Finding Your Tone of Voice in Your Online Communications
How you communicate with your patients matters. Whether they are long-term patients at your practice, or they are discovering you for the first time, your tone of voice (TOV) in your online communications will help to establish expectations.
When you can successfully articulate your TOV, you can achieve a lot more with less. This means more succinct online copy that will help readers find what they need to take the next steps. It also helps to brand your practice, allowing you to stand out from the local competition.
In this guide, we’ll explore the role of TOV in your online communications and how you can find your voice.
What is the tone of voice?
Tone of voice is about more than just the words you choose for your online communications, it’s about the manner in which you use them. Tone of voice needs to be applied consistently across your website so that the entire online experience feels seamless.
The tone of voice can also carry over into patient interactions, which is all about the way you communicate with patients in your practice and in the chair. When there is cohesion between the online and offline experience, patients feel more at ease and will see you as more trustworthy.
Tone of voice is about more than just the words you choose for your online communications, it’s about the manner in which you use them.
How do you determine your tone of voice?
Landing on the right tone of voice for your practice will usually start with a discovery session to determine how you speak to patients in the practice. Are you warm, welcoming, professional, formal, humorous, serious, motivating, or assertive?
Start by understanding how you speak to your patients, and this will help to determine how you should communicate with them online. Try plotting where you land on the following dimensions graph. From here, you can start to think about what words and phrases will communicate your tone of voice most effectively.
How can you tell when your tone of voice isn’t working?
The simplest way to spot if your tone of voice in your online communications isn’t working is to read the content aloud. Now ask yourself the following questions:
Does the content make sense when read aloud?
Does the content match the mood I’m trying to achieve?
Do I have to work hard to make the word choices match my usual sentiment?
If you find that the words feel disjointed and you have to work hard to make them sound like how you would speak, this is a sign that your tone of voice isn’t quite right.
Common issues for dentists when trying to achieve the right tone of voice include:
Using clinical terms and phrases that aren’t common knowledge to the reader. Not everyone has advanced knowledge of dental procedures, so try to make this content more approachable by using layman's terms and explaining things in a simple way.
Being too formal in your copy. You might be bound by procedures and guidelines in your professional work, but this can come across as dry and unapproachable to website visitors.
Going too far in trying to be jovial and humorous. While you might be a friendly and approachable dental practice, you also want to let patients know that you are professional and trustworthy. There is a time and place for more approachable language, but your homepage is not it.
Focusing on the negatives. While it is important to make sure your patients have realistic expectations, you don’t want to be so negative that they become scared or fearful of treatment. There are ways to talk about a root canal that won’t leave the patient dreading treatment.
Inheriting a tone of voice from a previous practice. If you’ve taken over a dental practice, you might want to refresh more than just the waiting room furniture. Reviewing your online presence, including the website and website copy will allow you to put your mark on the newly launched practice.
Not everyone has advanced knowledge of dental procedures, so try to make this content more approachable by using layman's terms and explaining things in a simple way.
Need help finding your voice online?
We have helped countless dentists cut through the noise and stand out online through a confident and distinct tone of voice. If you need help achieving this for your dental practice, get in touch with our team today.