You’ve probably got a picture of the ideal patient in your mind. As someone who sees patients all day every day, you are engaging with different types of people who come to you for cleanings and procedures.
Some of them are happy, satisified and easy to please.
Others hate going to the dentist and it requires you to put in a little extra effort to make their visit more comfortable.
So how can attact more of the happy and satisified type? By defining your ideal patient using marketing personas.
Not sure where to start?
What is a Marketing Persona?
Before we go any further, it helps to know what a marketing persona actually is.
According to HubSpot, a marketing persona (aka a buyer persona) is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on quantitative and qualitative analysis.
In other words, you can use search, interviews and other research data to create a documented version of your ideal patient. Then you can use that information to craft your marketing message.
Getting Started on Your Marketing Persona
Now that you know what a persona is and how it relates to your marketing efforts, it's time to start doing your homework.
Start by thinking about your existing patients and who you enjoy seeing the most. Do you prefer to work with families and children? Professional adults? Elderly folks?
Are they primarily located in urban or rural areas? What are their hobbies? What is their job situation like?
Start pulling together some questions you'd like to ask during your interview and research processes. Write them down.
If you can't think of any or aren't sure what to ask, we've got you covered. You can download our free persona template to help you get started.
Remember to tailor the questions as needed to match your industry and the language used. For example, instead of asking "Where do you go for information," you could ask "How do you research an expensive purchase?".
Begin Researching Your Persona
Now that you've gathered the appropriate questions to ask your persona, it's time to begin the research.
Using the questions you identified in the first section, determine a method of researching your persona and getting the selected questions answered.
Tips for researching marketing/buyer personas:
- Interview current patients or prospects
- Survey your patients or prospects
- Talk to your dental staff about their existing patient interactions
- Ask questions on social media
- Take notes on people's responses to the interview, survey, or social questions that you ask
It's imperative that you take good notes and track every gathered datapoint so you can easily remember and decipher them later when you're assembling your persona profile.
Here are some tips for documenting your buyer persona research:
- Use a recording device during your interviews to make documenting easier
- Monitor your leads on social to see what they are talking about and respond when they answer your persona questions
- Even if you are a new practice with no patients yet, you can start by gathering data from web searches, social media, or by reviewing the comments section on dental industry blogs
- Reach out to your network to find people you'd like to interview for research and continue as needed
- If you're a HubSpot customer, you can use the SurveyMonkey integration to record survey feedback in contact records.
Compile Your Persona Research Data
After you've discovered trends and patterns from the answers to your questions, you will want to collect the data in one place for easy review and sorting.
From there, you'll be able to highlight the trends and similarities in the types of responses people give. These trends or common responses are what should make their way into the beginning of your buyer persona profile.
Compile all of your persona research into a profile that touches on five main topics about your persona. Since buyer personas aren't meant to be fact sheets, but rather a readable story about ideal patients, you should use chapters or topics to help break the flow up and make the story easier to digest.
Take your data points and weave them into a story that provides context and paints a relatable picture of who your persona is.
Here are some chapter ideas for transforming your notes into a story:
- Job and demographic information
- What does a day in their life look like?
- What are their challenges or pain points?
- Where do they go for information?
- What common objections do they have to your products or services?
Once you have your chapters and have organized your data into a format that tells an in-depth story of who your ideal patient is and their semi-fictional background, you're ready to use it for your marketing efforts.
Next Steps for Using Your Persona
Personas may not be perfect on the first try, especially if this is the first time you've used them in your marketing for dentists, or any industry. They are never set in stone and are able to adapt as your marketing experiments find what works and what doesn't.
Also, you may have more than one persona. As a general rule of them, three personas or less is usually a good number to start with, depending on your marketing strategy and who you'd like to attract to your practice.
Remember, you can’t reach everyone, everywhere—nor do you want to. Decide who your target audience is and find unique ways to reach them.
Each audience requires a particular approach, and when you have a specific type of patient in mind, it’s much easier to narrow your marketing to fit that niche using your persona.
Use your persona for everything you do in your marketing strategy going forward, including blogging, email marketing, social media, paid advertising and content marketing.
You can even use it for traditional (or holistic) marketing methods. For example, if you’re hoping to target people over the age of 55, Twitter probably isn’t your best bet. Conversely, a younger demographic doesn’t respond well to mailers.
Be sure to consult your persona for every decision you make to craft your marketing.