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Why Most Advertising is Totally Useless and What to do Instead
We are excited to be back with you for Season 3, where we will be discussing marketing for your functional medicine practice. You are a great doctor, but maybe you’ve seen a low conversion rate or a dip in new patients since the pandemic forced many practices to go virtual.
Marketing is the key to getting you back where you want to be, helping patients, and providing care. We know marketing can be intimidating, so this season, we will be breaking down what exactly marketing is, how to navigate it regardless of your business structure, and why it is applicable to every medical practice on the market – both new and old. Our goal is to show you how easy marketing can be, so you can get back to treating patients and not worry about your business.
In episode two, we identify two common marketing mistakes and hear renowned marketing expert Allan Dib, explain the importance of defining an avatar and joining the conversation that is in their mind for our marketing materials.
Allan is the bestselling author of The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money And Stand Out From The Crowd. An international #1 bestseller, his book has been named as one of the top 10 best marketing books by The Huffington Post and has received critical acclaim in Medium, Inc., as well as in numerous business-focused podcasts, publications, and conferences.
Allan shares his proven strategies and cutting-edge tactics with people all over the world as a highly sought-after business coach, consultant, and public speaker.
Kara Ware Blog Posts
Thank you to Our Sponsors
Season 3. Episode 2
Kara Ware: (00:00)
This is Good Medicine On the Go.
Nathan Morris: (00:11)
Kara, who’s the most annoying person you’ve ever spoken to at a party?
Kara Ware: (00:15)
Oh, wow. Honestly, I can remember him vividly to be … oh, my gosh. And all he did was talk about himself and honestly, half of it I didn’t even understand.
Nathan Morris: (00:29)
I’m honestly glad you didn’t say me because we’ve talked a lot at parties. And although I have suffered from that problem in the past, I think that wouldn’t have been unfair, but hopefully, I’m not that same person.
Kara Ware: (00:43)
Well, I think we’ve all fallen into that trap. I mean, that’s what I find interesting, is this is exactly what we are doing in marketing to our prospective patients. We’re not identifying what they currently understand and what they want to talk about.
Kara Ware: (01:04)
Hello and welcome to season three of Good Medicine On the Go. I’m Kara Ware, a national board-certified health coach, and business advisor.
Nathan Morris: (01:16)
And I’m Nathan Morris, a medical doctor who is also certified in functional medicine.
Kara Ware: (01:21)
In last week’s episode, we talked about the importance of defining your niche, which is the area of treatment you want to be focusing your marketing efforts on.
Nathan Morris: (01:31)
Kara, I still want to say niche really bad, but I think you’ve convinced me to say niche.
Kara Ware: (01:38)
Well, I’m glad I’m finally a positive influence on you Nathan.
Nathan Morris: (01:42)
It’s great. I need it, Kara. You always have been and continue to be a positive influence. Look at what we’ve been able to do for my practice together. And now we’re tackling marketing and the biggest mistakes we’re all making in the functional medicine field.
Kara Ware: (01:57)
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Yep. In today’s episode, we’ll hear from Allan Dib about addressing two common marketing mistakes and the best way we can fix them. And to give you a small hint, it has to do with having the right conversations with the right people.
Nathan Morris: (02:15)
We’ll dive into today’s episode, right after this.
Kara Ware: (02:24)
This podcast is sponsored by the Atrium Innovations family of professional brands. Offering evidence-based supplements, advancing scientific research, and providing clinical protocols and technology to empower practitioners globally. Atrium Innovations brands include Pure Encapsulations, the number one trusted and recommended brand by practitioners. Douglas Laboratories, Genestra Brands, and LivingMatrix, the fastest growing digital patient management system for functional medicine.
Kara Ware: (03:01)
Nathan, you and I love to talk about functional medicine. We get so passionate and excited about all of the potential to help people feel better and experience those same profound results that we have.
Nathan Morris: (03:14)
Heck yeah, Kara. I mean, we’ve seen the results in our lives and in our families and we know how life-changing it can be.
Kara Ware: (03:21)
So true, but people don’t know they want functional medicine because they may not even yet know about functional medicine or if they have heard about it, they still don’t quite even know all that is required of them. They still don’t really understand it. So all they know is they want to feel better and have their life back.
Nathan Morris: (03:40)
Yeah. Ultimately, if you want to boil it all down Kara, they want pain relief. That’s what they want to put their money towards.
Kara Ware: (03:46)
Yeah, Nathan. And that brings up a really good point, price. If someone feels emotionally connected to you, then price, isn’t going to be a barrier. So all right, everybody let’s get ready because here comes another counter-intuitive moment brought to you by Allan Dib. We spoke with Allan again this week. Remember he wrote the best-selling book, the 1-Page Marketing Plan, and what we think we are selling is not necessarily what the patient is seeking.
Nathan Morris: (04:15)
And another interesting thing that you brought up, and as we talk about, kind of creating that niche, as you get to be more of a specialist or more unique, you can quit worrying about the price type issue. Because I know a lot of people think, “Well, I’m not really busy right now. I need to lower my price.” And can you speak to why that’s not a great idea because that’s our first knee-jerk reaction, that would be mine?
Allan Dib: (04:38)
So if, we’re not getting a response, our offer is not strong enough. So we want to make sure that … Sometimes what we think the marketplace should want is not what the marketplace actually wants. So we need to make sure that we’ve got a compelling offer. And if you’ve got a compelling offer, the price almost becomes irrelevant. If you have a splitting headache, for example, use another medical example. How hard does the pharmacist have to sell, to sell you pain relief medication? Not very hard, and the price is almost irrelevant. You’ll do anything to get out of pain. So if, you’re not targeting the pain that someone has, and it doesn’t have to be the literal pain, but for doctors, but it can be a literal pain. But you want to be speaking to someone’s … And this could be a challenge, particularly in functional medicine is, people will pay a lot more and pay a lot more attention to pain relief rather than pain prevention.
Allan Dib: (05:37)
So often we need to be giving the market what they actually want, giving them that pain relief, having an offer that’s compelling. And from time to time, you need to adjust your offers, if they’re not working. So if you’ve got an offer that’s not resonating with your target market, where maybe they’re not understanding it, maybe they don’t understand the benefits of it. Maybe nobody wants it. And so you need to test and measure. So this is something else that, you want to fall in love with your customer and your customer’s problems. Not with the solution that you’ve got. In Silicon Valley, they often call this a solution in search of a problem.
Nathan Morris: (06:17)
Yeah. And so when you’re addressing their pain, instead of saying, “I treat irritable bowel syndrome.” You would say, in your marketing, you would say, “Are you tired of not being able to go to a restaurant because you have to find a bathroom as soon as you finish eating?” Because most people, don’t identify with irritable bowel syndrome, but they identify with … And that’s kind of what you’re speaking … With the pain. Yeah, okay.
Allan Dib: (06:41)
Kara Ware: (06:43)
Okay. So problem number one was to stop selling functional medicine. So the next most common marketing mistake, talking too much about yourself.
Nathan Morris: (06:53)
So we’ve already identified that guy at the party who goes on and on and on about himself and all the reasons why he’s the best thing since sliced bread.
Kara Ware: (07:03)
That is so true. Oh, my gosh. Let’s hear what Allan has to say about that.
Nathan Morris: (07:08)
So in your book Allan, you mentioned that most ads are kind of self-aggrandizing and they basically focus too much on themselves and not on the pain points of the customers. That seems to be a pretty common mistake in medicine.
Allan Dib: (07:22)
Yeah, you’re 100% right. Being self-focused is very, very common. So talking about yourself, your education, how long you’ve been in general practice or whatever else or functional medicine, all of that sort of thing. You want to be the guide, not the hero. Your customer is the hero of the story. So you want to take them through that journey and talk about their pain, talk about where the journey that you’re going to take them on, the result that they are going to get. Really at the end of the day, as much as we want to work with someone who’s well qualified and all of those sorts of things, everybody is going to say that they’re well qualified, that they’re awesome, that you should work with them, all of that sort of stuff. We know that. Nobody’s going to say, “I’m kind of mediocre. I suck.”
Allan Dib: (08:14)
So we know you’re going to tell us, you’re amazing and all of that. So there’s nothing new there. So we really want to take people on a journey and talk about their pain and their story, because no one’s going to say … If you tell them about all of your degrees and where you studied and all of your life story, nobody’s going to say, “Oh, awesome. That’s for me.” People will go, “Well, that’s nice, good. And all of that sort of thing.” But people really care about the pain that they’re experiencing right now. So you want to speak to that. So when someone reads essentially, the thoughts that they’re having in their mind, and I often talk about entering the conversation that’s going on in their minds. So if it’s, as you mentioned, irritable bowel syndrome, it’s like, “I can’t go out with my friends because I’m going to have to rush to a toilet.” Or whatever. That’s a conversation that would be going on in their minds. So the conversation in their mind is not, “Hey, tell me how awesome you are, or tell me about your background or whatever.” It’s like, “I can’t go out with my friends.” That’s [inaudible 00:09:20].
Kara Ware: (09:22)
All right. So now we know what not to do. Don’t sell functional medicine and don’t talk about yourself in marketing.
Nathan Morris: (09:30)
Well damn, Kara. Those are the two things I like talking about the most, functional medicine and myself. What can we possibly talk about instead?
Kara Ware: (09:38)
I don’t know, maybe the patient.
Nathan Morris: (09:43)
That’s a novel thing, Kara.
Kara Ware: (09:45)
Okay. Maybe we need to put ourselves in their shoes. Well, maybe into the mind of our patients. The goal as Allan Dib puts it, is to enter the conversation that’s going on in the prospect’s mind.
Nathan Morris: (10:01)
This patient is derived from your niche, we call them the avatar. So if your niche is a diagnosis, the avatar is the archetypal patient within that diagnosis.
Kara Ware: (10:11)
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. And I think many of us skip this step. We define our niche because we hear that all the time and we think the problem is solved, but it’s crucial that we know our avatar that lives in our niche and we can speak their language. So we can craft marketing materials that will resonate with them. So let’s think, what are their pains? What are their frustrations? What are they angry about? What are they worried about or feel guilty about? These are the daily conversations going on in our prospect’s minds.
Nathan Morris: (10:43)
Yeah. It’s so important that we do get in their minds and we need to understand, what does root cause resolution look like for your patient? What are they looking to gain or achieve by choosing to work with you? And we need to spell that out.
Kara Ware: (10:54)
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. This might mean doing some market research.
Nathan Morris: (10:58)
Kara Ware: (10:58)
Who’s got time for that?
Nathan Morris: (11:01)
Yeah, that’s a scary, word market research.
Kara Ware: (11:02)
Okay. Scrap that. How about we just talk to someone in this niche? A patient or a friend. I’m sure you’ve talked to hundreds of patients already, but figure out what is that conversation going on in their head and on the daily basis and use their pains and what they hope to gain back as a result of working with you as the focus of your marketing campaign.
Nathan Morris: (11:23)
It’s so convenient, Kara. It’s so, so convenient because as you said, we need to talk to people that are struggling in this area to actually understand them better. So let’s pretend I’ve chosen a perimenopausal niche, and I don’t want to make those two big marketing mistakes. So I know how to identify my avatar. To do this, I’m going to talk to a woman in her mid to late ’40s. I wonder where I could find her. And I didn’t mean to say the late ’40s, mid-’40s.
Kara Ware: (11:57)
I am pushing late ’40s. Okay, I’m right here. Let’s talk to me. Let’s get into my mind.
Nathan Morris: (12:01)
Well, that’s very convenient Kara, because ultimately I think the best way we learn is kind of see someone go through the steps. And so with your permission, we always say, “Get in the mind of Esther or Lester.” In this case will get in the mind of Ester, which will be slash Kara.
Kara Ware: (12:18)
Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s my alias.
Nathan Morris: (12:20)
Yeah. So my woman is between 40 and 55, high achieving woman, sound familiar. Good at everything until crap hits the fan. What are some of the things that you felt when the crap hit the fan?
Kara Ware: (12:36)
Yeah. Yeah. Good question. I was doing well, going on, everything was going great. My children, my career, all as well. And then, of course, a year ago, really almost, the pandemic hit and the shutdown happened. And being a single mom is scary, anyways. And then all of a sudden, there’s this global pandemic shutdown. It really dropped me to my knees. It hit me. I didn’t see it coming, to be honest, the effect that that shutdown happened. And it took me to my knees. I was literally, just rocking back and forth and sobbing and telling myself, “It’s okay and the house isn’t burning down. No one is dying.” Logically. I knew we were okay at that moment. But the terror was real.
Nathan Morris: (13:22)
It was big. Would you say you were tired, wore out, fatigued?
Kara Ware: (13:28)
Yeah, good question. Yeah, I couldn’t sleep. Yeah, I stopped being able to sleep, stopped being able to … My executive functioning really crumbled, I was not able to make decisions. I was really struggling with work and parenting. Really just getting up off my knees was an issue. I just couldn’t stop crying.
Nathan Morris: (13:45)
That really was your pain point right there. What are some other things that were some fears that you had about that?
Kara Ware: (13:54)
Yeah. Well, I was terrified because I didn’t know what was happening to me. I knew logically, I was okay. And I had been excelling and my work was just soaring and everything was really great before the pandemic hit. And I knew that everything was all right, but I was terrified because I was almost in paralysis. I almost couldn’t move. I couldn’t work. I couldn’t cook. I couldn’t really do anything. And that was terrifying. And I’ve been in this scenario before where I got really sick, but to have it kind of sideswipe you like that really, really took me off my guard.
Nathan Morris: (14:33)
Did it make you angry that you felt this way when everything was going well in your mind?
Kara Ware: (14:38)
Exactly. Like, “Oh my God. I’ve worked so hard to finally get everything together and now I have completely fallen apart.” And so yeah, angry and frustrated and a lot of guilt. Just guilt for feeling like I couldn’t do what I needed to do at work or do what I needed to do at home, or be there for my mom, who also is alone in her house. I was really struggling to support her. And so all of this guilt and anger and frustration on top of really not even being able to get up off my knees.
Nathan Morris: (15:05)
So there are some really good things there, as you mention that, as we can look at us and an avatar perspective is that, you weren’t thinking functional medicine at that point, you were just thinking, “I want to get my life back.” And emotionally, being heard, I think is something that we’ve talked about, was really important because you felt so alone in this. Would you agree with that?
Kara Ware: (15:28)
Yeah, absolutely. And here, I think of a woman who doesn’t even know about functional medicine yet. I was fortunate that I did know functional medicine. I knew the steps I needed to take once I was able to actually get up and do something and call you actually. And say, “I’m really in trouble here.” But gosh, think of the terror of that woman who has had like kind of a traumatic event happen or overtime, her executive functioning has crumbled and her high-performance has just been distilled down to nothing and how scary that is.
Nathan Morris: (16:05)
Yeah. So you wanted to be heard, you wanted to be understood and validated, which I did. I was like, “This is not you, Kara. Your body is a little betraying you right now and you’re not crazy and this can be reversed.” And I think that was just so liberating for you, but you needed to hear that message, you needed to hear [crosstalk 00:16:25].
Kara Ware: (16:24)
I did. I need to hear that. I kept saying, “Just tell me I’m okay. Tell me I’m safe, tell me I’m okay.” I remember saying that to you as I’m crying. Just tell me I’m okay.
Nathan Morris: (16:34)
I think that’s where we have to look at our marketing message is, that we have to say, “That’s what we need to be telling these people.” Is that, “Hey, there is something you can do about it that, this is your body, in some ways, I hate to use the word betraying you, but it kind of is.”
Kara Ware: (16:48)
Nathan Morris: (16:48)
And the thing I think you passed on to me and that you craved was, you just wanted to feel yourself again. You wanted to have more energy and you wanted to be the mom you wanted it to be.
Kara Ware: (17:00)
Yeah and the professional, with my mind being alert and working quickly because we have to work quickly. We have big projects we’re doing and that was hard. That was hard to feel crazy in the midst of all that.
Nathan Morris: (17:12)
Yeah, exactly. So Kara, not to put you too much on the spot, but what would your message be to that avatar? What would the things you would address the most as you look at that avatar? And this will kind of take us into our third episode a little bit, but what are the things that we need to really focus on that you’ve shared with us?
Kara Ware: (17:33)
Yeah. Well, I wanted to gain back just the sense of myself. The ability to manage my life, not only manage but also be thriving and it was scary. I think we need to talk to that terror and that fear in our marketing because that’s what’s happening in my age group. We’re undergoing so many changes already. And then all this amount of increased stress and trauma that’s happening. And we feel like there’s something really wrong with us and that’s terrifying. And I think that’s what we need to be speaking to and to say, “Hey, it doesn’t have to be this way. We understand you want to get your life back and we can work with you on that.”
Nathan Morris: (18:11)
Awesome. Great, summation. So let’s boil it all down. We have to stop talking about ourselves and selling functional medicine because that’s not the message you wanted to hear at that point. Kara, and I think that’s what we’ve got to remember as providers. We need to be speaking to you. Basically don’t be that guy at a party who everyone gets bored of really quickly because their whole spiel is about what they do and how great they are. In other words, me and my ’20s.
Kara Ware: (18:43)
Yeah. And to be honest, when I called you, I didn’t want you to really at first tell me what we were going to do. I wanted you to say, “You’re okay. You’re safe.”
Nathan Morris: (18:50)
Kara Ware: (18:51)
That’s what I wanted to hear from you first.
Nathan Morris: (18:54)
Yep. I hear you. And I understand you and I would love to be your partner in this.
Kara Ware: (18:58)
Yeah. And you’re not crazy. We’re going to make the path forward. I didn’t want you to dive right in to be like, “Oh, we’re going to do this. And we’re going to take a look at your hormones and we’re going to take a look … ” I didn’t want to hear any of that, at first. I knew that, but I needed to know I was safe. I needed to know I was okay. We love singing the functional medicine Anthem. Oh, we’re going to balance out your core clinical imbalances and you won’t feel crazy anymore. But we’re so in love with root cause resolution but that’s not what our avatar is thinking about. That’s not what I needed from you at first, to be honest.
Kara Ware: (19:30)
Functional medicine, it’s all about the patient’s story. And that’s what our marketing message needs to be about too, quite honestly. Their current story, their concerns, their daily pains or frustration, their anger at this exact moment. And patients will be like, “Hey, that’s me you’re talking to.” When you have this marketing message, I want to know more. And that’s when we know we have a really good marketing message. That’s when our ad will resonate at a deeper level and stand out from the pack.
Nathan Morris: (20:00)
Yeah. As I found out, functional medicine is a hard sell. People don’t want to change their diet and exercise habits. They don’t want to pay out of pocket for supplements and labs. They don’t really want functional medicine per se. So don’t sell functional medicine, sell what they are getting as a result of functional medicine.
Kara Ware: (20:18)
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. It makes so much sense now. That we’re learning this.
Nathan Morris: (20:23)
Yeah. And our job is to break their inertia. Feeling like they’re living with this pain. It’s just how things are going to be. We need them to have the hope in and hope we will help them gain their life back as you so aptly illustrated, Kara.
Kara Ware: (20:36)
Yeah. Amen. Amen. All right. So we are going to have a lot of resources in our show notes as always. We’re going to have some examples of brainstorming, doing your market research. I mean who’s got time for market research, right?
Nathan Morris: (20:48)
Kara Ware: (20:50)
But you could hear how quickly we just had a really basic conversation. So you know somebody that is in your niche and that is your avatar. So just a simple interview really. And I’m sure you’ve talked to so many patients already and have a really good idea. So we’re going to go further into crafting our message, our marketing message. And we’re going to lead you in episode three through the emotional hot buttons to include in your marketing message. So we hope you are enjoying the season. Remember you can go to Karawarecoaching.com\podcast for blog posts and resource materials. And also in the show notes, go ahead and click on that link to join our newsletter.
Kara Ware: (21:30)
So thank you for listening as Nathan and I reimagine the functional medicine journey. And I would like to thank our writing team, Kelsey Stafstrom and Paul Larkin, and our audio engineer Isadore Nieves. Remember, if you’d like to support this podcast, will you please follow us on your favorite podcast, directories and tell a friend.
Nathan Morris: (21:52)
Until next week, Kara. Really looking forward to it.