Dental marketing in Australia walks an interesting line. On the one hand, you want your marketing material to read as compelling. On the other hand, it must comply with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA) advertising guidelines. In a nutshell, this means that you need to choose your words carefully and stick with the unembellished facts. But, of course, there is so much more to it than that.
If you’re scratching your head over whether your marketing content is AHPRA-compliant, we strongly recommend reviewing your content sooner rather than later. Keep reading to learn all things AHPRA and see how your content measures up.
Why are the AHPRA advertising guidelines so important?
Traditional marketing has something of a slimy reputation, often exaggerating for the sake of a sale or taking advantage of unregulated loopholes. When advertising healthcare products and services, the condition of consumers’ health is at stake. Therefore, it’s important to promote accurate information that is not misleading.
To put it in simple terms, the AHPRA advertising guidelines exist to protect the public. Violating these guidelines could result in a $10,000 fine.
How do the AHPRA advertising guidelines apply to me?
If you are a health practitioner in Australia—whether registered or not—all advertising material associated with you must comply with these guidelines. This includes everything from website and social media content to billboards on the highway. So long as it’s marketing collateral relating to healthcare—whether online, offline, or on TV—the rules will apply.
Knowing this, you may feel tentative to trust any old agency with your content. Our point of difference is that we know the AHPRA advertising guidelines inside and out. Contact 360 Dental Marketing on 1300 777 847 or via our website for an obligation-free consultation.
Can you give a quick rundown of the guidelines?
After you’ve finished reading this blog post, we recommend reading the guidelines in full. However, we can also provide a general overview to help build your perspective:
1.Choose your words carefully
For a specific example, you can’t use the words ‘expert’ or ‘specialist’ unless the medical professional you’re describing holds a specialist registration. You should also avoid adjectives like ‘pain-free’, ‘risk-free’, and ‘effective’ as they can backfire when they fall short of the guarantee they’re implying. Finally, always fact-check your claims. Don’t claim your clinic has ‘24-hour emergency services’ if this isn’t the case—no matter how attractive this may sound.
2. Present approved incentives factually
If you’re advertising discounts and promotions, ensure you include every last detail about it in your copy: the expiry date, the participating location(s), parameters for eligibility (for example, age), and all the terms and conditions. (Please note this is not necessarily an exhaustive list.
3. Don’t use testimonials
In a nutshell, each patient will have unique health requirements. It’s important for patients to make medical decisions based on their own situation and third-party opinions can muddy the waters.
4.Dance around the names of drugs
Finally, don’t ever name drugs: not by brand name, and not by their generic name. Giving a specific example runs the risk of sounding prescriptive. Let’s say someone saw your advertisement, used a drug you specified in the ad, and had a negative reaction. They could point to your recommendation and you would not have a legal leg to stand on. To avoid prescriptive language, dance around the name. The easiest example we can think of is saying ‘anti-wrinkle injection’ instead of ‘botox’.
By now, you likely have at least a foundational understanding of the AHPRA advertising guidelines and why they’re so important. As mentioned earlier, we recommend you read the guidelines in full if you haven’t already. Alternatively, if you haven’t the time to pore over pages of legislation, why not leave your marketing to the experts?
360 Dental Marketing offers dental marketing in Melbourne, Queensland, Adelaide and even we offer dental seo in sydney. Wherever you are in Australia, we can easily reach out to us. For a dental marketing agency that gets it, give us a call on 1300 777 847 or via our website and we can discuss your next steps obligation-free. Let’s give your practice the AHPRA-compliant chance it deserves.