What is a ‘brand’, and why should a doctor have to brand themselves?
As defined by the American Marketing Association
, a ‘brand’ is “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers”.
Branding is what makes a patient choose you. In all likelihood, there are other practices in the area that take the same insurance, have similar price-points and financing options, and offer similar services to yours. So, what makes you any different than Dr. Joe Schmo a few blocks away? Despite a strong conviction that your practice is absolutely the better choice for patients, it’s up to you to make sure that this is the impression your community has of the practice as well.
This is why you need to be concerned about branding yourself and your practice. It’s time to think about what your brand is, how you convey your brand to others, and what tools you’re utilizing to ensure that your brand is reflected positively in front of your audience.
Who are you?
The most important part of building a brand
is identifying your story. Who are you? Who is your target customer? What problem are you solving for your client base, and why are they interested in your business? The first step to building a successful brand is getting in tune with who you are and what your business exists to do, as well as for whom.
It is also important to identify your brand personality. Choose what you would like to sound like to the consumer and stick with it. For example, would you like to be witty and funny, compassionate and caring, or keep a serious, straightforward tone? It’s important to keep your ideal consumer in mind, and consider what they identify most with.
Remember, the goal is to be unique, and find the thing that makes you different from your competition.
Finally, to keep your brand consistent, a practice must identify visual assets - colors, logos, fonts, etc. that are intended to visually represent your brand and become a part of your identity. Think about Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, or Starbucks - these big brands have colors and images we closely identify with their marketing, persona, and message.
The Branding Tools You Should Be Utilizing to Stand Out
Your Practice Website
Did you see that one coming? Your website is like curb-appeal for the new age: it’s the first thing most potential patients see before coming to your practice. Websites provide an incredible opportunity for branding both visually and for identifying your message to patients.
Glacial Multimedia has made some incredible custom website designs for clients that stand out not only because of the work put in from our designers and coders, but because the practice we were working with had a strong vision of their brand - their target audience, voice, message, color scheme, and community.
Crucial things to consider are:
Is your site outdated? If a picture says a thousand words, a website can say a million. An outdated website can say, ‘We aren’t up to industry technology standards’. It’s a harsh truth, but technology develops fast - and in the medical industry patients are expecting top-of-the-line tech, even on the website.
Does my site feature my target audience? Make sure the imagery used on the website is relatable to your audience.
How is my content? If your content does not answer the questions you hear most from your patients, consider re-writing or contracting a third party to update for you. It’s also important to write content in layman’s terms, as not everyone can identify with highly technical verbiage.
And, again, does the content show what makes you better, different, friendlier, or more effective than your competition?
Does my site offer a sneak peak into the ‘in-office’ experience? Successful ways of doing this are adding blog articles and news updates on office activities, ditching stock photography and hiring a professional to take photos of your office and staff, or including a professional video promoting your office, team, or interviews with your staff or patients (with their consent, of course!)
Social Media offers an abundance of ways to interact with your target audience. It’s important to develop a content schedule that fits your practice services, audience, and target tone. You can share photos of your staff interacting with one another or the community, and shed light on what it looks like to be a patient at your practice. Key social media profiles to use are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We recommend a posting schedule of at least two posts per week, and be sure to share your blog articles on social, as well!
Social media outlets like Facebook also offer paid advertising, which is great for branding and name recognition. It’s important to keep the look and feel of your ads consistent, so patients can quickly identify who the message is coming from and become more acclimated to your brand.
It’s also important to update your ads regularly to keep users interested and engaged. Methods like Facebook Advertising have a low cost per click, so it’s easy to get lots of engagement and recognition on a tight budget.
Facebook Live gives users the opportunity to provide a live feed to their audience. When used in a business setting, Facebook Live is a great branding tool for multiple reasons. It allows a raw viewing experience for your followers, and gives practices the opportunity to engage with viewers in real-time by responding to questions and comments (“Thanks for joining us, Mary! And great question - the procedure is 100% blade-free!”).
Well planned Facebook live experiences are educational, and a great way to show off your brand and personality.
Similar to Facebook advertising, Display Marketing operates on a relatively small budget with a low cost per click. Ads can be designed to show up throughout Google’s display network, and the ads can be set to target what you have identified as your ideal audience using variables like location, age, gender, interests, etc.
Youtube Video Ads (Pre-Roll)
Have you ever gone to Youtube to watch a video, and found that there is an advertisement that plays prior to your content being shown? This is Youtube Pre-Roll advertising, and it is a highly effective method of branding to your target audience.
For example, in March of 2017 we ran a pre-roll campaign advertising the Raindrop Near Vision Inlay - and the results were outstanding for the budget! In a one-month span, the pre-roll ad received 10,000 views and cost only $200! If you’ve had a professional video made for the practice you’d love to share with the world, this is a great way to do so.
Geofencing is a service that allows targeting of mobile devices based on location. Our specialists are able to pick a longitude and latitude, and serve ads to individuals who enter this invisible “fence”.
This is great for using on locations like stadiums (concerts and sporting events), businesses like the local gym or mall, or events like a road race or marathon! Anywhere people gather that fit your geographic range and target audience is perfect for this tool, which allows you to reach a greater audience.
Retargeting is a low-cost and low risk crowd favorite! Retargeting involves sending ads to users that have visited your website or landing page. This way, you are able to re-engage users that have previously shown interest in your business or brand, and continue top-of-mind awareness.
If you work with or for a practice that is interested in cultivating a positive reputation, being recognized in their community, and gaining more patients over time than your competitors, reach out to your account manager (or contact Glacial Multimedia if you are not yet a client), and we can work with you to achieve your practice goals.
Remember: there are always other medical practices. What are you doing to stand out from the crowd?