10 Copywriting Tips for Healthcare Advertising

10 Copywriting Tips for Healthcare Advertising

Copy is important. It’s the fundamental building block of all marketing. SEO, Content Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, Email, Brochures, Magazine Ads – you name it. If copy isn’t effective, advertisements do not reach their potential and healthcare advertising is no different.

Confessions of an Advertising Man was written by David Ogilvy in 1963. His research for this book was conducted long before the internet changed advertising, yet the principles and tips he outlines are still relevant and, more importantly, effective in today’s world.

Below you’ll find 10 tips for writing headlines based on David Ogilvy’s guides. Given that our clients do not advertise Rolls-Royces or dress shirts (as David Ogilvy was famous for), we’ve tailored these tips for modern medical and surgical practices.


Tip 1: Use your headline to flag down prospective patients.

Be very direct with keywords in your headline. If you’re targeting women, display women in the headline. If you’re promoting your spider vein treatments, include spider veins in the headline.

Conversely, avoid using keywords in your headline that would exclude prospective patients. If your treatment can help both men and women equally, don’t slant your headline to one gender alone.


Tip 2: Headlines should appeal to the target reader’s self-interest.

Promise your audience a benefit. If your procedure is safe and leaves no scars, draw attention to that benefit like this sample Adwords headline: Spider Vein Treatment: Safe & No Scarring!

Tip 3: Always try to inject news into your headlines

News is powerful in headlines. Whenever possible, include keywords that promote something new or make an announcement to the world. More examples in Tip 4, below.

Tip 4: Use David Ogilvy’s “words and phrases which work wonders” to improve headlines

Words and Phrases which Work Wonders: How To, Suddenly, Now, Announcing, Introducing, It’s Here, Just Arrived, Important Development, Improvement, Amazing, Sensational, Remarkable, Revolutionary, Startling, Offer, Quick, Easy, Wanted, Challenge, Advice To, The Truth About, Compare, Hurry,  Last Chance

Tip 5: Include your practice’s name in headlines

Five times as many people read headlines as read body copy. If you want glancing patients to know who you are, include your practice’s name in your headlines.

Tip 6: Include your promise in the headline

Don’t be afraid to write longer headlines if it means you’ll get to include your promise. Longer headlines can capture a patient’s attention and deliver more value than shorter headlines, if done right.

Tip 7: Use the headline as a hook

Good headlines arouse curiosity. End your headline with a hook that will compel the reader to continue reading, download your asset, call or click through to your website.

Tip 8: Don’t get too cute.

Headlines with puns, literary allusions and jokes are tricky to pull off. Stick to information, promises and compelling language.

Tip 9: Avoid negative headlines

Similar to the findings of Buyology decades later, Ogilvy’s research showed that many times people come away from a negative advertisement with the opposite effect of what was intended. For example, studies have shown that anti-smoking ads do not deter smokers from smoking – it makes them crave a cigarette.

Tip 10: Avoid writing blind headlines

A blind headline includes copy that means nothing to the reader if they do not go on to ready body copy, or click through to your website. Ogilvy contends that this type of writing is ineffective.

Final Thoughts

As a medical professional, advertising may not come first nature but it’s essential that you grasp these principles.

If you believe in your abilities, and still have the competitive edge that guided you through the grueling process of becoming a doctor then opening your own practice, you should be doing everything in your power to see as many patients as you possibly can. If you believe no other practitioner can deliver positive outcomes like you can, advertising will enable you to connect with and help the largest number of people.

Use these copywriting tips to make advertisements that will enable you to attract more patients and grow your practice.

Interested In Learning More about Marketing Your Practice?

Contact Kospath Digital today at 877.846.5768, or fill out our contact form.

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