Coca-Cola. McDonald’s. Nike. These are iconic American companies, and as you read their names I bet you can picture their branding – the red and white soda can, the golden arches, and the swoosh. What do these three corporations have to do with your dental practice? Branding. Branding is not just for large corporations, and when I consult with my Pride clients, I emphasize the importance of a cohesive branding strategy for their dental practice.
Patients need to be able to recognize your brand. It is estimated that the average person sees 3,000 advertisements every day. If patients don’t recognize you, then all of your time, money, and effort that went into the message are wasted. So, how do you make the most of your dental practice branding strategy? Keep it consistent. This has never been more important than it is in today’s digital age.
It’s a good idea to take periodic inventory of your online marketing to make sure everything is up to date. In particular, these four digital components should work together to form a cohesive brand:
1) Practice name – This one may sound obvious, but it’s not uncommon for me to find that a practice’s business cards read “Joe B. Smith, DMD,” while its website uses the moniker “Smith Family Dentistry.” One name should be used across all marketing platforms, including your website and online profiles, in addition to your printed materials.
2) Social media profiles – It is ideal to set up your dental practice social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) under the same name as the practice. It may seem natural to set the profiles in the name of an individual dentist, but again, I recommend keeping everything consistent and using the practice name across all properties so that patients can find and connect with the practice as easily as possible.
3) Patient review sites – Word of mouth has shifted to the online atmosphere via sites such as Yelp!, Healthgrades.com, and Google+ Local. What many of my Pride clients don’t realize is that these sites often automatically create a profile for your business. It’s up to you to log on and claim your practice’s profile on each of these sites, making sure your business name is correct and your contact information is current. After you claim your profiles, encourage patients to share their positive experiences so that when prospective patients conduct their online research, they can get a complete picture of what your practice offers.
4) Practice website – Along with having the same name across all online platforms, it’s smart to link your online profiles to your website. Your practice website homepage should include links to your social media profiles and blog. Likewise, your profiles on social media and patient review sites should also link to your practice website.
Patients are online now more than ever. It’s up to you to make sure they can find you, and that you make a good first impression. Remember to make it as simple as possible for patients to recognize your practice by name by keeping your branding consistent – online and offline!
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