[Updated 8/15/17]


At our core, all any of us wants to do is fulfill our innate desires. When your marketing message focuses on the desires we are all born with, you will have a much better chance of attracting patients.

We can connect some simple psychological principals with marketing to give you a clear understanding of why someone buys.

In 1943, Abraham Maslow wrote a paper called “A Theory of Human Motivation” in which he laid out a “hierarchy of needs.” The bottom layer is the need for survival and the top layer is self-actualization.

For dentists, we are going to focus on the second layer which is safety needs or freedom from fear, danger or pain. Because these desires are part of our “basic needs,” this means people are driven to get out of these kinds of situations quickly.

For example, let’s look at tooth pain.

If someone is experiencing sharp tooth pain when they eat or drink something that is hot or cold, their instinct is to try to get rid of the pain quickly. The person usually will not look around online for a couple of days and compare prices; they are going to call their dentist or search for one near them and schedule an appointment for the earliest possible time.

For situations like this, when someone has a dental emergency, having a solid online presence for your practice can be very beneficial.

As we stated above, however, individuals safety needs also include freedom from fear.

A client once gave a presentation at a senior center. The people there were all 75+ years old. A woman who lived at the senior center shared how scared she was of visiting a dentist and still is. Fear of the dentist is common, and older people may have gone to the dentist at times before the use of anesthesia, making trips to the dentist even scarier.

This is on the other side of the spectrum compared to our tooth pain dilemma. Now, rather than someone seeking a dentist quickly to get rid of a pain, you have someone who is scared to go, and, because of that fear, they avoid the dentist.

There are going to be people who are scared to go to the dentist, but when you figure out why they are afraid, you can work with them to overcome that fear. Many older people who have not visited their doctors or dentists in a long time may not be aware that a visit to the dentist can be pain-free, thanks to anesthesias.

Testimonials from other patients who have had these very same emotions can be extremely powerful. For the fearful ones, not only will their experience be validated and make them feel “normal” and “OK,” they will also see a solution to their problem. This can easily move them down the path to make that long overdue visit to you.

If you are interested in marketing your dental practice, feel free to contact us today!

Author: Kathy Jiamboi

Owner of Creativedge Marketing, where growth-oriented dentists find dental practice marketing strategies and advice to take their practice to a new and higher level.

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