Editor’s intro: To position a sleep practice as expert in airway and sleep breathing issues in the minds of prospective patients, clinicians need to establish a brand identity that is different than their general practice. Mark Fowler’s article offers 11 tips on differentiating the sleep practice.
by Marc Fowler
Having worked with dozens of dental practices, from those who have just started treating sleep patients to some of the most productive sleep practices in the country, it has become evident that in order to maximize the growth of a dental sleep practice, you must have a brand identity for sleep which is independent of your general dental practice brand.
Your goal is to position yourself as the expert in airway and sleep breathing issues in the minds of prospective patients.
Webster defines an expert as one with special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject.
The subjects of dentistry and sleep apnea treatment don’t naturally go together. When a prospective patient sees sleep apnea listed in your services section next to teeth whitening, dental implants and crowns, they will have trouble making the connection.
In other words, simply adding a page or two about sleep to your general dental practice website does little to position you as the expert to prospective sleep patients.
Bullseye Media has developed the following checklist of steps necessary to establish an effective brand identity and differentiate your sleep practice.
Sleep Practice Branding Checklist
- Select a name for your sleep practice. The practice name should not contain the word “dental.” When a patient sees “dental sleep” they’re most likely thinking sedation.
- Purchase a website domain name. Ensure the domain is easy to spell and remember. The shorter the better. Ideally, choose the .com version of your new sleep practice name.
- Design a new logo. The logo needs to be professionally designed and visually The graphics should communicate the message that you help patients breathe and sleep better.
- Establish a separate phone number. You’ll need a separate phone number to claim online directory listings for your sleep practice. It will also enable your staff to answer incoming calls using the name of your sleep practice.
- Build a dedicated sleep website. When a prospective patient lands on your website they’re forming an impression of your practice within seconds. A well-executed sleep website will educate, establish authority and ultimately convert website visitors into scheduled sleep consultations.
- Create and optimize a Google Business Listing for the new entity. Critical elements include your sleep practice name, website address and dedicated phone Optimize your listing by uploading your logo along with some professional photos of you, your team and the office.
- List your practice on the leading online directories. If you aren’t sure which ones to focus on first, do a few Google searches incorporating your city name into the search term and see which directories show up consistently. The key directories will differ by city and keyword search terms.
- Start a Facebook page for the new practice. Utilize your new logo and colors for brand consistency. Have someone in your office post to it weekly. Important details to include in the About section: a link to your new sleep website, your office address, your phone number, and an overview of your sleep practice.
- Collect patient reviews for your sleep practice. Google, Yelp and Facebook reviews are the most important. Reviews from sleep patients will resonate with potential sleep patients as well as provide valuable keywords to help Google associate your practice with sleep related searches.
- Create a YouTube channel. YouTube is the third most visited website in the U.S. and the second largest search engine after Google. Cisco estimates that by 2021, 82% of all internet traffic will be video. The practices that leverage video now will have a significant competitive advantage during the coming years.
- Print sleep apnea brochures to place throughout your practice. Include your new logo, phone number, and sleep website address on the brochure. A well-executed brochure will act as a conversation starter, educate patients, and make it easy for them to refer others to you.
Implementing these 11 steps will not only increase your visibility and build your brand as a sleep provider, they will also go a long way towards positioning you as the go-to authority for sleep apnea treatment in your target market.
For additional strategies on attracting sleep patients, visit the blog at DentalSleepMarketing.com.
Rose Nierman, Randy Curran, and Courtney Snow discuss how to build brand identity in the billing area of the practice in their panel discussion “What sets a successful DSM practice apart? Read the article here.