It’s no secret that the heart of every successful business comes from its marketing efforts. For example, when you google “how to market your dental practice” you’ll find over 55 million search results. However, what many of these results won’t tell you, is how important building a persona is for your dental practice.
Patient personas provide the structure needed to make the right marketing decisions while simultaneously creating an experience that patients won’t forget. Ready to define your ideal patient? Let’s dig in.
What Is a Marketing Persona?
A marketing persona mimics your ideal patient and includes a name, photo, demographics, and psychographics. Demographics include gender, age, job, income, and marital status, while psychographics include a patient’s attitude, aspirations, and how they want to be perceived. The better you know your audience, the better you can create a dental office they’ll want to visit.
How Many Personas Do I Need?
The best way to determine the number of personas needed is by looking at your current patient list. If you find that most of your patients have similar demographics and psychographics, then one persona may be enough. We’ve found that many specialty practices focus on one persona to simplify their goal patient and dental need in mind.
If you have a general practice and see patients across individual needs and generational lines, we recommend two to three personas. For example, one persona could focus on the millennials demographic, while the second persona focuses on an older demographic who need specialized restorative work.
When shaping your persona it’s important to remember that they should describe your ideal patient, which may differ from your current patients. If you’re unsure of the specifics, this exercise can help you discover who that is.
Developing Your Patient Personas
Developing a patient persona begins with demographics and psychographics, and ends with their name and photo. Demographics are an uncomplicated step. Focus on when potential patients are likely to schedule an appointment and the age certain issues occur (e.g. dental implants).
A general dentist will treat a wider age range than an endodontist. A general dentist may focus on a 35-year-old mom as the decisionmaker for her family, while an endodontist would instead focus on a 50-year-old executive who needs an implant quickly.
Choosing your personas’ psychographics can be a bit of a challenge. If you need some help, review your current body of patients and how they do or don’t match your goal patient.
To continue with our mom example, this persona’s psychographics could include:
- She wants the best for her family and doesn’t mind paying more to fulfill that need.
- She wants her children to have a healthy start and to adopt healthy habits early.
- Appearance is important to her, so she may also be interested in cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening.
Our executive’s psychographic breakdown could include:
- He prioritizes aesthetics and is willing to pay for a high-quality result.
- He’s busy and wants a dentist who has a quick turnaround and flexible scheduling.
- He’s loyal to companies he has great experiences with and could be a significant source of referrals.
After determining the psychographics, it’s time to name your persona. This doesn’t need to be a complicated process. Focus on finding a name that reflects your persona’s personality, and consider how your team will respond to it. If a persona’s name doesn’t match the demographic and psychographic features, your team will be less likely to adopt it.
To find a photo, we recommend using free stock photo websites like Unsplash or Pexels. Paid websites like Shutterstock and Adobe Stock are also viable options. Again, you don’t need to comb through pages of results to find just the right photo, but it is important to find one that embodies your persona.
Once these details are complete, it’s time to use them to grow your practice.
Growing Your Dental Practice with Patient Personas
Patient personas guide your marketing, so be sure to share them with your team and anyone providing marketing services. Remember, everyone on your team is a part of marketing your practice, and these insights can help them better accomplish that.
Integrating your personas into your practice can take some time, especially if this is a new practice for your team. We recommend covering it in your company meetings and have each team lead incorporate it in their training. Once this dental marketing tool is implemented, your team will remain unified on how to grow your practice and provide a stellar customer experience for every patient.
Whatever marketing strategies you choose, use your newly crafted personas as a filter. If your persona wouldn’t use that social media platform or read that local paper, then it’s not worth the investment. The better you can focus on what they would do, the more your practice can grow. For an in-depth look at how to market to your personas on Instagram, check out our Advanced Guide to Finding Patients on Instagram.