The days of the faceless brand are long gone. Today, consumers demand authenticity and expect businesses to be human, especially their doctor or surgeon. Personal connection is a cornerstone to building trust, and trust is what we’re after. To quote Seth Godin, “In a world of zero marginal cost, being trusted is the single most urgent way to build a business.”
Your procedure pages will likely act as the first impression between you and your patient, so start your doctor-patient relationship off on the right foot.
It’s your job to continue to add value by telling your visitors something they don’t already know, and by giving them something they haven’t yet had: a human experience.
Let’s get started.
1. Use the first-person when speaking to your patients
Yes, I’m talking to you, Doc.
In fiction, a first-person narrative is a story in the first-person perspective. It’s a point of view device used so the reader can connect directly with the protagonist. In your case, your visitors are your readers and you are the protagonist. Use the first-person narrative to tell your story directly from the horse’s mouth:
Note: Dr. Rappaport is an IM client
Which would you prefer from your doctor if you were the patient?
Rather than speaking about yourself and your practice, be yourself.
Key Takeaway: Don’t craft your copy as if your patient care coordinator is talking about you in the third person. Take the time to craft compelling content in the first-person, and speak directly to your prospective patients. There are hundreds of choices out there, so be the one that takes the time to write your copy. Your visitors will notice. I promise.
Note: Using the first-person point of view will make your writing sound less objective. Since we’re talking about serious medical procedures, I understand apprehension about your copy sounding too subjective. However, humanizing your brand using the first-person will cultivate a connection without viloating patient autonomy or over-identifying with your patients.
2. Show, Don’t Tell
You’ve heard this phrase time and time again, “Show, don’t tell.” Typically this phrase is beaten into the psyche of a writer searching for their voice in a sea of exposition. Today, I’m going to use it for it’s literal meaning: I want you to show your prospective patients who you are (literally, with photos and videos), rather than tell them.
Show potential patients real photos and videos of real members on your staff and of your patients (just as long as your patients sign a release form consenting to use of their photos/videos first). And avoid using stock imagery at all cost. Too expensive to take HD photos? Think again. A GoPro costs $400 dollars and shoots 4K (the highest consumer camera image quality). And it’s unbelievably easy to use. Can’t afford one? Rent one or borrow one from your neighbor’s kid.
Who would you rather give your money to, Dr. Rahban or Dr. Stock Photography? (p.s. niether of the above examples are IM clients)
Dr. Rahban not only uses photos of his patients, but he provides in depth videos for each procedure.
Key Takeaway: By the time your prospective patients make it to your website, they’re closer to the decision making part of their buyer’s journey (i.e. the end of their journey). The end of their journey signifies that they’re looking to meet the right doctor and practice, not the right stock photography album. So introduce yourself, talk to them in the first-person, show them who you are, and give them what they want.
3. Be Three-Dimensional (Be Human)
One-dimensional brands, like one-dimensional characters in a novel, leave it up to the customer (or reader) to assign meaning to their message and actions. For example, when an author fails to show the reader what motivates the protagonist’s actions, the character just exists, and the reader is left to assign meaning to whatever actions he thinks he should. It’s not until the reader learns the reasons behind the choices of the protagonist that the character starts to develop (character arc).
The same is true for your medical practice.
Without revealing your quirks, tics, mannerisms, and motivations for your choices and behavior, you’ll just exist, and your patients will decide for themselves how much meaning they should assign to your choices. After all, you haven’t demonstrated any character arc, and you haven’t exposed any meaning behind your words.
So how do you infuse character arc and three-dimensionality into your medical practice?
Becoming a three-dimensional brand doesn’t start and stop on your procedure and treatment pages, it’s a long-term process wrought with challenges.
Thankfully, video is an extremely humanizing medium that provides additional information about your personality, character, and sincerity that text just can’t do. I know what you’re thinking, “Video? How do I find time or money to shoot video, let alone the know-how? It’s easy, and I’ll show you how to do it on your own, on a budge, right here.
Simply getting in front of the camera will help your prospective patients better empathize with you and your practice, but here are a three ways you can catapult your practice into the third-dimension directly from your procedure page:
Patient Success Stories
Patient success stories allow you to reveal your methods of practice, your expertise, your decision-making and resolve, and your propensity for patient care. All of which establish you as a human, not a business. Also, it’s always nice when other people vett your skills and character for you.
When sharing answers to frequently asked questions, draw from experience and share past stories. This backstory will humanize your brand by helping your audience understand the reasons for the choices you’ve made in the past and the choices you make now.
These are easy. Pick one tip for every procedure or treatment that you think your patients will value the most (pre or post-op tips usually work best), and then get on camera and shoot a 1-minute video about it. Not only do these videos showcase your knowledge and expertise, but they also demonstrate your passion (a very human characteristic). Passion is the most important characteristic when trying to establish you and your practice as humans that want to give back, rather than a business that wants to take money. Dr. Nassif does a great job executing quick tip videos directly from his computer camera:
Key Takeaway: Remember, your prospective patients are judging you the minute they enter your site, and if you don’t reveal a deeper dimension about yourself, they’ll fabricate their own. Taking a passive approach to characterizing (and humanizing) your brand is leaving the most powerful variable in building a successful practice to chance: how your patients feel about you.
Dr. Rahban clearly hired a professional videographer to shoot his videos, but you don’t need professional video and audio to humanize your practice. Just ask Dr. Nassif. A desktop GoPro setup, or even an HD webcam on the newer Macbook Pro’s will accomplish your goals.
Getting your potential patients to your procedure page is one thing; getting them to pick up the phone and schedule a consultation is another thing entirely.
If you can incorporate at least one of the three tips from above, you’ll be well on your way to building relationships founded on trust. You’ll also convert a lot more visitors into real patients. More importantly, using these methods will help patients empathize with you and your staff without jeapordizing objectivity or projecting your values on them.
- Speak from your perspective, the first-person.
- Show, don’t tell.
- Be Three-Dimensional.
- Provide a human experience.