Content Strategies: Reduce Friction with the Right Kind(s) of Content

As noted earlier this week, the questions that members of the RealSelf community ask online provide current and compelling insight into the thoughts, fears and concerns people have when considering cosmetic surgery. In turn, the trends those questions reveal can help doctors ensure that their marketing efforts are on track and properly allocated.

After all, if your messaging isn’t addressing the issues and concerns potential patients have, why on earth would they be interested in what you have to say?

Simply put, if you want potential patients to hear your message, you have to deliver content they want to receive — and provide it in a way that increases the odds that they’ll actually find it. It’s all about easing their access to the information they seek — reducing friction, as marketers call it — and the following strategies can help:

Marketing Challenge: Matching your messaging to the way people search

Every day, more people forgo the old technique of typing a few words — tummy tuck Seattle, BBL Miami, etc. — into a search box, opting instead to type, or increasingly speak, actual questions into their mobile devices. These natural-language inquiries represent a fundamental shift in search and, as a result, can lead to significantly different search results for those who pose them.

Content Strategy: Instead of focusing on a few popular (and highly competitive) keywords, content should reflect the varied and highly nuanced searches that consumers undertake. Providing an FAQ page regarding procedures, prices, etc., for example, allows you to more closely match searchers’ inquiries, which is what search-engine algorithms are all about.

Marketing Challenge: Helping people make more informed choices

Faced with an ever-expanding array of options, it’s not surprising that so many aesthetic consumers pose their questions as either/or inquiries: Botox vs. Dysport, for example, or Kybella vs. lipo. As with all products and services in the digital age, people love to comparison shop.

Content Strategy: Instead of touting the fact that you offer a variety of treatments, provide comparison information — in a grid or checklist, for example — that quickly shows how products compare in terms of use cases, recovery times, number of treatments required, etc.

Marketing Challenge: Helping people overcome their fears and doubts

According to a recent RealSelf survey of people who were seriously considering cosmetic surgery, almost one-third (31%) cited a fear that they’d wake up and not like their results, more than any other concern. That’s not surprising but all you have to do is read a few narratives of RealSelf community members to realize that aesthetic medicine involves emotional and psychological components that most other disciplines don’t.

Content Strategy: Photos, photos, photos. You can talk about surgical skills and complication rates until the cows come home but nothing captures patient results like a well-stocked gallery of before and after images. Potential patients not only rely on photos when choosing a doctor — 63% of RealSelf users say before and after photos are critical in doctor selection — they also count on them to provide reassurance that they’re making the right choice.

Enhancing findability, encouraging informed choices, overcoming fears — specific strategies aside, it’s all about delivering trusted content to those who are actively seeking it. Do that and your audience will figure out what to do next.

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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