Musings on Medical Marketing #2
Updated: Mar 25
Let me set the scene. I've just sat down for what is to be a delicious meal. I open up Instagram to provide myself with some mid-meal entertainment and whilst scrolling, I am slogged with a sight so ghastly that I am immediately put off my meal (it takes a lot to diminish my appetite). The image in question uploaded by my local dentist in an attempt to market his services was what I can only describe as a fleshy, blood-filled void in someone's face. Now for all the practitioners out there, you can call me soft, but you have to remember that I represent your larger target market. It's marketing mistakes such as this that can detract from your practice's success, specifically in engaging existing or potential patients. In this blog post, I will cover a couple of basic marketing principles to assist you in effectively marketing your practice.
Before I begin, I'd like to provide a disclaimer that I will not be providing advice as to the appropriate content as governed by the AHPRA Guidelines and would advise consulting the guidelines before all marketing efforts.
Marketing to Children
For some reading the above title would cause alarm bells to ring. However, please let me explain before you call your local newspaper with a story relating to an immoral marketer. Certain industries thrive on more uncomplicated communication strategies that are so easy to comprehend; children could understand them. When you think of young children, you think of maximum imagery and minimal text. In a medical context, what this means is before and after shots for dentists and other visual aids, that in my opinion will always trump text-heavy social media. Remember, next time you plan a social media communication, if it reads like an encyclopedia, you're probably going to lose your audience's attention.
Keep it PG, Keep it Positive
This section leads back to my point in the introduction. Plainly put, the face hole is a big no-no and a big no-go for your practice's marketing. Put yourself in your target market's shoes and ask these fundamental questions, is it graphic in any way and is it likely to offend? If either question can be answered with a yes, there is a higher than likely chance that your marketing efforts will be met with adverse outcomes such as being reported and therefore taken down, or even worse, receive very negative and very public feedback, which damages the practice's reputation. Overall, I would urge you to consider your social media communications' efficacy and effect upon your target market because getting it wrong can have drastic consequences.
Another big no-go in marketing (in the majority of circumstances) is marketing using a negative message. I spoke to a dietitian about how he markets himself, given that many of the people he sees are often in dire straits, struggling to control conditions such as diabetes or obesity. He said he focuses on the positive messages in what they can do instead of highlighting the often severe nature of their condition, which often deters the patients from seeking his services. The marketing of positive messages should be no different from marketing your practices, where a positive message such as "flu shots are available" will be a lot more successful than "you might die if you don't get your flu shot".
Your practice's success relies on you communicating the right message in the right way to the right audience. This is often a balancing act that can be a stressful and frustrating process; however, what I advise to practitioners is to take a step back and step into the shoes of the target audience and consider who they are, what makes them tick and what has the potential to make them nauseous during dinner time.