Have you heard of this?
It surfaced in January when the impending 2014 Winter Olympics and the “selfie” trend of taking a photo of yourself, inspired a new social media trend. A competition called “Selfie Olympics”, people are competing with each other to see who can post the most outrageous “selfie” online.
Why are selfies such a big trend? Professor Cary Cooper at Lancaster University says, “Selfies are a modern day form of communication but one of the motives for doing this is because people are showing off.”
Another article says that people who post a lot of selfies are “self-absorbed.”
I imagine that most people don’t like being thought of, let alone labelled as “self-absorbed.” However, there is something many businesses, especially professional practices, are guilty of in their promotions, websites, and advertising that makes them appear just that.
In fact, this is one of the biggest mistakes that the majority of professional practices..such as attorneys, chiropractors, dentists, financial advisors, health care specialists, etc. make…and most don’t even realize it.
What’s worse, much like the “Selfie Olympics”, many professional practices try to out-do their competitors.
This occurs mostly because they are copying what other professional practices do. Plus, I believe professionals experience some confusion when reviewing advertising ethics that different organizations direct towards their professional practices.
What is this big mistake? Their copy is company-centric instead of patient or client-centric.
What I mean by “company-centric” is that the ad or webpage, etc. is all about the professional provider when it should be “patient or client-centric” or all about the consumer.
You see, truth be told, your patients and clients aren’t really concerned about your credentials and accolades. They want to know what you can do for them. They want to know… can you really help them…can you solve their problems… and give them what they want and need?
In other words, your ad should be about them—not you.
For example, the following is typical copy found on a professional provider’s website: “Founded in 2001, we are the area’s leading provider of routine dental care and high-quality cosmetic options. We feature the very latest technology and state-of-the-art dentistry equipment with our only goal being to create beautiful, healthy smiles.”
Can you see how it’s focused on the provider?
Change this to be about patient and your copy might say: “You’ll get the smile you’ve always wanted with the most comfortable and state-of-the-art technology available.”
Here are three ways you can make your professional practice advertising more patient-centric or client-centric:
1) Highlight the benefits. When designing your ad, make your headline benefit-oriented and include all the benefits your prospective patient or client can get by using your services.
2) Strengthen your ad with patient or client stories. In professional advertising, ethics guidelines talk a lot about truth and trust in advertising. Trust is important because people are skeptics.
One of the best, most effective ways to build trust and strengthen your advertising claim is to let your patients or clients do the talking for you.
This is because a patient’s story is much more believable than what you can say about yourself. And…it won’t make you look self-absorbed. Plus, not only do people love stories, but your patient or client success stories help differentiate you and break through the constant barrage of marketing messages they see.
Imagine reading a statement like this: “Over the years my dentist has helped me overcome my fear of going to the dentist by being very patient with me and using break-through technology. Now, I finally have the smile I’ve always wanted.”
To strengthen your testimonial story even further,
- Ask patients or clients who match your ideal target audience. The more these people resonate with your ideal target market, the more your ideal prospects can relate. Look for people whose occupation, age and other demographics line up.
- Ask your patient or client if you can use their picture. Including a picture, especially when the demographics line up, will help your ideal prospect identify with you even further.
- Include pertinent details. Of course you’ll want to include your patient or client’s first and last name. Also, when possible, include their age and occupation too. This will make the testimonial more believable, further reflect matches and can even build credibility. For instance, if your target audience includes military personnel then adding the terms “veteran” or “military officer” could help strengthen trust.
Offer them choices. Let your patient or client be the one to decide how they to respond by giving them choices. (Tweet this!) For example, you might offer a web form, a phone number to call you directly and a click to call button which allows them to enter their phone number and have you call them. To help guide which method they use, promote your preferred method first.
When promoting and advertising your professional practice, you may feel compelled to do what everyone else is doing and talk about yourself and your credentials. In fact, your credentials may be more impressive than any of your competitors, however, when you focus your ads on your patient or client, instead of yourself you’ll be one step ahead regardless of your credentials and closer to creating explosive growth for your practice too.
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