This post is the final installment in our series for New Dentists. For other posts, visit the DentalCPAs blog.
Even if you’re still in dental school, you can begin building your personal brand now. For new dentists, defining who you are as a dental professional can help you find patients, connect with employers, build your reputation, and set the course for a meaningful career. Read on to find out how.
Personal Branding – What Is It?
Much like products are branded, advertised, and sold, personal branding is the essence of creating an impression of yourself in others’ minds. For dentists, this means positioning yourself as a competent, friendly dental professional serving the needs of your patients. Personal branding is essentially public relations; it’s how you want people to perceive you.
How to Define Your Personal Brand
Think of personal branding as the process that defines your elevator pitch.
Start by writing down the answers to questions like What kind of dentist do I want to be? What do I want to be known for? and How do I want my patients’ experience to be? Be sure to note the qualities, characteristics, certifications and expertise, and any other unique or defining detail about you or your practice.
Then, write your positioning statement. You don’t have to own your dental practice to do this; positioning statements are valuable for associates, too.
We highlighted the three main parts of your personal branding statement above so you can fill in the blanks.
- Patients: Decide who you’re going to serve. Children, older adults, people who prefer sedation dentistry are just a few ways to target your ideal patient base. Especially if you own your practice, clearly defining who your patients are will help you tailor your marketing approach.
- Area: Where are you practicing? If you can define specific neighborhoods or zip codes within your city, that is more helpful than simply saying “the D.C. area,” for example.
- Services: Even if you’re a general practitioner, what services are most profitable? What procedures do you enjoy doing and would like to be doing more of? Be specific.
Once you clearly define who you want be as a dentist, and you write your positioning statement, make it easy for patients and other dentists to find you.
- Have a website – Even a personal website for an associate is useful for your career prospects. For practices, it’s a must.
- Be on social media – Facebook and LinkedIn are great places for personal and professional pages
- Monitor reviews – If you own your practice, stay on top of online reviews (and ask current patients to rate you).
- Get connected – We’ve talked about joining local and regional dental associations before. Get to know your fellow dentists now; they can be valuable referral sources and potential employers later.
Benefits of Personal Branding for Dentists
When your personal brand is clearly defined and appeals to your target patients, you will start to notice a few things:
- Better patients You’re more likely to attract your ideal patients because it will be easier for them to find you.
- Competitive advantage You and your practice need to stand out. Personal branding will help distinguish you from the competition.
- Larger network There’s an old saying, “it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.”
- Net worth In time, you’ll find that a branded practice with consistent patient revenue and proven marketing will fare better. Plus, when you sell your practice down the road, a practice with a great reputation can get a better price.
Take the time to invest in yourself, and watch your dental career blossom. Check out our earlier post for more advice on beginning your career, and contact us if we can help. Good luck!