10 Copywriting Tips Your Competitors Hope You Don’t Learn
Have you ever Googled your own practice? If not, pull out your smartphone or open another tab in your browser and search for “Dentist + Your Area”. If you operate in Austin, that’s the area to search. Then press enter.
Did your practice just pop up? Hopefully it did. One thing’s for sure, so did a lot of other practices. When you conduct a search like you just did, you’re suddenly standing in the shoes of your prospects. You’re seeing what they see when they do the same search.
It’s your job to make your practice stand out online, so that your listing instantly stands out to those on smartphones or laptops, or even desktop computers. Whether they’re at home, at work, or on the go, your search listing should jump out at them. This is what dental web copywriting is all about.
Learn to write like an expert copywriter and you can begin to attract prospects searching online in a single glance. By using the right words in their proper order, you can actually cause people to click on your listings to learn more. You can even get them to pick up the phone and call.
That’s what this post is all about.
From your website’s home page to your services page and every page in-between, you must set yourself apart and prove that you’re the leader of the pack. Here are the lessons to learn in order to hone your dental web copywriting skills.
Before you sit down to write a particular page of your site, go inside your mind and envision your ideal patient. This is the person you wish would notice your listing online, and then promptly pick up the phone to call.
This perfect patient may carry a particular type of dental insurance, have a great stable job, and the person will definitely understand the true value of maintaining a healthy smile for a lifetime.
This is the person you will be writing to. So get that person in your mind and envision them sitting across from you as you write. The patient may have questions. Your job is to provide those answers.
Keep this scenario in your mind as you write and your words are much more likely to come out sounding genuine. While writing, you’ll also want to keep the following in mind.
- Assume the Role of Leader: To stand out from the rest of the pack, your writing should be direct and not passive, much the same way you would speak to one of your patients chairside.
- Inform and Educate: Keeping your patients up-to-date and teaching them a thing or two are definitely leader qualities you’ll want to exhibit. Your patients should learn to come to you when they want to learn anything teeth related.
- Convey Trust: Your writing should set your visitors’ minds at ease as to your competency, professionalism, and preparedness to provide the best dental services around.
Your ideal patient is out there. Write to that person and let them know you’re waiting for the phone to ring.
2. Gather a List of Common Patient Needs
Let’s get back to your ideal patient’s questions. Most of these questions can be boiled down to specific needs.
Your patient may ask, “Do you have any specials?” What this really means is, “I need to save money.”
A patient who asks, “What are your weekend hours?” really means, “I need to find a dentist who accommodates my busy schedule.”
When you think about, everyone who lands on your website will do so because they have one of these needs.
Here are a few more common ones:
- “My tooth is killing me and I can’t sleep.” = “I need emergency dental help!”
- “My gums won’t stop bleeding and now my tooth is loose.” = “I need emergency dental help!”
- “I just had an extraction and I’m considering dental implants.” = “I need information on dental implants.”
- “I need dentures so that I can eat crunchy foods again.” = “I need information about dentures.”
These needs are so powerful that they will drive patients to look up dentistry online, sometimes at two in the morning when they should be fast asleep. Your job as the dental copywriter is to provide solutions to those needs with engaging web copy.
Where do you gather a list of these common needs? Your receptionist who answers the phones is a great start. Your hygienist who listens to patient complaints with a sympathetic ear is another.
Your patients are literally telling you how to entice them with every word they speak to you and your staff. Gather these together and comprise a list. Then look at this list often as you write to make your web copy more engaging for every reader.
3. Spy On Your Competitors
You’re almost ready to start writing. First, go back to that Google search you conducted of your own practice. Now click on your top three competitors. If you want to be thorough, click on all of your local competitors’ listings.
Now start reading. What headlines are they using? Does their writing catch your attention or do you find your mind wandering?
If you see a headline or a particular phrase that resonates with you, save it and add it to a swipe file you can also glance at as you’re writing.
It’s recommended that you conduct a search for Dentist + other areas around the country. Major cities like Chicago, Austin and Los Angeles are good recommendations, as they’re more likely to have employed top copywriters to write their material. Borrow from these writers to make your web copywriting more powerful.
4. Writing Headlines that Engage
Let’s get back to all those needs your patients have. When someone lands on your website, it’s your headlines that will be spotted first. If your headline doesn’t engage, if it doesn’t speak to your readers, your web visitors aren’t going to stick around for very long.
In order to engage and speak to your readers with your headlines, you need to answer those very needs.
John Smith whips out his smartphone and searches for an emergency dentist because his son has been up all night with excruciating tooth pain. John searches for a dentist in your area, he clicks on your website and instantly reads your headline.
If your headline reads, “Emergency Dentistry,” that’s ok. At least John knows he’s in the right spot. But if your headline reads, “No More Pain! Get Emergency Dental Help Here,” your ideal patient is more likely to read further down the page, and take action like picking up the phone.
Here’s another one taken from one of our client sites, denalipediatricdentistry.com. If John clicks on our site to get help with his son’s dental emergency, he’ll be faced with this simple, but straight forward headline: Emergency Dental Care for Your Child.
Reading that headline, John might find himself thinking, “This dentist gets me. He can help my son. Now where’s that phone number?”
To give you a simple guide to follow when writing your headlines, each one should describe what the page is about while answering the needs of your ideal patient. Craft your headlines well and your web visitors will be more likely to stick around.
5. Provide the Solutions Your Ideal Patient is Searching For
As your reader moves on from your headline and begins to read your page copy, they’re going to have questions in their mind. Let’s take dental implants as an example. Your ideal patient searching for dental implant information might want to know:
- What is a dental implant?
- Am I a good candidate?
- How much do they cost?
- Does the procedure hurt?
- How long does the procedure take?
- Will I have to come back for multiple appointments?
- Can I eat anything I want?
Your page, then, should involve brief explanations of all of the above, while speaking to your ideal patient with a leadership state of mind. You may have engaged in conversations involving the above questions with your patients many times in person. What’s so different about writing your responses in text format and publishing them to your website? It’s not different, and that’s exactly what you are encouraged to do.
In fact, the above list could act as an outline for your dental implants web page. If you’re unsure of what to write, make a list like the one above and you’ll have all the material you need to write an effective dentistry web page.
Just remember: Needs and solutions, needs and solutions, rinse and repeat.
6. Make Your Pages Skimmable
Just because someone clicked on your page doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to read a single word. Most people will skim your content to spot the information they need. You can make life easier on these skimmers by using such tricks as bolded subheadlines, bullet points, and numbered lists, like the examples below.
Snagging a reader with your headline is a good first step. Now keep the momentum going by providing solutions to needs with bolded sub-headlines that are spaced evenly down the page.
Look at the image below from Denalidpediatricdentistry.com. A person landing on this page would know that dental sealants prevent tooth decay and cavities, a fact they only learned by reading the headlines, as seen on one of our client sites, Dr. Timmerman.com.
Bullets & Numbered Lists
Puting your most important information in an organized list highlighted by bullet points or numbers, like the image below, draw the eye in an instant.
7. Let Your Paragraphs Breathe
Many of your web visitors will be viewing your content on tiny little screens, such as on the ones on iPhones or Samsung Galaxies. Your website should be responsive, which means that it automatically adapts to any sized device. But you can further improve the readability of your content with lots of white space between paragraphs.
None of the text should be jumbled together. The headlines, sub-headlines and all text should be easily read on any sized device, even teeny tiny iPhones.
8. Use Simple Language
Your patients might not know what bruxism is or TMJ. While you are encouraged to teach your patients with your web copy, the words you write will resonate better if you speak in simple language anyone can easily understand. Use short words and phrases that flow easily into one another. This isn't an opportunity to show off that you know more than your patients, it's a time to show that you're on their level, and that you can help. The more people you reach, which can be done with the simplest of language, the more effective your web pages will become.
9. Urge Visitors to Call or Walk-In
Believe it or not, the goal of your website isn’t to get your ideal patient to read what you’ve written. It’s to get new patients to call.
For that reason, the moment a patient lands on your website, you should be urging the person to pick up phone and call at every turn.
Denali Pediatric Dentistry has a header that is consistent across every page that includes a call-to-action and the phone number.
Denali also has a web form on every page commanding patients to make contact.
In addition to these elements, you will also want to urge your readers to call with your web copy.
You can enhance web conversions – the amount of people who go from visitor to call-in lead – by leaving calls-to-action at the bottom of every page you write. Notice how the call-to-action below, as found on the website for The Dental Specialists, states that it’s simply time to give the practice a call. But it further hammers the point home by urging patients to act NOW in order to keep all treatments affordable. Who could say no to that?
10. Consistently Evolve as Trends Change
The internet is far from the one that began over thirty years ago. (Yes, believe it or not, it has been that long). Your patients’ lives, dental habits, and needs have also changed. Your web copy needs to follow suit if you hope to keep up with evolving trends; and especially if you want to remain competitive.
The best way to gauge the effectiveness of web copy is with Google analytics. With analytics, you can discover which pages are the most popular with visitors. You can also determine which pages are the most highly converting. In other words, those pages that got patients to walk-in or call.
By knowing this data, you can pinpoint which pages have the best-performing copy. You can then borrow those headlines, bullet points and need/solution paragraphs to make your other pages just as effective.
By understanding your patients’ needs and how to satisfy them, you’ll not only learn how to craft engaging web copy, but you’ll also improve your chairside manner. Writing targeted web copy is really just an exercise in better communication with your patients. Use the thought processes contained here to answer patient needs and to provide solutions to put your patients at ease, and to improve every experience they have with your dental office.
Now that you’re familiar with these eight copywriting tips, are you still dreading writing all those web pages yourself? The good news is, you don’t have to. Get a free marketing assessment from Firegang Digital Marketing and leave the dental copywriting to us. We know what attracts quality patients, and we’ll put our expertise to work for you.