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From Casual Patients to Brand Advocates - Three Strategies for Success

November 5, 2013

Physician Reputation Management

“The easiest way to create sharability is to give people an experience,” offers Franz Aliquo, Creative Director at ad agency RPM. “Something that turns their mundane day-to-day into something magical.”

One of the greatest successes for any business in any industry is the moment a customer or patient becomes a brand advocate. It’s that moment when a patient goes from writing you a Thank You letter to writing five reviews on digital directories followed by multiple social media posts raving about your services. For a brand, or a marketing agency, it really doesn’t get much better then that. But, beyond providing excellent in-office services and making them feel better, what can your staff and business do to facilitate that transition from happy patient to brand advocate. Let Quaintise walk you through some of the steps.

What is a Brand Advocate?

From a healthcare perspective, a brand advocate is a patient who has immense power to persuade his or her friends and family, acquaintances and social media circle, to check out your business. They are 50% more likely to influence a purchase from their social media circles than anyone else.

Brand advocates are the people who everyone goes to for advice, are seen as ‘thought leaders’ within their circles, spend a great deal of time communicating via social networks, and have very large social media circles - over 500 Friends on average.

The best part about turning a patient into a brand advocate is the fact that once they start spreading good vibes about your business around their social networks, 61% of that social circle take a genuine interest in your business and consider using your services.

Brand advocates have enormous influence, and no amount of money can buy that kind of loyalty. In fact, according to recent research on the motivations of brand advocates, 50% said they simply had a great experience with the company or business they are promoting. Another 38% said their motivations are simply to help their social circle make better purchasing decisions.

How To Land a Brand Advocate

So there’s the old reliable ways of turning patients into brand advocates: stellar services, consistency, transparency, direct communication, and personalized attention.

There’s the more modernized ways of turning patients into brand advocates: customized email marketing, targeted social media marketing, mobile marketing, and digital campaigns.

And then there’s the strategies of the future: ways to turn patients into brand advocates that are just now being realized and implemented into enormous marketing campaigns.

Real-Time Video Marketing - The concept is simple, a patient asks a question via Facebook or Twitter. It’s something general that could pertain to an entire demographic of patients. Instead of responding with a quick few sentences and asking them to call your offices for more information you grab your healthcare marketing team and record a two minute video thanking the patient for the question (first name only) and answering that question. You don’t ask the patient to call your offices, you don’t ‘sell’ your services, you simply answer the question in video format and go about your day. In today’s digital marketplace, this is the single greatest way to facilitate communication between your offices and patients, as well as provide educational value and show incredible transparency and commitment to providing the best services possible.

Cause Marketing - Especially now, during the holiday season, cause marketing is a wonderful way to get involved in your local community, meet your local potential patients, and simply help out. By joining a local cause and cross-marketing, you are not only increasing brand visibility, you are setting yourself apart from the competition. Now, cause marketing has been around for some time now, but it is one of those oldies that are great in terms of healthcare marketing.

Experience Marketing - This form of marketing is about breaking down that ‘fourth wall’ that stands between your marketing strategies and your audience.

With passive entertainment lulling us into a sense of complacency, this kind of interactive experience satisfies our craving for something more. “And once people feel that experience, they become addicted,” concludes Aliquo. “It triggers that piece of their brain that was active as hell when they were kids.”

Consider the enormous growth of the Spartan Race, the Color Run, and similar activities that involve participation. This marketing technique, where your target audience actually participates in the adventure, is ingenious in the fact that each participant will have their own personal experience with the activity. Experience marketing combines every aspect of many different forms of marketing on a grand scale, and yet each participant has a deeply personal experience with it, which, and most importantly, they will share on social media for weeks to come.

If you're looking for innovative, effective healthcare marketing strategies, give us a call!