How many visitors view your website each month? Analytical data from our clients tells us it’s in the hundreds of visitors …even more of you drive traffic with search engine optimization and/or pay-per-click ads.
It just makes sense that you put some time into your website copy. Copywriting is meant to persuade someone to take an action. It’s not written words simply to educate someone.
When writing home page copy, you need to refer to the clinical research, business experience and make some assumptions about the people that are visiting your site. When it comes to physical therapy, a vast majority are prequalified. Most have already made the choice to go to physical therapy versus another form of health care. They have been referred by a friend, a family member or their doctor.
Here are some assumptions and experiences we’ve noticed about local physical therapy markets:
Reasons people visit your website and might choose your practice:
- Confirmation: Some are making sure that a referral to your practice is a good referral.
- Comparison shopping between clinics: Some that visit your website are comparison shopping –this should impact your copy.
- Comparison shopping between health care services: Some may be comparing physical therapy to chiropractic, medicine, massage, acupuncture, or personal training.
- Other reasons people choose your practice: Your communication with them or their referring physician, your company culture, your location, convenient appointment times, your specialty, or if nothing else, because you accept their insurance.
Inspiring Prospects to Choose You over the Clinic Next Door
There’s one test I would like to share with you. You should apply this to the copy that you put together for your practice. The test is a simple question, “If you were to replace your name and logo with that of any of your competitors’, could the copy just as easily represent them?” In other words, what unique competitive advantages can you include on your home page copy that will set you apart from anyone else? I know this isn’t easy but here are a couple of thoughts:
1. Include testimonials to support your statements (nowadays, it’s called social proof).
2. Include outcomes data,
3. Include patient satisfaction/loyalty data.
4. Include the typical words that any quality practice can include: best, custom, personalized, one-on-one, leading, etc. However, realize that these won’t set you apart from your competition; they only help you achieve competitive parity.
Time to Put Pen to Paper
It’s time to write. Does the thought paralyze you? Do you put it off? Do you have writer’s block? Here’s how to overcome it. Just start writing. Once you start, other ideas will flow. Here’s how you should channel those thoughts. Use a specific formula. I recommend: AIDA . AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.
- Attention: first capture their attention. This is done by providing a great looking image of your website and then “wowing” them with something. A good heading, a video spokesperson, a great slide show, etc. You need a good hook and it should touch their emotions.
- Interest – this is where you capture their interest. This section answers their question, “Why should I choose you?” Here you might list your specialties, certifications, outcomes data, etc.
- Desire—here is where you where you answer the question, “Why should I come to your practice now?” People choose physical therapy because they want to get rid of pain, decrease disability and recover their freedom. You can also make note of the fact that the longer they wait, the more likely they will need surgery, injections, multiple doctor visits, long-term drug prescriptions with all of the side effects that come with them.
- Action—we have motivated the viewer with interest, desire and benefits. The call to action, (in almost every case) for physical therapy clinic copy, is to call your clinic and set up an appointment. You can also use positive motivation (e.g. “I am sure you want to feel better, call us today”; “start feeling better right away”, “call us today and start feeling better tomorrow; “We are here to help you, just give us a call.” Etc.).
- Add a bonus offer like a free screening. This might entice people to make that call. Make sure you are in compliance with your insurance contracts and Medicare regulations when it comes to free screening offers.
Use visuals to reinforce your point—In marketing, we call it “eyes and teeth” or “outcomes-oriented imagery”. As such we recommend you put pictures of smiling, people on your website. There should be 2-3 pictures of the demographics you serve and they should be active and happy. If you primarily treat seniors, put seniors on your website. If you are a sports med clinic, put young, active athletes on the site.
About Us Page
Your website should be patient-centric, i.e. focused on your customers. However, the About Us page is a bit different. This is the one page that the copy can be all about you. We recommend that you do NOT talk about what you do; rather, talk about who you are.
Don’t waste this page by simply stating your mission. Here patients want to know about you, so let them know why you decided to put in all the extra effort to start a business. Let them know about the events in your life that led to the opening, expansion and vision of the future of your business. Then, give them the mission or the principles that are guiding you to achieve your vision.
Let them see the culture of your company. Is this a fun place to be at and work? Is it a “tie and lab coat” formal culture?
- Tell your story – why you started the company?
- Talk about your company timeline
- Talk about your passion
- Why did you decide to become a physical therapist?
- Why did you decide to open your practice?
- What kind of people do you want to care for and work with?
- What does your practice stand for and stand against?
Like your home page copy, tell a story. Appeal to the emotions of the reader as well.
Your Mission – What are your Core Values?
There is a burger restaurant around the corner from me. I was intrigued by a sign that was posted next to their condiments. It is my understanding that they have this same statement at some of their other locations too. This is how it read:
Thank You Customers
You the customer are the most important visitor on our premises. You are not dependent on us, we are dependent on you. You are not an outsider in our business –you are a part of it. We are not doing you a favor by serving you– you are doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so.
I mention this, because at the management level, they seem to get it. These kinds of statements transcend management though. If you take the time to write your mission statement or your core values on your about us page, it may just help your employees understand who funds their paycheck each month too. Hint: it’s not the practice owner J.
Here are some additional examples for inspiration:
- http://www.feelbetterfaster.net/about – good use of a story
- http://www.senecapt.com/core-values - what this clinic believes in
- http://jacksonpt.com/about - another good story
Take a couple hours to brainstorm and come up with your Home page content. Draw in your readers, demonstrate why they should choose you, why they should contact you now rather than wait, and what action they need to take. For the small but significant percentage of people that give you permission to talk about yourself, i.e. visit your about us page, tell them the story behind your company. The language you glean from a couple hours of thought just might inspire you again, help you focus your energy, and set yourself apart from the rest.
- http://amzn.to/pIKPTB - No BS Direct Marketing by Dan Kennedy
- http://www.scientificadvertising.com/ScientificAdvertising.pdf - If you want to get a little deeper read this timeless piece.
I know, this stuff gets deep—it comes from your business plan. Take some time to write some copy. Chances are it will not only improve your online marketing efforts, but help bring together your team as well.
David Straight, PT, DPT, OCS is the president of E-rehab.com - His company provides Physical Therapy Websites, Video, Email newsletters, Search, and Social Media for physical therapy private practices. He does not work with POPTS. He can be reached at by phone at 800-468-5161 or firstname.lastname@example.org.