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According to Dr. Robert Cialdini, there are six principles of persuasion that cause people to say “yes.” In his classic book Influence, he discusses how these principles can be used as shortcuts to increase the chances someone will be persuaded by your request. When it comes to advertising, the same rules apply; you are trying to persuade patients to choose your practice.

Below are our top three advertising tips and the persuasion principles that support them.

1. Use Testimonials in Your Advertising

This tactic relies on Cialdini’s principle of consensus, which says that when people feel uncertainty, they “will look to the actions and behaviors of others to determine their own.” In other words, people seek social proof by assuming that the actions of others are reflective of correct behavior. Testimonials fulfill this social proof by guiding potential patients and helping them overcome internal objections. The advantage of using testimonials in your advertising is that you can seek and select what message you want to convey about your practice and frame it in a convincing way.

2. Invest in Professional Headshots for Your Advertising

Far too often, practices make the mistake of taking headshots with their smartphones instead of with a professional camera. The quality of your photos is also affected by the expertise of the person taking them. By using professional headshots, you are utilizing the principle of authority, which is the idea that “people follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts.” If you don’t present yourself as a professional, your patients will not see you as one – which can impact their perception of the quality of your services.

3. Rethink Your CTAs

You should never offer discount offers long-term. If the deal you’re offering is short-term, it creates a sense of urgency, which gets patients in the door. This is the same reason advertising a free product or service makes it seem less valuable. According to Cialdini, “People want more of things they can have less of.” Point out what is unique about what you are offering and what people will stand to lose if they don’t go for it.

One final takeaway: In thinking about advertising, consider talking to a patient like a person; don’t just flash your brand and hope they crowd through your doors. Instead, use your advertising to establish a relationship with prospective patients.