Your practice is a place where you make a difference for patients every day. But does your online persona show who you really are?
It’s a given that your team is warm, friendly, and helpful. But if your website photos only show your waiting area, front desk, and exam rooms, those impersonal shots may well turn off prospective patients.
It’s a Visual World
You’ve heard it said that you only have seconds to make an impression. Nowhere is this truer than online.
Your website or landing page is the perfect example. While written content is important, photos are the real attention grabbers. Great photos do more than show what your office looks like. Those visuals help patients develop a relationship with you even before they call your office.
Unlike most photos you share on social media, your website and marketing photos should be executed by a professional. Get bids and samples from two or three photographers to find the best fit. Above all, plan ahead to make your photos reflect your practice’s personality.
What’s wrong with this photo?
If you want to brag about how good-looking your dental chairs are, this photo is a great option. But if you want to showcase your personality, this photo won’t do it.
For website photos that will tempt patients to book more appointments with you, follow these steps:
Step 1: Plan your shot list
What areas of your practice best showcase your personality? Include them in your shot list. What features and amenities do you want to highlight? Include those, too—and don’t forget the human factor. Plan ahead to take multiple shots in each area with your staff.
Your photographer will probably include both horizontal and vertical shots, along with some taken at wide angles. Decide ahead how your photographer’s style meshes with your practice’s persona. Spell out the details (approachable, not arty; a combination of high- and lower-resolution shots; the number of images included in the package; who will own the copyright; etc.).
PICTURE THIS: Look for great websites with stellar photos; then, share these inspirations with your photographer.
Step 2: Tell your practice’s story
Maybe your doctor loves to play soccer in his spare time. Or your entire team donates services to needy patients at least once a year. Do you have photos of these moments?
Every practice has a story that goes well beyond the little amenities and decorative elements people see when they walk in the door. It’s your job to share that story visually online.
Don’t get us wrong: it’s still fine to paint a picture of your stylish and cozy decor. If you have an amazing technology in your office, highlight it (preferably with one of your smiling staff members standing by). If your children’s play area is hard to beat, showcase that, too.
Do your patients get to play video games during treatment? Great, share that information visually. Just make sure every photo tells a part of your story.
PICTURE THIS: If your photo needs additional context (like the photo shown above) include an engaging caption and/or description. For SEO purposes, always include alt text (the text “behind the photo”) so web crawlers can search visual content on your website.
Step 3: Feature people you know
Avoid shots of empty rooms by featuring your real staff in the photos. You want your photos to illustrate the experience patients will have when they come to into your office. Limit the use of stock photos to close-ups on equipment or procedures.
Add smiling people to each composition. As needed, ask friends and family members to stand in as patients. The presence of people in your photos is like a direct referral.
To avoid posed, stiff-looking photos, your photographer may ask photo subjects to naturally interact with each other as they would during a typical workday. The doctor might be pointing to a specific spot on an x-ray or handing a tool to a staff member. The point is, the human element will always make your photos more engaging and relatable.
PICTURE THIS: Don’t be afraid to show a little humor in your photos! If you’re having fun, prospective patients will be drawn to your practice.
Step 4: Pay attention to details
Be aware of what is in the background of your photos. You don’t want to show a cluttered office. Watch out for mirror reflections, glares on glasses and shadows on background walls. Make sure no patient information is visible.
PICTURE THIS: Along with clutter, remove any seasonal decorations so that your photos are appropriate year round. Add extra touches like potted plants, fresh flowers, or a stack of colorful coffee-table books for extra eye appeal.
Step 5: Include before/after photos
If done well, before-and-after photos are great marketing tools for your practice. Prospective patients like to see how your patients look before and after orthodontic work (or after physical therapy, getting contact lenses, or a service that fits your practice’s focus). Such photos offer tangible proof of your expertise.
Be careful, though, that your photos aren’t unnecessarily graphic. Shots that you might find interesting professionally can cause squeamish patients more than a little discomfort—as shown below.
PICTURE THIS: Make sure you have specific, documented permissions from patients whose before-and-after shots you decide to include in your photo gallery.
The right photos can give your practice a competitive edge and take your online presence to rockstar status. Now you’re ready to share pictures that tell your story so well, patients can’t help but book an appointment with you!