As the owner of a professional practice, you know how important it is to maintain a steady stream of new patients. You likely also know that the first step to getting more patients into your practice is building a website. You want people who are searching Google for the services you offer to find you, and you need to have a website before that’s going to happen.
Your website is the foundation of your inbound marketing, but this isn’t a Field of Dreams situation—just building it isn’t going to guarantee that anyone will come. The content of your website, meaning the actual words you write, plays a big part in determining how successful your website will be at attracting visitors, converting that traffic, and bringing more people into your practice.
How investing in great content can get more patients into your practice
Many business owners tend to phone it in when it comes to creating website content, and that’s understandable. Not everyone is great at writing, and it can seem counterproductive to spend so much time working on your website when you could be doing things that are more immediately beneficial to your practice.
However, if you don’t invest in website content, you’re likely guaranteeing that your website won’t get the kind of results that you’re hoping for. Content serves two extremely important purposes in inbound marketing. First, it helps potential patients find your website by improving your site’s ranking in search engines. Second, once they arrive on your site, good content will help convert them into patients and get them through your door.
Content and SEO
When somebody googles something like “orthodontist” or “physiotherapist,” Google has to make some very complex decisions about what search results they’re going to deliver and in what order. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of trying to influence search engines like Google to rank your website near the top of the results for important search terms.
Content is one of the most effective ways to influence search results. One of the primary ways that search engines evaluate a website is by analyzing the site’s content in order to understand what that website is about. If your website has a large amount of good content that your website visitors have found useful (which Google measures by metrics like average time spent on page, bounce rate, and others) you’re drastically raising the chances of Google recommending your website when people search for terms related to what you’ve written.
Content and Conversion
Getting people to visit your website is only the first step. Once they’re on your site, you still have to convince them to actually become patients, and this is another area where content excels. In advertising and marketing, people usually refer to persuasive writing meant to sell a product or service as “copy,” but when it comes to good inbound marketing, copy and content are one and the same.
Good marketing copy does a lot of things on the way to converting customers, but two of the most important are overcoming objections and reducing anxiety. This is especially vital when it comes to copy that is trying to persuade people to begin any kind of medical treatment. Creating website content that answers common questions about the treatments you offer is a great way to meet these marketing goals while also improving your website’s search ranking.
Answering questions makes you a good resource
As a company, Google highly values websites that directly answer the queries that searchers type into their search engine. They’re focused on providing searchers with the most relevant possible results, and there’s nothing more relevant to a question than a great answer to that question. Google monitors how visitors interact with your site, and if site visitors are behaving in a way that indicates you’ve answered their question, Google will keep recommending your site.
As the owner of a medical practice, you likely know the most common questions your patients have. Most people who book a consultation with you are likely asking the same kinds of things over and over—we call these the Same Old Boring Questions. These Same Old Boring Questions, the things everyone wants to know about your practice and your treatments, are a great starting point for creating informative content that will help your website rank well.
You can even supplement your own knowledge with tools like Answer The Public (which can provide you with commonly searched questions related to your keywords) or Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner. Between the questions you hear every day in your office and the questions you can discover with online tools, it should be a simple job to build out a long list of questions on which to base your content.
This is important because creating high quality content that answers the Same Old Boring Questions transforms your website into an excellent resource—a resource that Google will be more likely to recommend to searchers. And, if you’re lucky, other websites will start linking to all this good content you’ve created, which is another signal of quality that Google uses to determine your search ranking.
Answering questions reassures potential patients
Before starting any kind of medical procedure, usually before they even start booking consultations or settling on treatments, people tend to do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions. Most of the time, a big part of that research will be Google searches for answers to basic questions (those Same Old Boring Questions) about treatments, costs, timelines, and so on.
The content you’ve created to attract traffic will help these people find your site. But just as importantly, when your website is able to give them reassuring answers to their questions, it will build trust between your website visitors and your brand. Medical treatments of any kind can be anxiety-inducing (both in terms of anxiety over the treatment itself and the anxiety that comes with making a major spending decision). Giving your potential patients the information they’re looking for empowers them to make the decisions they need to make.
Answering questions on your website is also a great way to counter objections. It’s always easier not to do something, and people are often looking for excuses to not follow through with plans. If you’ve created relevant website content that not only answers their questions but counters the objections they have, you’re going to have a great opportunity to convert them into patients.
For an example, let’s say you’re an orthodontist. A potential patient in your area has been thinking about getting their teeth corrected, but is worried they can’t afford orthodontic care. So they go to Google, search for “how much do braces cost,” and find your website. If you can reassure this person that there are options in their price range that can meet their goals, they’ll be more likely to book a consultation.
This strategy works for any kind of objection a potential patient might have, not just cost-related ones. Imagine a potential patient who has heard it’s difficult to eat with braces on, so they go to google, search for “best food to eat with braces,” and find a blog post on that exact topic (we worked on this site, and this post generated a large amount of traffic and leads for this practice). Suddenly, this person is feeling reassured that they can still eat a number of their favourite foods when they have braces. Then, in this moment of feeling confident and reassured, they notice the “Book a free consultation” button on your blog’s sidebar and make an appointment.
If you can provide good content that answers questions, reassures anxious searchers, and counters objections, you will have turned your website into a machine that draws traffic from search engines and readily converts them into patients.
Share what you know to get more patients into your practice
With content being such an important part of SEO, answering questions and sharing your knowledge is a highly effective way to get more patients into your practice. Creating this kind of content makes the most out of the time and money you’ve invested in developing your website.
Healthcare marketing is a highly competitive field, and anything that helps you stand out from the crowd can make a big difference. For more tips on how to effectively market a medical practice online, check out our whitepaper Inbound Marketing for Healthcare Practices: 5 Key Strategies to Stand Out From the Competition. It’s FREE, and contains everything you need to know to bring the power of inbound marketing to bear on the unique challenges of healthcare practices.