We all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to our natural abilities. Early on, I realized that writing was not one of my strengths. Not one to avoid a challenge, I decided to turn that weakness into a strength.

Despite being enamored with the Internet before the word “Netscape” was ever uttered, I decided to minor in computer science and focus my major studies on magazine journalism. I was a sports editor for the school newspaper, and for a short time I wrote for the local newspaper. My first business was actually a weekly sports paper.

Besides learning how to write, I learned the incredible need for efficiencies in advertising. My customers were constantly asking me about what they got for their advertising dollars. I’ve been improving my answer to that question ever since.

Many medical professionals who write copy for their Web sites don’t understand some of the basic principles. Although there are similarities, print marketing and online marketing are different in many ways. One common mistake many people make is copy-and-paste online marketing; that is, they just copy and paste text from brochures and print advertisements, and expect it to work as well on the Web. It doesn’t.

Short and Specific

Like newspaper writing, writing for the Web requires short sentences with the key information at the top, known to journalists as the inverted-pyramid style. Page placement of a story in print and on the Web also affects readership.

People scan when they read on the Internet. Usually, they are looking for very specific information and keywords. It’s always a challenge to keep the Internet reader engaged. Online copy must be written in a “scannable” manner, which means that the key ideas of content are clear at a glance and that statements make sense when read out of context.

By optimizing your Web site copy, you can double and even triple your prospective patient leads. Once you begin implementing the basics of writing effective Web-site copy, prospective patients will be compelled to keep reading, which will increase your chances of actually landing them as patients.

Here are six copywriting secrets to attract attention on the Web and obtain more leads:

  1. Strong headlines “sell” your practice. Write engaging headlines that speak to the essential needs of your patients, such as, “You’ve worked hard. You deserve to have the body of your dreams. Get it now.” Tell patients exactly what you will give them, and why they should choose you to give it to them.
  2. Describe what sets you apart. Why should prospective patients choose you? Tell them what sets your practice apart from your competition. Whether it’s the number of procedures you offer or the level of your customer service and care, state it clearly on your Web site.
  3. Write patient-centered copy, instead of physician- or practice-centered copy. Use the words “you” and “your” frequently, instead of “I” and “we.” Prospective patients want to know how they will benefit from the services your practice offers.

    Example of physician- or practice-centered copy: “Dr Smith has been performing aesthetic surgery procedures for 20 years. He is board certified, and his philosophy is to provide our valued customers with the best possible service.”

    Example of patient-centered copy: “From relaxing wrinkles and clearing uneven skin tone to restoring your youthful glow or reducing unwanted hair, your skin will be smooth, rejuvenated, and much closer to flawless.”

  4. Write in an inverted-pyramid style. Start at the top, listing what you will provide to patients—both tangible and intangible. What problems will you solve? By seeing these first, readers will get your main points, even if they don’t read to the bottom of your page.
  5. Write in an informal or conversational style. Use simple words that anyone can understand, and use contractions where you can. Write as though you were speaking to the reader in person or on the phone.
  6. Keep sentences simple and concise, and limit paragraphs to one idea. Also, use bulleted lists wherever possible, such as why your patients love your practice and procedures. Both of these techniques permit scanning and faster reading, and they also make the reader more engaged in the copy so that they keep reading.

Make it a goal this month to review your Web-site copy to ensure that it follows the guidelines above. By creating a solid Web site with patient benefit–driven copy, you can make your site one of your strongest marketing assets.

See also “More Patients at Your Fingertips” by Glen Lubbert in the January 2007 issue of PSP.

Having started out in the newspaper business, I experienced the frustration of not being able to deliver a measurable return on investment to my newspaper advertisers. Advancements in technology brought Internet marketing, where return on investment can be accurately determined, so that my clients see and understand exactly where their investment is going. Being able to measure their success makes them happy, which in turn makes me happy.

I do all I can to make sure they succeed, and part of that is ensuring that they are satisfying prospective patients, starting with their initial contact, which is usually a Web site. And the first step is to make sure you communicate with them clearly. I’m here to help in any way I can.

Glen Lubbert is the president of Mojo Interactive Inc, an Internet marketing company that offers the patient-referral service LocateADoc.com. He can be reached at or via his Web site, www.mojointeractive.com.