AACD Website Blog Practice Management Don’t Make These...

Don’t Make These Emotional Marketing Mistakes

September 26, 2017 by AACD Executive Office

by David A. Hall, DDS, AAACD – President, Infinity Dental Web

A number of years ago, I was selling our family home. I talked with a realtor and asked him how we should handle one glaring problem—the carpet was ugly. His response was pure logic. He said that we should just tell the buyer that at our expense we would re-carpet the house. So we did that. But it didn’t work. Week after week, there were no stirrings of interest at all. Finally I called the realtor and said that we were going to simply install new carpet. The house sold within a week.

Logically, the first method should have worked better than the second. The problem was that it created a negative emotional first impression that we couldn’t overcome later with logic. This is a marketing principle you need to understand. Pay attention to your website, because it is the first impression most prospective patients will get of your practice.

On page 63 of his famous book, Unconscious Branding, Douglas Van Praet quotes a study done by the UK-based Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. After analyzing ads chosen from a large database of advertising award competition entrants, they found that campaigns with primarily emotional content performed about twice as well as the approaches that focused on rational content.
 
If you’ve wondered what’s wrong with your practice marketing, it’s that you think it’s all about logic. It isn’t. It isn’t even primarily about logic. While logic has a role, whether they like you or not is an emotional thing, and until you understand that, you’re not going to be as successful as you could be.

Emotion and Selling Dentistry

There are several highly charged emotional issues stirring, maybe consciously, maybe subconsciously, with your prospective patients as they look to choose a dentist. Are you going to hurt them? Do you know what you are doing? Are you going to do procedures that they don’t need? Our own research at Infinity Dental Web and that of others confirms that as the prospective patient is looking at your website, they are quickly taking away some first impressions that have made an emotional connection with them, either positively or negatively. The rest of their experience on your website is merely an effort to validate, using logic, the emotional decision they have already made subconsciously about whether or not they are going to make an appointment.
 

Three Emotional Mistakes Dental Marketers Make

As I look at dental websites, I see three big mistakes that the writers of the websites make, and all three are a misunderstanding of the importance of emotion in marketing.
 

1. Bragging

Bragging undermines trust, and trust is the primary emotion you want to cultivate on your website. This is difficult for some dentists and marketers. Naturally, you want prospective patients to know about your achievements and credentials. But there is a way to present those without looking like you’re bragging. This is done by presenting the achievements with a matter-of-fact tone without any embellishments, as if you’re a reporter, not a salesperson.
 
Then we see dentists who don’t have many credentials to offer, so they try to inflate their achievements with adjectives. They will call their dental school “prestigious” or make vague claims of superiority. My advice is to stick to the facts. There is always something you can offer that will attract patients. If it’s not achievements, maybe it’s friendliness, or affordable dentistry, or something else. But don’t brag or try to embellish because that will hurt your efforts.
 

My advice is to stick to the facts. There is always something you can offer that will attract patients.

2. Eagerness

Of course you want people to make an appointment. But you need to understand that there is a critical question lurking in the back of the mind of every prospective patient: “Do you care more about me, or about the money?” When you are over-eager for patients to choose you as their dentist, you not only undermine trust, but you undermine your credentials. Why, they ask themselves, if you are so good, do you need to hawk new patients so intensely? The tone you want to portray is welcoming, friendly, and available, but not eager. We have done a study that showed that a modest increase in eagerness portrayed on a client’s website home page depressed the phone calls by 30%.
 

3. Cheap Websites

If you are trying to tell patients that you will make them beautiful and you have a cheap-looking website, that combination is contradictory. People have a strong emotional association between beauty and expensive. If their first impression of you is that you are cheap, it is going to be a difficult sales pitch to get them to schedule high-end work.
 
How much of a difference can the proper emotional tone make to your website marketing? Our studies at Infinity Dental Web show that it can improve conversions anywhere from 30% to 100% and will increase the quality of the patients who call.



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