How to build a doctor’s personal brand – 3 social proof techniques to earn your practice the respect it deserves

If blowing your own trumpet, tooting your own horn or strumming your own banjo makes you feel uncomfortable, good news…you don’t have to!

When you started your private practice or clinic, you may have had some concerns or self-doubt.

“Can I live up to my customer’s expectations? Will they like me and what I have to say? Am I cool enough to be the owner of a practice?”

The answer is, probably not. But the great news is, you don’t have to be! In this article, we’ll show you how to position your patient as the hero of their story and position yourself as the patient’s guide. Why? Because of social proof:

“When you say it, it’s marketing. When your customer says it, it’s true.”

People are social animals. We are more likely to do something when someone presents us with evidence that others have done it and been successful as a result. This behaviour applies in particular when we are unsure of what to do.

Blah, blah, blah…

As you’ll no doubt remember from any job interview or application process, it can be very uncomfortable sitting in front of a total stranger and babbling on about yourself for a solid hour. “I’ve done this, and then I did this, and oh, did I mention that I’ve done this.”

I think many would agree that having to ‘sell yourself’ and highlight your greatest achievements like you’re some kind of indispensable superhero can feel a little unnatural and awkward, especially for someone in the medical profession, where such grandstanding can feel “dirty” or “unethical”.

The only thing that makes this situation acceptable is that the interviewee knows the score and you can usually redeem yourself in the Q&A section when you’re given the opportunity to ask questions about the company to show that you care.

Let’s imagine your website is like an interviewee and your customer is the interviewer, except this time, you don’t get to wind down the session with a Q&A and some friendly chit chat. Yes, of course, you want to flaunt your finest assets and show the other person you’re the best thing since sliced bread, but you don’t want them to think you’re a narcissistic numpty who cares about no one else but themselves. Equally, you can’t make a great first impression by leaving everything to the imagination. It would be best if you showed the interviewer that you care about them and at the same time, subtly demonstrate how you intend to complement and enhance their life. There’s a fine line.

Feeling the pressure

Many business owners attempt to ‘live-up’ to this idea or expectation that they think their customers have; that they need to be this powerful figurehead plastered all over their website and social media. And, the sad thing is, many individuals who have aspirations to start their own business will actually cower for this very reason. They have the great ideas and possess all the necessary skills and knowledge, but the prospect of being in the limelight and having to portray themselves as this heroic figure makes them feel uneasy and unworthy, so they put it off.

As the owner of a business that helps to improve people’s lives, you do undeniably possess some heroic qualities. Your patients look up to you; you know you have the ability to save them from a ‘disadvantaged’ or ‘flawed’ state and help them live a better life. But this makes you something much more humble and selfless – a ‘guide’.

The best thing about being the guide is you’re still integral to your brand, but instead of having to put on some rather uncomfortable and cringe-worthy spandex superhero pants every morning and pretend you’re “the don”, you can just rock-up as you.

(P.S. One of the key takeaways from this article is the importance of patient testimonials in providing social proof that your service is credible and respected. If you want to curate testimonial perfection, get The Essential Template for Transforming Testimonials Into Leads now.)

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How to be the best guide by using 3 key social proof techniques

So how do you position yourself as a trustworthy guide?

To be a guide, you just have to do three things:

  1. Position your customer as the hero
  2. Express empathy
  3. Demonstrate competence and authority

Position your customer as the hero

Remove yourself from the spotlight

When first visiting your website, the customer doesn’t care that you have always dreamt of becoming an eye surgeon or that you have followed in the footsteps of your father – these are nice details for the About us page. After all, they haven’t come to learn about you. They’ve come to see if eye surgery can improve their quality of life. They’re the ones going on the transformative journey; They’re the ones trying to restore the equilibrium in their life. Your role is to guide them there.

Map out the patient’s journey

Using snappy and emotive statements, demonstrate how you reliably take your patients from a frustrated before-state to a fulfilled after-state.

Feature images of typical unhappy patients in their before-state (with glasses) and happy patients in their after-state (i.e. without glasses)

This helps to cast a vision in the customer’s imagination and breaks up blocks of text.

Curate testimonials

Select three of your best customer testimonials to feature on your website – keep them brief. 92% of people trust recommendations from their peers, and 70% of the consumers trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know (Nielsen, 2012). Be sure to add a hiqh-quality photo to boost perceived credibility. Video testimonials are incomparable with respect to credibility and engagement.

Display patient reviews

According to the Pew Research Center, 82% of Americans read reviews before making a buying decision. A healthy mix of positive and negative customer reviews is more trustworthy and can even improve conversions.

Use influencer endorsements and quote celebrities

As long as you’re transparent about it, doing free surgery on people with high social media influence and asking for honest feedback is a no-brainer. Since they have a positive reputation, people tend to associate this positivity with their associations. This is called the halo effect. If celebrities have raved about a procedure, then quote them as ambassadors for the service. Just don’t claim credit for doing their surgery if you didn’t.

(P.S. One of the key takeaways from this article is the importance of patient testimonials in providing social proof that your service is credible and respected. If you want to curate testimonial perfection, get The Essential Template for Transforming Testimonials Into Leads now.)

Let’s grow the practice you dream of

SCHEDULE A FREE 15-MINUTE CHAT

Find out how you can get the life and practice you love from a growth funnel that solves your current business challenges and aims to achieve your professional and personal goals:

Book your call now

Express empathy

A powerful strength of a guide is their ability to empathise with the customer. When you’re feeling sad or frustrated in life – perhaps your computer crashed or you’re feeling ill – initially, you’re not looking for a solution. You just need someone to vent to, to rub your back or give you a few kind words that let you know you’re not alone. Simple empathetic statements show customers that you recognise their problem and understand their feelings.

Demonstrate competence and authority

Trust can make or break a relationship. To demonstrate that a customer can trust you with their eyes, you need to prove it.

You can do this by displaying what we call ‘credibility indicators’ on your website and other marketing materials:

Statistics

The best way to show a potential customer that you’re competent is with statistics.
You can show:

  • How many satisfied patients you have helped
  • How much time you have saved them
  • How much money you’ve saved them
  • Your patient’s visual outcomes

Awards and Badges

If you’ve won any awards, including the logos on the bottom of your website page can quickly signal to your patients that authorities have recognised your special achievements.

Media mentions, accreditation and other associative logos

If you’ve worked with institutions or are a member of professional associations, placing these logos on your page provides social proof that you are respected and helpful. Showing how you’ve been featured in the media can also showcase that publishers value your opinion on matters enough to feature it.

Backing up your claims with studies

More and more people today – especially millennials – are scientifically literate. Expose your visitors to hard facts and numbers backed by expert social proof by footnoting to studies.

By integrating these three social proof techniques into your marketing material, you are relieving your customer of any doubt, you are proving your value, and most importantly, you are showing them that you understand their problem and have the competency to solve it…all without blowing your own trumpet.

(P.S. One of the key takeaways from this article is the importance of patient testimonials in providing social proof that your service is credible and respected. If you want to curate testimonial perfection, get The Essential Template for Transforming Testimonials Into Leads now.)

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