A couple of weeks ago I went out to lunch with a friend of mine. During our conversation he was eager to tell me that his father is finally getting the hip replacement surgery he has been putting off for so long. It also turned out that his surgeon is one of my clients. Since I have been managing that physician’s marketing efforts for several years, I excitedly asked how he became informed to contact the practice. He proceeded to tell me that he actually heard about them inadvertently through me.
A week prior, Points Group launched a campaign to promote a new hip replacement procedure the practice wanted to promote. For part of the campaign we wrote a patient testimonial story about a man who had gone through a total hip replacement using a new minimally invasive and innovative technique. The story was then posted on their website and distributed through their social media sites. Since I am a fan of their Facebook page I “liked” the post, which then appeared on my Facebook page and the newsfeed of my friends. That is when my friend saw the post, read the story and made the appointment for his father.
Several days later I met with my client and told them about the details of this patient and was asked a very interesting question: What was the main component that resulted in the new patient? In their mind they wanted to know if it was the story or Facebook that was the magic key so they could decide where to spend more time and money for expended marketing efforts. As a marketer I know that it is never just one thing that creates the result. In a way you have to create a “perfect storm” for this to happen.
What made the difference?
- A niche procedure was highlighted in the story. My friend’s father has been to many orthopaedic surgeons before and always heard the same response in slightly different variations. When he read our story he was introduced to a new procedure, something he never heard of before. This prompted him to think “maybe this procedure will be right for me.”
- Procedure was explained using a real patients story. This story used all of the points addressed in my last blog “The Secret To Writing Content That Will Result in New Patients.” We wrote a story he could relate to which made him think “if it could work for that person, it can work for me.”
- Proper distribution. Instead of just placing the story on the website, it was distributed through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. We also spent time constructing a strong captivating headline to persuade people to click and read more.
- Third party endorsement. Mark Zuckerberg is quoted saying, “Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend”. Even though I did not personally tell my friend to go see this doctor, my Facebook connection did it for me. The message that was sent from a simple click of a “like” button was all that was needed to communicate my personal endorsement.
- Supplemental information was provided. The story that originally attracted my friend focused on the patient’s personal experience and offered a simple explanation of the procedure. We specifically did not go into too much detail as to not overwhelm the reader with complicated procedural explanations. We did, however, provide supplemental information for the visitor to decide if they wanted to read deeper into the subject. When it comes to website conversions, our goal is to keep someone on our site until they decide to take the next step to call or fill out a contact form. If the viewer left the site to do their own research we have a lower chance of them coming back to the site and converting.
- Professional web experience. In addition to the quality content, the website projected an image that the practice is state-of-the-art and professional. It was easy to navigate and user friendly which encouraged him to take the next step to call the practice.
- Positive experience when scheduling the appointment. The process to make an appointment was easy and seamless. The call center receptionist was friendly and professional and knowledgeable about the procedure. She was able to make his appointment while also looking into his insurance benefits.
Each one of these areas could influence the decision-making. Some may hold more weight then others but when it comes to a process like this there are no steps to eliminate. It takes a well-planned strategy that addresses all touch points to win new patients and succeed in medical marketing.