Word of mouth has moved online, and dentists should take note.
An overwhelming amount of today’s dental prospects begin their search for a dentist by going online. The first stop for many people is a review site, such as Google Reviews, Healthgrades, or even Yelp. Depending on what those searchers read, they next may visit the dentist’s website.
While there, dental prospects will almost certainly watch some of the dentists’ videos and patient testimonial videos. Or, depending on the searcher’s demographic, he or she might first seek out testimonial videos on YouTube.
Regardless, you can be sure that most of your prospects are watching your videos. Why? Two reasons: because of the way Google ranks videos, and because videos are the new word-of-mouth advertising.
Google responds to user trends when ranking websites. It would never give out its secret formula for ranking sites, but a study by Forrester Research, a US market research company, found that sites with videos are 53 times more likely to show up on page 1 of Google.
It’s clear that potential patients—and Google—love videos.
Video is also a crucial part of your word-of-mouth advertising. Back in “the day,” people would ask family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers for the name of a “good” dentist. Some of that still occurs today, but the Internet has become the go-to first option for most dental prospects.
Even in the online environment, people seek out confirmation from watching and listening to actual people. Quite a few people among today’s younger generations state that they actually prefer to watch brief videos than to read online.
Sight and Sound
Think of your videos as advertisements. Arguably, the most powerful advertisements engage more of the senses. That’s why people rave about some Super Bowl commercials but rarely bring up a radio spot they’ve heard.
Online videos engage both sight and hearing, which makes them a powerful tool to recruit your dental prospects. Being able to see and hear a person giving a testimonial provides considerably more credibility than simply reading what an unknown person has written.
When your testimonial videos present people others can relate to, other people are more likely to watch. When those patients present a history of dental issues that strikes a chord with your viewers, viewers are intrigued. And when people hear about the great patient experiences and life-changing outcomes for your patients, they’re far more likely to choose you to solve their dental problems.
Not all videos are created equal. Just as with your marketing, your own videos and those of your patients have to reflect the values of the patients you want to attract. If you’re looking for financially upscale patients, the quality of all your videos needs to be high. A shaky video of a patient testimonial immediately following treatment will not cut it. Those videos are often poor quality and downright awkward—2 things you don’t want associated with your dental practice. You can resort to some do-it-yourself videos, but here is what to consider:
You can shoot a video using a smartphone camera, but small handheld devices are difficult to stabilize for any length of time. Once you have the image framed, that frame should stay rock-solid. Consider investing in a decent-quality digital video camera and a tripod.
The background you’re shooting against should be free of distracting elements. At the same time, avoid shooting in front of a blank wall as it lends a “run-and-gun” feel to your video. Clean out a corner of your office and put a comfortable chair at an angle there. An unobjectionable art print adds a touch of visual interest without cluttering your shot or distracting your viewer.
Dental practices can be noisy places, so find a quiet setting. However, avoid outdoor shoots as there are almost always ambient noises you may not even notice but that your microphone will pick up. It’s best to have a focused microphone that will minimize any echoes when you’re shooting indoors. That’s another argument against shooting on a smartphone.
If you’re looking to attract particular kinds of cases, you need videos that will speak to those prospects with similar issues. Every dentist should have “The staff are wonderful and Dr. X is just amazing!” testimonials. However, you also need testimonials that describe the benefits to the patient in terms of improved quality of life.
For instance, implant patients who are now in better health because they can eat (and chew) a wider variety of foods, or cosmetic dentistry patients who have achieved occupational success or found a fulfilling relationship after receiving your services, are good candidates for videos.
People tend to relate better to others who are like them. The patients you put on camera should reflect the values of the patients you want to attract—well-groomed, well-dressed, well-spoken, and approachable. Your testimonial patients should be able to recount a coherent tale on-camera without digressing too much. At the same time, it’s important that they not come off as rehearsed. Experience suggests that it’s best to help them identify 3 to 5 main points they want to cover in their testimonials and suggest a logical order in which to present them. Then, let the patients speak for themselves.
Dentists and patients aren’t professional on-camera talent and shouldn’t be expected to perform as such. Even the professionals rarely get everything right in a single take. Editing a testimonial, and even your own videos, is perfectly acceptable as long as it’s done well.
Follow these tips for shooting quality videos, and you’ll attract more new dental patients who can help your practice thrive.