How to Win Dental Awards and Influence Patients
Dental consumers think of an award-winning dentist as a professional who has earned the accolade by treating patients well. They assume a high degree of skill as well as a patient-friendly clinic. In short, they see the dentist as being worthy of their trust. How do dentists get these awards that truly set them apart from the crowd? The process is simpler than you might guess. First, let’s discuss what these awards are and what they can do for you.
Why Dental Awards Are Well Worth Getting
You might want to boast to your friends and family about winning an award, but the benefits go far beyond personal bragging rights. Here are some great reasons for pursuing dental awards:
- Boosts your online presence and reputation.
- Helps you bring in more patients.
- Attracts a higher quality staff.
- Become more competitive in your local area.
- Improve your confidence as a dentist.
In addition, many of the awards come with free marketing for your practice. For instance, winners of the national level of the Doctors’ Choice Award are featured in DCA’s yearly media blitz. Typically, you get a badge to place on your website for being a winner, and sometimes just for being nominated.
Pursue the Right Dental Awards
Certain dental awards are given out by dental colleges and other professional organizations. The problem is that you have little control over whether you can win or even get nominated. However, there are many dental awards you can actively pursue to add credibility to your dental practice. These awards are typically given out by magazines and newspapers in local areas. For instance, NOW Magazine gives out awards each year naming Toronto’s best in a variety of categories. Faces Magazine also has many award categories.
These awards are presented to dentists and others as a way of marketing their businesses. You’ll know if the award will provide legitimacy to your practice by how many winners there are and by whether you have to pay for the award in any way. NOW has only one winner and one runner-up per category per year. Faces Magazine lists one winner per category in the Ottawa area. Doctors’ Choice Awards gives one award per city. Of all the city winners, one is chosen for the national award.
Organizations that sell awards to dentists are not legitimate. One issue you run into in these cases is that when awards are for sale it is so easy to get them that they are virtually meaningless. They don’t set you apart from other dentists at all. The savvy dental consumer will see through your attempt to pay for praise and disregard the award altogether.
Learn the Process for Getting the Award
The process is different for each award. You need to research the award to find out how nominees are selected and how winners are chosen from among the nominees. In many cases, you can nominate yourself. You simply go to the magazine or award organization’s site and create a nomination profile. In other cases, a patient or peer needs to nominate you.
Once you are nominated, there should be specific rules about how the winners are chosen. DCA uses both votes and reviews to choose a winner. Most others simply choose by the largest number of votes. Some of the organizations giving awards allow voting up to once per day per IP address. Knowing the exact process can help you plan for getting the award.
Let the Self-Promotion Begin!
Once you are nominated, whether by yourself or by someone else, it’s time to start promoting yourself to prospective voters. Let your patients know you are in the running for the award. For this to work, you need to have:
- A strong email list.
- An active social media presence.
- Printed material for your office.
You need to make it easy for patients to vote, too. You can get a QR code to place on your printed material so people can vote quickly and easily. Another option is to provide the link to the voting webpage on any emails you send to patients requesting their support in your efforts to win the award.
Publicizing Your Win
Winning alone may give you some level of media attention. You can also send out a press release to local newspapers and create an online PR as well. If you receive a certificate or trophy, place it in a prominent spot in your dental clinic. And, of course, put any badges you receive on your website. These are often placed on the “About Us” page.
Start Early for Success Later
Nominations for dental awards are usually completed several months before the winner is chosen. You need to start letting your patients know you are in competition for the award as soon as the details become available. If your research uncovers a dental award with an expired deadline, look to the future by marking the information into next year’s calendar. You can enter next year, but only if you remember to do so.
Dental awards don’t need to be mysterious gifts handed down from the gods of dentistry. Many awards are available to you. All you have to do is find them, seek them, and publicize them when you get them. It may take some effort to get the award, but you will be happy you followed through when you see that trophy, certificate or website badge. It is when the award brings in new patients that it really shows its true worth. And that, after all, is the main reason to get the award in the first place.