The secret of writing better advertising and promotional pieces is that there is no secret!
So, as long as you keep in mind one vital principle: “Advertising is not an art form, it’s a medium for information, a message with a single purpose: to sell.” David Ogilvy
The sole purpose of advertising is to generate higher profits for your medical services. Mainly, your ad must be a salesman in print (either actual or digital). It needs to be a compelling message that draws the viewer in further to explore what you have to offer.
Honestly, unless your ad convinces the prospect to pick up the phone and come into your clinic, your ad is useless.
An impotent ad is hazardous to your medical practice on two levels: if it doesn’t draw patients, your bottom line is affected immediately; and, not only has your ad not pulled patients in but now your competition has free range to appeal and entice your patient.
On a fundamental level, advertising consists of putting together a series of components that draw a person’s attention and keeps their interests long enough to take in your entire message. In all, we’re talking about six essential elements which, when strung together correctly, can produce significant profits and separation from your competitors.
Every day there is a constant competition to acquire a finite number of available new patients. With few exceptions, most businesses are constrained, to one degree or another, by geography and demographics. Said another way, you don’t have an infinite number of possible patients from which to provide your services. You need to compel and attract as many of the available patients in your area as possible.
As stated earlier, your advertising needs to be able to grab someone’s attention immediately (and not let go). In advertising terms, this vehicle for capturing attention is referred to as your headline.
You will notice that up to 95% of all ads have no headline. Countless numbers of marketing surveys point out this most valuable statistic, 80% of all the readers only read headlines. The use of a properly designed headline is the main ingredient in your advertising that makes it so powerful that it can increase your ads power by as much as 2000%.
The father of modern-day advertising, David Ogilvy, verifies this exact point: “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Once you set up your headline, now it’s time to create your sub-headline which appears directly under the headline. The text is typically smaller, and it gives more insight into the service you are providing, while further outlining why the patient should care enough to keep reading.
These last two statements tend to sound mechanical and ethereal, even a bit “highfalutin.” To an advertising geek like me, concepts like headlines and sub-headlines are like fine wines where bouquet and body are greatly appreciated; but, to anyone outside of advertising they may be thinking “What are you talking about?”
Marketing should be a straightforward process; so, we will approach it in this manner: Your patients have a problem which they don’t want; but, there is a result they want but don’t have. Your ad needs to solve these two needs by delivering a message so compelling it practically forces your current and future patients to buy your services.
Your advertising needs to Interpret your patient’s needs, Engage to lead towards an answer, Educate them on the benefits of your service and Offer a solution.
The Interpret portion covers your headline – which means it’s the first thing someone sees when they visit your website, read any of your marketing material, or hear you speak. Your headline MUST address the problem your patients have that they don’t want.
For example, “Are you sick and tired of waking up with back pain?”
The Engage aspect is your sub-headline. It MUST address the result your prospect wants but doesn’t have.
For example: “Learn proven techniques to kiss those pains goodbye!”
The Educate component is the information you provide — evidence to all patients that you and your service are superior in every way to your competition. You achieve this through the following:
- Provide specific benefits for working with you. Interesting fact, we’re all motivated by the same thing, we all buy based on our self-interests. Therefore the person reading your ad only cares about “What’s in it for them?” The only thing they want to know is “how will your service benefit them?”
- Have an offer. It is incredible how little advertising features any offer or incentive to use the company’s services immediately. You can provide any one of the following to current and potential patients: free special report, very informative recorded message, free consultation, free valuable product/service coupons, or special price inducements, etc. Numerous marketing studies over the years show that making an offer increases response by as much as 400%. The proposals you provide set you/your clinic apart from your competition.
- Have a particular incentive: Offer your reader a free booklet, recorded message, or gift. This technique creates motivational points for the patients to call now. The idea is that you want to make it irresistible for prospective patients to select your clinic.
- Have testimonials: This is one of the most effective advertising strategies yet so under-utilized. What satisfied patients say about your practice is more important than what you say about yourself. A medical practice that is professional, diligent and forthright in their dealings with their patients should have stacks of letters and comments from satisfied patients. Too often, these pieces of gold remain hidden away for years in the filing cabinet. Why, when you want your potential new patients to know how they too can benefit from your services? Since testimonials are so seldom used, it’s become a well-kept secret resulting in enormous profits for advertisers who take advantage of the immense power and celebrity that comes from the use of these testimonials. The technique works wonders for your reputation management strategy.
Finally, your Offer (the solution): You MUST create a compelling Proposition that makes it so irresistible your patients can’t turn it down. When you provide your Offer, also include your money back guarantee policy clearly and proudly. Patients may be nervous; especially ones that have never done business with you before. Most companies have great guarantees. Patients need to know you stand behind your services. By reversing the risk, you assure patients they’ve made a wise decision, and if for any reason your will service does not live up to their expectations, they can get satisfaction.
Call-to-action: The call-to-action typically appears at the end of an advertisement and is used to add a sense of urgency. It should instruct patients what steps they should take to purchase your service. Providing a recorded message is most effective and non-intimidating (people don’t want to be “pitched”).
Fortunately, for you, MOST clinics don’t appear any different from their competitors (to the naked eye), and that’s why you MUST innovate your business to create a market-dominating position.
To build a stellar reputation and create a winning ad, you MUST make your practice unique; it MUST stand out from the crowd. It MUST make your patients say to themselves: “It would be a colossal mistake not to use Dr. ABC!”
From the desk of Claudio Gormaz of Summit Marketing Strategies