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Tell Me A Story… (A Healthy One): Tactics for Healthcare Marketing

Marketing the services of a healthcare provider isn’t the easiest thing in the world. After all, consumers typically don’t shop for a doctor (much less, a specialist) until they need one.

Add to that the fact that the business of medicine is steeped in hardcore knowledge: diagnoses, process, procedures and outcomes, and the subject matter can be clinical and uninteresting (and sometimes not even written in English!). Together, you’ve got a prescription for people’s eyes glazing over.

So how can healthcare providers prepare for the day when someone comes looking for them?

A recent article focused on skills future storytellers (like me) need to develop. They’re good suggestions to keep in mind as you think about marketing your practice. Additionally, consider these options:

People stories: All great stories are about people—those who succeed, those who fail and those who try again (the latter is usually the best kind of story). To tell a great story about your practice, tell it through the eyes of the people who have lived it: you and your patients. Soliciting for testimonials can be a great way to break the ice on finding people to feature on your website and in your communications.

Social media: Although you may not want to go down the rabbit hole of getting reviews of your practice, you do need to have a presence in the places people who are searching will expect to find you, and social media is one of them. Robust (or at least complete) social profiles in places like Facebook and Yelp can also boost your SEO and search results, and support any paid advertising you may be doing.

Images: Nothing says “boring” like photos of an empty waiting or examination room. And stock photos all look the same. As you are asking patients to convey their pleasure with your services, also ask if they’d like to volunteer their photo for your marketing efforts. Also ask your staff to be pictured, after all, they’re the people who will greet patients when they arrive. (And hire a professional; bad people shots will do little good.)

Audience activation: There’s no more powerful thing than a call to action, asking people to participate in something that makes them feel like a larger community. Engaging with your patients—perhaps asking them to provide feedback that can be helpful and illustrative to other patients—demonstrates a satisfied patient base and reinforces your reputation as a valued and sought-after provider.

There are plenty more tactics you can leverage for a successful campaign that an experienced marketing professional can assist you with. But emulating campaigns you’ve admired and participated in yourself is the best way to start on the road to storytelling success.


Vice President, Public Relations