I’m going to bet that like most dentists your dental marketing efforts have attracted a wide range of patients over the years, from healthy young families to edentulous seniors. However, if you’re trying to attract more new patients for a specific service, you don’t want your message to appeal to everyone because, frankly, not everyone is a candidate for that service.
Let’s pretend you’re a 60-year-old man in need of an implant. You search the web for a dentist who can restore your smile and click on the dental website listed at the top of Google. The page opens and you’re staring at images of young families. What do you think is most likely to happen? Yup… this guy just clicked the back button faster than The Flash.
Getting Personal with Personas
If you’re not familiar with the concept of using personas in your dental marketing, you’re missing a huge opportunity to truly connect with potential new patients. Before telling you how to use personas in your marketing, it’s probably best if I back up and explain what a persona is.
In marketing, a persona is defined as: “A semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” That’s a complicated way of saying, “I want my target patient to feel like I’m inside their head.”
How to Build Your Perfect New Patient
Before a commercial airs on TV, before a website is launched, and long, long before a single copywriter or graphic designer starts crafting your dental marketing message, your marketing company should define your target persona for each message or campaign. You can create your own marketing personas by answering these questions:
- Demographics: What is the age, gender, geographic location, education, and socio-economic status of your target patient?
- Pain Points: This refers to a specific problem your patient is experiencing. Common paint points are cost, time, and quality.
- Trust Factors: What would make this patient to trust you? It could be your education, your experience, a personal recommendation or anything else that they define to be trustworthy.
- Influencers: Who does your patient listen to and respect that might influence their decision to buy from you?
- Community Organizations: Where is your patient active in the community? Is it church, politics, maybe the local school?
- Preferred Content Formats: Would this patient prefer to learn about you via email, videos, podcasts, an infographic or some other method?
- Social Media: Is your patient active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other channel?
Become a Marketing Mind Reader
Once you know who your persona is, you’ll want to get inside their mind by asking yourself these questions:
- What would cause this patient to invest in the solution we offer?
- Why would this patient be satisfied with their status quo?
- What results does this patient expect to achieve by purchasing this solution?
- What concerns cause this patient to believe that your solution or practice is not their best option?
- Which aspects of any competing products, services, solutions, or practices does your patient perceive as most critical, and what are the expectations for each?
The last step is to literally name your persona and give it an identity. Let’s say you’re trying to reach more patients who want and need dental implants; you might name this persona “Implant Ivan.” Every time you evaluate your new dental implant marketing, ask yourself – would Implant Ivan like this message? Have we addressed Implant Ivan’s pain points, and have we included something in our message that will cause Ivan to trust us as the right practice to solve his problem? Review the entire checklist to make sure your message matches your persona.
While personas aren’t always necessary for super-broad marketing messages, they are vital when targeting big-dollar procedures such as cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, orthodontics or major restorative dentistry. If you had a marketing campaign fall flat recently, go back and evaluate if your message did everything possible to help your target think “OMG, it’s like they actually KNOW me!”
To really get the most out of personas, try incorporating them in your next marketing project – hopefully something fun and creative. Looking for new ideas on how to market your practice? Start by downloading our free Creative Dental Marketing Ideas Guide.