Podcast #19

Why Being The Best Isn’t Enough: Finding Your USP

Defining your unique selling proposition (USP) is the first step in determining what makes you different and why patients should choose to visit your practice. If you can't identify your USP, you'll have a hard time convincing patients to visit your practice instead of your competitors.

Episode Highlights:

Lauren Leone

Lauren Leone: “It’s not just about developing your positioning statement and taking that to market. You want to be able to come up with a few different positioning statements built around what you think your selling proposition is, and then test them through a different advertising menu.”

Related Resources

Announcer: Welcome to the Ignite Podcast. The only healthcare marketing podcast that digs into the digital strategies and tactics that help you accelerate growth. Each week, Cardinal’s experts explore innovative ways to build your digital presence and attract more patients. Buckle up for another episode of Ignite.

Alex MembrilloWhat’s up, everybody, I’m Alex Membrillo, still the CEO of Cardinal Digital Marketing. Not sure why they’ve kept me all around so long, but it is certainly all my fault. We’ve got someone much better at just about everything on the line with us. We’ve got our SVP of healthcare marketing, Lauren Leone. She’s joining us. You probably heard her on other podcasts. She hosts our webinars. She talks with just about every client that we have and onboards them and has been with me for nearly a decade. Welcome, Lauren. Thanks for joining me on Ignite.

Lauren LeoneThanks, Alex.

Alex: We’re going to be talking about something really fun today, everybody. This is something that doesn’t get talked enough about, at least on our marketing materials. We usually talk about patient acquisition. How do we increase patient volume? What do we do with that scale PVC reputation? We don’t talk enough about your unique positioning in the market. What is your unique selling proposition? A lot of you think we’re orthopedic surgeons. We help fix your back. Okay, but everybody else is, too. What’s your unique selling proposition? We’re going to talk about that and get into that. How does defining your USP, Lauren, impact your digital marketing strategy? Why should anybody even be thinking about this?

Lauren: It doesn’t get, like you said, discussed enough. The early conversations that I have are about how do I get more patients, I just want to show up on Google, just get my brand name out there. The search results page has a lot of noise on it. You’ve got ads on the top, you’ve got the map pack, you’ve got some results on the right-hand side, and then a ton of organic results, tens and tens of pages. How are you going to make your brand stand out as they’re skimming that page in three to five seconds to decide which ad to click on or which organically to click on? That is where your brand USP is most important. To your point, just saying who you are, doesn’t answer the patient’s question of why they should choose you.

Alex: Give us some examples. We need tactical examples. I want Ignite to always be tactical. There are too many strategic nonsense discussions out there on podcasts. Let’s talk tactics. Give us a couple, for instance, in specific healthcare sub-verticals we work in, what are some USPs you’ve seen?

Lauren: Think about what sets you apart. There’s the typical thing within healthcare. These might be good enough, depending on your competitive density, things like convenience. Do you offer hours that are longer than the clinic down the street? Are you open an hour later? Can you offer that extra convenience to the patient? Does your clinic have more doctors or more beds or the ability to see more patients, a higher volume? You can get in an appointment tomorrow because we have availability for you. The other guys can’t. If pricing is a consideration, we see this sometimes in dental, in LASIK, for example, where prices everywhere on the search results page, do you have a special or an offer or a way that you can make sure that the patient understands cost at the very, very early stages of engaging with your brand?

Those are some things to think about. Now, there are other more sophisticated ways to talk about your brand USP, things like outcomes, patient testimonials, years of experience, participation, and specific vertical groups that really set you apart. Maybe thinking beyond some of those, I don’t want to call them superficial, they’re important, but everyone is going to talk about their convenience and their location, what really sets you apart.

Alex: You’re saying, just saying you’re the best dentist in Atlanta is not sufficient.

Lauren: Yes. Everyone’s out there saying, “Look, we’re gentle and we’re nice. We’re going to see you tomorrow.” If you just go do a non-branded search for your category, you can see what everyone else is saying and see if it’s the exact same as what you think your differentiating point is. If it’s what you think your differentiator is, then it’s no longer a differentiator because everyone else is saying it too.

Alex: Back it up with a combination of quantitative factors. We are able to see this many patients this quickly, we have this many physicians, backed up with qualitative statements. We were named top doctors, best doctors. We are most certified surgeons, things like that. Is it combining a couple of those and trying to find a unique angle on the market?

Lauren: Yes. What’s really cool about some of the advertising tools and platforms out there today is you can programmatically test combinations of messages. You don’t have to just combine one headline, one description, and assume that that’s going to be relevant for everyone. Utilize testing, like on paid search or like on paid social or any channel that you’re using, to combine different headlines and descriptions, different uses of qualitative and quantitative value propositions to find the combination that’s most effective. What’s most effective isn’t most effective for everyone. Have options out there, and test what is going to get someone to click through it. You may have to serve them three to four different messages before you really identify which one is going to help bring them in the door.

Alex: Absolutely. It’s not just develop your positioning and then take that to market. You won’t be able to come up with a few different positioning statements built around what they think is their selling proposition, but then test them through a different advertising menu. That’s really smart. A lot of people will stick with what they think. A lot of times, Lauren, I see, especially with surgery groups, they go with what the providers think makes them special. We are fellowship-trained. No one knows what that is. Can you come up with something that matters to the patient that they would understand?

Those can be good, but try testing some other things like orthopedic and neuro groups. I know they go with minimally invasive surgery and the outcomes and the success of the outcomes. I like that people get it. You’re not going to hurt me. I have a good chance of succeeding here. Let’s talk marketing. Once you develop your selling proposition, what do you do with SEO? We can’t get away from talking about SEO and stuff like that. Does that help you rank? Does it help you convert people when they come onsite? What can we do with that to drive more traffic and patients online?

Lauren: The brand positioning is not what’s– someone is still going to go out there and search best orthopedic surgeon. You’re not going to change that behavior. You’re talking about how do I get more clicks to my link and how do I then convert them? Consistency between what you are representing in the ad copy with then what is on the landing page. If you have a copy point that says 95% success rate in our LASIK procedures, when I clicked through to that page, I want to see documentation of those outcomes. I want to see some videos of patients who are recipients of that successful outcomes so that I can really believe it with my own eyes. I don’t want to just see you telling me, I want other people to tell me that you are the best. It’s link-building, it’s like the outside authority that’s really going to help boost you.

Alex: Okay. You still need to have pages for the best orthopedic surgeon in your town. You still need to have all those because that’s what people search for. It’s more about converting people when they reach your landing page, making sure you have all the content that you were talking about. Then, in the advertising, you have more freedom on paid social ads, Facebook ads, PBCS to put those selling propositions in there. Do you recommend that they go heavy on what makes them unique, or on paid social and PVC, should they just say what they think people are looking for in a simple manner, the same stuff everybody else says? What’s the better way to go?

Lauren: It’s a combination. If you can make sure that, for example, your headline matches what they searched for, but then what comes below that really sets you apart. That’s the right combination. Our SVP of strategy, Rich, who you’ve probably all heard on various podcast episodes, really talks a lot about barriers to entry. If the perceived barrier is clinic safety with COVID or that it’s going to hurt, or that I’m worried that I might not wake up from my anesthesia, whatever you think the patient’s barrier is, what would stop them from following through with the procedure, the appointment, choosing you, those are the types of things that you can then also address on a landing page. There’s really this threefold. It’s what did they search for? Are you relevant to that search? What sets you apart? Then, what really speaks to their emotional decision-making? That is really what you want to then put on a landing page to improve your conversion rates.

Alex: Should they be coming up with all of these ideas on their own, or does talking to patients help? Would that help, and how do they open those lines of communication in a HIPAA-compliant way?

Lauren: The doctors are at the point of care. They will notice the trends. Maybe your office manager notices that when he or she picks up the phone to do intake, that the most commonly asked question is, “Is insurance accepted? I can’t afford this without my insurance.” Notice those trends, read your reviews, and see what people are either positively saying about you. If the same things are being said over and over again, Dr. Alex is the most gentle doctor I have ever seen, that’s your selling point, go with it. Conversely, if it’s continually the same negative point, maybe that is something that you can then address and turn into your brand proposition.

Alex: I just love when people are able to talk to– when the office managers are maybe doing some post recon, as people are checking out, maybe ask the office manager, the office assistant, office coordinator, ask patients as they’re checking out, obviously you leave your review, but then also to ask, “What made you choose our practice? What is the one thing that made you choose our practice?” It’s always best to get on the ground feedback.

Also, Lauren makes a great point. Check with what the doctors are saying. Go to Google. Go to Healthgrades. Go to Zocdoc. See what people are saying as an aggregate. I love when people ask. When Lauren asks our leads that come in how they found out about us, I always get better information than just looking at their digital breadcrumbs and I see that they came from Google.

You find out so much more. They heard about us this way. They ended up choosing to reach out because of this. We never know that. We never know that just through digital means of seeing the lead come in for our practices. It’s so interesting. Get the boots on the ground feedback. Lauren, what else do our practices need to know about USPs? What else? Is this for everybody? Everybody should be paying attention to this? What else would you recommend?

Lauren: This is for everyone. If you are out there in any capacity, marketing your practice, even if you are doing flyers on doors or postcards in a mailbox, why spend the money to put your brand out in front of someone without telling them why they should even care about your brand? Absolutely, this should be part of every discussion that you have. I like to ask, “What sets you apart,” very early on in the process of trying to identify a new partnership for Cardinal, because I know going into it, if the person I’m speaking with says, “I never thought about that,” or, “We really don’t have one. We just are good at what we do,” there’s going to be some work to be done before I go and throw thousands of dollars at their ad campaigns.

I’m going to say, “Let’s pause. We need to figure this out.” Maybe we need to put some heat map tools on your website and see what really drives the click before the appointment, or maybe we need to do some boots-on-the-ground surveys with patients. We need to find this out because I’m going to spend money to get clicks to your site, and no one is going to fill out that form if they can’t understand why they should choose you.

Alex: People failing to choose a position, I think it comes from FOMO. They’re afraid to miss out on the rest of it, but there’s a lot of all of us, all of our types. There’s a lot of healthcare marketing agencies. None as good as Cardinal. There’s a lot of dentists out there, orthopedic surgeons. The fear of missing out is actually holding you back from getting a bigger piece of the smaller pie.

They say niches get you riches, and the best way to declare your niche is to come up with a positioning statement. Don’t be afraid of that. Stick with that because that’s going to draw more people in. It may take time, and you may evolve it as your practice changes, but coming out there with a strong statement of your differentiator is better than being a me-too practice. We see those fail all the time. You throw tons of money at marketing, and it goes nowhere because your marketing was no more special than the other guy or girl out there.

All right. Thank you so much, Lauren, for joining us on Ignite. You can find out more about this. If you’re listening on audio on Spotify, great. Transcription on the website. Also YouTube. Cardinal has more healthcare marketing resources than, I think, any other agency in the business. Please feel free to ping us. If you need any more added resources, we look forward to seeing you back here. Thanks, Lauren.

Lauren: Thanks, Alex.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to this episode of Ignite. Interested in keeping up with the latest trends in healthcare marketing? Subscribe to our podcast and leave a rating and review. For more healthcare marketing tips, visit our blog at cardinaldigitalmarketing.com.


[00:13:37] [END OF AUDIO]

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