“Fake news” has become a household word these days whereas truth and factual information often seem to have taken a back seat. Similarly, in the marketing and sales arenas we are seeing more and more over-inflated promises of results to patients and potential patients.
How does this relate to your website, Facebook, Instagram, fliers, or any other form of advertising and marketing you may be doing? And how about in your treatment or case presentations?
The good news is that there is a change afoot that calls for more authenticity, and emphasizing clarity, honesty and reality as the new watchwords.
What does authentic mean? “Worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact.” [Merriam-Webster dictionary]
Treatment or Case Presentation
Here, authentic means not over-promising a patient or client when presenting a service or the outcome of the service. However, neither does it mean scaring the patient by telling them all the possible horrible outcomes of the treatment or procedure either. There is truthfulness and there is unnecessary information, and you want to avoid the latter.
An example: I saw a periodontist about having an implant to replace a tooth that died. He told me that there was a 5% chance that an implant would fail and that meant that for every 20 people he saw, one would have a failed implant. He made a big deal about this, really emphasizing the possibility of failure with me. I immediately started worrying that I would be that person. As a result, I decided to go to a different implant specialist. He told me that only 1 out of 20 patients ever have a problem with their implant but even then there are usually good solutions. I felt much more confident and decided to go ahead, and it was successful.
Advertising & Marketing Content
When you are writing content for your website or blogs or videos and so on, you will differentiate yourself from other practices by being truthful about who you are, what you believe in, and what you can deliver. Reliability and genuineness are important qualities to emphasize.
Who Are You Really?
For instance, there is an “authentic” trend to make short 1-2 minute videos of the practice owner talking to a potentially new patient or client about their practice. This is then posted on the home page of their website. It should show your pride in who you are and your team and the quality of care a patient would receive in your practice. It does not have to be fully scripted and video’d by some amazing production company. Some people take a little stroll around their practice with their camera and show the public parts that patients will see. This gives the viewer a feeling of connection with your practice.
Make a Genuine Connection
There are websites that have funny photos of the staff doing silly things (but with good taste) that make them very real and human and lovable. Patients connect with things like that. If they are already patients themselves, they may show your website and the pictures to their friends who could also then become your patients. I know I have done this as a patient! They may even share it on Facebook and Instagram. You could go viral if it’s super cute and authentic!
Another example of authentic is on home pages of websites or fliers: Have a picture of yourself, or yourself and your family, or yourself and your team. And say so in writing so the person knows that these are authentic pictures. I get thoroughly put off by all the fake people (stock pictures) that are frequently used to advertise a practice. Hiding your picture is scary to a potential patient because one wonders why.
Authenticity includes truthfulness of origins, commitments, sincerity and intentions. It includes the quality of being “YOU”. So let “YOU” shine through and attract patients to your practice!