Story telling in healthcare marketing
Sportsinjuryfix member and ambassador Dave James aka "The Foot and Leg Magician" is a Podiatrist, Coach, mentor and speaker, who helps members of the foot health industry to tell amazing stories, increase their visibility and find the clients they love to work with.
Dave kindly shared his thoughts and experiences of the power of storytelling in healthcare marketing.
I remember the first time I shared my personal story about Spina Bifida on my business social media.It felt pretty edgy. I thought that no one would be interested in that story, and because I live with it on a daily basis, I figured that no one would want to hear it.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was wrong. I simply shared my experience of living with Spina Bifida and the story flowed.
I talked about my diagnosis as a child, the major back and foot surgery before school, being pretty crap at sports throughout my whole education and my foot ulcers that developed in my 20's.
I talked about the pain and frustration, and what techniques and approaches I have used to manage symptoms and psychology.
I talked about how I felt it affected my relationships with me and those around me. This led to an amazing amount of connection with my audience.
When I told that first story, I was really unaware of the psychology behind storytelling and the power that comes from sharing our stories.
And I certainly was unaware of the power of storytelling in marketing.
When I think more deeply about storytelling, it invokes memories of story time with my parents and spending time with my own children, bringing to life words and images from a page to engage them deeply, creating an emotional response.
And because business and emotion are pretty closely related, anything that creates emotion surely will be good for marketing, right?
Storytelling is a really big part of every culture. Passing on knowledge and lessons from one generation to the next, hopeful that the next generation will take that knowledge and build upon it.
Storytelling is a ritual. Genetic, emotive, ingrained and so very powerful.
It helps you to stand out from the crowd.
It helps people to connect with you and your brand.
But if storytelling is so damn good, why aren't people using it in their healthcare marketing?
Now that's a great question, but before we examine that, it's worth noting what type of stuff we see in marketing in already.
I look at a lot of social media and marketing content. A lot of it can only be described as "vanilla", with posts that talk about the practitioner or describe in detail the menu of services that are provided.
Long lists over endless pages detailing qualifications, affiliations, treatment modalities...
Don't get me wrong, the information about what they treat, how they treat and where they treat is valuable. But with the focus squarely on you - the practitioner - these posts always seems to miss that connection that needs to occur between you and your clients.
People buy from people and storytelling is a great way to aid this.
It also serves as an amazing pattern interrupt that is needed to get people to pay attention to your brand and to lead you into the know, like a trust cycle.
When I talk to people about storytelling and content, there is a pretty predictable fear response.
You see their demeanour change, their body posture changes and they start to worry...
What will I talk about?
No one wants to see, hear or listen to me?
I tell really bad stories...
Lots of little things like that popup. I'll tell you now, that's pretty normal and I've been through it myself.
So to make that process easier, here are two story ideas that can get you started:
1. Tell you origin story. We all love to know the background of characters in a story, and it's no different in business.
How did you become a therapist? Why did you choose that as a profession? What do you love about it?
2. What's your favourite client success story? What struggles did they have that you helped overcome? How have they gone on to be even more successful?
(Of course, that's one to keep anonymous)
Start with these simple stories, then other stories will flow and you will be surprised with the impact and connection that you will have.
"But if it was that easy Dave, then everyone would be doing it...".
That's a great point and leads me back to the question above - if storytelling is so damn good, why aren't people using it in their healthcare marketing?
I believe there are multiple reasons for this.
Time - we're all busy working in the business, and finding time to do the social media and marketing on top of the day job can feel like a lot of work.
Professionalism - we don't want to say anything our professional body would not like or to be seen in any light other than perfect and professional.
Image - do we think that kind of marketing is not in keeping with the image we are trying to portray.
Perfection - maybe we believe that the stories we know are dull, boring or not relevant and we think they are not essential to our marketing.
Each of you reading this will have your own opinion and it's up to you to decide how you want to process that.
But storytelling is powerful, however, the effects do take time and you have to be consistent and work on it regularly.
Storytelling has been good to me over the last few years, truly revolutionising my marketing and changing the way I approach my communication. It has provided a connection to my clients and audience in ways that I could only have dreamed about.
But most importantly it has helped me grow as a healthcare professional and really view what I do to help others completely differently.
That insight itself is worth the time and energy alone.
Are you ready to start telling stories in your marketing?
To find out more and to work with Dave, follow these links:
1. Grab a copy of my free Ebook
A simple guide to creating awesome content for your social media --message Dave Here
2. Join our free FB Group
A group for like minded professionals to help grow their business and work with the clients they love -- Click Here
3. Find out about my social media group programme
A programme to help you develop great social media content with weekly coaching calls. Reply to this message with “Group Programme” in the title and let’s chat.
4. Work with me 1-2-1.
Sometimes you need that 1-2-1 focus to help you towards your goals. Reply to this with “1-2-1” in the title and let’s chat