A web search for ‘dermatologist UK’ will produce more than 49 million hits. Look for an actual dermatologist and you’ll find over 23,000. Even a small town can have dozens, so you need to stand out. You need an identity that defines who you are, what you offer, what you stand for and why people should come to you instead of anyone else. It needs to persuade and inform, and never make any assumptions about who is reading it.
Just quoting good results and testimonials won’t do – every private practice website does that – so you need a distinct and identifiable medical brand. People don’t buy from a website, they buy from a person. Even if they don’t know you, they must feel that they can trust you, so just listing your services isn’t enough. You have to become a trusted brand, and the brand is the face, character and personality of the practice. A distinctive logo helps too, as well as a pronounceable name and a website address that is easy to remember.
You need to consider some of the following:
• how well established is the practice
• what is your position in the market in your area
• how do your patients regard you
• what makes you unique
• what are your goals, both short and long term
• why would a new patient come to you instead of anyone else
• where is the practice going and how is it going to get there
Some of those you can answer yourself; some you can’t. Survey your patients – paper or electronic will depend on your demographic, but use both if you can, and remember that compliments are not an excuse to relax, just as criticisms are a way to learn, not an excuse to sue or sulk.
You need to consider a website look – brisk and business-like, warm and friendly or calm and reassuring. Try and make it look like your practice. You also need a logo that is appropriate, scalable and memorable without being troubling.
You will also need brand guidelines for everyone representing the practice to follow, so the message remains consistent. This will cover every contact with the rest of the world – letters, e-mails, telephone scripts and how you write your blogs – and you will be writing blogs.