Many private practice docs have a big, gaping blindspot in their practice. They can deliver comprehensive physicals, innovative therapies, and deep patient relationships. They’ve got long waiting lists and happy clients. Yet they don’t see how marketing their practice could help them create the future they really want for themselves and their business. In this week’s blog, we’ll answer the question: how can a medical copywriter help my private practice?
A lot of physicians I speak with emphasize “old-fashioned medicine” in their business. They have long patient appointments, they create lasting relationships with families, and they may even go into patient homes. I love this style of medicine, and it’s a model I really believe in. But practicing medicine as an old-fashioned family doctor shouldn’t mean marketing like an old-fashioned doctor.
Medicine has always been based on trust. Your patients trust you to deliver them the best level of care possible. That’s why building trust in your brand is even more important in private practice medicine. Because you’re not asking your patients to buy your product or services. You’re asking them to trust you with their lives.
So first, let’s talk about trust.
Medical Copywriting for Private Practice Trust-Building
For all brands, building trust is just as important as building your brand image. The two really go hand-in-hand. In small-practice medicine, trust is even more important. You can’t leverage the brand trust of a big hospital, yet your patients need to trust that you can manage their whole health. While you offer personalized care plans, real relationships, and preventative care, a patient will never give your services a chance without the initial trust to get them in the door.
According to a 2017 report, the factors with the greatest influence on patient satisfaction are brand image, sincerity of staff, interactions with physicians, and positive rapport. But without the first thing, they’ll never even experience the rest. Your audience deserves to experience high-quality medicine. By neglecting to build a trustworthy brand, you may be losing great patients.
But how can medical copywriting help build trust?
I’m so glad you asked!
Building trust in medical copywriting means showing health consumers that you care about what they care about: themselves. By making it clear that you’re here for them, you’re also making it clear that you can bring real value to their lives.
Medical copywriting can give your brand consistency. By using a readable, approachable tone that is the same across all your content, you help your audience know what to expect from you. It shows who you are and what you care about, day in and day out. Continuing to show up through blogs, newsletters, videos, and web pages shows them you’re serious.
Big hospital systems are notoriously inconsistent. Long wait times and short visits and out-of-pocket costs despite insurance. Folks who are tired of being jerked around by these systems come to you for a new standard of care. By showing them your consistency and dedication through your online brand, you display your unique value and commitment.
Good medical copywriting is clear and concise. It cuts through the jargon and shows your audience you’re meeting them on their level. Modern medical consumers are more savvy than ever before. They expect to be educated on their options. They want to make decisions for themselves and feel empowered to make the right ones.
If you’re in private practice, your patients are probably coming to you tired of receiving suboptimal care from big hospital systems. They’ve been pushed to make decisions without really understanding their diagnosis. They’re looking for a provider who tells them like it is, who has time to educate them and follow through. By starting off your brand with transparency, you set yourself apart from the crowd and tell them you’re trustworthy.
Authenticity isn’t a word you hear a lot in medicine. Because modern medicine is more about efficiency than relationships. But you’re practicing relationship-based medicine, so being honest comes with the territory. In clinical practice, you bring your whole self to your patients because you’re with them for the long haul. This should be true in your medical content as well.
The best medical content isn’t dry or boring, because it’s injected with your passion and your voice. It’s not some cookie-cutter-Web-MD article. It’s copy that reflects who you are as a doctor, a business owner, and a person. Your honesty and authenticity should shine through in your website and blogs, attracting your ideal patients to you.
Medical Copywriting for Private Practice Search Engine Optimization
Now that we’ve talked about how you want to build trust we can talk strategy. A medical copywriter can help your practice by capitalizing on SEO. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is probably a phrase you’ve heard before. Let’s break down what it means.
Google’s algorithm is always trying to determine which sites are most important for certain searches. It tries to guess this by looking at lots of different things: site traffic, backlinks, pages, page lengths, keywords, reading level, and more. By catering to what Google wants to see, you can make Google work for you by ranking you higher in its results pages.
SEO is a very different game from Ad marketing. For one, it drives traffic (53%) much more than marketing campaigns (15%). And this makes sense, because people are more savvy about marketing than ever before: 96% of consumers say they don’t trust ads at all.
The top 3 Google results get half the clicks. According to Moz, the first page of Google gets over 90% of clicks. So you really want to be high on that list. A great medical copywriter can help get you to the first page, or even the first few results, of Google. SEO strategy helps drive qualified leads to your website and boosts your business above the rest.
So how can medical copywriting get my site on that first page, or even in the top 3 Google results?
Let’s get into a few of the ways medical copywriting ranks you higher in Google:
1. Keyword Research
SEO strategizing means targeting words and phrases that people are searching for, but that there aren’t many good results for. By making content focused on these topics, you not only fill in gaps in knowledge, but you rank more quickly because there’s less competition for those subjects.
Incorporating keywords into your headline, H2s, and throughout your content are ways to tell search engines what your content is about. But Google can see if content is “stuffed” with keywords past the point of readability. A good medical copywriter not only researches the right keywords for your content, they can strategize your headings and keywords frequency to get you the best results from Google.
2. Content Length and Quality
Google gives more credibility to content that goes in-depth: posts that are at least 1,200 words, and ideally 2,000+. This shows search engines that your piece is more informative than the competition, and it also gives you the chance to really educate your audience on your topic.
Google gives more credence to content that is readable for the public, and content should be written with audience reading level in mind. For general audiences, a 6th-grade level is ideal, but in the medical niche a 9th-grade level is passable. A good medical copywriter often has a background in medicine, so they can break apart dense medical topics into engaging, readable content for your audience.
3. Consistency and Formatting
In order to see the powerful long-term benefits of SEO, you need the consistency of posting at least twice a month, and probably more. Google takes time to notice quality SEO, so you should expect at least four to six months before seeing results. Of course, this means making a content schedule (the easy part), and sticking to it (the hard part).
A lot of practitioners I speak with have this problem: they may enjoy writing and want to write for their practice, but they’re so busy they end up writing a few blogs and then falling off for several months at a time. But without consistency, you could be creating the best content in the world but no one would ever see it. Those few pieces you wrote don’t end up helping you without the follow-through of more content.
Formatting correctly for Google is another important piece of the puzzle. It means properly optimized headlines, H2s, and graphics. Paragraphs should be shorter and consistent in length, phrases should be free of jargon and passive voice, and sentences should be to-the-point. These are just a few of the ways a medical copywriter writes with Google in mind.
Medical Copywriting to Promote Your Product or Service
At its heart, copywriting is the art of selling through words. Many medical practitioners I speak with squirm at the idea of selling. But I want you to re-frame the idea into showing people how your services can change their lives, make them healthier, and give them peace-of-mind in a chaotic world. By creating copy that emphasizes the benefits of your services, a medical copywriter can help you gain clients who will truly be better from knowing you.
Medical copywriting does not have to be sales-y or slimy. In fact, it really shouldn’t be. Consumers are more savvy about marketing techniques than ever before, and many are turned off by copy that over-promises or pressures them to buy. Medical Copywriting should help sell your services or products using tone that is engaging, truthful, and meaningful.
What are a few ways a medical copywriter can help generate leads and sales?
1. Market Research
To write for an audience, you need to know who that audience is. Medical copywriters can help your private practice with market research. Copy should speak directly to your specific audience: their pain points, their dreams, their fears. This doesn’t mean exploiting those things, but showing an audience how your services can help alleviate them.
Some market research comes from you, the practitioner. By thinking about what kind of patients you want to see, who your current patients are, who is subscribing to your mailing list, etc., you can gain insight into the type of person your medical copy should be targeting.
2. Benefits Over Features
This may seem counter-intuitive, but emphasizing benefits over features is a key way that medical copywriters show what a service can do for your audience. We like to think of ourselves as rational beings, but our emotions dictate a lot more of our lives than we think. By tapping into your audience’s emotions, copywriters help drive them to act.
Let’s give an example: we’re wanting to sell your SIBO treatment. Instead of writing about how your treatment helps regulate your client’s bowel movements, we’ll emphasize the benefits of that regulation. We could talk about how your clients will be able to enjoy a party without having to go home early from GI upset. Or how your treatment will allow them to eat a full meal with friends without the embarrassment of feeling bloated or nauseous afterwards.
By showing the benefits of your services, medical copywriting helps communicate how you can help change people’s lives.
Our SIBO example leads me to another important way that medical copywriting boosts your practice. Since we could speak, storytelling has been a big part of how we communicate and entertain others. Even though we’re writing about medicine, medical copywriting should incorporate storytelling that shows your clients the value of what you do.
There are so many stories you can tell for your practice: what made you want to pursue medicine? What was an early experience with a patient that changed the way you practice? What’s a patient story that shows what you do best? Taking your audience on a journey is a great way to spice up your sales copy, and gives your brand a unique identity.
Key Takeaways About Medical Copywriting
Obviously I think medical copywriting is pretty cool. Not just for practitioners and practice growth, but for consumers too. Bringing on a professional medical copywriter can help your private practice in ways you probably haven’t imagined.
Regular folks have more access to health information than ever, and I love knowing that the content I wrote has helped people learn more about their bodies. It’s a pretty cool feeling when you can reach thousands, even millions of people through your website. The practitioners I work with get to watch their practice grow while knowing they’re contributing to the democratization of medicine. And that’s pretty amazing.
Medical copy for sales helps consumers understand what they’re buying. It can connect people with passionate practitioners and life-changing therapies. Good medical copy can bring your obscure treatment or device to the people who need it most. For practitioners, it can help fill their calendar with patients they’re excited to see.
Incorporating medical copywriting into your brand isn’t a short game. It’s not for people who want a big payout fast. And it’s not for people who aren’t offering a high-quality service. But for business owners who are here for the long-haul, who want to build real lasting relationships with their patients, who want to have an impact on their community, it’s a great way to get there.