If we’ve learned anything from the last several months, it is how important digital media is for keeping our presence alive in the minds and hearts of prospects and patients. Of all the media, the most impactful is video, as it conveys a sense of who we are and allows us to authentically resonate with the viewer. With video, we can project warmth, caring, empathy and a possibility for others – all traits highly desired by consumers.
One silver lining of the turbulent COVID-19 period might be that many practitioners have become more comfortable on camera as they have had to turn to telehealth and online video meetings. The sales of simple at-home production equipment such as ring lights, Logitech cameras and microphones such as the Blue Yeti, have soared. Practitioners are dabbling with editing software, and more are becoming increasingly comfortable showing new sides of their lifestyle and personalities on social media.
During the lockdown, noted facial plastic surgeon Steven Dayan, MD, ramped up his video communication by showing himself at home doing seemingly mundane activities. The videos generated considerable viewership. “It removes the barrier because you are seeing someone in their normal element and patients like that,” Dr. Dayan expressed. “When this crisis is over, we are going to have a closeness with our patients that we may not have had before.”
With this background in mind, how can you take the next steps to make even greater use of video to enhance your presence and grow your practice? Here are five steps to consider.
1. Create a welcome to my practice video
Each day millions of consumers shop for the services of aesthetic and anti-aging professionals. The average health-seeking consumer hits eight or nine websites before they decide which practitioner is right for them. As they glance at your website, you have seconds to create an impression; to welcome the prospect into your “home” and invite them to partake of your offerings.
In the span of 45 to 90 seconds, your goal is to create the impression of being a great host; someone that others want to visit. A welcome video prominently placed on your homepage can significantly increase dwell time (an important Google measure), and conversion by 80% or more.
A welcome video is not a recitation of your CV, your accomplishments and awards, or the equipment you have in your office. It is not anything that can be better served in print. Instead it shows you speaking directly to the type of patient(s) you want to attract and lets them know they are in great hands when they come see you.
There are two main types of welcome videos. The interview format and the scripted format. The first involves you being interviewed on camera. An editor assembles the professionally lit, nicely shot, well-produced clip of you answering questions in a conversational (no doctor speak!) manner (see my Standard Interview Questions outlined on the next page). The editor will usually enhance the piece with music, b-roll footage of your office, scenes of you counseling a patient or performing a treatment. For slightly longer videos, it may even include one or more short patient testimonials.
The second method involves producing a script: an organized flow of ideas that you deliver direct-to-camera, by memory or with the aid of cue cards; or better yet, read using a tablet with scrolling dialog. In my work, I have found that most practitioners can master the reading- to-camera ability in an hour or so. Once learned, this is a very valuable skill. It keeps the narrative concise and free from any grammatical errors. You don’t spend any on-camera time wondering what to say next. PromptSmart is an app that can be used with a tablet, or on a computer. You write your script, load it up and start reading. The words move onscreen to your voice. You are then free to focus on your performance.
2. Produce short explainer videos for your most profitable procedures
If you are like most aesthetic or anti- aging practitioners, you have a handful of procedures that generate most of your revenue. For SEO purposes, you should have an original article of around 2,500 words, identifying you as the author, to accompany each procedure. Even better, by adding a short video of 90 seconds or less of you describing the procedure, you’ll get a great boost in conversion. This is easy to do, and it has a big upside.
At the same time that you record these explainer videos, knock out short answers to the most frequently asked questions you receive from patients. You can use these short clips in social media and as inserts in emails you routinely send to patients.
3. Develop pre- and post- procedure videos
This is a very underutilized, yet powerful use of video. Think about it, which of the following engenders a greater sense of your presence: a photocopied sheet of treatment instructions delivered by your patient coordinator? Or, the same sheet and instructions to visit a url in which there is a video of you going over what patients can do to get the best outcomes for their nonsurgical, minimally invasive or surgical treatment.
You can cover things like preparing for the procedure, medications and herbal products to avoid, the importance of good nutrition, what to expect and do post-treatment, when to call the office, etc. Which approach might better result in a satisfied patient telling her friend how great you are and why they should come see you? From a branding perspective, this is a great way to distinguish yourself from the competition.
4. Encourage your staff to learn to edit videos
A little bit of editing can go a long way toward reinforcing your brand and adding a bit of sizzle to keep your video engaging. The good news is that there are two large generations of youth: Millennials (born 1981-1995) and GenZers (born after 1995) who are digitally wired. Many already know how to do simple editing; others can learn quickly.
Consider contracting with a local high school or university student, the child of one of your patients or friends, or ask your staff who would like to learn to edit video. You can purchase the software for them: Screenflow for the Mac; Camtasia for the PC, for less than $250. Screenflow comes with a license to use more than 50,000 photos, videos and music to dress up your production. Learning to edit is easy and fun and may be a skill highly valued by one or more of your staff. You can add captions and branding elements with clipshare.com.
5. Standardize your video patient testimonial process
Many practitioners are hesitant to ask patients for video reviews. They do not want to appear needy or greedy. They don’t know how to ask. They fear rejection because the patient may not be comfortable on camera. Yet asking for video testimonials is a simple process.
At the height of the patient experience – after you have heard a spontaneous compliment from your patient – you say something like this, “Ms. Jones, we are delighted you had such a great result. We would really appreciate it if you could share your experience with other people. Would you be willing to say the same thing you just told me on video?” If the answer is “yes,” walk them over to a designated area in your practice that is quiet and well lit. Put your cell phone on a tripod, hold it in the horizontal position and record the clip. Make certain to have the patient sign a consent form.
If the answer is “no,” or you sense great reluctance, tell them you understand, and then encourage them to post a written review online. Either way, note in the record that you have asked the patient for a testimonial, so as to not ask them again during subsequent treatments.
Become an authority
There is also a silver lining to acting upon these five recommendations. As you develop more and more video content, you become “an author.” And, what is the root word of “authority” – that trait that Google rewards? Author. You can use a service like Temi.com to transcribe your videos into print, thereby gaining material for blogs, articles or even a book. Post your clips on your professional YouTube channel and link to social media. Pepper your patient emails and newsletters with videos.
Furthermore, the upshot of all this activity provides one additional benefit. When it comes time for you to deliver a presentation to an audience small or large, you will feel competent and confident in your communication skills.
STANDARD INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Tell me your name, where you are from, what you do.
2. Who is your typical patient?
3. What kinds of problems do they have?
4. What have they done to try to solve these problems and how has that worked for them?
5. What do you do for them?
6. What is special about your practice?
7. What kind of results do you typically get?
8. What brings you joy in your practice?
9. If someone is watching this video and it makes sense to them, what should they do next?
About the author
Mark J. Tager, MD
Tager is CEO of ChangeWell Training Academy in San Diego, Calif. He serves as director of practice management for the Vegas and Miami Cosmetic Surgery meetings. Along with Robert John Hughes, Dr. Tager trains and coaches healthcare practitioners to enhance their presence in person and on camera. He is the author of multiple books including Cash-Pay Healthcare: How to Start, Grow & Perfect Your Business (with Stewart Gandolf, MBA). Portions of this article were adapted from the guide that accompanies ChangeWell’s online training program: Lights, Camera, Patients: How to Use Video to Grow Your Healthcare Business. More information can be obtained from email@example.com. You can follow Dr. Tager on IG: drmtager.