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Consumers are bombarded with many forms of marketing communications daily. It has become extremely challenging to be able to distinguish between what is real and what isn’t.

Choosing a healthcare provider is even more tenuous. It makes perfect sense why more and more people are trusting their friends and family for referrals. Think about the ads you see on television with actors talking about their depression or bowel disorders and how the new medication they are taking has made their lives so much better. Nice story, but is it real?

Marketing still has a compelling place in healthcare. It has merely evolved and healthcare must change with it to grow. For almost twenty years we’ve been helping medical practices grow. From this experience, we feel that the most critical story a business can tell is that of their customers. The patient story is a powerful content marketing tool that can transform a company from mediocrity to local celebrity. The trick is to identify the stories that have the greatest appeal among target customers. Here are three tips to help determine them in your patient base.

Three Tips for Marketing Using the Patient Story

  1. Be Remarkably Different – Sure, you want more patients, but why should they choose you over the doctor down the street? Are your outcomes better? Does your staff go above and beyond for patients? Identifying that thing that makes you unique or remarkably different will unlock stories that can be used to help prospective patients understand why your practice is the better one for them. Create an editorial calendar that highlights the different high-level stories you want to share, so you don’t lose momentum or great ideas. Then find patients who are willing to share their story and interview them.
  2. Be Memorable – Practically any business can get a story from a happy customer. There is a difference, however, between a happy customer story and a compelling, transformative, and thought-provoking story. This may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. It merely requires a little creativity and outside-of-the-box thinking. What type of information do your patients need to make healthcare decisions that are related to the services offered at your facility? What is their reason for not having the service you are marketing? Figure out the what and counter it through a compelling story.
  3. Be Authentic – People relate to others in similar situations. One client’s patient shared a video that detailed how a service offered at the client’s practice transformed their autistic son’s health. The patient’s mom posted the video on their personal social media channels, and the practice shared it as well. Not just because it was an attaboy kind of story, but because they knew it would help other families in similar situations. It went viral and touched many hearts. People are searching for answers to some pretty important questions. Help identify those stories and share them authentically. Life is sometimes is a struggle. Don’t be afraid to share that struggle in your stories. They make the positive outcome you’re trying to convey more believable and heartwarming.

The patient story can be an extremely effective medical marketing strategy when curated correctly. Engage patients and find out what matters to them. Pay attention to what is being talked about in the media. Take those hot topics and write stories from a patient’s perspective.  When you do, you will realize the real power of the patient story.