Aesthetics sits down with clinic owners and marketing professionals to find out how to create and promote the most relevant online content to attract patients.
Right now, ‘content marketing’ seems to be the frequently used buzzword when it comes to growing your brand online. The Content Marketing Institute, a resource for information on content marketing, defines it as a ‘strategic marketing approach’ concentrated on generating ‘valuable content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience’.1 The premise of content marketing is not to directly advertise your services; instead its aim is to offer patients useful content that answers their questions and shares your expertise to encourage ‘profitable consumer action’.1 However, why should you choose this approach over traditional digital advertising? This article will look at why blogs and video content are two of the most valuable forms of online content marketing to your existing and potential aesthetic patients and how you can get this material across in the most successful way.
An online content strategy is defined as the piece of a marketing plan that details how a brand will develop and manage both written and visual media forms.2 In his blog post entitled ‘How to Develop a Content Strategy’, founder of business lead generation platform, Justin McGill, recommends considering the following for developing a successful content marketing strategy:2
Senior digital marketing consultant, Gina Hutchings, believes that what digitally active users want is useful information that applies to them. She states, “The best content comes in the form of trustworthy and authoritative pieces that are relatable to your audience; things like case studies and solutions to issues.” Hutchings adds, “Practitioners should be prepared to offer their audience something for free before they invest in your services.”
Consultant plastic surgeon and clinic owner Mr Taimur Shoaib believes aesthetic businesses will benefit from creating an online content strategy that is patient centred. The professionals interviewed note that at the heart of an online content strategy should be the aim of answering questions that patients may have; for example, queries on the recovery time or potential risks associated with specific treatments.
It is also beneficial for both your business and patients that this is done in a unique and shareable way. Mr Shoaib explains, “The patients that we’re trying to engage with in aesthetics generally want to know about themselves; for example, why would you do this treatment for me and why am I turning to this page for information? If patients are interested then they’ll click to find more information on how you can help.”
Interviewees all note that producing content that is appropriate for your target audience is vital for driving your business’s growth. However, getting to know what specific material your potential patients are looking for can seem like a daunting task.
Hutchings suggests that deciphering what form of content and subject matter is of most interest to your audience can start with a simple poll or survey that can be shared online and in clinic; for example, asking what types of treatment they’re interested in learning more about. Additionally, she notes that, at times, interactions such as focus groups can lead to the most fruitful results. Hutchings advises, “Choose a cross-section of people you think would make your desired clientele. For example, you may want to expand your male market, so invite 10 men who could be potential patients to attend a focus group. You can then ask them about what online content they would find interesting and why they would click and follow your clinic.”
Similarly, aesthetic practitioner and clinic owner Dr Qian Xu believes that connecting with your target audience in person can be extremely beneficial when gauging audience requirements. She states, “I’m targeting professional women. By going to business networking events to meet potential patients in person, I can find out what their concerns are and they will tell me what advice they look for, which will identify what content I should be posting.”
Hutchings also advises that linking current events that are relatable to patients into your blog posts can improve their shareability. She states, “You should showcase procedures and results, describing how they’ve been achieved and offer treatment information in the form of downloads to develop your brand’s authority and add value for your patients. Always include useful content to your readers; a blog should be seen as a source of information. In the same sense that people use Google or look on news apps, your blog can be utilised as a voice of authority in the sector by readers.”
It is useful to consider the subjects your blog will cover and how best they can be conveyed. The professionals advise using blog posts and video hosted on your website as the main format for your online content, which can then be distributed and shared through your social media and email channels. They recommend breaking down your longer posts into more digestible chunks that can be read quickly and easily, or sharing short video snippets, with hyperlinks to your website to read or view the content in full. The aim of this is to generate more visits to your website and entice potential patients to visit other pages, building trust in your levels of professionalism through your content and brand, before eventually converting to paying patients.
Professionals interviewed for this article recommend techniques such as:
Written blogs can be utilised in a variety of ways and may prove to be better suited to your aesthetic business compared to video. For example, communicating complex or longer-form descriptions, examples of case studies, explanations of the latest
press or your analysis of a new beauty trend may be more useful to your audience in a well-written format with relevant headings as opposed to in a video.3 Hutchings notes that a blog can be used as a great platform for encouraging interaction with readers.
Content marketing agency, CopyPress describes blogs as advantageous for providing detailed and accurate information as references can be easily listed in written form. This means that material for further reading is readily available to your audience if they require it and hyperlinks to other content on your blog or website can be embedded.3
When looking to upload educational material that is specific to a certain specialty within aesthetics, director of EBWPR, Emma Bracey-Wright believes utilising the professionals working in your clinic is key. She notes, “Have the right specialists supporting your online editorial so that it’s legitimate. For example, if you’re writing content on your website about suncare, if you have a dermatologist in your clinic then have them write it or include quotes from them. Also make sure everything is well researched and backed up with studies to reference.” This approach could also apply to creating relevant and credible video content.
In addition to using a blog as an extension of your business’s website, content strategy consultant, Jodi Harris states that, “Videos are among the most versatile of tactics content marketers can leverage.” She recommends considering the following in order to create successful online video content:4
Bracey-Wright explains that video content can prove useful when creating online content to market your treatments and services. She notes that people are naturally curious and potential patients enjoy looking at what’s happening in clinic. “To give people information on what to expect in a treatment, I think an in-depth video that shows the treatment process is the best thing to do. Obviously, if you are filming a particular treatment that is not going to be the nicest to look at, then I suggest editing the footage in a certain way to make sure that it wouldn’t put people off, but at the same time, you must make the portrayal genuine," Bracey-Wright states.
Many companies, practitioners and clinics also utilise features such as Instagram stories to provide a ‘behind the scenes’ insight of treatment overviews and day-to-day practises. “There’s nothing wrong with creating social media stories on your phone because that feels very genuine and as if you’re catching the moment,” says Bracey-Wright. However, she notes that, “If you’re putting a video on your website or embedding it into your newsletter then it has to be produced and edited properly.”
Consistently uploading content online is advantageous for remaining relevant, however quality over quantity is key for producing the best online content for an aesthetic business, according to interviewees. Considering the needs of your target audience is crucial to remain relevant, as is ensuring that potential patients leave your online platform with their questions answered. Addressing why your services can help patients in a unique way should remain at the forefront of your content marketing strategy. Dr Xu finalises her thoughts on producing successful online content by stating, “I see content marketing as the exterior packaging. What you have in terms of how good you are at your job is the product inside the packaging that patients want. You need to have a good level of quality content as a starting point, following that, providing excellent service will speak louder than words."