Episode 009: The One About The Psychology of Your Dental Website

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the SmartBox Web video podcast. I’m your host Colin Receveur and on today’s episode we’re going to talk about the psychology of your dental website. What is your dental website really saying to your dental prospects and your dental patients? But first, got a little housekeeping, I’ve got some important announcements to make. I just found out this week that I’m going to be a dad at the end of this year, so I’m pretty stoked about that. My wife and I have been married for coming up on two years now so I’m pretty excited, pretty excited. So that’s some good news!

I’m actually heading to the airport right now heading up to Jersey area to do a Premium Package video shoot for a very savvy dentist that we’ve worked with for several years, doing a lot with sleep apnea, doing a lot with dental implants, has a CAT scanner in his office; very, very cool stuff. I’m going to have about 20 minutes here, maybe 25 minutes depending on traffic before I get to the airport so this will be a pretty quick podcast.

We’re going to touch on the psychology of your website, what your website really says, pitfalls to avoid on your website as well as the latter part of the podcast where we’re going to touch on a little bit about referrals; how to get referrals, what’s going on in your patients minds when they’re giving referrals and how to exploit that to your advantage to get more referrals.

The first thing that I guess really prompted this podcast on this specific topic was we’ve been doing a lot of these Swift Kick video critiques. If you haven’t seen them yet click on the Video button I think at the top, or Training maybe; yes, click on Training at the top of the page right here and then click on Swift Kick package. If you scroll down about two thirds of the way down the page you’ll see some of the video critiques that we’ve done here recently.

What I’ve been seeing is a lot of the ’we we’ problem. I’ve blogged about it a couple of times before, but the ’we we’ problem is essentially where your website just has I and We all over it; I am so great, we are so great, we do such great work, we do better work than the guy down the road. You have to differentiate yourself, you have to show that you are better than the guy down the road, but flat out coming out and just saying we’re the best guy in Dallas, Texas or Chicago, Illinois is just not getting the job done. It’s one thing if your patients say it, it’s completely another if you say it yourself. It comes off as kind of self-absorbed, kind of arrogant; a lot of bad things come out when you try to say that you’re the best.

The secret to differentiating yourself and letting your patients know you’re better is what I hinted to a second ago; if your patients say it now it’s okay because it’s coming from an unbiased third party that you were able to help. That carries a lot of trust, that carries a lot of weight with it and if you get your patients to say it now it’s very believable. If you say it yourself, well I can sit here and say that we’re the best dental web company on the face of the earth, but that doesn’t really matter to dentists. A dentist comes to our website, they look at the work we’ve done, they look at the video stuff we’re doing, the marketing automation to stay in front of your patients, the phone tracking and that’s what sells them; that is our differentiating factor. You have to come up with a way to differentiate yourself in a way that your patients can understand that isn’t you just touting yourself with a subjective adjective; best, better, great, gentle – whatever it is.

You have to position yourself. Your patients are searching right now, every county of the country, every state, every city; patients are searching for answers to their problems right now. They’re looking for answers to their missing teeth, they’re looking for solutions to their sore dentures, they’re looking for a way to fix their snoring at night or they’re waking up tired in the morning and they think they have sleep apnea and they want to fix that, or the baby boomers; many dentists are getting into Botox and that’s a huge market right now that’s, especially in the dental field, pretty untapped. There are guys searching out there for ways to look younger, the NewGenics stuff, the Botox. I hear dentists say a lot, “Well why would I advertise for that? Who’s searching for that?” Well, there are a lot of people searching. If you can position yourself as the answer to that question they’re asking you’re going to be able to be that source of information and you’re going to be that go-to guy. They’re going to see a couple of your videos, see your website, and as they read more and more about you, learn more and more about you, you continue to answer their questions and give them great information. You’re going to be their hero; you’re going to be their go-to guy, their expert.

I’ve kind of harped on this in other podcasts as well, but the currency of the future is information. I was at a dental conference last year and one of the keynote presenters got up on stage and talked about how you don’t want to put too much information on your dental website, you want to make them call you and you want to just put enough out there so they know what you do and they know you do a good job, but you don’t want to give them all the answers because you want them to call your office. I just wholeheartedly, completely, 100% disagree with that approach. You need to be putting everything on your website, all kinds of information, giving them all the answers upfront because that does two things.

One, it makes you the expert. You look like you are a god among dentists. No disrespect intended to our Lord. But you look like the man, you’ve got all the answers, you’ve got the biggest website filled with information, much of it you yourself are explaining. One of my big pet peeves is dental websites that have this stock video on it, and you click on it and it’s from Docs or it’s from these companies that just cookie cutter it and they put your name and text right above it. It’s these educational videos where they show the titanium post going into your jaw, they show the locator and they show this technical stuff. Your patients don’t want to know that! They don’t want to know anything more about that than you want to know how the plumbing works in your house. All you want to know is when you flush the toilet the stinky stuff goes away, and that’s all your patients want to know is that when they bite down they’re going to be able to chew, when they go to sleep they’re going to be rested, when they go to the dentist they’re not going to be in pain. They don’t care how it works, and if they do care how it works there’s Wikipedia, there’s all kinds of references out there that will gladly provide plenty of technical documentation and reference for them to see. Your website should be about you. You should be delivering information, showing how you can help them, showing them how you alleviate their fears and then let your patients take over.

I had a dentist from Colorado call me yesterday and he asked me what the role of patient testimonials were on your website. I said well, they’re kind of multi-role. The first is the obvious; they set you up as the expert. They show your patients that you do good work, that you have satisfied above and beyond people’s expectations in the past and they give you credibility. The second role that patient testimonials play that many people don’t realize, is patient testimonials attract the types of people that their testimonial resonates with. If you do a bunch of patient testimonials and all the testimonials are that Dr. Smith worked with my insurance, he was very good, it didn’t cost me any money over and above my insurance, he maximized it, yadda, yadda, yadda, then you’re going to attract the types of patients that want that kind of care, all kinds of insurance, that level, that type of care. If your patient testimonials talk about how you do great implant work and you were very gentle and that yes, while the investment was considerable, it’s the best money that they ever spent, then you’re going to attract a little bit higher socio-economic class of people that have a little bit of money to spend and appreciate a higher level of service.

Make sure when you’re shooting the testimonials you recognize that your testimonials really can do a lot of your demographic targeting, a lot of your heavy-lifting from a marketing standpoint for you. When you’re selecting who to do your testimonials and what kind of work they had done and all this, keep that in mind. Keep that in mind.

But back to the psychology of your website. If you’re going to enter the conversation that’s going on in people’s minds, people that are searching for missing teeth, loose sore dentures, sleep apnea, can’t sleep, not rested, you have to enter that conversation that’s already in place. I think we’ve already established that. To enter that conversation you really have to see your patients’ problems through their eyes. Another pet peeve of mine is when you go to a dentist’s website and all they have on their website is they have a menu list, a buffet I call them, a buffet of services that they offer. They expect the patient to be able to relate that buffet list to their needs. Your patients don’t want to know that you do dental implants; they want to know that you can help them chew again. Your patients don’t want to know that you do cleanings and whitenings; they want to know that they can smile with confidence. Same for sleep apnea, they don’t want to know that you can make them a sleep appliance; they want to know that you can help them to wake up in the morning and feel rested. We all know the heart implications, the total body health implications of sleep apnea; it’s huge! They want to know that they’re going to be healthy and wellness and all of this.

Look at it from your patients eyes. All the ’we we’ stuff; we do appliances and we do this and we do implants and I do that and we’re the best, you’re not resonating your prospects. I’m sure a lot of it is true, but you have to resonate with your prospects. You have to speak the same language that they’re speaking if you want to attract them. What I hear a lot is they say, Colin, I’ve been doing this marketing and I have all this ’we we’ stuff and it attracts patients and I’ve been doing this for years and it works. Well it’s like playing darts. You can play darts and you can score points on a lot of parts on the dartboard, but if you want to specifically target the types, the socio-economic classes, the demographics that you want. If you want to specifically target boomers that have some money to spend that want to chew again and need some dental implants, then you’ve got to speak directly to that audience. You have to profile that audience and figure out exactly what they want.

One of my mentors talks about the target profile and how you take one customer, one patient, out of all of your patients, out of your thousands of patients, you take one of them and you sit down with them and you talk and you go back and forth and you ask questions. You find out what his real problem, his real pain was, and then you build all of your marketing around this one person. While it’s kind of an extreme approach, building all of your marketing and all of your message around a single person, it does raise a lot of eyebrows in the sense that you now have a very good idea of what it takes to attract that guy. If that guy is the type of guy that you really want to bring in, well now you’ve got a winner.

You need to be focused on your patients’ problems. That’s what it comes down to. Focused on answering your patients’ problems. They’re searching, and if you can provide that answer you can be that guy. Another example; we’ve got a dentist on the East Coast that we’ve been working with a couple of years now and got him in real good shape. He’s got a great website, got a ton of video, all kinds of video, first page rankings, all kinds of stuff. He called up and he wants to put a little blurb on his website that he is a patient advocate and I said well why do you want to put that you’re a patient advocate? He said well duh Colin, I work for the patient. I don’t just try to sell them what will make me the most money; I’m a real patient advocate. So I said okay, I’m sure patients appreciate that, but if you just put on the top of your website, “I’m a patient advocate”, that doesn’t really carry a lot of weight. People are savvy. Patients, customers, they’re savvy these days. That’s one reason why the written testimonial online has fallen so far by the waste-side; patients know that people just make that stuff up and go get a picture from any number of websites, write something up, type it up, put a name on it and paste it on your website. Patients know this. This isn’t 2000 anymore or 2005. That’s one reason video is so powerful, because the written testimonial just doesn’t carry any weight anymore. And not just the written testimonial, but simply putting one sentence at the top of your website that says, “I’m a patient advocate, in this day and age this is extremely important” just flat out doesn’t carry any weight. It’s just jargon. It’s just a buzzword.

If you flip that and you put at the top of your website a quote from a patient that says, “Dr Philips is a true patient advocate”, now you’re getting somewhere. Now you’ve got an endorsement from a patient who felt like he was being oversold, maybe at another dentist, and came to this doctor and this doctor, that is the patient advocate, told him the truth. He said you don’t need implants; we can just do a simple one-unit crown, save you a couple of thousand bucks. Now you’ve got an endorsement from a patient that says you’re a patient advocate. Now you’ve got hopefully a video testimonial from that patient who says you’re a true patient advocate.

You have to structure your website in a way that enters the conversation that your patients are already engaged in. Another one of the comments I get a lot is that dentists who don’t understand the internet or haven’t really 100% bought into the fact that this internet stuff is going to be around, is going to be the dominant force going forward that people find information on, is these reviews sites. The Yelps and Angie’s List and Google Places. They think simply well if I don’t set one up I don’t have to do it; it’s kind of like the blind eye. The truth is your patients are doing it. You’re getting reviews online whether you embrace it or not. If you embrace it you can use them, if you get a negative review you can try to mitigate it. There are a lot of ways that a negative review can be made out to be very positive, but you have to embrace it, you have to know that you’re even getting the review first. The same thing with video and with the web; you have to embrace it, you don’t even really have to understand it you just have to take advantage of the tools that are at your disposal.

What we did with this doctor, instead of putting “I’m a patient advocate, this is very important”, we turned it into a quote from a patient of his, and got a video from a patient of his telling a story about why he’s a patient advocate. Now, now he just blows it out of the water. Now he’s got this endorsement, this referral from a patient of his who says he’s a patient advocate which carries a ton of weight. Now it has validity, it’s believable.

That is the lead in to the second part of this video podcast that I wanted to chat about which is referrals. People give referrals because they’re happy with what you did. But more importantly, they give referrals because they want to feel good about giving referrals. Think about the last time you ate somewhere, you ate at a good restaurant and you told a friend about it. You said to your friend, “This is the best place, they have the best spicy tuna hand rolls, the best sushi ever. Incredible” Why are you telling that person that? You’re telling that person because you’re excited, because we all have a natural inclination when we have a good experience or we are really happy with something, that we want to tell other people about it. People that give testimonials and give referrals, they’re doing that because they are extremely happy with you.

I’ve seen it described before with the three faces; you’ve got the sad face, you’ve got the okay face and then you’ve got the excited face, the big excited face. The sad face obviously you’re probably getting a negative review. The okay face, you didn’t wow them, you didn’t excite them, you’re probably not getting a good review over that. But the excited face, the big smiley face, that’s the kind of patients you want. Those are the kind that are going to pay, that are going to stay and are going to refer. If you can build your tribe with people with big smiling faces you’re going to do alright.

Keep that in mind when you’re asking a patient for a referral. They do it because they want acknowledgement, because they want to feel good. You’ve helped them to feel great, now they want to give back and they want to do something that they feel great about too and they’re going to give you a referral. When you get a referral immediately acknowledge it; send them a gift in the mail, a gift card, flowers, anything, but acknowledge the referral because that’s why they’re giving it, they want to be thanked. Just like they’re thanking you for the great work that you did, you should thank them when they do something good for you. That’s how word of mouth works.

When somebody comes in from a referral take care of them. Do good things for them because that referral that is in your office is already presold, they’re in your office because of a good recommendation. You don’t have to sell them; they’re not a patient that found you online and you have to prove to them you’re going to do a good job, they already know you’re going to do a good job because they got a referral from their friend already. Keep that in mind.

Just to quickly recap, I’m pulling into the airport here, the important things from today’s podcast are make sure that you are entering the conversation, you are getting inside your patient’s head and speaking their language. Speak to their problems and speak with answers and give them a lot of answers, give them all kinds of great information because that’s how you’re going to win them over. And the second point to take away is that with referrals, make sure you acknowledge them, make sure you thank them. Those referrals are just gold in your chest. We chatted earlier about the Swift Kick video critiques; if you are interested in getting one for your practice just click on the Training button at the top of the page and click on Swift Kick and you can learn more about how to get a Swift Kick for your dental marketing and your dental website. We’ll show you everything you’re doing right or possibly doing wrong.

That’s all for today. Colin Receveur here saying Keep Moving Forward.



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Posted under Personal, Video Podcasts on May 14th, 2012 |

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About the author
Colin Receveur is a nationally recognized speaker, author, and dental web marketing expert who has pioneered the way dentists market themselves online for the past decade. Since incorporating in 2001, Colin has established a rock solid track record with his dentist clients and turned SmartBox into a stalwart of proven results for hundreds of dental practices.