Ahh, new customers. The best thing in the business world. It’s a surefire way to tell your marketing strategy is working and that your business is on the cusp of scaling up. Exciting times!
Get your marketing strategy right, and each new customer could become a lifelong patient. Do it wrong, however, and you may find them walking out the door (never to return) – or worse, leaving a negative review. Marketing is all about customer expectations. You need to find something that ignites their interest at the start, then ensure you teach them enough about who you are and what you offer to ensure nothing takes them by surprise when they actually come to see you.
In this post, we’re going to take you through the fundamentals of branding, which includes finding your niche and separating yourself from your competitors. We’ll use two of our clients – South Anchorage Dental Center and Mandanas Dental – as examples. As you’ll see, they both operate in the competitive market of Anchorage, Alaska, but cater to vastly different clientele.
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Fundamentals of dental branding
First, let’s quickly compare the two dental centers.
South Anchorage Dental Center (SADC) is a thriving dental practice that specializes in family dental care and convenience. The two dentists, Dr. Broc Brimhall and Dr. Derek Green, use cutting-edge techniques to provide a vast number of dental procedures, enabling patients to receive all their dental needs under one roof, and they love working with kids. Its branding is blue-toned, which is calming, with a uniquely Alaskan logo that includes a Dall sheep. Its website includes plenty of images, designed to create a friendly look and feel that welcomes the whole family.
Mandanas Dental is run by Dr. Owen Mandanas, who worked in general dentistry for 17 years before pivoting her practice towards integrative dentistry. That means she acknowledges the significant impact oral health has on the entire body, and looks to help patients find the safest and most natural solutions to meet their needs. She is incredibly passionate about wellness, and can helps patients with issues such as sleep apnea. Her branding is green, purple and orange, which creates a feminine and earthy tone. Her logo represents the sun and the mountains, and the website includes lifestyle shots – such as kayaking – to emphasize the focus on wellness.
As you can see, branding tells an entirely different story for each business.
Both are exceptional dental practices, with a commitment to providing the best care possible, but they have different focuses that are likely to align with different types of patients. Branding is important, because the goal of marketing is to help businesses connect with clients and meet their needs. That means we need to ensure the right patients find the right practice.
Read more: Why is corporate branding important? (VIDEO)
Finding your niche in business
So how do you develop a brand that tells your dental practice’s unique story? How can you make sure you stand out from your competitors? The answer is to find your niche.
The best place to start is with your company’s mission statement. By this, we don’t mean airy statements filled with nice-but-vague buzzwords. What is your purpose? A mission statement should be a simple and clear sentence that drills down to the heart of why you’re in business. What matters to you and why? Why are you a dentist? What aspect of practice interests you most?
Once you’ve identified your vision, you can start marketing. You can develop business goals that align with the purpose set out in your mission statement. You can develop clear and actionable steps to achieve those goals. You can define your company culture, which will empower your team members to make decisions and work to the best of their abilities. You can grow.
You can also develop messaging that ties it all together.
Take SADC’s mission statement: “Come as a patient, leave as family.” It says a lot about the values of the practice, they kind of experience they strive to achieve, and the type of people they want to attract. It also shows their commitment to helping patients achieve lifelong oral health.
The Mandanas mission statement is equally strong: “Where healthy living, healthy breathing, healthy sleeping, and dentistry meet.” It’s very compelling for clients interested in integrative dentistry, because it clearly identifies the practice’s focus on holistic dental treatment.
As you can see, both are simple and innately practical. Tying your marketing strategy back to this statement will ensure your messaging is clear and easy for prospective customers to understand. They’ll be able to quickly figure out whether you’re the right fit for them or not before making contact, which will make sure your leads are as highly-qualified as possible.
Bringing your brand to life on social
Once you’ve found your niche, created your mission statement, and developed your brand, it’s time to start sharing your brand story with the public.
The best way to do this is on social media – and for the purposes, of this post, we’re going to focus on Facebook. It’s the biggest social media network in the world, and its focus on engagement and connections means it’s perfect for local businesses. It also has a sophisticated advertising platform available in the form of Facebook Ads. (We’re not going to discuss that today, but you can learn more here about what Facebook Ads are and how you can use them.)
Successful social media strategies require consistency. Regularly sharing interesting content with your audience maximizes the chance that people will see it, interact with it, and click through to learn more. Once you have them on your website, you can convert them into a lead. It may start slow, but trust us when we say your audience will grow over time.
The next question is what to actually share. You may find it helpful to develop a content strategy, planning out posts a week, a month, or even a few months ahead. This will ensure you always have something up your sleeve and that everything you post ties back to your overarching content strategy. As a general rule, we recommend an 80/20 rule – 80% of your content should serve, while 20% of your content should sell. People use Facebook in their free time, and no-one wants to have brand messages shoved down their throats. They do want to be informed and entertained, however, so keep this in mind when you’re developing your content plan.
It’s also important to make sure your content is visually captivating. You’ll only get a second to catch someone’s eye as they’re scrolling through their feed, so we recommend using video wherever possible, and ensuring every other post includes an image.
Here is an example so you can see what we mean:
Humans are not really a single organism. We are superorganisms, coexisting with our microbiome!On our blog below we’ll…
It’s also important to capitalize on newsworthy events that affect your patients. This is a great way to “sell” while still being incredibly helpful and making sure they don’t miss out on important dates – for example, July 1st, which is when Medicaid plans renew.
Here’s an example of a really helpful prompt with a great image:
July 1st is quickly approaching, which means Medicaid plans are renewing. Call or check out our online appointment request to schedule your appointment before Medicaid resets.
Now you have enough information to get started! If you’d like to talk to the experts about making your dental center stand out from the crowd so you can grow and scale your business, give us a call. Our branding and social media marketing experts would love to help.
Ready to start? Schedule a free consultation.