By Claudio Gormaz
What if every time you sent a promotional piece to your patients (both current and future); it was received and opened by the recipient with excitement? An essential element of any successful and predictable marketing campaign includes a receptive audience which is a by-product of superior branding.
But what do you say, and how do you create that?
The bigger question is, how can you know what to say if you don’t recognize why you do what you do? What is your purpose? What’s your belief? Why does your practice exist (besides making money)?
I know these questions are a bit harsh. However, how can you build a superior clinic, brand, or reputation if you can’t clearly articulate why you do what you do.
Universally, across all industries, every company can quickly communicate what they do and how they do it; and, for 99% of the businesses, that’s considered the standard operating procedure. These companies begin their conversations with, for example, I sell cars, this is my latest model, and it has tinted windows, power steering, and excellent gas mileage. Do you want to buy one? Or, our legal firm hires the best lawyers from the best schools, we have many satisfied clients, and we work with some of the biggest companies in the country. Do you want to hire us?
The only external difference from most companies is the price they charge for their services. However, price points are often manipulated to attract new business. We’ve all seen the two-for-one sales, frequent user discounts, and the diverse assortment of interest-rate discounts. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with those price manipulations; they work, that’s why companies have used them for millennia. They just don’t build loyalty!
If you sincerely wish to build a superior reputation and brand (and reap said advertising victories), you must lead with inspiration, which eventually engenders trust. According to noted author and motivational speaker, Simon Sinek, leaders inspire people to follow them. Leaders like John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Apple Computers, Disney, and Harley-Davidson deliver a clear and resonating message as to why they do what they do. Their communication is so specific that they touch their recipients’ core; they arouse the senses and create comradery, a feeling of “they’re one of me!”
A company like Apple doesn’t say “We make great computers; do you want to buy one?” Instead, they lead with their “why.” They say something like: “Everything we do we believe, and we believe in challenging the status quo. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly. We just happened to make great computers. Want to buy one?” The words are essentially the same; but, it’s an entirely different dialogue, which excludes all price manipulation, and builds brand loyalty.
Harley-Davidson is another excellent example of a company that leads with their purpose statement which defiantly declares that they are more about lifestyle than transportation. Their brand clearly speaks to their customers’ inner selves; so much so that people are walking around with Harley-Davidson’s logo tattoos on their bodies, and many don’t even own the product. You don’t see anyone walking around with a Procter & Gamble logo tattooed on their bodies.
Everyone has their own reasons for doing what they do. Whatever your purpose or motivation, you must deliver that message clearly and succinctly. You must reach across the impersonal medium of a printed page or computer screen and actually connect with and inspire your readers, listeners, or viewers so as to connect on shared values and principles.
Think of this as the foundation for a house. To ensure a sturdy construction, you need a solid foundation. Never lose sight of the bigger picture; your primary goal is to create long-lasting and loyal relationships with your patients in order to provide many years of healthcare services to them, their families, and friends.
Long before you provide a promotional piece, you must consider your reputation and your brand. The way you reflect what you stand for lies within your website, all of your promotional pieces, the books are special reports you write, and how your entire staff follows through with your core values (your “why”).
Your next step is to identify your patient base. To maximize your advertising profitability and increase your return on investment, you need to have a very clear idea of your patients’ needs. This means you must do an inventory of your patients. For example, the bulk of your practice involves caring for the needs of patients who see you for tummy tucks, breast surgeries, face surgeries, rhinoplasties, etc. However, after your analysis, you determine that the highest percentages of procedures you perform are liposuctions and eye surgeries.
From there, the approach of your message needs to come from the perspective of “Your patients have a problem they don’t want, and there’s a solution they want but don’t have.”
Hence, the first thing someone sees when they visit your website, read any of your marketing material, or hear you speak must be front-and-center, and a solution to their specific ailment must be forthcoming.
As you formulate your ad, you need to know that all successful advertising pieces feature vital and essential elements. Each one of your promotional pieces must have a headline, a sub headline, specific benefits, offers, testimonials, and most important, solutions and calls to actions!
By far, a powerful headline is the single most important feature in your promotional piece. In fact, decades of marketing studies demonstrate that fully 80% of all potential patients only read headlines when deciding which clinic to use. Therefore, your headline MUST address the problem your patients have that they don’t want.
For example, “Are you sick and tired of how your sagging eyelids, facial wrinkles, crow’s feet, or dark circles under your eyes make you feel?”
Your sub-headline MUST address the result your patient wants but doesn’t have.
For example: “I use gentle techniques to quickly reverse the effects of time!”
According to Sinek, people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. Now is the time to display your purpose for doing what you do. Plus, this is also the time in which you display how you fulfill your mission. Now you provide quantitative evidence to all patients that you are the superior healthcare alternative in town. Also, now you can offer incentives as a value-added component rather than a price manipulation.
- Offer specific benefits: Tell them what’s in it for them. The only thing potential clients want to know is how they will benefit from using your services.
- Have an offer: These same marketing studies regarding headlines also point out that making a compelling offer can increase your response by as much as 400%. The offers you provide set you/your clinic apart from your competition.
- Have a particular incentive: Offer your reader a free booklet, recorded message, or free gift featuring of specific procedures you provide most. This technique creates motivational points for the patients to call now. The idea is that you want to make it irresistible for prospective patients to select your clinic.
- Testimonials: This is one of the most effective advertising strategies, yet it is hardly ever utilized. What satisfied clients say about your business practice is more important than what you say about yourself.
- In your ad, invite new patients to visit your site, include a landing page with a series of short videos (also include on the front page of your website), and show off what others say about you. According to wordstream.com regarding the statistical benefits of video marketing:
- 51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.
- Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users.
- 64% of consumers make a purchase after watching branded social videos (per Tubularinsights.com).
- 59% of executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they are more likely to choose video.
- Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.
- Additionally, testimonials are a well-kept secret resulting in huge profits for advertisers who take advantage of the immense power and credibility that comes with these endorsements.
- Call-to-action: The call-to-action typically appears at the end of an advertisement and is used to compel reader to act immediately. It should instruct patients what steps they should take to purchase your service. Providing a toll-free, recorded message is most effective and non-intimidating (people don’t want to be “pitched”).
Everyone knows what your service consists of and what it involves. If you believe that standing out from the crowd is too daunting or maybe even impossible; then take the advice from competitors in an incredibly crowded field, where huge money prevails and advertising and big promotion is king: the hamburger market. Small entrepreneurs are staking out a beach-head in the specialty burger market.
I have been reading a lot about burger places in greater Minnesota that have introduced the “Juicy Lucy.” This burger is a scrumptious concoction of molten lava of cheese, grilled onions and mushrooms (basically, whatever you want to pack into it), stuffed between two fresh, grass-fed, ground patties, and oozing out with every incredible bite you take. Now, I don’t eat red meat much these days, but this sounds like heaven on earth! More specifically, the big chains can’t compete, and these impresarios are gaining market share and opening new locations! Their creativity inspires, their shared foodie passion resonates and breeds loyalty!
To build a stellar reputation and create a winning ad, you MUST make your practice unique; it MUST stand out from the crowd. The goal is not to do business with everyone who needs what you have; the goal is to do business with those people who believe what you believe.
There’s an inextricable link between communication and leadership; those who lead can clearly communicate what they believe; and those who can clearly communicate what they believe are the ones who lead.
Now, go dominate your marketplace!
Claudio Gormaz, along with business partner Steve Cox, are medical marketing strategists. They have worked with the medical community for over 2 decades. Many prominent practices in the country have benefited from their promotional strategies, developed fruitful and predictable advertising messages, as well as creating solid branding platforms while elevating their resident expert status. They are also highly accomplished business storytellers converting the complex into memorable narratives. They can be contacted via 530-492-9971, StevenVonLoren Marketing Strategists, or their personal emails: [email protected] and [email protected].