More importantly, as you will see, mastering the principles of effective internal marketing can and should have an impact on how you market your practice externally, on or offline.

What do patients actually care about?

From an article taken from “Inside Dentistry”, this is a list of what patients who were surveyed cared most about as it pertains to their dentist. This list includes the reasons people choose a dentist, and stick around for the long term.

  • A prompt new-patient examination
  • Warm and friendly staff
  • Having the highest standard of sterilization and general cleanliness in the office
  • Up-to-date facility
  • Postoperative phone calls
  • Postoperative instructions
  • Personal hygiene of the doctor and staff
  • Quality of smiles/dentistry in doctor and staff
  • Being on time
  • Convenient practice hours
  • Convenient/nearby location
  • Well-explained treatment plans and various financial options
  • People want to know what you do 

You’ll note that none of these things has anything to do with what happens on the outside of your practice. In other words, no one chooses a dentist because they loved your TV commercial.

However, every single one of these things can have an impact on your external marketing strategies. For the same reason, it is equally important to consider why people still don’t enjoy going to the dentist.

Why do people generally not like the dentist?

Times have changed. Many of the reasons people don’t like coming to your office are no longer a problem. Pain is managed better. Technology has enhanced the ability for you to prevent major dental problems. People are also more educated than ever before. 

But still, people have anxiety primarily because no matter how you slice it, going to the dentist is not the same as going to Disney World. People still don’t like:

  • The pain
  • The invasiveness
  • The cost
  • The inconvenience
  • The embarrassment
  • If you don’t seem to care about their needs

There isn’t much you can do about the realities of going to the dentist, but you should indeed do those things that matter most.

For example, as an internal marketing consideration, don’t lecture your patients. Educate them and inform them, make them feel like it is OK that they have avoided taking care of their teeth this long. People know when they screw up. They don’t need to hear about it from you.

What they prefer is your help and support. So, make sure this comes through in your website copy. Use patient stories to highlight those cases where people neglected their teeth, and you came to their rescue. Focus on being the problem solver, not the judge and jury. 

What does this have to do with your dental marketing plan?

The obvious thing to consider is that from a purely internal dental marketing perspective, you set your practice up in such a way that caters to the things people want. Choose the right location, make your practice modern and clean and hire the right staff. 

Have treatment plans. Make post-operative phone calls yourself, or at least for the big cases. Make sure that you are doing everything in your power to provide a VIP level experience to your patients when the come and go from your practice.

But what about external marketing either offline or online?

Dental marketing might include a custom website, some post cards or a brochure, a newspaper advertisement and a newsletter. It might include a trip to the local school for a presentation to kids and teachers about the need for good oral hygiene.

Whatever you are doing to market your practice to new patients, use those things that matter most in your core message

If people care about what your office looks like, than have pictures of your office on your website, in a brochure or do a Youtube video virtual tour of your office.

Instead of using the same old standard tag line of your practice, that just about every dental practice in the world uses, you know, the “I care about you more than anyone else” tag line, say something like:

  • Easy access
  • Plenty of parking
  • Office renovations recently completed

Show pictures of your warm and friendly staff and be sure they are smiling. If people care about your staffs oral hygiene, and your staff has good oral hygiene, then show it off.

Have a page on your website devoted to pre and post operative procedures and processes. Walk the patients through what they might experience with you.

Offer hours that your competition doesn’t offer. Make yourself available, or more available than the dentist next door over. And then advertise that you are more available.


Really all I am after here is that you stay focused on all the things that actually matter to people as it pertains to them making an appointment with your practice. Focus on the things they like, and don’t like, and make your dental marketing message speak to only those things. 

You will resonate more with your target audience, and with resonance comes growth.

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