How do I create an advert for my medical procedure that actually increases sales?

In today’s post, I’ll be answering a question posed by a delegate from the ESCRS 2014 conference this September in London. He asks:

“Content marketing goes well with patient education. However, it needs a clear message, not too much information, as we tend to do in the past in our advertisements. If having an operation is an individual choice that is emotionally triggered, should the ad then be more emotionally based, as in: We are not selling IOL (lenses), we are selling what freedom and life quality it can give you? So, for example, a picture of a woman in her new liberating situational setting? What design / symbol effect is the best to work with in a magazine ad for a lenses / cataract operation?”

He’s definitely on to something here.

Here’s the imagery, text and emotions you need to include in your health and medical advertising

First of all, know your goal: Your advertising should aim to generate awareness for your content – it won’t make a sale. It won’t even convert someone into a consult. So first, aim to engage.

Design and copywriting are crucial to the success of your advertising, and repetition is the key.

For every three advertisements viewed, the average consumer will ignore two.

Evidence suggests that people need nine exposures of the same advertisement before someone remembers it!

Thus, it would be best to run a specific ad at least 27 times in media before you change it.

Next, there is much more to an ad than the image you’re using. Here are my top 7 tips to consider when designing any advertisement, specifically for elective medical services.

Have a robust and emotionally-oriented headline that grabs the reader

If the headline doesn’t compel or intrigue the reader, the rest of the ad will be invisible to them. The headline should instruct (starting with “how-to”, “Why”, “Which”, “Who”, “You”, or “This”, and should answer the question the prospect is asking when they’re looking at your ad… see below for what that question is.

Show a picture relating to what’s emotionally important to buyers of the product or service

Consider the stage of the buying process that readers of this magazine are in. It’s unlikely, for example, that someone who is not already considering a lens or cataract operation will pay much attention to your advertisement. Unless you are huge, you cannot afford to educate the market about why they should have this procedure.

So, don’t focus your advertising on: “why should I have this procedure?” Instead, answer the question, “Why should I pay attention to you?” Assume that anyone that is flagged by your ad is already considering this procedure, and the main question in their mind now is, “who should I choose?”

So should you include an image of your doctors? I would advise against it. Instead, feature the hero of the story – the patient – enjoying sports, or reading, or anything else that is sight dependent, that they can do better without glasses or contact lenses.

Include testimonials

Testimonials help answer the above question in a better way than trying to answer it yourself.

Call to action

You need to ask the reader to act in some manner. For example, intrigue them with a question or something they might not yet know, and invite them to learn more on your site.

Long copy sells

We often think marketing copy is too wordy because the writing is poor. However, the truth is that well-written, compelling copy can perform better than short copy, even if it’s longer than what you see in most advertisements today.

Of course, don’t use 10 words when 3 will do, but don’t be afraid to tell your story enough to sell the next stage – which is usually visiting your site to learn more.

Leave your questions and comments below about medical advertising and what hasn’t worked for you. I am happy to answer your specific questions and provide you with some feedback to help the medical community.

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Rod Solar

Founder & Fractional CMO

Rod co-founded LiveseySolar and acts as a Fractional CMO for our customers. He’s on a mission to help transform the lives of 10,000 people with vision correction surgery by 2024. To achieve that, he inspires his customers to make confident decisions that will help 50,000 people take the first step towards vision correction.

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LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.

— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO

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Founder & CEO

Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.

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Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.

— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK