By Lisa Wozniak
Have you ever been driving down the road and saw the giant lit up yellow “M” in the distance? Without ever being able to see the name, you know those golden arches represent the fast food chain McDonalds. That’s branding; one look, one image, one tagline that represents a company. And whether you own a private practice or a small business the same principles of branding will still apply. So here’s what you need to know about branding.
Consistency Is Key
If you have a logo, and you should, it needs to go on every piece of material that you send out. Everything from Private Practice brochures to your company letter head and even on your billing. I even recommend adding it to the signature line of your email address! People often think that the only place this needs to be present is their website. The idea behind branding is that there is one look that should be everywhere you are. A logo doesn’t have to be a picture either, it can be as simple as the color and the font that you use when presenting the name of your business.
What about your social media presence? Regardless of how many social media platforms that you are on, and let’s hope you are on at least 2, the cover photo on each social media platform should contain the same kind of imaging that you find on your website. The image that you use should reflect your specialty. For example, if you are a Psychologist specializing in couple’s therapy, you should have an image of a couple. If you are a dentist specializing in pediatric dentistry, you should have a picture of a child with a healthy smile. When this is complete, your website and social media cover photos will all portray an image that brands your business.
One of the reasons why some of the big brands are so successful is that they appear to be everywhere, and you see them all the time. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to update your website and social media platforms with content on a regular basis. For social media that means every day and for your website, ideally you can update your blog page every week but at the worst, twice a month. The goal here is to be pushing out as much content as you can as often as you can. Think of it as a party or social event. The first time you go to this party you think everything is great. Good music, excellent food, lots of fun people with great stories to tell… so you decide to go back, but each time you go back, it’s the exact same party. Everyone is wearing the same clothes, the music hasn’t changed all the conversations are the same and now you’re bored. So what do you decide to do in that moment? You leave, and move on in search of something new. Your potential clients will do the same. If they go to your Facebook page and see that you have not posted anything in weeks or months, they’ll move on. The same will be true of your website. Continually adding content either in the form of graphics, video or blogging is key to keep you relevant.
Deliver On Your Branding Message
The message of who you are and what your business is about should be associated with the content that you deliver to the world. So if the tagline or mantra of your private practice is “Helping Others to Help Themselves”, evidence of this message should be found in your blogs and social media marketing and advertising. Consistent and strategic branding will yield a strong brand equity which is the cornerstone to your ability to charge more for your services because you’ve build up a value that people can identify with compared to other practices who have none. None of this matters however if you can’t demonstrate that. The common denominator in all successful brands is on their ability to create and deliver on a message that confirms the identity of your business.
We’d love to hear about the strategies you use in branding. What has had the most meaningful impact for you?
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