Professional credibility works similarly to trust, it takes time to build up the loyalty of your clients and customers, but once accomplished it will create a loyal ongoing customer base leading to referrals and business growth.
DEFINE YOUR EXPERTISE
Start with identifying the services you provide and the attributes which will draw clients to your business? These will often include your qualifications, include courses you have attended and additional study you have completed. Cover any areas of interest you may have, even if it’s not related to your field as it will help your clients identify if they are a good fit.
Keep in mind; it’s not just about your credentials. It’s also vital to identify your target audience and understand who you want to reach, where to find them, and what they are looking for in a health practitioner. If you can incorporate this information into your branding and marketing, it will allow your clients to feel as if you are speaking directly to them.
TESTIMONIALS VERSUS REVIEWS.
WHAT you CAN AND CAN’T USE AS A REGISTERED HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.
You are not allowed to use testimonials in your advertising as a registered health professional under the Health Professional Regulation National Law Act 2009 (AHPRA). It extends to social media, where you are responsible even if a customer leaves a testimonial on your account.
Reviews, however, are acceptable and treated differently. They are often hosted on third-party platforms such as Google+, True Local, Yelp, Womo, and play an essential role in guiding the client in their decision to choose a service provider/product, building trust and establishing credibility.
The fundamental difference to testimonials is that with reviews a client decides to express their own experience via a third-party platform, that isn’t controlled by you or your business.
Your online reputation is valuable so how can you as a health practitioner encourage reviews? Make it as easy as possible for your clients and provide them with information through email, SMS or your website, that directly links to the third-party platforms like Google+.
While we all want positive reviews, don’t be put off by less than stellar comments. When they are handled correctly, they highlight an opportunity to save existing client relationships and show potential clients how responsive and professional you are in resolving complaints and finding solutions.
ARE YOU A SPECIALIST?
Unless you have a specialist registration, AHPRA strictly states that you are unable to use the term ‘specialist’ in any advertising. For example, an Osteopath can only apply for general registration and would need to remove any reference to operating as a ‘specialist in sporting injuries’.
While you can’t use the phrase ‘specialist’, it doesn’t hold you back from discussing essential areas of interest, your approach and areas of clinical knowledge, to differentiate you from other health practitioners.
Does winning an award boost your credibility as a health professional? In a nutshell, yes! There are 3 types of awards; those that are won, granted and academic awards. Winning awards not only help your professional recognition, but also helps build your profile and reputation, establish a brand, and differentiate yourself from the market.
With hundreds of awards, it’s important to make strategic decisions when choosing which to apply for. Ensure they will add to your reputation and credibility, they target your audience, suit your business and allow you to keep your integrity as a health professional.
WRITING PROFESSIONAL ARTICLES
If you’re not familiar with writing professional articles, now is a great time to start. Writing for academic journals is highly competitive, but it can also be advantageous both personally and professionally.
Published articles will elevate your professional and community standing as an ‘expert’ in your field, encourage networking with fellow health providers and special interest groups, and allow you access to a far wider audience.
WHY YOU NEED TO BLOG
Online blogging has dramatically increased in popularity and is seen as a vital part of any website. Essentially, a blog is a more informal article which combines text, images and links, and is used for marketing purposes to bolster your credibility, and highlight the writer’s knowledge and expertise in a field of study.
Blogs range in content and style from commentary about specific issues, to reflective writing including personal anecdotes. In addition, educational pieces aimed at promotion and learning. improve the online visibility and awareness of the article, the website and the brand.
CASE STUDIES (DE-IDENTIFIED)
Case studies are extraordinarily useful and often undervalued as a source of marketing and establishing professional credibility. De-identifiable case studies allow a story to be told while protecting the client’s privacy.
It’s part of human nature to connect to stories. Health professionals can focus on a targeted niche, position themselves as an authority in their expert field, and highlight how they can solve a problem.