Don't forget a call-to-action on your medical website

A call-to-action or CTA is a common marketing term. As a doctor, you may not have CTAs on your mind as you go about your daily routine. So let’s unpack how to use call-to-action tactics in your medical marketing.


The call-to-action – a secret marketing tool

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

November 21, 2022

The call-to-action as a guide, not a commercial tool

guiding website visitors

Guiding website visitors is not a commercial activity. It’s an act of customer service.

CTAs in aggressive marketing for consumer articles are often loud and ‘in-your-face’. That is not the call-to-action we are talking about today.

In essence, a CTA on a medical website makes suggestions for the next possible step, once a client, patient or prospective patient has landed on one of your web pages.

It could be as simple as ‘make an enquiry’ or ‘watch a video’. Oh, why don’t we try that?

If you want to hear more about how a call-to-action can help you build and grow your private practice, take a look at this video.

CTA #1: Make an enquiry

medical enquiries

I have been in different brainstorming sessions with doctors about this. Some say they need to minimise the number of consultations spent on patients that are not linked to the core activity of their private practice.

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"If you do knee replacements, you might not want everyone in town to come and see you, to discuss various levels of knee soreness after a long weekend hike. I get that. But there’s a balance to be found between availability as a consulting specialist…and spending all your time in surgery."

The balance is achieved by fine-tuning your way to handle medical enquiries or web forms. If you have a very open call-to-action that invites anyone to contact the practice if they have any questions at all, then that’s exactly what you will get.

If you make it too strict and sound as if you only want to talk to someone who is ready to come in and have their knee replaced…chances are you will miss out on building a strong reputation as an educator or a key opinion leader.

If you are going to use the ‘Make an enquiry’ call-to-action, craft the message of that section meticulously, because it can be a floodgate that is wide open…or a piece of content that works as a gatekeeper in rather aggressive ways.

CTA #2 Check if you are a candidate

marketing tools

One of the best marketing tools is the ‘Check if you are a candidate’ function. Modern medical websites have conditional logic in their web forms, and this becomes part of your triage process or your patient prequalification.

This is how it works. If a prospective patient uses the call-to-action that has this label (Check if you are a candidate), they start filling out a short interactive form. New questions appear depending on their previous answers. This conditional logic allows you to semi-automate parts of the conversation before a real conversation is started.

If a certain result is achieved as the outcome of this conditional form, your reception team gets a notification and the follow-up phone call starts at a different level.

It avoids an overload of patients that are not a good fit for the service you offer and it also allows the prospective patient to take control of this ‘check’ in their own time, using the marketing tools on your website.

CTA# 3 Start here

patient information

Patient information is often overwhelming. That’s because you – the doctor – know a lot. And your patient doesn’t when it comes to understanding medicine.

Patient information often lacks structure and a good call-to-action is like the signage in a venue. Bathrooms, exits, checkouts, whatever we need to find, we appreciate it when we are heading in the right direction, don’t you agree?

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"A ‘Start Here’ call-to-action on your website could lead to a web enquiry form, or it could invite the visitor to watch a video that you use to treat FAQs and prequalify the prospective patient."

There are sophisticated ways to turn your simple call-to-action strategy into a full-blown funnel. Funnels can have multiple branches and guide website visitors into various next steps depending on the input they provide.

As long as you have a web developer who knows what they are doing, maintaining full website security and confidentiality throughout this process, your call-to-action based on a simple ‘Start Here’ can work for you in the background, while your receptionist and practice manager are focusing on other tasks.

CTA #4 Watch this video

videos for patients

Videos for patients, referrers and the general public are an underestimated format.

We all know that video marketing is huge, and that video is the most widely used content format of all-things-internet.

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"Few doctors I know seize that opportunity to use video in a consistent way, creating videos for patients. The reason: self-consciousness and technical challenges. They can both be overcome quite easily."

Gently guiding your website visitor to the next step is a useful thing. You provide guidance based on your own experience and you are giving the prospective patient extra clarity. If the next step is to watch a video, you can add levels of personality, the human component, a reassuring energy and here’s more good news: You can use the actual video to build up towards the next call-to-action.

If you have watched the video above (and followed my own call-to-action there), you will see that an additional CTA appears towards the end of the video. Videos for patients are not just about quickly throwing together some medical images and clarifying a condition or a treatment. They are an opportunity to automate part of your consultancy work (the educational part, not the personalised work based on individual patient records and information of course).

To learn more about medical video marketing, take a look at our other Grow articles on this topic

CTA #5 Download my ebook

email marketing

Email marketing based on offering a free download such as an eBook is often brushed off as an old-school tactic.

Newer marketing techniques such as Instagram posts and TikTok videos might be more flashy when it comes to defining your medical marketing strategy but eBooks are not a thing of the past.

Your eBook doesn’t have to be a substantial 100-page document to offer value. If you manage to summarise a piece of educational content in a nice 5-pager, you can still call it an eBook. Most people will probably appreciate your effort to summarise the information in a palatable 5-pager rather than a book that takes weeks to finish.

eBook and email marketing are based on an old principle that is called reciprocity in marketing. You give me something, I feel I have to return the favour.

Let’s not be naive. It’s not because I read your eBook on IVF that I’m ready to sign up. But in subtle ways, small residues of gratitude are inserted in the marketing mix when you manage to be the doctor-educator for a while, in the mind of this prospective client or patient.

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our call-to-action

Did you see that? I used our own call-to-action. The next step is definitely recommended if you have been looking for ways to make your online presence work for you, in your private practice as a surgeon or as a practice manager in a group.
In your obligation-free 1:1 Strategy Session, we look at your current online presence and explore ways to use better CTAs.

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