According to a July 30, 2009 post at Dental Blogs, the Pew Internet Project reported 75-80% of Internet users look for medical information online.
This data is right up there with B2B buyers and consumers who use the Internet to search / shop for products, so I wasn’t surprised by the number.
Dental Blogs went on to advise dentists about how to educate these searchers:
If you want to make sure your patients are getting the solid, accurate information they need so that they can make informed decisions about dentistry, consider expanding the education center on your dental website.
This is really great advice — and one any service professional should follow, be she a lawyer, accountant, dermatologist, or marketer.
However, the author of the post goes on to add that dentists can expand their learning center with canned content — and this is where I got my marketing knickers in a twist.
Part of this twist is due to the fact that I’ve been reading Dr. Bill & Carolyn Blatchford’s book, Blatchford’s Blueprints: The art of creating practice success. For those of you who don’t know, Dr. Blatchford is *the* coach for dentists — he helps them achieve practice profitability by focusing on developing their unique vision, leadership skills, and goals.
According to Blatchford, “Vision is a positive statement of what you see, how you believe and desire your life to become. Vision is seeing the future of what you hope to be. Personal vision is not about numbers and goals. . . . Personal vision is the bigger picture of you. It is the values and standards that cover you 24 hours a day.” (emphasis mine)
Remember, people do business with people they trust . . . and by communicating your personal vision, no matter who you are or the job you do, you attract people who instinctively resonate with your vision, whether or not they know it.
So, my question is: How do you communicate your personal vision if you’re using canned content that “dental marketing” companies are willing to sell to you — and that any number of dentists are also using?
In the last few years I’ve had the opportunity to work with three dentists: Dr. Helaine Smith, Dr. Steven St. Germain, and currently, Dr. Anne B. Filler. All three have had me write copy for their websites (Dr. Filler’s new site is still under construction).
What has struck me with each dentist is that while each one provides essentially the same type of service — exceptional dental care — each of these dentists is guided, and indeed driven, by their own personal passion and vision (which I hope comes through clearly on their respective sites).
Dr. St. Germain, for example, believes in educating patients about their dental options and providing the “gold standard” in dental care. In addition, he’s pretty passionate about helping others and regularly volunteers his time on mission trips.
Dr. Filler also believes in educating patients as well as helping them maintain healthy mouths for a lifetime. What I love about Dr. Filler is that she’s very active in her local community: she sponsors youth sports teams, donates her dental services to various community organizations, and hosts high school interns, via the New Hampshire Partners in Education, who are thinking of entering the dental field.
Dr. Smith is passionate about educating consumers about the connection between one’s oral health and one’s physical health as well as helping people transform their lives. She provides her patients an unsurpassed level of care (she once told Yankee Dental workshop attendees that she will visualize a cosmetic procedure from beginning to end before she begins any work). Like Dr. St. Germain, Dr. Smith gives freely of her time and has been on over a dozen missions to third world countries where she provides dental care to children.
Because each dentist took the time to actually develop a website based on their unique values, passion and vision, they come across as authentic, caring providers — something you’re just not going to get with canned content.
Bottom line: If you’re a dentist (or any type of service professional) and you want to create a website that basically says nothing and sounds like all the other dental websites out there, use canned content. (It’s also a whole lot cheaper than hiring someone to write it for you.)
However, if you’re passionate about what you do and want to stand apart from your local competitors, consider hiring a copywriter who can help you craft your unique message that will actually get people in your office door.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Does canned content have its place? Or should companies strive to create unique content throughout a website?