The theory behind subliminal advertising when it was developed in the 1950s was that brief flashes of images or words inserted into film content could influence consumer behaviour. The concern about power of this form of advertising was such that the practice is banned in the UK.
Nevertheless, the concept of planting the seed of an idea into a customer’s subconscious mind to gently nudge their behaviour has not gone away. This can range from messages hidden in a company’s logo (like the arrow linking A and Z in Amazon.co.uk’s logo which you may not have noticed yourself), to the way in which HMRC writes letters about tax reminders to encourage payment. The reason you may not be aware of these tactics is the adroit way they are applied. The good news is, you can apply the same principles in your practice to promote the services you offer to patients.
Start by take a hard look at your practice to see what sort of subtle messages you might be conveying, and whether they support your business, or not. For example:
- Do you have leaflets or information dotted around about the treatments that you offer – such as implants and clear aligners? Drawing your patient’s eye subtly to the services you offer affords them the opportunity to ask questions. Experiment with where you place your literature – all in one place may seem practical to you but it could scream ‘give us your money’ to your patients.
- Are the magazines in your waiting room up-to-date and tailored to your clientele? As dentists know, many people think about getting cosmetic treatments such as whitening done around significant occasions in their lives whether that’s holidays, weddings, speaking engagements or more. Evaluate some titles you could have on display for your patients that encourage them to look after their smile!
- Does your decor promote the perfect smile? Think about the imagery on your walls – flowers may be nice to look at but you don’t sell flowers do you? Aspirational photography of people, key life events and beautiful destinations may inspire your patients. In a similar vein, think about the messages your waiting room television may be conveying. Is it permanently tuned to daytime TV giving off an ‘uninterested’ vibe. Do you have a carefully curated slideshow of images mixed with practice and service information? The small details in the grand scheme of selling your self as a practice and service provider really do make all the difference.
- Does your practice looked cared for inside and out? Think about the experience you would like to provide as your patients await their appointments – how can you contribute to making them feel comfortable? Things to consider include seating, cleanliness, provision of literature (tailored towards your clientele), refreshment provision and lighting.
Don’t neglect the outside of your surgery either – are the parking arrangements clear? Are there any weeds or dying plants outside? Showing your patients that you care about all aspects of your practice gives them the confidence to place their dental care firmly in your hands.
Affecting change in your practice doesn’t need to be time-consuming or a hard sell. Some dental companies even have materials that will help to get the word out about your treatments in-practice. Straumann, for example, have everything from video awareness implant materials to a whole host of patient treatment acceptance and patient aftercare collateral.
Pleasant customer experiences stick with us and naturally encourage us to share these with other people – don’t doubt how meticilous attention to detail from the impression given walking up to your practice right through to the aftercare package you provide your patients empowers your patient, practice and you – the practitioner!
Think this all marketing mumbo jumbo? Watch this clip from magician Derren Brown here and let us know if you still feel the same in the comments!
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