Writing to market your healthcare business

A monthly magazine issued by a local estate agents came through the door the other day.  It included an article by a local sports therapist entitled ‘Are you getting the most out of YOUR body?’.  I was impressed to see a practitioner is working hard to promote their practice as it is the first time I have seen an article of this kind in this magazine.  This is not someone I know, they work in a town about 20 miles away.

Local article

Reading the article led me to think about marketing opportunities and the language we use.  There are lessons that all practitioners can learn.  I am by no means a marketing expert but have picked up lots of tips over the years.  I find it can be a valuable exercise to look at other people’s marketing and learn lessons.

  • This article is very long and detailed – an A4 page with 2 columns of writing, probably font size 12.
  • It has 5 clear headings identifying the different aspects of posture being discussed
  • The article makes a really good attempt at trying to explain why poor posture occurs in terms of external factors and the internal mechanisms behind poor posture
  • There is a lot of cross-over between the use of you and we, it is generally better to major on you and directing the benefits you are describing to the reader. The use of we in some places undermines the skill of the practitioner ‘why are we suffering unnecessarily?’ makes is sound like the practitioner is suffering!
  • As practitioners it is really difficult to remember what ‘normal’ people know and understand lots of common phrases that are used may not be well understood by a broad audience e.g. fatigue, musculoskeletal, functional rehabilitation, manipulation

I just felt it was a shame the person had put a lot of effort in to writing an informative article but failed to really ‘sell’ their treatment and it’s benefits.  A good article should leave the reader feeling ‘I need to go and see a sports therapist as soon as possible and this clinic/practitioner will give me just the treatment I need’.  Have a look at the article, perhaps you have other comments you could add?

The subject of plain language is an interesting one.  Most practitioners will have been surrounded for years through their training and practice experience by anatomical and health jargon.  Show your marketing and website copy to ‘lay’ people to check how well it is understood.  Don’t always use the same person as they will get used to the terms you use over time.  You may be surprised to learn what people think particular terms mean.  For example, I have heard a wide variety of explanations of the meaning of manipulation.

Some websites give helpful tips on how to write in plain English:

http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/free-guides.html

http://www.clearest.co.uk/pages/publications/freeguides

Two key marketing tips I have learnt are:

N.B. Don’t forget that all your marketing must abide by the Advertising Standards Association guidelines

  1. Always talk about the person you are advertising to and the benefits they will receive. People are not interested in you and your business, at least not initially.  They want to know “What’s in it for me?”
  2. Make it clear what you are offering and what you want them to do – visit the website, phone now etc. I always like the example of a furniture company who didn’t sell ‘dining tables’ but they sold ‘a place for family enjoyment’ or the ‘hub of the home’.  What are the benefits of your treatment?  Are you selling them?

There are many marketing websites for general business and healthcare which have some fantastic free tips to help you with writing your marketing copy.  Start googling now!

Mint has written welcome booklets for patients, and patient information leaflets in plain English for you to use in your practice.  Purchase our leaflets today to provide your patients with attractive, easy to understand information.

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