When marketing your spine surgery practice, there are a number of factors you have to contend with.
Not only do you have to market yourself online to compete with other spine surgery practices, but you are also up against other providers who treat symptoms like “back pain,” including chiropractors, massage therapists, and acupuncturists. So, you have to both differentiate yourself from your spine surgery competition, and inform patients when they should see you vs. other types of providers.
The right content marketing strategy can help spine surgeons differentiate themselves from both the competition and other types of providers. When writing your content, we suggest keeping the following tips in mind.
Simplify concepts as much as possible.
With spine surgery, a lot of procedures and conditions have somewhat complex names. The names of more common spine conditions and procedures, like herniated discs and spinal fusion, may be well-known by patients and simple enough to remember. However, conditions and procedures like spondylolisthesis, cervical stenosis, and lumbar interbody fusion, for example, may be too complex for patients to remember.
Remember, in the majority of cases, patients just know that they have back pain, and they want someone to help. Often, they don’t have a specific diagnosis and most likely aren’t searching for specific conditions or procedures as they seek out providers.
So, when you are writing content, you need to make sure that you are writing for the patient’s level of understanding. If you must include medical jargon, make sure you are taking the time to clearly explain those concepts. Why might a patient seek out a particular treatment? When is the best time to seek out a spine surgeon for treatment? By clearly explaining more complicated concepts, you can help patients determine whether or not you are the right fit for their needs.
Clearly explain potential symptoms and indications for treatment.
When a patient is trying to figure out which type of provider to see, it helps to provide guidance on what might just be a minor issue that could be treated by a chiropractor or other types of providers, and what might indicate the need for spine surgery. While many conditions that cause back pain have similar symptoms, clarifying things like the duration of symptoms, timing of symptoms, or presence of more worrisome symptoms like numbness or tingling can help patients decide which type of provider they should see.
Of course, if a patient came to your office with a more minor issue–like a strained back after working in the garden, or nagging shoulder tension due to poor posture at work–you’d help them get the treatment they need. However, these patients likely won’t need surgery and aren’t best-suited to your specialties. If a provider like a chiropractor or a massage therapist can help those patients, it’s better to point them to those providers and focus your efforts on the patients that really need your expertise in spine surgery. That’s ultimately a win for everyone, because the patients get the provider best suited to their needs, and the providers get the patients best suited to their specialties.
Demonstrate Your Expertise and Training
The other critical part of content marketing for a spine surgeon is making sure you differentiate yourself well enough from the other spine surgeons in the area. Unless you are practicing in a very small town, you likely won’t be the only spine surgeon that patients can see locally.
To differentiate yourself, make sure that when you talk about specific conditions and procedures in your content, you talk about your training in those areas and your specific approaches to treatment. This gives patients an idea of what to expect, and reassures them that you are an expert at what you do. Surgery of any kind can be very scary for a patient, and even more so when we’re talking about surgery on a more delicate area of the body like the spine. By demonstrating your expertise and taking the time to clearly explain the process, you can help to alleviate some of those fears. This may be the deciding factor between you and the other options available.
The key thing to remember as you develop your content marketing strategy is that these are patients who are in pain, and they just want someone to help. They may not know what’s causing their back pain, or who they should see. By creating the right content, you can help guide patients in that decision-making process.
You’ll get the patients that are best-suited to your specialties, and most importantly, patients will get the help they need.