How to pack your next patient event with qualified prospects
A patient event can be an excellent way to attract prospective patients to your clinic. If your marketing budget is modest however, your patient event need to address specific concerns, questions and problems if they are to attract qualified potential patients. In this post, I want to give you some practical advice about patient event conceptualisation, copywriting and marketing – so you can maximise event attendance from a specific group of qualified prospects in the middle of your sales funnel.
Planning your next patient event with specificity in mind
The plan for your patient event begins with the event’s title. What is the event about?
We surveyed patient events available to prospective patients in our area, and this is what we found:
- “FREE Laser Eye Surgery Event – Meet the Surgeon”
- “Refractive Laser Eye & Lens Implant Event”
- “Cataracts, laser eye and replacement lens surgery.”
- “Vision Correction Surgery patient open event.”
- “[Clinic Name] Patient Information Evening”
- “Laser Vision Correction Patient Seminars”
Do you see a pattern?
Nothing is exciting about these patient event headlines
“Patient Information” is everywhere. Information about what you offer is all over your website. Why would a prospective patient feel the need to make an effort to visit you to get more?
Could a prospective patient identify themselves in these headlines? How do these headlines speak to their specific problems? How will prospective patients specifically benefit from attending these events? These are mysteries your headline should not leave unresolved.
How to write patient event headlines that attract qualified patients in the middle of the funnel
Remember that we need to market differently to people at different stages of their information gathering process. When someone is new to gathering information, we call this the “top of the sales funnel”. Once they get to know you a little bit, they are in the middle of the funnel (MOFU). Middle of the funnel people require a specific approach to marketing and we can ask them for more commitment than those who have just begun to look. In fact, you can reach them in the same manner as you would when you write a compelling blog post headline.
To apply this to events, let’s look at the words you use to describe your patient event. Your event headline should:
- be emotional
- stir curiosity
- usher in the rest of the copy
- satisfy your prospect’s intent
- address core beliefs the prospect has – their feelings, desires, or insecurities
- make an offer, if possible
- be ultra-specific
Here are some alternative event titles I believe would be more attractive to prospective patients:
- “Contact lens wearers: What the lens manufacturers don’t tell you and how it can save your sight.”
- “The latest options for people who want to ditch their reading glasses but don’t know where to begin.”
- “Over 40? How to get the best safest treatment for ageing eyes.”
- “Answered: Your burning questions about cataract surgery.”
- “3 reasons why locals need to consider laser eye surgery in Yorkshire.”
- “Shortsighted? Why 1 out of every 10 people worldwide now choose SMILE for their laser vision correction.”
- “How glasses-wearers over 60 get rid of glasses and lenses in their life and avoid cataract surgery in their future.”
You get the idea. Each headline above:
- Calls out your intended prospective patient – who do you specifically want this event to attract? In my examples above, I’ve bolded that.
- Addresses a specific problem or question in the prospective patient’s mind.
- Creates curiosity (“oh, I wonder what they’ll say about that…”). I’ve italicised the topic in my examples above.
The crucial importance of offer specificity in your patient event
You might be wondering, won’t these headlines exclude people in other categories? Yes, they would, and that’s the point.
Your main aim with events is not to get as many people out as possible, but to get the right people out. Too many people vaguely interested in what you offer will cost you more money than necessary because you will have to spend on:
- reasonably-sized budgets to create a lot of vague interest in your event
- reasonably-sized event spaces to hold these vaguely interested people
What you need is offer-specificity. People who attend events are in the middle of the funnel (MOFU). Middle of the funnel prospects want more specificity from you. They’ve gone past visiting your website to learn about what you do and who you are (top of the funnel) but are not yet ready to commit to a first appointment (bottom of the funnel).
Offer specificity increases conversion rates, which makes your investment in getting people to the event and converting them while they are there go much further.
How to write patient event description copy that engages middle of the funnel patients
Let’s look at a few descriptions following the event titles I sample above. The following event description is written under the event entitled “FREE Laser Eye Surgery Event – Meet the Surgeon”.
It seems to me that the most important benefit of this event is that it’s free. I’d argue that most prospective patients don’t want free information. Why would they? There is an over-supply of free information online. Learning about three types of surgery fails to attract because I could quickly look at the clinic’s website to find general information about these three types. Getting my questions answered by a surgeon might be attractive, but if I was ready for that, I might prefer to book the first appointment.
Let’s look at another description for an event entitled “Refractive Lens Replacement (Clarivu) & Laser Eye Surgery.”
Again, this is an unstructured and vague description that does not seem focused enough on the patient’s needs and wants. It’s passable for a top of the funnel prospect, but most MOFU prospects will see this as a veiled sales pitch. Furthermore, the topics are much too broad to address a specific avatar’s concerns or questions.
If your headline’s job is to attract the right prospective patient, the first question your description should answer for the potential patient is: Why should I care?
Your patient event description should justify why the issue you raise in the headline is vital
You can do this with either:
- gain-based copy (e.g. “We’ll let you in on three little-known facts about why this is the procedure of choice for many people worldwide…”)
- threat-based copy (e.g. “We’ll show you data that proves contact lenses are more dangerous to your eyesight than laser eye surgery…”)
- or social proof-based copy (e.g. “Find out why – despite often costing more than traditional laser eye surgery – over 10% of all laser vision correction patients choose SMILE…”).
The description, however, should not give the answers away. The event itself should focus on answering the question posed by the headline. Do not over-explain in your event marketing.
Marketing your patient event to get awareness
Eventbrite.com offers a robust platform for hosting event registration, and it’s free if you don’t charge for your events.
Beyond posting an event on Eventbrite, I suggest the following:
- Depending on the demographic and the event topic, make a paid traffic ad (Facebook and Google) that attracts the right prospects to the event. Each ad should be specific to each event.
- Create a landing page on the website that ads direct traffic to. On that page, sell the event and then embed the specific widget to register on Eventbrite. Create one landing page per event, and with no other distractions on the page.
You can also post the Eventbrite listing on your homepage, but it won’t do as much as what I recommend above. You may wonder, how do the big players get so many people to their events with such bland headlines and descriptions?
They probably apply a brute force approach and probably pay much more than they needed to on paid ads.
They also invite anyone who does not convert on the phone to events, from thousands of calls a month. They also get a lot more visits to their site from organic search.
Unfortunately, none of those conditions is present in this scenario, so I suggest you do everything you can to maximise attendance from a specific group of qualified potential patients.
One last tip – make it sound fun
No one wants to be lectured at. Add a little fun to your event and describe the evening’s fun in the description. If you can, mention that you offer:
- complimentary drinks and finger food
- a chance to chat with others
- a tour that offers some interaction
- some entertainment, like live music
- a draw to win something at the event
For your next event,
- offer a specific solution in your event headline
- write a compelling description that supports the headline
- get traffic to your event registration page
- make it sound fun
Follow this advice and you’ll be packing your patient events with qualified patients in no time!
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