The content that you create will inform and contribute to the success of all of your other online marketing efforts. It’s your main hook, it’s how you reach your audience, how you engage with them, and consistently releasing high-quality content will develop loyalty for you and your organization.
Understanding the Buying Cycle
Your potential patients are not going to move from having never heard of you, to suddenly wanting to engage with you and schedule an appointment. Customers go through a process. It’s important to understand this process. Each stage of the process is different, and the tactics that you can use to reach your audience at the various stages will differ as well.
The first stage is Awareness. This is not necessarily awareness about you or your business. It’s the patient’s awareness of their problem. They’re tired of wearing glasses, their nose is too big, or whatever it is. Your job is to be ‘find-able’ so that you can be the one to solve those problems.
There’s several different types of content that you can use to reach people at this point.
The first one is with articles. The format of these posts should follow this simple outline:
- Identify with the patient by validating and empathizing with their problem. Talk about a time when you (or another patient) had to struggle against a similar problem
- Explain how you or your patient went about solving the problem
- Wrap it up with what life looked like after that problem was solved – this can be thought of as a before-and-after type of thing
For example, if I were trying to get patients in to correct a deviated septum, I might write something with an outline like:
“We all know sleep is vital to your health, but John just wasn’t getting enough of it. For a while he thought it was just the weight he’d put on as he got older, or maybe it was a persistent cold. But night after night John was waking up, his nasal airways feeling tight or clogged. He’d roll over onto his side, or take a short walk around the house to try to clear it before heading back to beed. Finally John talked to his doctor, and learned that he had a deviated septum. After a short, out-patient procedure John found that he was able to sleep the night through. Not only that, but during the day he had more energy than he’d had in years.”
The essential elements are there:
- The problem was stated and related with
- We described how someone else dealt with the problem
- And described how solving the problem had a positive impact in their life
Some other content you can use to reach people in the Awareness stage might be:
- Social Media
- Short promotional or testimonial videos
The next stage is Consideration. At this point in the Buying Cylce, the patient knows that you exist, and are gathering the information required to make an actual purchase decision.
When it comes to content for this stage in the buying process, you want to focus on providing two things:
- True value to the prospect. This can be downloadable content, tips, checklists, ebooks, whatever is appropriate for your organization that provides actual value to the prospect. You can even offer discounts and incentives at this stage.
- Provide testimonials, reviews, case studies, and anything else that illustrates how your organization is different from the competition. In the tech space a lot of companies use comparison charts to put their feature set against those of their competitors. That’s a very ‘function’ driven market, and so that strategy works. You need to experiment a bit, and find out what works for you.
After the consideration stage is the Conversion stage. By this time the prospect has validated their problem, they’ve assessed their options, and they’re ready to make a purchase decision. By this stage your selling is mostly done, and now you’re just sweetening the deal.
This is where you really want to offer your discounts and promotions, and reaffirm the benefits of choosing you.
The next stage is the Follow Up. Once you’ve gotten the appointment scheduled, the most important thing you need to do is to deliver on the promise that your marketing made. That means delivering:
- High quality service
- An excellent patient experience.
After the patient has scheduled their appointment, the procedure is done, and they’re back to their normal life, you can and should follow up with them – usually with email.
Some good content to give them might be:
- In-depth articles that goes into more detail of the other benefits you offer
- Examples and testimonials
- Any other helpful post-procedure resources
The patient should know that you still care about them and you still want to provide value, even after the procedure is completed and payment received.
Loyalty and Advocacy
The last stage is Loyalty and Advocacy. By now, the patient has recovered and are happy with the results. Now is the time to turn them into “true fans”. There are several ways to do this:
- Ask for testimonials and reviews
- Request that your customers share their experience via social media
- Never be afraid to ask for referrals
- One method that I personally favor is the “interview review”. This is a recorded interview that you have with the patient wherein they can talk about the benefits of your service, and how their life has been positively impacted
There’s a fairly simple process for creating high-quality content.
- Understand your business goals. Are you trying to drive awareness around your brand or service? Do you want your audience to consider you over your competitors? Do you want to educate or inspire? Are you just interested in getting patients into the office? Of course, the hope is that it will all eventually leads to a revenue-generating opportunity, but it doesn’t start there. The more specific your goals are, the easier it is to build content around that.
- Develop a content strategy. This means defining the actual content that you’re going to publish. I’ll give you a little hack for this part: What you really want to do is answer the questions and solve the problems that your patients have at each stage of the buying cycle. So how do you know what questions or problems they have? Google it yourself. Think about the buying stage, and Google the questions that your patients might be asking themselves at that point. See what kinds of results you get. When you’re consulting with prospective patients, this is even easier: keep track of the questions that they ask you, and create content that answers those questions.
- Create and Publish the Content. Once you’ve compile the information that your clients are looking for, you can begin to create various pieces of content (blogs, articles, videos, info-graphics, etc.) that provide that information.
Content and Online Marketing
Content is vital to your overall online marketing strategy. I’ll give a few quick examples of why that is:
- Search endings optimization (SEO). After researching what patients need, you can further tailor your content to match SEO-focused keywords to boost your onsite SEO. Additionally, as you create (and share) high quality content, other people will share it as well and you’ll get high-quality links back to your site
- Social Media Marketing. This link is even closer. You can essentially use Social Media as a distribution channel. As you publish your valuable content on Social Media, and as your immediate network engages with it, you have the opportunity to extend your reach, and draw new prospects to your website
Repurposing Your Content
Lastly, I want to cover how to break up “Primary Content” into several other content types.
The most popular content to do this with is webinars or other long-form video content. You’ll have a script for that type of content, which means that it’s written. Therefore, it can be turned into a blog post. You can extract the audio and use it in a podcast. You can break it into smaller bite-sized chunks, and post 5-minute highlights on Youtube or other Social Media.
Believe it or not, you can do two videos a month – or even just one long one – and derive the entire month’s content from that.
I recently had the opportunity to speak to a lady who runs a non-profit community theater. The biggest opportunity that I saw for her was YouTube. She had a YouTube channel but it was pretty stale. It only had a few posts and they were from a few years back.
A webinar would not make sense for her, but think of the potential of YouTube! She could post highlights of her productions, interviews with actors and members of the production teams, etc. I recommended that she record each show in full. She could then offer that content to ticket holders in exchange for a generous donation. And for her customers that didn’t show up? They missed out on the theater experience, but – for a generous donation of course – they could still watch their favorite local actors in the latest production via an exclusive download.
The content wasn’t just a way to promote the product, but could become another product all on their own!
Your content doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, as long as you’re creating content regularly, and that content is valuable, then you’re off to a good start, and you’ll naturally improve as you go.
If there’s anything that you feel like maybe we didn’t go deep enough here, or even overlooked, please feel reach out to us. And, of course, if you feel like we can help you in your online marketing efforts, we would love to hear from you. You can reach us at www.epowet.com/contact or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Content Marketing check out our short presentation at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Iyv1aSdeoE&t