The way health services consumers shop today has changed dramatically. A significant chunk of our research now take place online. This shift in consumer behaviour has also affects health consumers research and select their preferred practitioners.
Patients today no longer just accept a referral from their physician. Today's patient is proactively involved in which specialist consultant he or she wants to see. In many instances patients will have researched potential specialists before they even visit their primary healthcare provider.
What has also changed is that today's consumer is much more likely to share their experiences through social platforms and by doing so, they have become an enormously influential bunch.
Indeed the healthcare consumer landscape has shifted and the rate of change is unlikely to slow down any time soon.
If you're a health services provider who's been in hiding, hoping it'll all go away it's high time to step back into your power and join the movement.
Unless you manage your online presence, you can expect your practice growth will stagnate. While that may sound alarmist, if you want your practice to thrive and grow, you will have to meet your patients where they are active and today that place absolutely is online.
The question is, how do you go about building that all important trust factor in an online world?
Depending on where you're at in your healthcare practice marketing journey, here are four things you can do today.
1. Review your practice growth goals
"If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there" - Lewis Carroll
You might be wondering what Alice's quandary has to do with building trust. I turns out that her impasse applies to most of us in business as well.
Goals are the starting point of any strategy. They help us set the direction and they also help us check whether we're on the right track.
If it is more patient you want for your practice, then it is essential that you put some "measureables" around your goal.
For example if you are just starting out, your goal might be to break even in your first year of business. So you have to do the sums and work out how many bookings you need in order to break even in your first 12 month of opening your doors.
On the other hand if you have been in business and you want to increase your 12-month revenue by 25% you will need to look at your historical patient bookings and revenue. From there you can work out what how many additional patients you would need.
Take action now:
Take 1o - 15 minutes to calculate how many new patients you will need to achieve your practice growth goal
2. Develop a clear picture of your ideal healthcare client
Now that we have a clear idea of where we're going we need to develop a clear picture of who it is that we want to attract to our practice. I have spoken about how knowing your ideal customer is key to supercharging your practice growth.
If you know who your ideal client is you will recognise them more easily and they, in turn, will be more readily attracted to you because your offers and the way in which you communicate resonates strongly with their needs.
Take action now:
Review your current client list and identify the ones you enjoy working with. Drill down into what it is that makes you enjoy working with them. This exercise will help you identify the type of clients you want to attract.
3. Start publishing
Health practitioners who want to build trust with digitally connected audiences needs to have an online voice and there are a plethora of channels through which you can broadcast it.
The easiest and most accessible way to do this is through your social media profiles and by writing and publishing regular articles on your website or blog.
But if you want to make it easier for your audience to get to trust you, video is your answer. Video consumption is voracious and it is easy to see why. Authenticity breeds trust. By putting yourself in front of the camera you will propel the trust building process.
The great thing about video is that, it too, is so accessible. All you need is your smart phone to get started. It really is that simple.
When contemplating bringing video into the mix, many of us (myself included) overthink things and bring a perfectionist mindset to the process. We forget that it is our imperfections that make us authentic and relatable. The same goes for your video production. We really don't need fancy camera work. Good natural light and quality sound are all you need.
Take action now:
Whip our your smart phone and get scrappy, be natural, be yourself and let your passion shine. Then post your first clip to social media. Go on, do it!
4. Make it easy for them to take the next step
There are so many aspects to a trust building strategy that we might forget that the whole point of building trust is to create conversions. Conversions are that pivotal point at which an anonymous website visitor becomes a booked client.
It is our job to make that process as smooth and easy as it can possibly be and lead magnets - I wrote about them here - can be a neat and natural stepping stone that guides someone towards eventually being ready to book that first consultation.
Take action now:
Think about what would prevent a prospective client from booking an initial consultation with you. What can you do to help them over the "threshold".
There you have it. Four actions that you do in one day that will get your strategy for building trust online a headstart.