If you work in a profession, your personal brand and your reputation should support your marketing strategy. Nielsen research shows that 84 percent of people find word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends to be the most trustworthy form of advertising. Attorneys and medical providers rely particularly heavily on referrals.
It makes sense: When people seek the help of a lawyer or doctor, they’re probably feeling vulnerable, stressed, and/or scared. I have referred a new client to you based on the opinion of your existing patients or clients.
Professional marketing and your team are parts of the equation, but the crux of the matter is your personal brand. Take control of your brand to support the mission and branding of your practice or firm.
Here’s a three-step approach on how to develop your personal brand as part of your practice marketing strategy:
Step 1: Define Your Existing Brand
Your existing personal brand depends on the shortcuts your patients’ or clients’ minds use when they think about you. Do they think and “empathetic and personal” or “efficient but brusque”? Even if they are way off the mark, they’re making snap judgments about you.
To define your current brand, you need to figure out how your patients or clients see you. Answering these questions will help:
- How do I make people feel? How do I respond when someone drops a bomb about involvement in a legal case, their secret habits or worries? Can I be empathetic when needed, and use humor if it’s appropriate, or do I act like a machine?
- How does my consulting help people? Do I make them feel as if I hear what they are saying (even when they don’t say it aloud)? Do I assure them that their needs are being met and that I am confident I can help them?
- What words do others use to describe me and are these the words I want them to be using? How can I influence them to view me the way I want to be viewed?
Step 2: Identify Your Ideal Personal Brand
Make a list of the attributes you want clients or patients to recognize you for. These could include:
- Providing exceptional medical care or legal advice
- Ethical, considerate marketing
- Efficient handling of appointments
- Friendly staff team
- Good administrative service
- Quality advice and information
- Expert online resources
Develop a soundbite of how you want your current and prospective patients or clients to speak of you. Perform a gap analysis between the existing and ideal picture and identify the areas that need some work. Find quantitative evidence to support your analysis, such as reviews, records of complaints, or positive feedback. Identify the number of referrals received and calculate these as a percentage of your total patient or client list. This will give you a comprehensive picture of your marketing needs and how to create the brand you want.
Step 3: Implement Your Personal Branding Campaign
Prepare a plan of action for implementing the attributes you’ve identified and give it a realistic timeline. Give the project a start and end date and develop measurements for each deliverable.
Developing your personal brand will strengthen your business’ branding, establish better connections, and bring more referrals, undoubtedly one of the most effective marketing methods. Personal referrals are marketing gold.