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    5 steps to building your practice brand

    Presenting your practice well can be the difference between success and failure.

    As a dentist you regularly interface with your patients and your community, making you a public figure and the target of online and offline discussion. How patients discuss you, in a good or bad light, can be strongly influenced by you and your team. In essence, much of their opinion of you is shaped by how you present yourself and your practice — and whether they agree that you live up to those expectations.

    This is why developing a brand, and properly communicating it, is key to building an engaging online and local presence. It’s important to convey what makes your practice different and valuable to your patients. How you present your brand defines the conversation around your practice and highlights your strengths to your patients.

    A brand is your best friend in managing and maintaining your practice and your image in the community. That said, here are some tips on how to craft a successful brand image:

    1. Identify what makes you and your practice special and promote it. This could entail almost anything unique to you/your practice, including location, hours, staff excellence, hygiene expertise and dental care offerings. As a practitioner you may be excellent at emergency repairs or have all the latest equipment; identify what sets you and your team apart.

    Related link: How to use your branding smarts

    1. Identify market needs. Examine the market you are in to ensure you have identified a unique value proposition that will resonate with your patients and the community. It is critical to set yourself apart from other practitioners who offer similar services in the area. Ensure that you develop a unique brand that communicates value in your community. Consider focusing on areas where there is high demand for certain services but few options available to patients.

    1. Create a mission statement. When you understand the market and have identified how you and your team stand out, craft and write up a mission statement to share with your current staff and future additions to your practice. This statement should be one that everyone works to fulfill daily, a mantra to assist in decision-making and prioritization. It is a guideline for how you and your practice expect to operate. All major changes to the practice, new services, locations or growth, should align with your mission statement for optimal practice performance.

    1. Build a marketing campaign. It’s time to communicate your mission statement to your patients and the community. You can do this via emails, online, appointment reminders, hold messages, newsletters, really anywhere. A campaign doesn’t have to be big to pay off. What’s important is to make sure that your message is consistent and lines up with the care patients receive when they visit your practice.

    Related link: Make your mark with first-impression marketing

    1. Measure your results. As with any project or change, measure your results before and after the marketing campaign. What you measure depends on the impact you want to achieve by branding. Things to consider include: have the number of new patients increased? Are fewer patients leaving the practice? What are the patients’ satisfaction levels? What are they saying online about your practice? Branding is a long-term exercise, so expect to see changes over the long term.

    Your brand should be upheld in all patient interactions, social media and marketing. Identifying your strengths and differentiators will help you communicate your value clearly to patients during marketing and in-person interactions. Having a strong brand image helps rally the team around what they are best at in the office and communicates to your patients a sense a worth. Now you’re equipped to drive the discussion around your practice, online and in the community, and to focus on the image you want to achieve.

    Sikka Software has tools to help you engage with your patients and measure the results. You can find out more about the dental tools by clicking here.

    Alitta Boechler, AuD, MBA
    Alitta Boechler is a marketing manager at Sikka Software. She holds a Doctorate of Audiology from the University of Iowa and an MBA from ...

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