Any marketing specialist in the world will tell you that you can try all you want with your marketing strategies, but nothing will ever beat the power, originality and authenticity of the word-of-mouth marketing. This type of marketing has remained relevant since the dawn of business to this very day. Some of the advantages of the word-of mouth marketing over other types:
- It comes from authentic sources – Word-of-mouth marketing is not a paid advertisement where everything is made to look pretty. Instead, it comes from real people who have had real experiences, and that makes it highly trustworthy.
- It costs nothing or very little – Since your customers are your message carriers, you don’t have to pay a lot, if at all, to get them to spread the word. A really satisfied customer will do this without even being asked.
- Potential customers identify with previous ones – A potential customer is more likely to identify with someone who has obviously gone through the same experience that they intend to have, and has the same problems.
How does word-of-mouth work in medicine?
There are two ways to utilize word-of-mouth marketing in the medical environment. Medicine is a competitive field, just like any other business, and as such it benefits from marketing practices. With the advent of medical tourism, it has even become more important than ever, as there is a huge potential to expand with the international patients looking for quality treatments which they are willing to pay for.
Medical centers can utilize this type of marketing through patient testimonials and patient stories. The way in which they do it will determine how successful the whole venture is going to be, but, if successful, both of these can bring an influx of new customers and patients from all over the world, thanks to the internet.
How do we get the patients to talk positively about us?
The first thing that you can do about this is, obviously, to do a good job and make sure that your work is done to the highest standards and patient satisfaction. A satisfied customer is a perfect conduit for your marketing activities. If your procedures change someone’s life for the better, you can be sure that they will go around telling people about your clinic and your procedures.
However, that in itself is not enough. You, as a healthcare provider, can influence the satisfied patient to give you that little bit extra information that you can use further through:
- Offering a survey after the procedure – A survey will serve a dual purpose. If the response is positive, it can be used as a promotional material. If the response is negative, you will know what you need to improve in order to satisfy the next customer.
- Asking them to give you a testimonial – A really satisfied patient will have absolutely no problem with taking some time to give you a testimonial. In fact, they will probably feel privileged to do so for you. A lot of centers consider it unprofessional, but that view is slowly changing for the better. Just be sure to ask them after the procedure or when they come back for the follow-up visit. If you wait longer, there will be a chance that they will not recollect the procedure as well and the feeling that you want them to convey might be gone.
- Waiting for the satisfied patients to propose giving a testimonial themselves – Some patients will gladly offer to give a testimonial and will propose to do so on their own. This is probably the best way, as it provides the most sincere of positive testimonials.
Whichever the way of acquiring testimonials, be sure to respect the laws and to obtain proper permissions to use the material and the patients name and likeness in advertising purposes. You do not want to upset your most satisfied customer by not respecting them or their public image.
Why are patient testimonials such a powerful tool for drawing international patients?
The thing with medical tourism is that no patient has the time or resources to go and visit in person each clinic they are looking into. Instead, they look to do their research online about the medical centers that they intend to visit and among the first things that they look for are the patient testimonials, either in written form or in the form of a video. The internet has become a powerful marketing tool exactly because of this – it enables the medical centers to reach potential patients which are miles away and, to make it better, the patients are actively researching their conditions and possible solutions, instead of waiting for a solution to fall into their laps.
The market is there, your job is just to utilize the space that you have been given. If you succeed, you can expect to reap massive rewards for investing next to nothing into promotional materials such as the patient testimonials.