Many different types of businesses use storytelling in their marketing since stories resonate with people so strongly. People can identify with stories, allowing them to see how a particular product or service might help them.
You can apply this strategy to your practice’s marketing efforts. Storytelling can help your practice establish a greater connection with patients. Focusing on your practice’s specialties and qualifications is great, but putting that into the context of the patient’s healthcare journey can be really powerful.
Patients want to know that your practice is qualified to help, but more than that, they want to be able to envision what the end result of treatment might be like. This is where storytelling is really helpful.
How do you tell the story of patient care at your practice? The right imagery, content, and patient stories are critical. Let’s look at how each of these things help you tell the story of your practice.
A lot of practice marketing content focuses on physician experience, pathologies, and procedures. While it is important to convey your expertise and treatment options to patients, that isn’t usually the primary factor for patients when choosing a practice. Generally speaking, there are probably other practices who offer the same treatment options and level of experience as your practice. These factors, while important, are usually not what sets your practice apart.
The problem with a lot of medical practice marketing content is that there is not enough focus on the patient. If you want to effectively tell the story of patient care at your practice, patients have to be at the center of your content marketing efforts. Patients want to feel that your practice understands what they are going through and will work to make it better.
For example, let’s look at the following two statements. They essentially say the same thing, but convey the information differently.
Option A: “At Anytown Orthopedics, we offer treatment options like hip replacements for arthritis pain.”
Option B: “Hip arthritis can prevent you from participating in your favorite activities. With the right treatment, you can get back to doing the things you love. Our specialists at Anytown Orthopedics are committed to helping you with treatment options like hip replacement surgery.”
Option A gets right to the point, but Option B evokes an emotional appeal. It shows patients that you understand what they are going through, and that you can help them achieve the results they want. It helps them understand what they can expect from your practice beyond the treatment itself. That is how you set your practice apart from others. Put patient concerns, wants, and needs in the forefront of your content, and you will be able to tell the story of care at your practice.
Patient testimonials lend credibility to the story you are telling. It’s much more impactful when you can back up your story with real-life examples. This helps patients visualize the end result of treatment. It’s one thing to tell patients how you help, but it’s quite another to show them.
If you don’t have any testimonials for your practice, gathering them is usually quite easy. When patients are satisfied with the care they have received and the result of that care, most are more than happy to submit a testimonial. Usually, all you have to do is ask. Just don’t be overly pushy when you ask. Try saying something like, “I’m thrilled that you are happy with the results of your treatment. Would you mind submitting a testimonial to share your experience with others? I think that many patients could identify with what you have gone through.”
You might consider adding a testimonial submission functionality to your website to make it easy for patients to submit testimonials and photos. However, you should also try to take quotes and images from testimonials and work them into the content throughout your website and marketing materials (just make sure you’ve obtained the proper permissions from patients to do so). These quotes help to reinforce the story you are telling to patients.
The imagery in your marketing materials, including your website, ads, etc., should serve to illustrate the story you are telling. To really be effective, images should primarily depict the ideal end result of treatment: happy, healthy patients participating in their favorite activities.
For a sports medicine practice, this might include images of athletes in action during a game. For an orthopedic practice with older patients, imagery might include an older person going on a walk or working in his or her garden. Your target patient base should be able to identify with your imagery because it depicts what they want to achieve with medical treatment.
Patient photos can also be very helpful in telling your practice’s story, particularly photos that depict the “after” result of treatment. You will, of course, need to obtain patients’ permission to use their photos, but happy patients are often willing to share their results with others. You can offer options to preserve privacy, like not showing a patient’s face, if that is a concern. If a patient is willing, video testimonials are also a great way to combine testimonials and imagery.
The most important part of using storytelling is putting the patient at the center of the story. Once you’ve figured out your patients’ wants, needs, and concerns, you can effectively tell the story of how your practice can help.