Letters to Sterling: The Hero of Your Practice Is the Patient
To My Readers,
I’ve been called mom by more than just my sons. Throughout their lives their friends called and still call me Momma Crowe*. So, when I met Sterling, a young physician starting out in Beverly Hills, and he asked me to give him advice like I would give to my sons, I knew I wanted to help. This is my first “Letter to Sterling”.
Good morning Sterling,
Today we will be exploring three out-of-the-box approaches to reviews.
- Write on The Wall
- Website Review Page That’s About Them
- Bee My Honey & Leave a Review
Write on the Wall
The hero of your practice is the patient. You are the guide in their life story. Remember the reason they come to you is to make their lives better. Focus on them and your life is rewarded.
Patients like to know that they are in good hands. This is minimal-cost, fun and genuine way to let them know that you have helped others reach their beauty goals. Dedicate a wall in your practice to motivational sayings and autographs. Take a photo of the patient in front of it after they signed and email it to them. It’s a great story for sharing 😀
A Website Review Page That’s About Them
Make this page about them. The reason they leave a review is to help other people who want to have procedures by you, not to feed your ego 🙂 Use your testimonial wall as a masthead and include patient videos. Yes, provide links where they can easily go to Yelp, Rate MD, Google etc, but be sure to included them on your site. Remember you own the content on your own site NOT the review sites. Build equity in your own practice first.
Bee My Honey & Leave a Review
I taught my sons early on that it helps to give a simple gift when you ask for something. Just ask my son TK the next time you call in. Get mom in a good mood and she’s more likely to say yes.
Give your patient a honey stick, then ask for a review. A honey stick is a surprise shot of sweetness. Try it, watch your patient light up with a smile and say “Yes, I can leave a review for you!”
Remember: reviews are just one piece of your marketing efforts. To make them the most effective you need a strategic plan first. Let’s talk more about this during our next phone call.
You have all you need to be successful. So listen to your heart and do not follow the herd. Remember to live from your strength, not your fears.
AKA “Momma Crowe”
The year was 1999 and Dr. Barry Boyd became my first plastic surgery client. So I went to the library to see what books I could find on plastic surgery. Orlando Public library. At that time there were just 11 books total. I walked out with that stack of books and read them each cover to cover. It was kind of a magical time for plastic surgery. Before TV shows and celebrity stars other than Joan Rivers, that even admitted they had it done.
There was nothing on the internet then; especially not before and after photos. Before and after photos were shown in the practice not the internet. It was usually the patient-to-be sitting with the doctor’s wife or nurse talking about the before and afters. Most often, the story of the patient behind the before and afters was talked about as they went through the photo albums.
As physicians, and those who work with physicians, we are taught to be clinical, unemotional, and science based. But, as human beings we are indeed emotional. In fact, quoting Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, “… 90% of any decision is emotional.”
We have been taught to take clinical photos and use them in our marketing. I pose the question, just how well is that working, and could we achieve better communication and expectations by telling stories?
As human-beings, we are drawn to storytelling. The basic plot of storytelling is… a character (Luke Skywalker) meets a guide (Yoda) that helps creates a plan of action that allows the character to avoid failure and enjoy success.
Take a look at this set of before and afters. Our mind can’t help but to try to fill in the in-between. Puppy was found abandoned on the sidewalk. Adopted by a wonderful family. It just feels good and you want to read more.
Before and after photos can build confidence. I have an employee who had her baby prematurely. It was their first child. To have a first baby is quite the deal but to have it 7 weeks early can be a bit to handle. The neonatal wing of the hospital knew the power of storytelling and lined the halls with positive reinforcement of premature babies who grew up to live wonderful lives.
Today, before and after galleries are the most visited pages of practically every website. Most of these galleries focus on clinical photos, case descriptions and what Google uses to rank pages. This is all good but what about the patient experience?
I’m a practical person, who wants to make the maximum use of my time and money so here are a few ideas to use in your marketing and start telling stories that patients relate to.
In this example, I’ve used a couple of photos that have been creatively composed with a couple of words from the patient and a pretty, fully dressed mommy and child snapshot.
Here’s another creative twist any practice can do. Use a chalkboard, draw a cute before illustration on it then take the patient’s photo in everyday clothes in front of it.
We wear clothes most of the time. It’s nice to look great naked but it’s great to look and feel sexy, confident and attractive in clothes. Perhaps they’ve been in a wedding or attended a special event where a professional photographer took some photos they’d like to share with you. Just like asking for a review, ask your patients to send you their after photos. Don’t be afraid to ask.
For showing clinical photos in the practice, I recommend using BRAG book on an iPad or tablet. With the pinch and zoom feature, the viewer can easily see fine lines and faded scars. Being able to hold the gallery in their lap and sit next to them as you talk about what the patient wants to achieve helps set expectations and gain trust.
Most often “walk through” patients are forgotten. The ones who physically visit your practice. These are the most important of all because they are the most interested in what you have to offer them. Even just a fleeting glance at the right time has influence. Digital signage (Advantage Play link) on a TV can educate and provoke thoughtful interactions between the patient and staff.
You make people’s lives better by helping them feel better about themselves. Before and after stories are your proof. Storytelling is the way to help your patients.
Would you like to know more?
Register for a webinar with Candace Crowe on this topic. The FFAS Webinar Wednesday will take place on August 15, 2 – 3 pm EDT. The webinar will also feature Jonathan Kaplan, MD, and Catherine Maley, MBA.
Reviews are important but asking can be uncomfortable. So, I thought how can we make it a sweet experience? This is what I came up with… the Honey Stick review 🍯🍯🍯🐝
Sweet and Simple
The Honey Stick helps turn what can be an awkward experience into a positive and fun treat for the patient. Instead of directly asking them for something, you are giving the patient a reward. Not only is the Honey Stick a sweet surprise, it’ll give them a nostalgic experience, like when they were a kid, getting a lolly pop at the end of an appointment. While the Honey Stick is healthier, and more grown up, it is still a great treat, and most importantly, the surprise gives the recipient a pop of serotonin. The patient will feel great, and remember that feeling, making it more likely that they will follow the instructions on the card attached to the stick.
You can put a request to go to a review site, like “Leave us a review on Google” or “Share your experience on RealSelf”. Or you can send them to a landing page on your site with links to review sites. This helps ensure that they go to the right place, and it allows you to easily rotate where your patients are instructed to leave reviews. Rotating out the links ensures that you don’t end up with a ton of reviews on just one site and you’ll have a presence across all types of review sites, creating the best opportunity to develop new leads.
Let me know what you think and if you’d like to make an order 🙂
We are told over and over we need better content to rank higher. It just doesn’t feel right. After all, how much better can the content of one plastic surgeon’s page on breast augmentation possibly be when compared another’s? The classic example is two surgeons in one metropolitan area with the same procedures, same mobile-friendly design, same number of years in business. The only difference is difference in search rank. If the content on both is reasonably good, the difference maker is probably the backlinks.
Backlinks, or in-bound links, are links to your website found on someone else’s website. This is a backlink to Google. The more links you have pointing to your site, the better your rank. It indicates to Google that your answers are good because all these other people link to your website.
The list of professional organizations and reputable business listings where you or your SEO company can easily get worthwhile backlinks is not long. Google will penalize sites that have too many low-quality inbound links. Don’t buy backlinks. What Google wants to see are natural links.
You can get natural backlinks by working your personal and professional networks. Propose to exchange links: you put a link to their site on yours, they put a link to your site on theirs. Ask friends, family, out-of-market colleagues, mentors, fellow chamber of commerce members. Be sure to ask stylists, personal trainers and physical therapists that you recommend or work with regularly.
Call us. We’ll help you make a plan and you’ll win the day with backlinks.
We’ve recently added new video content to the Advantage Play Dashboard. Current Advantage Play users have access to this content at no additional charge.
The new videos mirror our library of MarketME Social Videos. Stylistically, they are different than the TunedIN procedure videos, though there is some carry over in procedures between the two. We recommend picking some of both the MarketME Social and TunedIN videos in order to mix up the style of your video presentation.
We also have quite a few new ad templates in development and we’ll let users know when they’ve been uploaded.
We aim to produce about 5-10 new procedure videos a month and at least that many new Ad Templates. Have a procedure you want a video for? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get it on the production board.
As we’ve said before, video needs to be a part of your digital marketing strategy. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that YouTube has surpassed 1 billion hours of videos viewed per day. This represents a ten fold increase since 2012. Back in 2012, projections estimated that they would only reach 400 million hours viewed per day. Even more astonishing is the amount of videos uploaded per minute to YouTube. About 400 hours worth of video is uploaded to YouTube per minute, equaling 65 years of video per day.
YouTube was able to increase viewership hours by creating and modifying their algorithms. Through machine learning they’re able to decipher between single interest videos and actual user preferences towards videos. YouTube has teamed up with Google Brain, allowing them to better understand the content of videos, and which users are going to like them.
To say that YouTube was able to achieve such amazing results from their updated algorithms alone would be misleading. YouTube benefits from being owned by Alphabet, Inc. the parent company of Google. According to the StatCounter, Google accounts for 93% of internet searches. Google also embeds YouTube videos into search results. It also pre-installs the YouTube app on all Android devices. Android devices account for 88% of smartphones.
Still, the increase in viewing hours may not be pushing profits higher. The last time financials were reported was 2014, when YouTube revenue was around $4 billion, and people familiar with YouTube’s financials stated that they were roughly breaking even. Since YouTube is owned by Alphabet, they’re in the lucky position where they don’t need to worry about making a profit, and like most tech companies, they can focus solely on growth.
All this serves as further evidence that incorporating video should play a big part of your overall digital marketing strategy. We’ve worked with and witnessed numerous practices that are able to do it effectively. Interested in how you can? Give us a call.
I believe so strongly in e-mail marketing. There is no other medium that allows you to directly stay in touch with your biggest fans. When done consistently and effectively, you can truly drive sales through your e-mail campaigns. E-mail marketing also offers protection. Google may change their ranking metrics for your website, causing you to fall in rankings, but having a strong relationship with your e-mail list offsets those uncertainties. To help craft better e-mail campaigns, read the tips below.
10 Tips for More Effective E-Mail Campaigns
- Before you send any email campaign, ask yourself “Is this going to strengthen my relationship with my email list?” E-mail marketing is about building relationships. You need to be adding value to the reader on a regular basis, in order for the more sales geared emails to work.
- People hate to be sold, but they love to buy. Make your emails sound like you’re talking to a friend. Write about things you honestly believe that will make their lives better. Give people the opportunity to buy.
- Make interaction a priority. Interaction builds relationships. Allow for your readers to respond directly to you. Ask them to even. It will make them invested and will help you understand and better serve your readers.
- Share personal stories. You need to get comfortable sharing things about yourself. If your readers don’t know anything about you, they’re not going to know anything about your brand. People buy from people they like. Sharing personal stories helps people connect to you and your brand.
- Instead of simply asking people to “Sign up for your e-newsletter,” tell them what they’ll receive. For example, “Do you want to get health and beauty tips, learn more about our practice and doctor, and receive special email only promotions? Sign up!” This helps show people the value you’re going to add to their lives.
- Imagine what your ideal patient is like. Try to write directly to them. The more you can connect on a personal level, the more effective and successful your campaigns will be.
- Always have a goal for your emails. Whether it’s a special offer, an event invitation, or a call to action, goals are measurable. And measurement leads to success. As Karl Pearson said, “That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.”
- When asking people to make a purchase or sign up for an event, tell them why. For example, “We believe so strongly in helping our patients achieve their body transformation goals, we’re offering ‘xxx procedure’ for a special savings during the month of May.”
- Craft a great subject line. Some of the best appeal to reader’s self-interests. For example, “Ready for your best beach body yet? Here are 5 tips!” This tells the reader explicitly the benefit they will get from opening your email.
- Remember, there needs to be an appropriate mix of adding value vs driving sales. If you’re only sending out messages when you want to drive sales, your results won’t be great. If you’re able to consistently add value to your readers’ lives, your sales emails will be vastly more effective.
If you’d like to discuss email marketing feel free to reach out to me.
PS. If you’ve found something that works for your email campaigns, let us know in the comments.
As we stated a year ago, video will continue to be a huge part of marketing efforts in 2017. Today, I’d like to share some of the top Holiday Advertising campaigns and some of the things your brand can take away from them. The videos were from an Ad Age Article about Christmas Campaigns in the UK.
Buster the Boxer: John Lewis is a UK Department store. The success of this ad relies on its emotional connection with the viewer. I think everyone can relate to Buster, getting left out of some activity at one point or another. Or the excitement of getting that one gift that they wanted. The key take away here is to make, not only give your videos and emotional connection, but all of your marketing.
It’s not just a gift. It’s the Possibility: Samsung did a great job of marketing what people actually do with the products they sell. I think this ties in well with the aesthetic patient. Patients don’t get aesthetic surgery so they can stare at themselves in the mirror, though I’m sure that’s one of the bonuses. Patients get procedures so they can look good at their wedding, at their high school reunion, or even to just to push their kids around the park in the stroller. Sell your patients the idea of how they’ll feel with the procedure. There is definitely an emotional component to this ad too.
English for beginners: This one wasn’t on the Ad Age list, but I thought it was good enough to include. It’s a polish commercial about a grandfather that learns English so that he can visit his granddaughter over the holidays and speak to her. It’s very touching (emotional connection) and I think everyone can relate to visiting a loved one over the holidays.
The common theme throughout these videos is that they connect the brand to the viewer emotionally. It’s like Coke selling happiness. In 2017, I really want to push you to tell your brand’s story emotionally. Tell your audience what your services well help them do in their personal lives. Don’t just sell a procedure, sell the feeling. The younger smoother smile in the mirror sells the facelift just as pulling jeans smoothly over the thighs sells Coolsculpting. The practice that understands this will get the booking. Enhance your marketing with the emotional connection.