The importance of including dental website bios: Stop making excuses!
Bios are an important part of the dental practice's website, yet they can cause a lot of headaches. There's no reason for that to happen. Here are some common excuses for avoiding bios on the practice's website, and what can be done to overcome those problems.
I see it all the time as a copywriter for dental websites — the “About the Dentist” page says “Coming Soon,” or it has a picture of Dr. Who with no information. I’m always tempted to pick up the phone and encourage Dr. Who to complete his or her bio, because the About the Dentist page is the first page potential patients read.
People looking for a dental provider want to know about you before they make any financial or emotional investment in you or your practice. They assume you’re good at your job, and will only delve deeper into your qualifications after they learn more about you as a person. Having a blank “about” page, or a picture with no information, is a huge waste of a free marketing and bonding opportunity.
I’ve heard all the reasons dental practices don’t have bios. It’s also common for them to have bios, but they haven’t updated them since the practice was formed. The top reasons I hear for no bios are:
1. I don’t have time.
2. I don’t know how to update the website.
3. I’m not sure what to say.
4. I’m not comfortable with my writing skills.
5. I’m not comfortable including personal information. Do I have to? (Yes, and I’ll explain why.)
6. I don’t have a good current photo.
I understand, and even empathize, with every one of these points, but I’m still not letting you off the hook. You have to get the bios done anyway, so let’s look at how you can do that.
1. If you don’t have time, hire someone. I write hundreds of bios every year, including many dental ones, and there are lots of other professional writers, or someone you know who enjoys writing, who can help as well.
2. If you don’t know how to update your website, have one of your team members call your website provider to find out how. They will most likely offer to do it for a minimal cost, or show you how to do it.
3. If you’re not sure what to say, look at other bios and websites, find one you like, and do something similar. There are also loads of online resources that can help.
4. If you’re not comfortable with your writing skills, you’re certainly not alone. I hear this over and over again in the course of writing bios for people from all walks of life with all levels of education. Some of us like it and some of us don’t, it has nothing to do with talent or skill. So if you aren’t comfortable writing your own bio, hire someone. I’m certainly not capable of doing my own dentistry, so let’s embrace the concept of talent sharing.
5. Including personal information is often a stumbling block, but it’s a crucial element when potential patients are looking to establish a sense of trust with you. I’m not talking about your income, where you live, or where you vacation, but patients would like to know that you enjoy snowboarding, zip lining, and ventriloquism. They'd like to know about your family, but it does not have to be intrusive. For instance: “Dr. Who is an avid cyclist and amateur ventriloquist. He and his wife have three preteen children, a dog, two cats, and a parakeet named Moe.”
If you prefer not to reference your relationship status, try: “Dr. Who has three preteen children, and enjoys cycling and honing his ventriloquism skills. The family has a dog, two cats, and a parakeet named Moe.”
Whatever your personal circumstances, there’s a way to write about it in your bio that does not violate you or your family’s privacy. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to include some personal details if it feels right. Be careful with statements like, “Dr. Who and his wife have been married 22 years,” or “Dr. Who has three children ages 8, 10, and 11.” It’s better to say, “Dr. Who and his wife married in 2004 and have three preteen children.” This alleviates the need to update your bio every time there’s an anniversary or birthday.
Photos are often a bone of contention, but they’re very important, especially for the provider. If you don’t have one you like, hire a professional photographer to come to the office at a convenient time to take photos or you and the staff. (See Objection 4 below.)
The second reason you must have bios on your website is that right after potential new patients read the dentist's bio, they'll move on to About the Team. Who are they? What are their names? What can patients learn about them that makes them feel good about coming to your office? I understand why this can be difficult. The most common objections are:
Objection 1: “My office manager/dental assistant/dental hygienist doesn’t want their photo or personal information on our website.” Team bios don’t have to be long, in fact, one or two paragraphs is fine. Something is better than nothing.
Objection 2:What if the person leaves?” People come and go. But since you now know how to update your website, this should make adding or deleting bios a minor issue.
Objection 3: “I don’t want my personal details online.” In that case, how about a first name only, or a first name and one letter of the last name, e.g., Shelly M? On the other hand, there may be very good reasons to keep someone’s information private, and if that’s the case, fine. Your goal is to put your best foot forward, not twist arms.
Objection 4:“I don’t like pictures of myself.” I understand. Reassure your team that only photos they approve ofwill be used. The photo should not be more than a few years old, and no grainy, faded, or barely visible pictures either. After all, you’re running a top-notch operation.
Remember, your goal is to make potential patients comfortable with and excited about your practice. Bios are an excellent way to do that, and the time and cost to produce them is minimal. Once you have the bios, you can use them in many other places – Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Yelp, and more.
If you would like help writing your website bios, please contact me. I’d love to help.
Jill Townsend is a professional copywriter and author of the e-books, “How to Write a Great Bio,” and “How to Write a Great Dental Bio.” She's worked in the marketing and consulting industry for more than 25 years, including a 12-year period in the United Kingdom serving as the Director of Marketing and Product Development for a multi-national direct mail company. She now provides copywriting and design services for small business clients across the country. Visit her website at writeagreatbio.com or contact her at Jill@writeagreatbio.com.