Summary:Who doesn’t like a good story? A bedtime story is comforting, a campfire story enthralling. Good stories deliver on an implicit promise of a satisfying ending.
In the healthcare field, real patient stories are a staple of marketing campaigns, and for good reason. They engage potential patients on a human level, cutting through clinical jargon with authentic tales that are both interesting and positive.
A Glimpse in the Mirror
Cosmetic surgery patient stories are effective because readers often recognize themselves when patients describe what led them to seek surgery and overcoming the initial reluctance that many men and women feel. Telling stories takes all the theory out and makes it real. The patients’ thoughts, straight from their own mouths, are priceless.
The details are unique, but patient stories connect with readers for several reasons they all share. A good patient story:
- Motivates and inspires acceptance and action
- Engages and involves the reader
- Ignites empathy and imagination
- Is likely to be remembered and shared
Consumers are beginning to lose faith in online reviews, a trend that actually enhances the usefulness of real patient stories on a surgeon’s website. That’s because the stories offer the depth and detail often missing from the brief reviews that appear online, and the longer stories are ideally accompanied by photos.
Sometimes people tend to forget that the impact of plastic surgery is more than skin-deep. Patients who tell their stories often talk about boosts to their confidence or about how getting plastic surgery was the first time they really did something just for themselves. These messages resonate with potential patients who feel the same way.
Think about someone like Kelly, a 19-year-old college student who went to a plastic surgeon in La Jolla for cosmetic breast surgery. Her story includes the feeling of self-esteem she gained after having breast augmentation. But it’s also interesting that while Kelly researched plastic surgeons, it was other patients’ stories that helped motivate her to follow through with the surgery.
Then there are patients who suffered traumatic injury, and it was a plastic surgeon who improved their lives.
Take, for example, what happened to Tim:
Tim was out at a bar with some friends in May 2002 when one of his buddies got into a fight. The fight was broken up quickly and Tim thought there was nothing more to worry about. Soon afterward, he left the bar to make a call from the nearest pay phone, which happened to be on the second floor of an adjacent strip mall.
While waiting to use the phone, one of the men involved in the bar fight came up behind Tim and flipped him over the second-story ledge. In an instant, Tim fell 15 feet, hitting his face on a retaining wall before falling another 5 feet. Needless to say, Tim was in bad shape, and after that, he says, “I lost track of the next few days.”
A compelling patient story entices people to continue reading, even when they’re interested in a different procedure. If you read Tim’s story, consider whether it satisfies the elements cited earlier that are shared by good patient stories.
Does it motivate? Well, maybe not to hang out in bars, but if someone is interested in plastic surgery, it certainly inspires the reader to consider the surgeon who cared for Tim. Is it engaging? Does it ignite empathy? Will the reader remember the story, and perhaps share it with someone else looking for a plastic surgeon?
Effective real patient stories don’t take the place of qualifications, training, and experience. But in a competitive field like cosmetic surgery, real patient stories are another way to connect on a personal level with people trying to select a plastic surgeon.