Lifting Dental Marketing in the Face of High Street Competition
Botulinum toxin and dermal fillers have carved a niche in the aesthetic dental industry as great treatments for complementing cosmetic dental procedures. After all, when patients walk away with a bright, white smile, having a wrinkle-free face to complement their new smile seems only fitting.
With many aesthetic dental practices now offering Botox, dermal fillers, and other non-surgical cosmetic treatments, it’s no wonder that competition from outside the medical sphere has been met with both scepticism and concern from dentists.
When competition does arise, how can dental practices use marketing strategies to respond to such a threat?
THE UNLIKELY COMPETITOR
Superdrug recently announced a move to offer Botox and dermal filler treatments through a service called Skin Renew, and clinicians have shown understandable concern.
Whilst some worry that the high street prices undercut aesthetic professionals and severely cheapen these procedures in the eyes of the public, others fret that it might change public perception on their complexity and gravity. With many dentists already worried that illegal teeth whitening is stealing away business, it’s no wonder that the high street invasion of facial aesthetics seems like a credible threat because the JCCP does not impose any restriction on any practitioner from providing these treatments.
Unfortunately for aesthetic clinicians, non-invasive, non-surgical cosmetic treatments have entered the realm of normalcy in the public psyche. Primarily to blame are the celebrities who endorse procedures and shows that make light viewing of getting Botox injections.
Bombarded by the ‘new normal’ on TV and social media, injectables relinquished their place in the pantheon of upmarket treatments to sit alongside hair extensions, nail art, and other ‘lesser’ beauty treatments. This debasement of Botox became a reality despite its risks, its need for professionals proficient in the use of hypodermic needles, and its nature as a prescription medicine.
To make matters even worse, Superdrug is approaching their new venture with exceptional care. Qualified nurses perform the procedures, and the retailer has partnered with Botox producer Allergan to supply the injectables and patient advisory material. Superdrug even goes further than some clinics to ensure safety, refusing to treat anyone under 25 and using a passport-like booklet to keep detailed records of each session a patient attends. 
RESPONDING TO HIGH STREET COMPETITION
The high street is seemingly intent to edge aesthetically-focused practices off the injectables field by offering much lower prices – launching at The Strand branch for just £99 for Botox to treat forehead lines or crow’s feet. Faced with that challenge, how can cosmetic dentists respond to the competition and differentiate themselves in the eyes of the public?
EMPHASISING THE CLINICAL SETTING
Attending an appointment to receive a facial aesthetics injectable is an extremely personal and private experience, and patients want to feel at ease from the moment they step into the practice. As a matter of course, dental practices already present this type of experience, with settings built around trying to put apprehensive patients’ nervousness to rest. Putting this ambiance forward casts a positive light on aesthetics-focused practices amongst patients who might see the retail environment of a Superdrug as detracting to the experience.
When talking about your setting, remember to highlight each aspect that contributes to its calming atmosphere. Talk about your team’s training and experience in working with different patients and caring for them with empathy. Use pictures and descriptions to show off your facilities online, highlighting your ability to provide safe and effective treatment. Ease any anxieties patients might have by emphasising your practice’s ability to provide appropriate emergency care.
RAISING THE FLAG OF PROFESSIONALISM
Dentists are bound to a code of professionalism when it comes to marketing their brands. Patients expect you to be forthright in describing your services and setting their expectations, so build on that. Work with a dental marketing team to accurately advertise your practice so patients can rely on the fact that what they see on your website is what they get when they attend their appointment. Doing so elevates your practice in patient’s minds as honest and trustworthy.
LEVERAGING PATIENT TRUST
Unlike your own marketing, the advertising your patients can provide for your practice due to their own positive experiences with you is unbound by regulation. This makes the testimonials you receive from delighted patients an extremely powerful marketing tool.
Design your website to display patient testimonials visibly to leverage the advertising power of their first-hand experiences. Engage with patients who are pleased with your services to help get their stories in the eyes of website visitors.
HIGHLIGHTING COMPLEMENTARY TREATMENTS
Aesthetic dental practices are uniquely positioned to provide a more complete set of treatments to improve a patient’s facial appearance. Highlight this fact in your marketing by presenting treatments to complement Botox and dermal fillers, and vice versa. Let your patients know you can help them obtain a beautiful smile that goes hand-in-hand with more youthful facial features. Keep them engaged with your practice by reminding them that you can also serve as the guardian of their long-term oral health while providing follow-up treatments for their injectables.
For added effect, show off your past work with patients who you have helped with both facial and dental aesthetics. With pictures of relatable, real-life individuals on your website or social media pages, it should come through to your patients that you care deeply about their overall appearance.
PROMOTING QUALIFICATIONS AND REGULATION
Dentists and their practices are bound to strict regulations to ensure they meet the standards of the Care Quality Commission, especially when it comes to infection control. Dentists must also undergo training that gives them an intimate knowledge of the human head and neck to receive their qualification.
While such obligations might seem run-of-the-mill to any dentist who must abide by them, these are positive traits savvy patients might look for from an aesthetic treatment provider. Patients who are risk-averse might also look for such traits in marketing, so make sure you promote these prominently in your marketing.
Aesthetic dentistry is inherently both an art and a science. Dentists must make sure their patients’ dentures, crowns, veneers, or fillings are functional but also look good. To achieve such an outcome, manual dexterity and the ability to visualise an ideal outcome are prerequisites. Additionally, working with treatments that show results over longer periods of time, such as with orthodontics, requires an ability to plan ahead and envision results far into the future.
Facial aesthetics also demands such levels of skill. Given that fact, dentists can capitalise on their demonstrated abilities to reassure patients they have what it takes to arrive at a successful outcome.
While a satisfied patient is still one of your best marketing tools, make sure your website clearly states which services your offer as well as your particular skill set and qualifications. Work with a professional dental marketing team to ensure your website and social media platforms promote your staff’s accomplishments, before and after images of patients, and patient testimonials.