6 Ways to Build Trust in Your Practice Using Marketing
By Amanda Weber
You can’t grow your practice if patients don’t trust you. And when your practice breaks trust, earning it back is like trying to get out of quicksand. In fact, a staggering 71% of people say they will lose trust forever if they feel like a business makes profitability more important than people.
So how do you build authority, establish meaningful relationships, and instill deep trust with patients? Especially since there are likely some you only see once or twice a year?
There are several ways to build and maintain trust. Basic business practices, like clear communication, are essential. But you may be surprised to learn that your marketing strategy also has a lot to do with building trust for your healthcare practice.
In this article, we’ll explore ways your marketing tactics can help you build trust with patients. We’ve chosen to focus primarily on strategies that are quick, easy to implement, and low- or no-cost. That’s because we understand your time is limited.
Here's what to do (and what not to do) to give your patients the sense of security they need.
Customers are more loyal when they trust the brand they’re buying from. – Edelman
6 Ways Healthcare Providers Can Build Trust With Patients
It’s vitally important that your patients trust you. Without trust, you won’t be able to maintain a healthcare practice for long. And your marketing efforts play directly into building and maintaining trust.
These 6 tips will help you create marketing campaigns that capture attention and build trust.
1. Be Consistent
Few things kill credibility like inconsistency. And if you're not credible, you’re not trustworthy.
Before you put anything in from of potential clients, read everything out loud. You’re listening for tone and accuracy. Make sure the text sounds like your practice. Also, ensure everything from your brand's logo to supporting pictures send the same message in the right tone.
This message should embody your practice’s values, voice and reasoning. (In that sense, it may be helpful to think of your practice as having its own personality.)
Patients want to know why you do what you do, why they should choose you over another provider, and why they should trust you. When you’re consistent with your messaging right down to the way it feels, you build certainty and establish a sense of familiarity.
2. Get Active in the Community
Gather your branded pens, calendars, and wrist bands and meet your patients where they are.
There’s an abundance of opportunities to promote your practice for free—if you just look for them. Not only that, but this also gives you a chance to positively impact your community at the same time.
Granted, it takes time. But the growth of your practice is well worth it. And if you’re strategic, you can look for opportunities that align with your passions and the passions of your staff.
You may be able to get involved without doing much extra work.
Why does this bring in new patients? Because seeking healthcare services is scary. Going to a new healthcare provider is like going on a blind date. When you’re present in the community, shaking hands with new and existing patients, you break the ice.
By engaging with the community, you become approachable. That opens the door to establishing a trusting relationship.
“When patients trust their physicians, they feel safe and are more willing to share … information necessary to formulate a healthcare plan.” – MedicalGPS
3. Highlight What Makes You Different
Have you ever seen two different companies talk about their products or services the same way? You could take an ad from either company, change out the names, and it would still work.
That’s ineffective marketing.
Your marketing should shine a bright spotlight on what makes your practice different—whatever that is. It could be your area of specialization, your personality, a particular approach with patients, the way your staff is engaged, or any number of other factors.
Identifying your unique traits is an easy way to set yourself apart and build trust at the same time.
4. Engaged With Social Media
Are you avoiding social media? If so, it might be time for a change.
Like it or not, social media is an engaging tool you can use to keep patients informed, share exciting news about your growth, and reinforce your brand messaging.
It's also the most convenient way to connect with your patients regularly.
“65% of millennials and 43% of all adults think it is appropriate to use social media to contact their physician about a health issue,” (AAFP). Those are compelling numbers you simply can’t ignore if you’re trying to grow your practice.
Your patients are on social media. You should be, too. We recommend gathering testimonials, compiling Google reviews, and use them to show that existing patients rely on you and are happy with your services.
But we’d also like to add a word of caution. Never share feedback from a patient without their permission. Patient privacy is an important issue, not only for building trust but for avoiding liability, as well.
5. Understand Your Audience and Speak to Them
If you don't know your patients' pain, fears, and desires, you can't meet their needs. And if you know these things but can't speak to them, you won't get your patients' attention.
Take time to develop a solid understanding of who your patients are and what experience they expect when engaging in your services.
You can do your research by surveying existing patients, reading online reviews of your competitors, or talking to patients directly while you're out in the community.
Address your patients and their pain points. People rely on healthcare providers for straightforward answers.
6. Give Your Patients the Content They Need
How many times do people google symptoms and self-diagnose? Probably more than enough. But what is even more concerning is the amount of misleading health information accessible via the internet.
Why not give patients informative, accurate, and valuable content that will drive them to schedule an appointment with your office to learn more? You can deliver it on social media, on your blog, or through videos.
Here, you have an opportunity to engage patients in a way that’s meaningful and genuinely helpful.
The more high-quality content you share, the more potential patients will be inclined to trust you, even before they set the first appointment.
Are You Ready to Build Trust?
While building trust takes time, there are things you can do now to send the right message. Start by reviewing your current marketing strategy and looking for gaps and inconsistencies.
When you find them, use this list of tips to make strategic changes.
If your marketing efforts become over challenging or too time-consuming, you might want to consider outsourcing some of these tasks. As a healthcare provider, you likely have more important things to focus on.
So, consider this a seventh tip. If necessary, find a trusted marketing professional to help you build trust with patients.
Trust is the bedrock of any growing healthcare practice. Make it a point to do what you can today to build trust for your brand.