Connecting to Your Audience:
Creating Brand Recognition Through Story Telling
Medical tourism is a growing and increasingly competitive field. In order to offer your clients the information and services they need, you need to connect with them on a personal level. How do you do this?
Basically, by telling a story. Stories have a beginning, middle, and an end. They offer important pieces of information, morals, and lessons. In your field, they not only provide valuable resources, practices and information for your clients, but also serve to generate interest in your brand, increase revenues, and build human connections.
One of the best ways to connect with your audience is to relate to them on their level. You need to present information in a compelling, interesting and effective way. We’re not talking about fairy tales here, but a proven method to building a brand, growing your business, and building communication between providers and consumers.
Stories don’t have to be long, but may offer anecdotes or short sentences that convey understanding to your audience. They should evoke vivid images. For example, let’s say you’re considering traveling to the Bahamas for medical treatment. Yes, you want to know the details, costs and qualifications of the facility and staff you’ll be seeing, but you also need something more.
Which of the following would capture and hold your interest?
This: State-of-the-art facility offers a 42-bed clinic located on XYZ Street in downtown Nassau. A variety of treatments and procedures will meet your needs. The hospital facility, built in 1981, offers private and semi-private rooms. Doctors and nursing staff are on-call 24 hours a day. Accommodations and dining arranged.
This message says:
Or this: I took care of my medical needs while vacationing on white, sandy beaches surrounded by cool, aqua Caribbean waters. I basked under the sun with a fruity drink, complete with miniature umbrella. I slept in luxurious accommodations at a 4-star hotel and experienced some of the finest Caribbean dining my taste buds have ever experienced.
This message says:
Actually, information from each of these paragraphs may be necessary to describe your facility, but whenever possible, use storytelling to create a visual picture in your client’s mind of what he or she can expect when arriving at your destination.
Good stories offer more than information and data. They’re more than a hard sell. A good story helps change the way a person thinks or feels, as well as how they behave or act. The goal is to encourage your audience to take action.
Several key points are necessary in order to generate interest and compel a potential client or customer to take action. These key points include:
- Clarity – What message are you trying to get across to your audience? What do you want them to do? Be concise, clear, and clarify.
- Confirmation – What benefits do your facilities or services provide? Why are these benefits or services important to your potential clients? Why should they act?
- Action – How can your audience take action on the information you’ve provided? What steps do they need to complete in order to take this action?
- Confirmation – Define how your clients will benefit from action they’ve taken.
The above points don’t need to be hard sells, but should be subtle and creative. For example:
Tara calls to ask about your services. She wants information. Tell Tara you’re available to answer any questions she may have. Ensure her that you can answer her questions. Ask Tara to describe her needs and what she’s looking for and then respond with how you can help. Encourage her to understand that you can provide what she’s looking for. Then explain to Tara how to access your services. How can she call to make travel or lodging arrangements? Does she need a passport or visa? Can you or someone on your staff help make travel/ accommodation arrangements with her or for her? Then follow up with a closing that reiterates how she will benefit from her decision to use your services. Assure her you’ll be there to help with any questions as they come up.
In order to effectively draw your readers into your newsletters, emails, television ads, conferences or personal phone conversations, you need to get them emotionally invested in what you have to say.
Good storytelling literally compels emotional involvement and, if you’re doing it right, action. Good stories:
- Change the way we feel, demanding emotional investment.
- Change the way we think, holding our interest and satisfying our curiosity.
- Change the way we act, by encouraging us to make a decision depending on the message.
- Change the way we behave, by encouraging us to explore different avenues and creating a desire to take action.
Several key factors are invaluable in this process.
- Listen – in order to tell a good story, you’ve got to know your audience and be a good listener. Know and understand their concerns, their attitudes, and their specific needs.
- Be user-friendly – this means taking a personal approach to your audience. Create messages and build stories that identify and respond to the needs of your target audience.
- Inspire – a good story will inspire an individual to make changes or take action and encourage them to engage with your brand.
- Listen some more – while you’re telling your story, watch for signs and reactions from your audience. Encourage their feedback and response.
- Plan ahead – literally set the stage for the next chapter of your story; in well written novels, each chapter ends with a “hook” that encourages the reader to turn the page to find out what happens next. Do the same with your audience. Keep them asking questions. Keep them engaged.
Listen – sure, you have something to say, but you need to listen to the specific needs, concerns and worries of your potential clients. Be as user-friendly as possible. You don’t want to come on too strong, but be personable and friendly. Use personal testimonials, stories or anecdotes that focus on the specific needs of your potential clients.
Encourage your clients and inspire them to engage in communicating with your services. Watch and listen to their reactions, encourage feedback and comments, and make sure you’re answering their questions.
When you’re using storytelling to build your brand or to create focused marketing messages, try to create a personal side for your brand. For example, how did it come about? How can your brand or your mode of service be made more personal?
Use your history, background and development of your brand to connect with your audience and encourage them to take action. Story telling is an effective way of communicating with others. Storytelling, testimonials and personal anecdotes can help build your business, generate revenue, brand recognition, reputation and services.
Don’t be afraid to take a more personal approach when it comes to your marketing endeavors. Generate interest, draw your customers in utilizing a personal and friendly approach and give your audience tactile impressions of what they can expect from you.