- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On March 13, 2014
I started out my research for this post with a different post in mind.
My concept was to show you several examples of good ebooks medical practices have on their websites and how those help them in their marketing. And I hope that may be one of my next posts. To find these ebooks to show you I reviewed dozens of medical practice websites in New Jersey (where we are based.)
But none of those medical practice websites have an ebook. None. Maybe medical practices don’t need ebooks in their marketing.
This post is about why I’m not convinced of that.
So let’s start with why any business would want an ebook on their site. The ebook is there to provide an information resource to the visitor—in the case of a medical practice a prospective patient. But we are in business here so we propose a trade. The trade we’re proposing is that the visitor gets the ebook in exchange for their contact information.
Visitors to your website are anonymous on the Internet. You have no way of following up with them. But if you get them to fill in their information (just once) you can stay-in-touch with them. You can market to them.
Consider the buying behavior we all exhibit:
- Information search
- Evaluation of alternatives
- Purchase decision
The whole buying process is kicked off by us recognizing we need something.
In the case of medical practices, the process often starts with something hurting (or for cosmetic procedures it can just be we don’t like the look of something.) This first stage can also be triggered by an “external stimulus” such as an ad that shows us something about us could be better—maybe we see an ad about weight loss and decide it’s finally time to do something about that for ourselves.
If this need is urgent and severe, for example I think I’m having a heart attack, then certainly I’m going to get myself to a doctor (or ER) ASAP. But what if it’s just a common-or-garden ache or it’s a desire for improvement in myself?
Here’s a personal example. I run a bit these days (5k’s not marathons but for me that’s plenty). Since I’m maturing a bit various parts of me ache afterwards from time-to-time. Sometimes my knees feel a bit dodgy, sometimes my feet ache.
Now it’s not serious enough for me to go running to a doctor, especially considering the “high barrier” to doing that. Scheduling an appointment fills me with thoughts of an hour in the waiting room and bills from my insurance company telling me I owe some large amount of money (topics for different discussion.)
I’d like to know how to take some proactive measures to shore up my knees and find the perfect running shoe or orthotic but I’m not at a point where I’m going to trade 3 hours of my working day to find out.
Every now and then (especially when those bits ache) I pop onto Google and do a little searching on the subject. I find some web pages and videos and read them. But now I can’t remember which websites I visited for this information.
Now imagine that you had an ebook on your website about knee maintenance for runners (and let’s assume I found your site becasue your SEO is pretty good). Would I trade my name and email address for an ebook on either subject? Yes! In a heartbeat.
If I entered my contact info to get that ebook. You could then kickoff an email autoresponder (we will talk about those in a post to come shortly) that would send me an email every week for the next couple of months.
Let’s then imagine that what you sent me contained useful information about knee upkeep (not sales pitches). Each piece would be branded with the name of your practice.
So here I am getting all this useful content from you for a couple of months. Now say I’m unlucky and my knee gets worse or say I learn from your materials that I better take what I’m feeling seriously and go see a doctor.
Do you think I would include your practice in my thinking of who to visit? I’d bet so! (Especially if your online reviews are good—we’ll talk about that soon too.) So by offering me an ebook at the beginning of my buying journey and then sending me a series of valuable emails you are on my list of medical practices to consider.
But nobody in the 40 medical practices (including a couple of sports medicine practices who could no doubt help me with my knee questions) had anything for me to download. Nobody captured my contact information.
Of the medical practices that do ask on their websites for my contact information everyone wants me to book an appointment. No alternative. The bar for my information is set very high (in my opinion.) Marketers like to compare this to a form of odd dating behavior. We say it’s like going on a first date and before that first date is over asking the other person if they want to get married. Not very patient.
So do medical practices need to patient in their marketing? Or should they just propose right away?
One great way to develop an ebook is to start blogging. You can use your blog posts as content for an ebook. Oh yes, I nearly forgot we have an ebook about why medical practices should blog. See below.