First impressions matter; it takes just three seconds for someone to evaluate and form an opinion about something. Potential patients will likely decide how they align with your brand, and therefor if they will trust their vision to your practice, based on the visual appeal of things like your website, Facebook presence, or advertising. This has always been the case, but never more so than for millennials who have grown up being bombarded by instantaneous messages in the digital space.
This means that your marketing materials and messaging can become just as influential as the quality of the patient experience you provide or the skill of your surgeon. If you want prospects to spend time on your website or respond to communications, here are 5 things to keep in mind:
1. Design helps people get a feel for your business
This is never more important than when reaching those who are unfamiliar with your practice. From large noticeable ways to the slightest nuances, the way your brand looks will help people identify values that you share in common. Things to bear in mind:
- Layout: Consider the overall arrangement and placement of text, images and calls to action on your pieces. Is it organized and appealing at a quick glance? Make sure that it aligns with how you want to be seen, whether that is traditional or modern, serious or fun.
- Colors: Convey messages and emotions subtly. You want the colors you use to compliment your brand, but also what those colors represent. Red would be wise to stay away from, as it implies emergency or blood.
- Images: What mood do your image choices express? Your audience will immediately, if subconsciously, pick up on that and equate it with what you can help them feel, so focus on happy outcomes over current frustrations and make sure the people featured represent the demographic you are targeting.
2. Branding will help people remember your business
A strong brand image can help tie all your customer-facing aspects together to form a strong, layered identity.
- Language: Is your messaging and the means by which you communicate working for you? Is everyone in your office and are all of your materials using language consistently? Having a unified script will help highlight your brand.
- Design: Consider what your patients will see, and when, as well as how they will interact with it. For instance, is your color scheme evident in all of your materials as well as your physical office space?
- Emotion: People always remember how you made them feel. So consider how your waiting space makes your visitors feel, how welcoming the patient experience is, and what emotions can be perceived in the images and colors used in your materials.
3. Being different will make you stand out
Set yourself apart from your competition instead of trying to beat them at their own game.
- Distinguishers: Focus on what really sets you apart, whether that is surgical outcomes or your familial environment, the price you offer or any other number of factors.
- Methods: How you communicate is just as important as what you say, so take the time to think about the manner in which you are sharing your message.
- Creativity: Identify the ways that your practice is unique and don’t be afraid to stand out. Just because “it’s the way things have always been done” doesn’t mean it is the right way, so push the envelope a little.
4. Spend a little time & money up front to save resources
If you don’t dedicate some time and money to focus on ALL of your marketing efforts now, you likely will eventually. Getting everything aligned at the same time will help you be more efficient in that process.
- Budget: Paying for the creation of strong marketing materials once costs less than paying multiple times for subpar efforts.
- Education: Get your whole team on board with a unified script and brand culture, and then take the time to hone that.
- Consistency: Changing your materials, branding, messaging or methods too often can cause brand confusion. So do it once, be sure you like it and stick with it.
5. Marketing makes the sale
Effective marketing tools should help entice and persuade, not just look good.
- Call to Action: The words you use and their placement on the screen or page can make all the difference.
- Mediums: Reaching your prospective patients where they are already will help them relate to your practice. Yes, you should have an online presence, but you should also consider with which sites your brand shares common interest and audiences.
- Be Brave: With marketing, especially with new tactics, you have to sort of throw things up against the wall to see what sticks. Don’t be afraid to fail in the quest for what works.
Your marketing efforts are the first way that your practice influences your prospective patient base. If you commit to a strategy with a strong identity that speaks to your target audience, your practice will reap the benefits.
– By Rachel Rickert, Creative Marketing Manager for Sightpath Medical
If rethinking your strategy and evaluating your materials is more than you want to take on, Contact us today for more information on our comprehensive marketing solutions. All Sightpath Medical customers receive access to a a full range of practice-building resources. From staff training and sample forms, to video tutorials and monthly webinars, we are here to help. Customers, click to access our Customer Resource library. Additionally, Sightpath Marketing Services can help create interactions and energize a referral network to drive procedures, with ongoing practice development support on a variety of levels. Sightpath Marketing Services would be glad to help assess, create and deploy messages for you all year long. Learn more about Sightpath Marketing Services.