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Do Words Matter?

In the fascinating book, Decoding The New Consumer Mind, Dr. Kit Yarrow dives deep into the complexities of today's consumer. She identifies a plethora of forces nudging our synapses to buying decisions like never before. After the first few chapters it becomes clear we're operating in a whole new world.

So as a healthcare provider, what are you doing about it?

Dr. Yarrow confirms something we've known in dentistry for a long time: People want to associate themselves with businesses that are genuine. While this sounds simple, it's not at all simple to convey within the attention span of a prospective online customer. For example, when a propsective new patient clicks to your website, you have about 5 seconds to hold their attention or lose them to the next site in their Google search.

Imagery is important. But far too often, practices invest a fortune in a fancy website and then add cookie cutter content or awkward edits a staff member or the doctor wrote. No offense, but the psychology of the words on your page speak volumes in a high-trust profession. Within a few seconds, a consumer judges whether your practice is genuine or not. Not fair, but research underscores the value of words.

Writing for the internet is completely different than writing for college or a research journal. That's why many dentists hijack their own websites with their writing experience. Dental copywriting, like all forms of copywriting, follows rules that aren't taught in college. In many cases, copywriting violates those rules to add a human, conversational element. And (notice the sentence starts with a conjunction?!) condensing a message to a few words that will emotionally and logically hook consumers takes experience and training.

Dentistry involves a level of trust that's unique in the business world, and your ability to earn the trust of patients begins the second they click on your website. If you hold them, every word they absorb from that point forward either strengthens or weakens their relationship with you.

The dental marketplace is crowded in many locales, and prospective new patients enjoy a wide variety of options for their care. Don't forget to consider the words found in your practice communication tools. Do they convey a genuine, comfortable tone? Are they more about you or the patient? What emotions do you want to touch? These are vital questions that can help you craft your message and speak to the hearts and minds of those you want to serve.



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