How to Earn More Clicks Without Resorting to Clickbait
What actually gets patients to schedule a consultation will blow your mind! Enticing and ubiquitous, clickbait headlines are often big on emotion and meager on substance, leaving readers unsatisfied at best and furious at worst. As a result, there’s no shortage of critics of this practice, including the Internet users that can’t help clicking on those compelling links. And yet, these eye-catching titles seem to obtain millions of pageviews. So are they effective, or are clickbait articles just another black hat tactic to avoid? Click here to discover the answer…
The truth is that the answer depends on what you consider to be a successful result. Do you want the biggest audience or the perfect audience? Do you want the most pageviews or to build a positive online reputation and to foster relationships with your patients? Mining data for clues on how to attract users to your website is an essential part of an effective dental and medical marketing strategy, but it’s easy to become dazzled by the wrong numbers. Some typically undervalued metrics include engaged reading time, bounce rate, average finish, longevity, and returning readers. Optimizing for these often overlooked stats might reduce the number of total hits, but some other important figures ($$$) may increase due to your astute approach.
How Do You Attract the Right Audience to Your Website?
Quality content carries weight, builds confidence, and educates the visitor on a topic in which they’re interested. Additionally, substantive material is more likely to boost your viewership over time. Facebook, Google, and other major media brands have recently taken a stand against sites using clickbait and switch tactics, which they measure by comparing pageviews to reading time, comments, and “likes.” Having said that, an exciting, curiosity-inducing headline can still pay dividends; you just have to make sure to deliver on the promise of the article’s title.
What Makes for an Exciting, Non-Clickbait Headline?
The field of web marketing is constantly changing, but some things have proven to be relative constants: while people respond best to substantive content, there is also a lot to be said for a catchy title. After all, clickbait exists for a reason. So how can the psychology behind clickbait headlines be applied to your authoritative and educational medical and dental content?
- Be clear and concise. Content gurus have debated the “perfect” number of words to include in a headline for years, but the overall consensus seems to be that shorter is typically better. Modern consumers have a constant barrage of content vying for their attention, so keeping things concise and to-the-point can help capture (and keep!) their attention.
- Be precise but accessible. As a healthcare provider, a major part of your role is educating prospective patients. However, no one likes to feel talked down to, and sometimes you have to sacrifice the technical explanations in favor of making sure patients understand the information that is relevant to them. Similarly, readers typically won’t engage with an article that feels inaccessible or overly saturated with industry jargon. So, rather than mentioning “bruxism” or “abdominoplasty” in your headline, try including more broadly searched synonyms, such as “teeth grinding” and “tummy tuck.” You can introduce the technical terminology in the content itself.
- Do your research. What are potential patients interested in? What terms are they searching for? What questions do they have about a given procedure? There are a plethora of resources available that can help you obtain a better understanding of the kinds of content that people want to see. It can also help to keep a list of common questions that patients ask during consultations, as this can give you a good idea of how to optimize your website as a good resource.
- Build intrigue without being vague. One of the most compelling aspects of clickbait titles is that they impart a strong sense of intrigue. This is often accomplished using enticing promises of desirable knowledge (“3 Methods Guaranteed to Get Patients to Schedule a Consultation!”) or scintillating implications of scandal (“The Horrifying Effects of Smoking On Your Teeth Will Leave You Shocked!”). While it is probably best to avoid aligning your content too much with common clickbait strategies, a bit of intrigue certainly goes a long way. Your title and subheader should accurately reflect your content, but they should also invite readers to want to learn more.
- People like listicles. Consumers are often looking for content that can give them shareable or actionable knowledge—including tips, tricks, and fun facts. This is a part of why listicles (or articles formatted as numbered lists) have become such a popular trend in content marketing. They are often short, extremely accessible, and have a clear visual outline, promoting readability and engagement. They also can be an excellent tool for curating complex information into a digestible format, with plentiful opportunities for strategically placed “learn more” links.
Rosemont Media Can Help
At Rosemont Media, we understand how important it is to craft content that’s informative, engaging, and persuasive from opener to conclusion. To learn more about how we can optimize your website to enhance the patient experience and help achieve a high pagerank on leading search engines, please contact us today.
Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on May 12, 2015.