Accidental Marketing Genius Marcus Sheridan Shares Expert Advice On How Private Practice Can Up Their Content Game With One Smart Move

They Ask You Answer Book Cover
Recently, our Inner Circle members were joined by Marcus Sheridan as our newest Inner Circle Book Club guest author to discuss his book They Ask, You Answer and why answering the questions your future customers ask is the smartest marketing move you can make. 

If, like so many other private practice owners, you balk at the sheer amount of marketing options available to you and just wish someone would tell you, “Here, do this, it really works,” then you’ve just got your wish…

Dubbed the “King of Content,” Marcus Sheridan is an accidental marketing genius who only discovered the secret to modern day marketing success when his failing pools and spas business forced him to consider new ways to get customers.

Fast-forward over a decade and alongside being a professional key-note speaker, he is now considered to be the founder of content marketing, as he discovered the magnificent power of creating online content based entirely on the questions his prospective customers were asking and utilized it with immense success.

In this article, we share his wisdom in relation to private practice owners and how you can apply Marcus’s genius marketing strategy to help more people realize you’re the best option for them.

But It’s Not Fair

Let’s not beat around the bush. The hearing care industry is throwing out some serious “it’s not fair” vibes and has done so for quite some time.

With factors such as the emergence of retail giants like Costco and Best Buy selling cheap hearing aids and third-party insurance companies undercutting your margins, not to mention the president actively advocating over-the-counter devices, it’s easy to see why, but where many would look at that as a list of problems, you can see it as a list of opportunities.

Marcus says, “When we decide that we want to be entrepreneurs, we lose the right to complain about the marketplace, and we should never let personal opinions screw up smart business decisions.”

So, instead of focusing on how you’re being disrupted, how can you, yourself be the disruptor?

The answer is what you choose to do with this next bit of information…

The Best Most Simple Marketing Move Ever

The concept of “They Ask, You Answer” is simple: Identify what your prospective customers want to know and are searching for online and answer their questions on your website.

Don’t panic, though; you don’t need to invest heavily on Google ads or employ a team of professionals to make it happen. All you need is…yourself.

As a hearing care professional, you have a brilliant superpower – you know how to help people hear better. You also know, because you hear it asked on a daily basis, what the journey to better hearing looks like, including how much it costs, what equipment is needed, how long it takes, and so on.

Now, considering just how much knowledge you have on the topic of hearing loss, don’t you think it’s worth documenting it somewhere where loads of people can see it and consider you an expert because you’ve helped them answer their question?

And don’t you think that, by doing so, if someone was looking for help with their hearing loss, they’d be more likely to consider you because of the expertise you showed? Precisely.

The key to this concept is understanding that the most powerful way you show yourself to be the best is by creating unbiased content that gives the power back to the consumer and lets them decide.

The 5 Things They Want to Know and What to Answer

We just love playing detective. And that’s certainly the case when it comes to vetting companies, people, and products before making a purchase decision. In fact, 70%-80% of us do this.

In They Ask, You Answer, Marcus talks about the five things we definitely want to know before deciding to make a move or not.

In the hearing care space, this means that people will want to know:

  1. How much does hearing healthcare/and or hearing aids cost?
  2. Are there any potential problems I need to know about?
  3. How does your service/product compare to everything else that’s out there?
  4. Are there any reviews I can read about your service?
  5. What is the best option for my individual circumstance?

If you take it as red that each one of these points needs to be addressed/answered on your website and set about answering them, then already you will have made massive progress.

So, let’s break this down.

#1 Cost. Should You Declare It On Your Website?

Cost plays a huge part in your customers’ purchase decision, yet it’s common to omit it from the website for a fear it could “put people off.”

Marcus challenges that notion by saying, “It’s not always the cost that puts people off, it’s the lack of explanation as to why it costs that much.”

When accompanied by a breakdown of costs, the total sum of your healthcare packages can be offset in the minds of the customer if it’s really clear what they’re actually paying for.

Expert service and care from a trained medical professional isn’t cheap, so by educating your customers on your commitment to ongoing CPD for your staff could be one way to explain your fee.

If you’ve just thought, “But why should I have to justify my prices?” then that’s completely understandable.

However, the truth is, as more and more people and private practices are being upfront about their prices on their website, the very act of omitting them from yours could send out the wrong signal and not give people that all important information they need when playing detective.

#2 Problems. Are There Any Drawbacks?

Let’s be real. Irrespective of how much you talk about your service being great or your products being the best, people want the full picture, which includes being upfront about what the product won’t do or the service they won’t be getting.

Sounds counterintuitive? On the contrary. By addressing people’s queries from the off, you’re answering their questions before they’ve even asked them, which shows you really know your stuff.

For example, if your healthcare package doesn’t include home visits, or if your hearing aids don’t come with spare parts, then you want to clearly state this.

#3 Comparisons. What’s So Good About You?

Do you know what the private practice hearing healthcare industry’s most common answer is to the question: “What makes you different?” It’s: “Our service.”

Now, although there’s nothing wrong with that, it does pose a bit of a challenge, as if everyone’s answer to being different is the same, how do you really stand out?

One way you can stand out is by being very honest about your competitors.

If, in a sincerely unbiased way, you can help your prospective customer see what all their options are and actually include your competitors in this, then one thing that could be so good about you is how trustworthy you are.

Practically speaking, this could include a side-by-side review list of all the things you offer compared to your biggest competitor.

By doing this in a way where you’re not afraid of the outcome, that is, that they may choose your competitor instead of you, you’re actually gaining far more integrity by doing so.

#4 Reviews. Teach People They Should Never Just Take Your Word For It  

The difference between advertising and PR is that the former tells people how good you are and the latter confirms it.

Reviews are essential for helping people to trust you’re the one they want, especially if your collection includes a wide variety of people.

The old phrase “Don’t just take my word for it” should be a mantra in your private practice, and constantly pointing people toward your good reviews could go a long way to building trust.

#5 Best Option. (And It Might Not Be You)

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes for a second and imagine you’re on the verge of buying the most expensive, all singing, all dancing hearing aid complete with the most comprehensive care plan.

Now, imagine if someone looked you straight in the eye and said, “You don’t need everything in this package – you could do just as well with the lower priced option.” What would you think of that person? Exactly.

By taking the time to say who your product/service plan is NOT for, again you’re creating trust and showing your expertise in the sincerest way.

Digital David in a Land of Goliaths

OK, so you have all of this information to digest. Where do you begin?

First off, just take a second to appreciate your brilliant position right now.

As the owner of a private practice, you’re not limited to red tape that restricts you from putting out content like the big boys of say Costco or Best Buy.

You are a personal brand and expert in your business, which means you have automatically got a personal advantage on any big boy retailer. You are a digital David in a land of Goliaths! So now it’s time to put your expertise to good use…

If there is just one thing you can do with your newfound knowledge of the “They Ask, You Answer” concept, it’s to put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer.

Ask yourself as many hearing loss-related questions as you can think of that you’d like answering first for yourself and second for a loved one, should they be the one in need.

Then, answer them.

After that, look at your website. If you don’t currently have answers to those questions, adjust accordingly.

Who knows, you could just be the next accidental marketing genius.

Oli Luke
Co-Founder & Marketing Director
Orange & Gray

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