By, Jennifer Thompson, President of Insight Marketing Group
We all know what a benefit is, right? Something that improves the life of the person who has it. If a product or service has benefits we want, we choose them over products or services that don’t have those benefits. A diet soda has no calories, that’s the benefit. A/C keeps you cooler. Your power windows in your car roll up with the touch of a button. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, finish this sentence: “It’s beneficial for patients to come to my practice over a competitor’s because…”
What did you come up with? Putting together a unified, encompassing benefit statement is essential to guide your marketing efforts, but it’s not as easy as it may seem on the surface. Consider it the compass helping to navigate your practice’s marketing ship. You want the most accurate compass you can find so you’re not drifting aimlessly at sea, don’t you?
Below are a few tips to help you define a quality benefit statement and guide your practice in the right direction.
Step 1: Assess Yourself
Usually this is the hardest step when creating, well, anything. You have to be brutally honest with yourself and the piece of paper or computer screen you’re using as your confidant. Your only job here is to list what’s special/unique/phenomenal about your practice. Brainstorm what makes you different from someone around the corner, and be honest. Focus on the top one or two things you come up with, even if you write down 13 things. Patients won’t remember them all, so what’s most important? Is it your exceptional front desk service? Maybe it’s your “no wait” promise or you’re pristine surgical track record? Come up with a large list and don’t be afraid to cross a few items out.
Step 2: Purify and Refine
After you’ve narrowed done a few of the key features of your practice, it’s time to refine them into your benefit statement. Imagine a patient walking up to you and asking, “Why should I come to your office? What’s in it for me?” Those are the questions that your benefit statement should answer. I know, I know – the reason should be, “So you can get healthy and continue with your day-to-day activities,” —but it’s just not that simple when it comes to marketing. Go figure.
Anyhow, create a statement that clearly states what your practice can offer. “Every surgery at my practice utilizes the most state-of-the-art equipment to perform minimally invasive surgeries, resulting in less pain, less scaring and a faster recovery for patients.” That’s a benefit statement for a surgical practice.
“My practice’s automated check-in process creates less wait time and saves you a headache at every visit.” That’s an example of a more general benefit statement, but you get the idea.
A good idea to help answer the “What’s in it for me?” question is to use strong action verbs and descriptive adjectives at some point in your benefit statement. A few examples include words like: create, save, take, reduce, result and help.
By focusing on the benefits, you immediately tantalize patients with what’s in it for them. A good benchmark goal is to read through some of your marketing material and time how long it takes you to find your benefit statement. You should be able to find it within the first 30 seconds or so of reading a brochure or perusing a website. You want patients to know that you are different and offer unique benefits that they just can’t live without as immediately as possible.
Think of it from a patient’s perspective: “With our health as one of our most prized commodities, once we know all we can get with your practice, how could we ever schedule an appointment somewhere else and be alright with that decision?” That’s what your statement should make them think.
Step 3: Rehearse
Make sure that you and your key staff members can recite your benefit statement, should the need ever arise. Make sure it sounds just as good out loud as it does on paper. The reason for this is simple – if you ever have to say it to a referring physician or a patient, you want to know it off the top of your head and speak it oozing with confidence.
Plus, if it’s memorized, it will start to creep in your everyday thought process. Suddenly, in the middle of an activity you’ll ask yourself if it’s in line with your benefit statement. Remember, that’s another one of the main benefits of the benefit statement: to guide you in your day-to-day activities. Now get working on that compass.
Jennifer Thompson is president of Insight Marketing Group, a full-service healthcare marketing group focused on digital and social media administration, referral and partnership development, creative services and graphic design, online reputa- tion management/development and promotional products. She is co-author of Marketing Your Medical Practice: A Quick Ref- erence Guide and an avid Twitter user, regularly posting medical practice marketing tips, articles and more at www.Twitter. com/DrMarketingTips. You can learn more about her and her company at www.InsightMG.com.