I’ve made a few visits to dental practices in the past few months where I’ve hit a frustrating problem even before stepping through the door.
That’s because, despite the fact that I’ve dutifully followed my SatNav, when I’ve reached the point where the lovely lady says ‘you have now arrived at your destination’, I’ve been unable to see the practice that I’m visiting – this results in me driving past and having to do a U-turn further down the road and taking another drive past, eyes peeled to try and spot the practice building.
The problem here is poor signage. Or, in some cases, a complete lack of signage.
This is extremely frustrating for a new patient trying to find the practice for their first visit, but it’s also a huge missed opportunity in getting your message out and attracting more patients to your practice.
So, let’s take a look at what’s going wrong.
Often, it’s because the practice takes it for granted that the general public know where they are and, as such, they’re happy with a small brass plate outside the door – this is a big mistake. Effective signage is not only important in guiding people into your practice, it’s also a very valuable marketing tool that works on your behalf 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Some practices do have attractive and distinctive signage, but it’s fitted flush to the frontage of the building (which is often set back from the road), which means that they are missed by most people walking or driving past.
To make your signage work in your favour it needs to be positioned where it becomes hard to miss. Ideally, it needs to be as close to the pavement or road as the planning department of your local council will allow – it’s worth asking for advice. The signage also needs to be angled so that it is facing in both directions, not running parallel to the road.
You should also make sure your signs are well lit, either through a separate light source, or by investing in a lightbox type of sign – this means that it is visible at all times, even when you are closed.
Finally, don’t try and cram too much information onto your signs – people in cars can only take in so much before they’re past the sign. So, keep it bold and simple.
If, for any reason, you can’t put a large sign in the grounds of your practice, think about investing in an A-Frame sign that can be placed on the pavement outside your practice (you might also need council permission for this). This places your message directly in the eye-line of passers by. Most signage companies in your local area will be able to help here.
So, put yourself in the position of a potential new patient and take yourself a few hundred yards down your road (in both directions) and make the approach firstly on foot and then in a car and see for yourself how visible your practice is to the general public – you might be surprised. If you’re struggling to see the practice – now is the time to do something about it.