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Your brand speaks volumes about your practice, even before a patient walks through the door. It’s often their first and lasting impression, so make sure you boost your brand and deliver the message you intend in the proper fashion:
By answering these questions and more, you’ll be able to create a consistent brand image designed to attract the clientele best suited for the services you provide.
Sometimes we forget to take a step back by viewing our practice from our patients’ perspective. It’s important to understand why they choose your practice — they may be for different reasons than you think.
Once you identify your differentiating factors, you can wrap them into a brand image that everyone in your practice can proudly stand behind. You can start right now by doing an honest brand inventory of where you stand in the industry. Then, check back in annually to see if you’re still on track. There’s no need to get caught up in the details — just keep it simple and imagine your business as a person.
“Who are you as a company?” — Your business is your baby with its own personality and strengths, so identify how it can best succeed and blossom. Maybe you’re tops in medical technology. Or your practice is known for its expertise in a particular field. Maybe your patients applaud your customer service. You probably have a good idea instinctually, but by listing out each of your practice’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (S.W.O.T.) you’ll have a clear understanding of your company’s mojo.
“What value do you offer to your clientele?” — Next, list out each of the services you offer and the value they provide. While the value may seem obvious, you may not be viewing your offerings from your patients’ perspectives. The value you provide is not what you sell — but instead, it is what your clientele gets from what you sell. The value of a Lamborghini is arguably not a list of features (e.g., a V-10 engine, carbon ceramic breaks, 0-60 in 3.2 seconds …) but the value each feature provides: “look cool/affluent/younger,” “go fast,” “be the only guy on the block with one.” Likewise, the value you provide your patients is not a list of your services, but the benefits of those services. Things like “comfort, mobility, relief, increased activity…” To determine value, remember the formula: I sell/provide (service) so that you can (value: live longer/feel better/feel confident with expert care etc).
“What’s your unique selling proposition (USP)?” — Take a moment to think about what makes your clinic better than your competitors. Most likely, there are specific things that differentiate your offerings. Think about what makes your practice unique and stand out in the market. Knowing what unique value they offer will help determine your practice’s USP, which you can then build consistent messaging around to boost your brand. For example, Lamborghini’s unique selling proposition (USP) is: “Lamborghini cars have superior handling and performance.” In the health care industry, yours may be something like “We provide the widest variety of highly specialized providers” or “Affordable, quality care” or “Flexible appointments, on your time.”
Once you know your practice’s strengths (let’s say, “technology and expertise”) and weaknesses (let’s say, “location or price”), you’ll then want to identify the patients you are most likely to best serve. The better you know their wants and needs, the more relevant you can make your messaging. A good exercise is to create what is called a customer/patient persona — a fictitious overview of your ideal patient. It generally includes the following:
Demographics: Include age, gender, social status, education and attitudes. Consider their general health, activities, values, needs, interests, opinions and where are they located.
Key customers: Identify customers whose satisfaction is key to the success of your practice. Decide how you will target your services to them, what media they consume, and the best way to reach them.
Relationship management: Think about what is currently working in your relationships with your clientele and any opportunities for improvement. Consider techniques to use and how to continue to best serve your patients.
You may already have a brand identity for your practice that you’d like to refresh. Or you may want to give it a complete overhaul.
Either way, start by focusing on the three elements that comprise your brand: your brand Promise, Positioning and Performance:
Here’s how to create your unique look and feel to boost your brand, including your brand voice:
Pick a color that sends the right message — The visual image your practice communicates could be sending the wrong message, so be sure to choose your color palette wisely. Blue is often identified with security, productivity and efficiency while green signals cleanliness, freshness and renewed energy. Orange and yellow are fun and cheerful, while pink is soft and brown is earthy. Narrow your practice’s color palette to one primary color, with one or two secondary colors. Know the color code numbers and use them consistently.
Choose a font, logo and images — Likewise, your font choice sends a message about your style. Serif fonts connote respect, tradition and elegance, while sans serif fonts evoke feelings of strength, stability and progress. Select primary and secondary fonts that complement each other. Your logo design and other imagery should feel as though they’re part of the family. Incorporate fonts and colors into your final logo. When creating photography, illustrations or other artwork, be consistent with the style you wish to project.
Write a tagline and style guide for a consistent brand voice — Words are powerful. Craft your brand promise into a short, quippy tagline to use in all your practice’s marketing materials. Write down ways of expressing your services and the value they deliver so everyone at your practice can express your services the same way. Will you use serial commas in sentences? Initial caps or upper and lowercase in headlines? Will you provide “healthcare” or “health care”? Every practice does things a bit differently. Create a verbal style guide for consistent spelling, grammar and punctuation to make everything related to your practice consistent across all channels.
The elements of your brand should touch every aspect of your practice. Corporate materials such as signage, uniforms, stationery, invoices, templates, receipts and email signatures should all incorporate your brand’s colors, fonts, logo, language and tagline.
The same goes for your practice’s website, social media channels, advertising, promotions and merchandising. Something as simple as a pen with your logo can serve as a future reminder for your patients to plan a follow-up visit.
Here are ways to get your branding out into the world:
Optimize your website: Potential patients are searching for your services, so make sure your website can get found. In addition to giving your website a makeover by refreshing its colors, fonts, logo and messaging, hire an SEO (search engine optimization) expert to optimize your website for search. This will make your site rank higher, moving it closer to the top of Google’s search results page for your specific keywords.
Add a blog to your website: By consistently creating relevant industry content, your patients will continue revisiting your website. This helps position your practice as an authority in the industry and gives your website SEO credibility. Additionally, blog content can be condensed to share out onto social media platforms which will drive traffic to your website.
Be social on social media: Conversations about you, your industry and your competitors are currently happening on social media — so it’s important to be part of them. Equally important is listening to and understanding what is being said. You will learn much about what your patients value and perhaps what they are missing. Be sure to see what others are saying about your competitors.
Create a monthly e-newsletter: Creating a monthly e-newsletter can help you build a following of advocates who truly appreciate the knowledge and expertise your practice provides. Include business updates, medical news, health care tips, local happenings and community events. Consider adding elements of humanity like quotes, employee photos or humor to make it more personable. This monthly point of contact will serve as a reminder to your customers that you’re ready and there when they need you.
Invest in advertising: Getting your brand out on a large scale is easily achievable through paid media. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg. Media channels range in audiences and pricing, with paid ads on social media being the most affordable. Consider the following ad spends: TV, print, radio, billboards, online banners, social media and promoted online posts.
Use your public relations (PR) skills: Unlike advertising, PR is the art of getting third-party endorsements for your business practice. You can do this by writing editorials or sending out press releases to local publications, giving speeches at high-profile events, conducting research in areas of expertise your practice offers or commenting on medical news. Community participation, supporting charitable events and sponsoring local teams are sure ways to boost your brand and attract favorable press.
Reward referrals: Happy patients are not only loyal, they often bring in more business. Think of ways to reward your referring patients by creating a referral program. Make sure your messaging is clear by creating an outline of how your referral program works. Tell your patients what they must do, how to do it and what they will get in return. The “call to action” should be clear and prominent.
Your practice’s branding sets the tone for your business and distinguishes it from your competitors. Perception becomes reality when public opinion of your practice — based on the image it projects combined with the quality of service it delivers — begins to determine the value of your company.
Spending time up front to create branding elements such as a logo, font, colors and a style guide will serve your practice well in the long run with a professional look and feel your patients can trust. Once this is created, it can easily be applied to all company’s assets, merchandising and communications.
Your patients will appreciate your effort and will feel confident choosing your practice in the future.
RUSSELL GREENSEID, DC, is a chiropractor, major shareholder and chief of staff at Metro Healthcare Partners in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is a trusted advocate and respected voice in the chiropractic field with a doctor of chiropractic degree from New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls, N.Y. He resides in Short Hills, N.J., with his wife and two sons. Visit metrohealthnyc.com for more information on Greenseid and his multidisciplinary team of professionals.
Filed Under: Chiropractic Business Tips, Chiropractic Practice Management, issue-20-2022
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