Guest post by Dr. Josh Satterlee
At the very core of every marketing piece you do is the inherent question, what do you do? This may get asked at dinner parties. Or possibly at cocktail parties, at the gym, out at 5Ks or marathons, but it's an inherent part of all the marketing you do. You must clearly understand what you do, and phrase it in such a way your current or future patients also clearly understand what it is you do.
Most people are nowhere near clear and concise. Most of these messages are incredibly confusing. You cannot let your patient fill in the gaps because then you likely must spend a lot of time reworking what their understanding is, of you. I'm sure most of you have experienced telling somebody you're a chiropractor, and they immediately want to fill in gaps as to what you do.
"Oh, you crack backs." or "Oh, you correct subluxations," or, "Do you do adrenal fatigue work?" These are your customers' attempts at filling in gaps. This must be prevented. And you must have a concise, clear message that is repeated by you, your spouse, your kids, your staff, your business, on your business cards, on your business signs, and on your marketing pieces. If you don't, you have confusion, and confusion never wins.
Our goal today is to supercharge your marketing by helping you develop a clear one-liner explaining what you do. Think about it for a second. I love this analogy I once heard on a podcast. Imagine you have a steer and you're branding that steer with your company's brand. So, on the backend, it gets a brand. Now, it's not as bad as you think, and the cows don't feel as much pain as you think they do when they get branded.
Now let's say that your front desk staff comes along and has a slightly different brand, and places that over the top, and rebrands that cow. The next day, your spouse has a slightly different shaped brand and places that over the top and brands that steer again. Well, after seven or eight people have done this. Obviously, you don't have a clearly defined brand. That's often what's happening with your marketing. This example comes directly from the book, Building a StoryBrand, with Donald Miller, which is probably the best book to help you understand a clear and concise message.
Let's put this in other contexts. I recently went to Disneyland and everywhere you go, Disneyland is labeled with a one-liner, it's “The Happiest Place on Earth. When you walk in, the employees say, "Welcome to the Happiest Place on Earth." "Welcome to Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth." They do not say, "Welcome to a pretty happy place," or, "Welcome to Disneyland, where you'll leave very happy," or, "This is a pretty happy place," or, "We're happy staff and happy people."
No, they are very clear, and absolutely define it in one way. This is the happiest place on Earth, and every single person says it the same way. It's written the same way on their collateral. It's phrased the same way, everywhere. Why? Because this helps their customers have clarity in what goes on at Disneyland. You go there; you're going to be happy, period.
So, how can we use this to your advantage in your chiropractic business? First, here's some absolutely horrible one-liners I've heard. I have a local friend with a business, and their tagline is, their one-liner is, "We install happiness." What do you think they do? Some people guess software. Some people guess furniture. It turns out, none of those are correct. "We install happiness," has to do with window coverings and miniblinds. Now, would you know that at all from their tagline? No. They just wanted something inspirational they put together at a staff retreat. Unfortunately, it doesn't tell you anything that they do.
I've also seen bad one-liners in healthcare like "We help you thrive." Does that have to do with nutrition? Or maybe stretching? Does that mean workouts? What exactly helps you thrive? What, specifically, do you do that helps you thrive?
I've also seen a lot of people talk about “patient-centered healthcare.” That’s a weak tagline or one-liner.
In my first business, our tagline was, "Results-driven healthcare." Looking back, that was absolutely horrible. Results-driven healthcare could apply to anything. Heck, it could apply to your blood sugar levels and diabetes treatment. But what we were trying to do was get chiropractic patients, specifically ones that were interested in sports medicine. “Results-driven healthcare” did not help us filter out and get those special people.
The good news is that there is a simple fix to this? A simple 3-step process:
Step 1: Get your patients “on the map.”
Step 2: Talk about your incredible solution.
Step 3: Describe to them, very succinctly, what life is like after they employ your solution.
Let's define each one of these. The first part of a good one-liner is helping your customer get on the map. What does this mean? Well, most people start in talking about what they do. When asked what they do, they say: "Hey, I do ART," or, "I do NKT," or, "I'm SFMA trained."
Imagine you're at a dinner party and a person says, "What do you do?" You say, "Well, I do ART and NKT and SFMA." That makes absolutely no sense. They have no idea what that means and where they're coming from. If you start out with your solution, "Hey, I'm a chiropractor and I blah, blah, blah," they're already going with what their belief of a chiropractor is.
A better solution is to describe a common problem people deal with, that you treat. Describe in normal human language what the problem is that you help solve. If you were a chiropractor and worked with a lot of Ironman athletes, you might say, "You know how a lot of marathon runners and triathletes complain a lot about knee pain and hip pain?" That'll be your opening line. What we're doing here is saying, we work with Ironman athletes and marathoners, and we do something that deals with pain. And you know what, we're not just talking about back pain, we're talking about hip and knee pain. So, you’re helping that potential customer gets on the map.
Now, let's forget for a moment about Chiropractic and move into something else. Let's say that you were the owner of a company that made organic dog food. Now, if you just start out, talking about your organic dog food when people ask you what you do, you say, "Oh, I make organic, grass-fed, non-GMO dog food." They think, "What the hell's this loser doing at this party and who invited him?" But instead, if you start out with the description of the problem, that conversation will go differently. When asked, "What do you do?" you're going to say, "Well, you know how a lot of dogs, after a while their coat looks kind of dull and doesn't look as shiny, and the dog doesn't feel, or doesn't move around as well?" People say, "Oh, yeah. I noticed that in my dog after two years”. Only after you established the map do you then offer your solution, but not before. You must get that customer on the map.
Once you have established the problem, you want to kind of agitate it, you know. Back to the Ironman athletes, if you say, "You know how Ironman athletes and marathoners have a lot of hip pain and knee pain, that keeps them from really succeeding, that keeps them from posting a PR in their next race?" You want to dig at that problem. You could say: "You know how pregnant women have back pain, and it keeps them from really staying as active as they want late into their pregnancy?" You're just digging at that problem. Digging at that problem. "You know how your dog's coat isn't as shiny after two years of feeding it normal dog food, and all your friends think that he's sick?" Digging at it. Digging at it. Digging at it. Make sure you agitate that problem a little bit.
Now, once everybody's on the map, can talk about your incredible solution. Back to the Ironman athlete. "You know how Ironman athletes and marathoners complain of knee pain and hip pain that keeps them from posting a PR? "Well, we do a full assessment on their injury to help them understand what's really going on with them, then we perform massage, dry needling, and chiropractic treatments to eliminate that pain, so….." You want to describe your amazing solution that eliminates the problem you brought up previously.
If you say, "You know how your dog's coat is not as shiny after a couple of years, and you notice that he's kind of lethargic and doesn't have as much energy, and your neighbors are wondering what's wrong with him? Well, we offer organic, non-GMO, dog food that helps restore his shiny coat,"
Or: "You know how pregnant women complain of back pain late in the pregnancy, so they can't stay as active as they want to? Well, we help with an evaluation and specific massage and muscle care, along with chiropractic treatments to allow them to…." So, you're offering that solution. What is it that your client wants to get rid of? Why do they want you to do your treatment? Why the hell would they put up with all the poking and prodding and stretching? Well, that solution has merit. So, let's talk about that final piece.
What's life like after you initiate that solution? What is life like after you have improved their situation? Be sure you describe it to the person asking. It may sound like "You know how Ironman athletes and marathoners often have knee pain and hip pain that keeps them from running a PR? Well, we do a full evaluation and treat their injuries with massage, dry needling, and chiropractic, so they can go out, win their next race, and feel great." Right. We're telling them what life is like after the solution. Why the heck are you doing your treatments? Well, it's so that your patients can succeed. Don’t forget to lay that part out.
Back to the dog example: "Do you know how a lot of dogs, their coat is no longer shiny after a couple of years, and your neighbors are wondering if he's sick? We offer non-GMO, grass-fed, organic dog food that helps nourish their coats, so they look vibrant and healthy once again, and have the energy to go play in the park." You want to show everybody what life is like after the solution. If you could reduce this down to a very speakable sentence, you'll have a winner.
Now, the great thing is, this is the line you're going to repeat a thousand times, to every single patient, until they can repeat it as clearly as you can. This is the single line your secretary is going to use. This is also the line you're going to tell your accountant. This is also the line your spouse will repeat, and your kids will repeat, and you'll put on shirts. This is the line you might put on the back of your business cards because it tells everybody what you do, which is such an important part of marketing.
Most people start with something confusing ... they use technical jargon and a confusing message, and therefore, their customers are trying to fill in the gaps. You'll know this is you if your customers ever say, "I didn't know you did that," or, "I didn't know you guys offered that. Oh, I was looking for somebody that did that." This is so common within the world of healthcare, and especially within musculoskeletal care, like chiropractors perform, because often we're unclear about what we do. We can't hire the marketing agency to create a clear message for us, so we start talking about things we enjoy doing. But you must remember, you're a super nerd. You enjoy studying and understanding why the body works and how it works. Most people don't, which is why they're hiring you.
If you can create a clear and concise message for them, they'll reward you with sending their friends, their family, and everybody else, to you. And the brand on the back of that steer will be crystal clear. That's what you want. You want to be like Disneyland when they say, "The Happiest Place on Earth." It's absolutely clear, and everybody's repeating the same message.
So, number one, get your customers on the map and agitate their problem. Number two, talk about your amazing solution, and number three, describe what life is like after somebody works with you. Put that all together, cut it down to a one-liner and repeat it a thousand times. Run it by your friends at the gym, your friends at work. Run it by your best friend or your grandmother. If your grandmother can understand it without having known anything about Chiropractic, you're in the right spot.
Now, let's hear your one-liner. Post it up in the comments on the blog.