Easier said than done; right? You read mountains of articles which promise helpful tips but they don’t really deliver enough meat on the bone. Success can feel like a treasure map that’s missing a few key steps — you have the map but you’re far from the prize.
That’s what makes this article different. As you read on you will learn essential, step-by-step, elements for eliminating your competition.
Please don’t misunderstand my statements at the onset. Business success and marketing articles covering topics like branding, attracting more and better patients, writing better ads, etc. are necessary. In fact, I would argue they are imperative — but only if implemented.
By the same token, I believe that eliminating your competition is an underserved market. Interestingly, there appears to be an unspoken disapproval, an attitude of “ungentlemanly-play” when breaching the subject.
I say too bad! Unless these critical people are paying your monthly bills, I say forget them and carry-on my ambitious scholar!
The name of this game is success through separation. My mission is to help you create a massive crevasse between you and your biggest competitor. In short, we want patients to believe that it would be a colossal mistake to use anyone but you.
I aim to teach you how to become the undisputed authority in your county.
However, if your desire is not to reign supreme, then this piece is not for you. I respect your position; and, I’m not here to twist your arm. I would suggest, though, that you read our many other detailed articles covering business enhancement. I promise these pieces are worth your review.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Maybe you’ve never thought about this; every day when you open your doors for business, your competitors are actively and aggressively targeting your patient-base. How do they do this you ask?
Every time your competitor launches a promotional campaign, wheels are set in motion. An action has begun can’t be stopped until it reaches its end — to get a new patient.
Fortunately for you, too many ads don’t feature the essential components to make them successful or profitable. However, it’s just a matter of time before your competitor lands on a good one. Remember, they are targeting your patients, and there’s nothing you can do to stop them!
As a result of your authority marketing, you will distinguish yourself as the undisputed expert in your field. More importantly, you will brand yourself as the preeminent consul on a particular treatment.
From this point forward, you must look at your practice with a new set of eyes. If you are astute, you have approached your patients qualitatively. Now, you need to also look at them quantitatively.
What do I mean by that?
From now on, you will need to categorize your patients by treatments they receive. For example, after you do an audit of your patients, you discover that most see you to treat their fibromyalgia.
Now that you are armed with this magnificent pearl of information, it’s time to put knowledge into action!
From this point on, your website, your blogs, and every promotional will be from “Dr. Jones, the fibromyalgia specialist.” If eliminating your competition is truly
your goal, stand apart as the regional expert on a specific medical need. Also, don’t be surprised that in the process you will legally confiscate your competitors best patients.
The point is, you will specifically be speaking to a patient’s needs.
Additionally, every promotional opportunity and message should be shared from your patient’s perspective, and not yours has the doctor.
Present a Better Story
On a fundamental level, advertising is all about communicating and relating. The objective of all promotion consists of putting together a series of components that draw a person’s attention. Moreover, you must keep their interests long enough to take in your entire message.
Interesting fact, according to scores of marketing studies, over decades, your reader only gives you a precious few seconds of attention before they move on and never return.
In all, an effective promotional piece features four essential elements. However, when properly strung together, these components produce significant profits and separation from your competitors.
As we’ve mentioned, every day there is a constant competition to acquire a finite number of available new patients. With few exceptions, most businesses are constrained, to one degree or another, by geography and demographics. Said another way, you don’t have an infinite number of possible patients from which to provide your services. You need to compel and attract as many of the available patients in your area as possible.
As stated above, your advertising needs to be able to grab someone’s attention immediately (and not let go). In advertising terms, this vehicle for capturing focus goes by the name of your headline.
You will notice that up to 95% of all ads have no headline (which is excellent news for you). Countless numbers of marketing surveys point out this most valuable statistic, 80% of all the readers only read headlines. The use of a properly designed headline is the main ingredient in your advertising that makes it so powerful that it can increase your ads power by as much as 2000%.
The father of modern-day advertising, David Ogilvy, verified this exact point when he said: “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Once you set up your headline, now it’s time to create your sub-headline which appears directly under the headline. The text is typically smaller, and it gives more insight into the service you are providing, while further outlining why the patient should care enough to keep reading.
These last two statements may sound mechanical and ethereal, even a bit “highfalutin.” To an advertising geek like me, concepts like headlines and sub-headlines are like fine wines where bouquet and body are greatly appreciated; but, to anyone outside of advertising they may be thinking “What are you talking about?”
Marketing should be a straightforward process; so, we will approach it in this manner: Your patients have a problem which they don’t want; but, there is a result they want but don’t have. Your ad must solve these two needs by delivering a message so compelling it practically forces your current and future patients to seek your services.
Your advertising needs to Interpret your patient’s needs, Engage so as to lead towards an answer, Educate them on the benefits of your service and Offer a solution.
The Interpret portion covers your headline – which means it’s the first thing someone sees when they visit your website, read any of your marketing pieces, or hear you speak. Your headline MUST address the problem your patients have that they don’t want.
For example, if you are a child psychologist, this addresses the problem patients family has, “Are you sick and tired of the yelling, screaming and belligerent attitude of your child?”
The Engage aspect is your sub-headline. It MUST address the result your prospect wants but doesn’t have.
In this example, you will want to promote a much wanted solution by providing the secrets to controlling their child and immediately restoring peace and quiet in their home, such as: “Learn the secrets to gaining and maintaining complete control of your child in less than 60 seconds.”
* Incidentally, this example came from a highly successful advertising campaign we provided for one of our clients.
The Educate component is the information you provide — evidence to all patients that you and your service are superior (your brand) in every way to your competition. When you can master communication with your patients, you will go a long way towards eliminating your competition.
Embrace Your Written Voice
We live in a crowded world, and the only way of eliminating your competition is by enhancing your reputation!
A time proven strategy that surpasses all other forms of advertising and promotion is the written word. You need to give serious thought to writing a book.
This may be an idea you have played with for years. Maybe, the very thought of writing is as fearful to you as being in a pool of piranha.
If you’re adventurous, you may be thinking “okay, but how do I get started?” If you’re not so daring, don’t worry I have a solution for you at end of the article.
Actually, putting together the ideas for your book is literally at your fingertips.
The first thing you need to do is create an inventory of your patients (as was previously alluded to above). Specifically, you’re looking for the types of total services (and their ratios) you provide. Your goal is to determine which procedure(s) dominates all of your other medical services.
Clearly define your target market. Analyze the characteristics of your patients. The only way to stand-apart and become a patient magnet is to understand exactly who buys your service. A clear target enables you to be much more effective and efficient in future book creation and marketing efforts.
Your mission is to become a leading expert by eliminating your competition using smarter promotional campaigns. Incidentally, we are not talking about mass marketing. This strategy is the exact opposite of mass marketing. It’s not about being all things to all people, but being a mini-celebrity to the “right people.”
Now, let’s go a bit deeper…
Consumers are a lot more sophisticated. They are no longer settling for average service or just “the best price.” They have too many choices. The patient’s you want are those for whom your expert status is more important than merely your fees. They’re looking for a high degree of competence.
Have you ever heard of Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad? Whether you agree with his financial premise or not, his book that made him the critical, the “go-to” expert. For that matter, consider Tim Ferris, he’s the author of “The Four Hour Work Week.” Their books made them famous; their books made credible.
As mentioned at the beginning of this piece, you need to differentiate yourself from everyone else. Writing is the perfect vehicle to create that separation. Being an author instantly catapults you away from the “rest of the pack.”
Consumers naturally see authors as authorities and experts on the subject of their book. Historically, authors have been trusted sources of information.
A book can influence your patients and perspective patients unlike any other form of communication. It’s power comes from the near-instantaneous acceptance of its message in the minds and hearts of its readers. Actually, even if your patients or prospective patients never read your book, you’re still awarded in a position of authority.
As part of your branding, begin writing and publishing special reports and e-books. Send these specific reports and books to your patients, this establishes you as a resident expert.
According to noted author, Adam Witty, author of “21 Ways to Build Your Dental Practice With a Book“:
“The value of a book for your practice is immense and when used properly, has the power of influencing your patients to say yes to your best treatment recommendations.
It also has the power to attract the exact patients you want in your practice— the ones who value your services, accept care and show their appreciation. Your book can give you a bulletproof marketing advantage, an edge that lasts for years and years. Once done, you can reuse it many, many times over.”
As a medical professional, you will naturally attract more patients to your practice if you are seen as the expert and authority, because a book allows you to speak directly to patients in each niche. Psychologically, many people derive a boost in their self-esteem by becoming the patient of a “famous doctor.”
Consider the example of Dr. Charles Martin. He is a dentist and the founder of the Richmond Smile Center. According to Dr. Martin “the great advantage of being a published author is it gives you a status point that your competitors do not have. Also, your book provides you more presence and prominence in the eyes of your patients.” Actually, books work even if your patient doesn’t read it.
When it comes to marketing a book, there are several ways to do it. One of the easiest things Dr. Martin does is display his books in waiting and consultation rooms. His books are also prominently featured on his website.
Dr. Martin takes one extra step. “I take a book and mark which pages to read. The fact of the matter is that your people aren’t always going to read the entire book, but things they do read can be a big deal.”
Dr. Martin reminds us that deeper benefits exist. “Not only is there a return on investment financially, there is a return on investments emotionally and professionally from the admiration and respect you get from people you serve.”
Dr. Scot Gray is a chiropractor in Columbus Ohio area. He is one of 264 chiropractors in this town. In order to separate and stand out from his competition he wrote and promoted his book “Good Back, and Bad Back — The 10 things women must know to eliminate back pain and look and the younger.”
By providing this intriguing information and showing his personality and vision, Dr. Gray substantially increased his business. He specifically saw the gain occur within his female clientele. These new patients told him that it way his unique insight and perspective that made them feel more comfortable choosing him as their chiropractor.
Additionally, two essential elements that are often overlooked are harmony and silence. I was recently reading a piece in Time magazine stating that the average American is exposed to over 3,000 unique marketing messages daily (through their phones, television, computers and the radio).
A book allows you a quiet sanctuary with your patients. It creates a place where you control the dialogue, the conversation and the message. To develop and enhance your reputation, your communication is crucial! Without the distractions of daily “noise,” books are the ideal medium through which to communicate your vision.
You must take your vision and translate and convey it into a clear, focused and compelling message.
Another benefit of writing is that you can also attract the attention of media. The media is always looking for new stories. What most medical professionals don’t realize is that the media outlets are always looking for experts who can comment and give information and guidance.
Dr. Gray explains that “what I love about having my book is the media attention that I received. I was on NBC, Lifetime television, and even several newspapers and online sources. This attention alone caused me to get a 3 to 1 return on my investment [from creating my book].
As a medical professional, you are constantly pulled in many directions. At times, it would seem you need to be in many places at the same time. A book allows you to be in multiple places at once.
It’s all about leverage. Writing a book allows you to leverage and utilize the strength of people, processes, and economies of scale to do a lot for much less. Leveraging helps you get the most out of yourself. You can free up time to work on those activities that are most valuable to you.
To conclude, your patients have lots of choices, to succeed you need to stand out. It’s about targeting your market and developing a reputation as an excellent resource. You need to deliver a message that you’re trustworthy, knowledgeable, and close-at-hand. Your goal is to become the lord of a small, highly profitable domain of your choosing.
Naturally, such results require thoughtful and consistent efforts. You need to position yourself as the best solution for all the patients in your county with a particular ailment. Such as, “the foremost plantar fasciitis specialist within the tri state region.”
You must maintain your visibility and enhance your credibility by providing solutions to the problems people don’t want. Your marketing mantra should literally consist of problem/solution!
Establish your brand and reputation by giving wings to your written voice. Create problem-solving e-books, special reports, co-authorships, etc. and send them to all of your patients.
Consider writing special reports like: “Lose weight and exercise.” Or something like this, “Transport your smile into WOW — surefire tooth whitening secrets you can try at home.” Maybe this will work, “What are the most common procedures in a mommy makeover, and the precautions to take to avoid disasters!”
According to Adam Witty, published authors are in the minority. He says “while there over 6 billion people in the world, being a published author makes you part of the .05 percentile. There are only about 3 million authors in the entire world.” This means, that is highly unlikely that your competitor has ever written or published a book. From the starting gate you will create a massive separation when you take your first literary step!
As was stated at the onset, we are not referring to attracting everyone blindly. It is about being an essential person that “must be” called upon in your market.
I wish I could say that all patients are hugely loyal, and would never be wooed away by your competitor. If that were true, there wouldn’t be companies that used to be household names; but now, they are no more!
In fairness, there are multiple reasons why companies close their doors, but the point is the no one is impervious to joining the long list of organizations, on some trivia question, inquiring about those companies that used to be!
Remember PaineWebber, Compaq, Woolworth’s, General Foods, Author Andersen, Standard Oil, or TWA? They were once household names, but not anymore. These companies that made big names for themselves but didn’t stand the test of time.
I realize there is a lot to digest. However, if you realize that the wolves are getting too close to your door, you need to do something.
Medical professionals are very busy and often don’t have time to do the heavy lifting. Your staff members already have a lot on their plates, so adding another project just isn’t feasible. You may be someone who hated writing in school; your thing was science or math.
Well, if any of this is true, I have a solution for you. We would like to help. My group and I have been directly responsible for many highly successful reputation management, branding, and corporate storytelling campaigns for several practices.
We would like to gift you, or your selected staff members, our proprietary 10-minute Promotional Strategy Audit Session (covering things like your blog posts, social media campaigns, magazine articles, your books and special reports, website content, patient newsletters etc.).
From the desk of Claudio Gormaz, co-founder of StevenVonLoren Marketing Strategists, direct: 916.750.6319, personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Amazon Author Profile, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter