If it wasn’t for my website, I’d be living under a bridge! Many of you have heard me make this comment before. While it’s a bit of an exaggeration, my point is that my dental practice website is the lifeblood of my practice. On the other hand, I OFTEN hear from dentists about how their websites don’t do anything for them. How can there be such a disparity of experiences? The answer is far too complex to address in a single blog post. But, today I was compelled and inspired to point out a particular factor in this post.
To kick this off, I present the prima facie evidence:
If you’ve visited even just a few dentists’ websites, there’s a good chance you’ve seen one of these women featured, usually on the home page. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve found them on dental websites, especially the blond on the right. She’s EVERYWHERE. Arguably they are attractive and have beautiful smiles. So, seemingly they would be appropriate images for a dentist’s website.
Here’s my point of contention. They are stock photos. That means they are “store-bought” photos. It’s a common practice to use stock photography in all sorts of marketing pieces and advertisements. It’s easy. And, it’s cheap. And, it some cases, they are probably effective or simply harmless filler. However… HOWEVER… in the case of dental practice websites, I submit that it’s a really BAD idea.
A primary goal of a dental practice website is to build credibility and trust. You try to present reasons a website visitor should choose YOU as their dentist. Why should he or she choose your practice over all the others? With Google, a web searcher can access countless dental practice websites. And, he or she will make comparisons. Sadly, like in every Yellow Pages book, most dentists’ websites are nearly identical in content. Very few offer unique and credible content.
You can bet that prospective patients, especially those who are seeking extensive care (major treatment), are doing their homework. I recently had a smile makeover patient (who found me via my website) tell me, “I looked at at least fifteen dentist websites, and it seemed like all of them are treating the same woman.” I wonder if she saw “Blondy”? 😉 My patient went on to remark about the photos on my website and how they created credibility. She also specifically referred to how each smile I created was unique to each patient. “They don’t all have the same smile.”
It’s all about CREDIBILITY, my fellow Dental Warriors. Is your website filled with stock photos and canned encyclopedic dental definitions like, “What is a veneer?” I will write a future blog post about copywriting – that is writing compelling content for your website. It has long been my contention that creating your OWN content is CRITICAL. And, in this blog post, the emphasis is on photography. I won’t get into photographic technique… that’s another blog, too! My point is to use UNIQUE images. You don’t even have to be the photographer. You can hire one. But, please stop using the same stock photos everyone else is using.
Today’s Consumers Are Smart!
On many dentists’ websites, I’ve seen the same stock “Before & After” photos! Don’t think visitors to your website won’t figure this out. Many of my patients have told me they have.
People searching for a dentist on the web WILL notice stock vs. unique images. And, using photos of your own patients is the ultimate way of building credibility and trust. Seeing is believing! If you really are a “cosmetic dentist,” then surely you can prove it, right?
Feel free to visit my own website (www.PalmBeach-Smiles.com) to see how I’ve incorporated photography. Every single photo is my own. And, that carries a lot of weight with visitors on my website. And, the feedback I’ve gotten from patients confirms it.
If your website is a carbon copy of so many other websites, you are wasting your time and money, in my opinion. You’ll get out of it, what you put into it. And, simply writing a check to a website company to create a canned, pre-fab website will get you nowhere. You must be involved in creating content. And, using your own photos can be very powerful.
Get cracking, Dental Warriors! And, then reap the rewards!
PS… Stay tuned for future blog posts about clinical and fashion photography.Copyright protected by Digiprove © 2013 The Dental Warrior®
Mike , so you’re going to be going into photographic technique, too? Of course, you DO know a little about that, or of course you could mention my website, too? http://DentalDigitalPhotography.com/ 🙂
Hi Chip! I was “going into” photography a LONG time ago. I even helped teach some courses on photography back in the day (with Tony Soileau and Tom Hedge). But, when it comes to the technical aspects of digital photography, you are da man! 🙂 And, I’m sure you agree about using your own photos rather than stock photos, eh? 😉
Thanks for your comments! And, everyone should click on your link!
Using stock photos these days is tantamount to admitting that you can’t take the tiny bit of effort necessary to showing patients what you can really do. How can they trust anything they see on a website, when they have already seen those photos on maybe 5 others? Maybe they’ve even read the same content! It is just too easy to take and use your own pictures now, there’s no excuse. Most of our patients already have Flickr or Picasa or Facebook photo albums, so they know how easy it is.
BTW – I am using your Website Owner’s Manual for Dentists info to improve the alt text/titles/captions for all the patient photos on my site CDPayetPhotography.com.
Chip is right! Using stock photos is throwing in the towel. I don’t know what tantamount means but Chip sure sounds smart lol
Way to go Dr. Mike
I can’t imagine how anyone who’s been doing any type of dental care for at least a year would have stock photos, unless they are just plain lazy to take pics of their patients. I use a $450 G12 camera, and that’s all ya need!
Hi Ed! Thanks for chiming in. I think you’d be very disappointed if you knew how FEW dentists take photos on a regular basis (or at all). Most have told me that they “don’t have time” to take photos.
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These two 18 yr old girls are also patients to over 300 UK web sites too!
I can’t imagine how they can travel so fast since Concorde was killed.
Funny thing is; the 16-24 yr old market is the highest unemployed segment in the UK.
Definatley not the right market where real money is flowing.
Another top post dental warrior.
From across the pond- mi hearty
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I just discovered your site through a Google search on not using stock photography for a dental website. I am doing a startup practice and want to have my own pictures. What do you recommend using for pictures if you don’t have a patient base yet? I like the idea of having your patients pose, but I’m wondering what I can use in the beginning when I’m still working on getting patients.
Hi Reena. Thanks for visiting my blog and posting a comment! If you’re just getting started, then some stock photos on a website are unavoidable. You do need some images to break up text and make the site more eye-appealing. And, if you don’t have any of your own, then stock photos suit the purpose (make sure you have permission / license to use them).
Ultimately, you’ve got to start somewhere. Take photos of your own cases as soon and as often as possible. Make sure you get written permission (release) from your patients to use their photos. Over time, you can replace the stock photos with your own.
I’ve been at it for many years. It takes years. But, getting started is the key. Good luck!
I would have to agree, there are so many websites with these stock photos (I know for mw personally) when I am browsing these websites stock photos tend to put me off with doing business with them — There is nothing like seeing the real people behind the business so you have some sort of expectation of whom you are going to deal with.
Buy hey, at the end of the day most images are just used for the purposes of making a dental website look more polished and professional — if you have the combination of the both I really dont see the issue in using bother of them
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