Independent nurse prescriber Julie Scott explains how and why to build your brand around the clinic’s leading practitioner
There’s a commonly-used adage that I like to share over and over again.It says, “People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”1 I’m sure almost everyone has heard this before and many of us apply this quote to our daily lives (even without knowing it). But have you ever applied it to your business?
If you haven’t, you should relate this principle not only to how you interact with patients when they’re on your treatment chair, but in everything you do, from training employees, to creating your marketing plan, to writing the front page of your website. The way you make people feel is paramount – it’s what makes you unique.
What’s your USP?
Following on from this, ask yourself what is your unique selling proposition? I’ve heard many practitioners say their USP is treatment safety or a high level of clinical care. These are important standards, of course – but a patient will expect this from any clinic they visit. Safety and care are not unique to any one clinic. Similarly, I’ve also seen practitioners with treatment-centred USPs – for example, big lips. However, big lips are a trend, and we all know how quickly beauty and aesthetic trends can fade and change. I believe practitioners who build their businesses on this will eventually be left in the dust. Therefore, if you’re searching for what does set your clinic apart from the rest, consider this: YOU are your USP. After all, people invest in people. Robert Cialdini, a professor of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University, has said, “It’s not just that people want to deal with someone they like. It’s that they want to deal with someone who likes them, and who is like them. People trust that those who like them won’t steer them wrong.”2 We are all aware that new patients are usually nervous about entering into the world of aesthetic treatments, often using all the tools available to thoroughly do their research. Prospective patients are looking for someone (key word here is someone, not something) who will reassure them that a treatment will achieve the desired results, that they will be safe in seeking this treatment and that their money won’t be wasted.
So, when you – your name and face, not your logo or clinic – are greeting a patient as the first thing they see on your website, social profile or ad, and next to your face is a quote stating your goals as a practitioner, this is going to reassure them a lot more than a banner slideshow with stock photos, lovely professional photos of your clinic, or even stunning before and afters.
What kind of practitioner are you?
Patients buy into and remain loyal to the person who will take them on a journey to their desired results, so never underestimate the power of you. A business physically can’t be empathetic – but you can. A business doesn’t have life experience – you do.
Therefore, I think that knowing who you are as a practitioner and owning it, is one of the best ways to market your business. Are you young, vibrant and on trend, personally able to deliver the latest and greatest just-released tweakments? Own it, market it, and you will attract patients looking for that. Alternatively, maybe you’re a little more mature and your approach is to take things slow, putting patience and empathy above all else. Communicate that clearly to prospective patients, and those who appreciate your approach will be attracted to your practice.
Whichever ‘flavour’ of patients you attract, they will have chosen to come and see you because they are invested in what makes you unique, having already assumed that you’re safe, experienced and insured. Once you do bring them into clinic and provide them with an excellent treatment, you’ve won their loyalty. If your USP is you, patients will remain loyal as they know they can’t get you at the clinic down the road.
Putting this into practice
So how do you do this? Communicate your approach. Communicate it through your facial expression and clothing when you are having your headshots taken, and put these headshots everywhere. Use your headshot as your profile picture instead of your logo, or at least underneath your logo. In today’s world you have to be visual and it won’t help your business to be bashful or hide under the parapet.
Post videos of yourself on social media and your website as if you’re talking directly to your patients. In your writing, whether this is on your website or brochure, stay away from the royal ‘we’ and don’t be afraid to write in the first person. With everything you share, be relatable and be yourself.
Be prepared to feel a little vulnerable if this is new to you, but trust that it will bring you more engagement and will help to grow your business in the end. Writing in the first person and putting your face on camera will probably feel strange at first, but don’t forget you can always have friends and family review these for you before publishing. These people will know who you truly are, so if they feel your content doesn’t reflect YOU authentically, they should tell you.
This method can even apply to larger clinics with multiple practitioners. Ultimately all practitioners within one clinic should unite along a similar ethos, and this is what should be presented to potential patients. Think of what integrates your team in this case – maybe you have an injector, an aesthetician, and a dermatologist offering differing treatments, for example. What unifies them beyond working from the same premises? Is it a personal touch that makes patients feel they can open up the minute they settle down on the treatment chair? Or is it that they all have decades of experience and a patient could go nowhere else to get the same breadth and depth of knowledge when considering treatment? Conversely, maybe it’s that each practitioner is extremely efficient and can therefore cater to ‘lunchtime’ appointments for patients who have no time to chat and need a safe, effective treatment to fit into their busy schedules.
There will be something uniting your practitioners that therefore forms the basis of your ethos as a team and as a business. Use this, and don’t forget that it is still your specific team that is your USP. Each team member can communicate this and put out the same type of content mentioned above, still speaking from the first person, either individually or in group videos for example. Once this is communicated, the different personalities and approaches of individual practitioners should also be presented to potential patients.
Things to consider
One thing to keep in mind should you decide to embrace putting yourself forward as the face of your brand is that there may be complications down the line. Primarily, if your end goal is to sell your business, it might be tricky to find a buyer to take over a patient base that has heavily invested in the practitioner instead of the clinic. However, I believe this can be overcome by finding the right buyer, or, in this case, the right practitioner to take over. It may be a lengthy process, ensuring that your replacement has the same values as you do, introducing them to your patients, and finally beginning a long handover process that will end with your patients trusting you to step away completely. It’s nothing new to write into a buying agreement that you stay in the business for a year to facilitate this handover. Difficult, perhaps; lengthy, definitely; but doable and worth it in the long run. This is because above all, the business you’re selling will have an expansive, loyal base of patients promising a sustainable income to the right buyer.
I feel that in the aesthetic field, you cannot afford to be a faceless practitioner who is not emotionally invested, and nor can your clinic afford to be led this way. Patients are seeking elective treatments in a saturated market, and you need to find a way to make them emotionally invest in you or else you’ll lose them. Really embracing yourself as the face of your brand is the best way to do this, so remember – YOU are your USP!
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