You’re selling health, not healthcare

by Tom Garfield

The plumber asked me what kind of radiator I wanted.

I hadn’t bought a radiator before. I thought they just came with houses. I was a new home owner and to be honest I didn’t care about different kinds of radiators.

“One that keeps the room warm” I told him. That’s all I really cared about. I knew it had to be a certain size, and I didn’t want anything fancy. I just wanted to know that the room would be nice and warm when I was at home. I didn’t think about what I wanted, I felt what I wanted.

Because no one really wants a radiator. What they want is a warm room. In fact to go even further, they want comfort. The comfort of being warm, and the comfort of convenience.

So when I’m buying a radiator, I’m really buying comfort. Just like healthcare patients aren’t buying a consultation, or treatment, or a new knee. They’re buying something beyond any of that.

Your patients aren’t buying healthcare, they are buying better health.

We do know this. We know that patients aren’t coming to us because they enjoy their experience. You know that patients are looking for a future situation where their health is improved, where they are free from pain or discomfort. They aren’t looking for an angiogram, they are looking for a healthy heart and the peace of mind that comes with it.

Your patients are buying a future version of themselves. A healthier, more comfortable version of themselves.

Pay attention to the great advertisers

If you start to pay attention to advertising, you’ll notice a lot of it focuses on the benefit the product or service brings. The ultimate reason that someone might buy.

Take a product that really has no business existing in the first place in my opinion – Coca-Cola. Have you ever seen a coke advert that leads with “This fizzy sugar water tastes nice and comes in a handy can!”.

No. They focus on arguably tenuous things like spending time with friends and family, enjoying time together and relaxing or partying.

This is a very classic example – when Steve Jobs announced the first iPod, he didn’t lead with “X number of gigabytes and great audio quality”

Instead he said the iPod was “1000 songs in your pocket”.

That’s a far more powerful and compelling tag line isn’t it?

How this applies to marketing your private practice

Humans make all sorts of decisions based on emotion. Health is an incredibly emotive topic. At it’s root, it’s the absence

If you can resonate with If you can demonstrate to your visitors that you understand their desired future situation. Tell them you understand they want to be free of pain, free of discomfort.

Describing a procedure won’t achieve this. Neither will telling a patient how many years experience you have.

You need to show that you can help make their future vision a reality. Focus less on the procedure, or the diagnostics. Tell them how you’ve helped patients recover from pain and difficulty, to overcome these ailments to live a life doing the things they love.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it is important to have practical and factual information on your website, but your core sales pages shouldn’t lead with it. I see far too many websites that just put their patient information leaflet content on the website. That’s not good enough and won’t be effective at generating leads for your business.

What you can do now

Go and review your website. Focus on your home page for now. Do you lead with features? Your many years experience, expert in your field, the kind of treatments you offer?

These things are important, but consider mixing up some of that home page text with a core statement about the value you provide to a patient. The change you’ll make to their lives?

For example, If you’re an orthopaedic consultant, something like “Get back to activities you love, fast” has worked well for me in the past.

Getting people to think something is all well and good, but getting people to feel something is more powerful, and is more likely to prompt action.

About Tom Garfield

Tom Garfield is a Healthcare Marketing Specialist. He works with Doctors, Therapists, Clinics and Hospitals to generate more enquiries and appointments through their websites. He’s been improving website conversion rates since 2009 and has helped over 200 healthcare providers grow their businesses.