And he has a point.
The job of marketing should be to help a business to stand up and be seen as the best version of themselves … the problem is, it has become (in some circles) an art of deception, trickery, and manipulation.
It’s like trying to look your best for a date – good marketing should be wearing nice clothes, having a haircut, and cleaning your nails … the art of manipulation style marketing is like wearing a mask or sending a better-looking friend in your place.
In this article, I’m going to share three marketing/advertising tricks that you should warn your patients about that dirty, slimy, and horrible clinics are using to attempt to manipulate patients.
Note that if you read this article and discover that you’re doing one of these tricks, then please immediately stop … and maybe point your marketing company to the Bill Hicks quote above.
Let’s jump in …
#1 – Borrowing Others’ Credibility
This one is truly grinding my gears at the moment.
I don’t want to name names, but there is a certain individual that allows clinics to borrow his/her credibility and credentials to give the impression that they are better than they are.
Essentially, you take an underperforming clinic that is desperate for patients, you put the face/brand of a “specialist” on the website, and mislead patients into believing that they’re buying into some form of medical methodology.
The problem is that the “specialist” doesn’t see any patients or even visit the clinic – it’s just a deal of licensing his/her name/brand to other clinics.
It’s like trying to “chat up” a girl/guy at a bar by telling them that you have a famous friend!
Here’s the tip for patients/advice to your community … If a clinic is built around the personal brand of an individual, yet the individual doesn’t see patients, isn’t available to schedule, or you have no ability to even communicate with them … it should be a red flag.
This is 100% deception.
If the below screenshot makes sense to you (I really hope it does), then it will summarize it beautifully.
If it doesn’t, then treat yourself to this viral Scottish meme below (be warned that it has some terrible curse words – not for the easily offended!).
#2 – Special Offers, Big Savings, and [New] Discounts
If a clinic is always advertising discounts, then this should be a big red flag.
First of all, if they’re always offering discounts, then they’re inflating their supposed “normal” pricing, and their discounted price is their actual price [Manipulation].
Second of all, good clinics that deliver great work rarely offer discounts. Ever noticed that the premium local restaurant doesn’t use coupons to bring people in? There’s a reason for it. Hearing care clinics are the same.
Thirdly, if a clinic is making a big discount available, you have to ask yourself why. Let me assure you, it’s rarely for your benefit (regardless of what they say).
Just be careful when it comes to big discounts. There’s usually a reason behind them … and you’ll rarely end up “winning” in the long run.
#3 – Unproven Claims (Most Common)
It’s never been easier for clinics to make substantial claims (without having to justify them).
For example, they say that they’re
- The best …
- The most trusted …
- The most advanced team …
- The highest standards …
- The most experienced …
If you see a clinic make a claim like this, your job should turn into an investigator to see if they can provide the EVIDENCE that their claims are true.
For example …
If a clinic suggests it has hundreds of delighted patients, do they prove it?
– How many reviews do they have?
If a clinic suggests that they’re trusted by physicians, do they prove it?
– Do they have assets on their sites for physicians?
If a clinic suggests that they give back to their community, do they prove it?
– Do they have a track record of how they support their community and who they have helped?
It’s become too easy to include “throw-away” lines to sound impressive … yet the clinics that are telling the truth supply the evidence.
Don’t just take their word for it, investigate!
The Lessons to a Private Practice Owner
If you’re reading this as a private practice owner, it’s because you have your head screwed on. If you were looking for quick and manipulative tactics, you wouldn’t be here.
In an industry where too many clinics are being attracted by shiny objects that are resulting in them stepping over dollars to collect pennies, please make long-term smart decisions.
Special offers and coupons will train patients to wait until there’s a discount to make a decision.
Trying to sound more impressive than you are (or something that you’re not) will only result in patients’ expectations being missed and cause friction.
Trying to use other people’s credibility just shines a greater spotlight on your lack of credibility … it’s a loser’s game.
If you need help with your marketing strategy, and feel that you’re falling into the above traps, then schedule a strategy session – I’ll help.