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Tackling the Goldfish Conundrum

Published on
August 22, 2022
Last Updated
minute read
Christian Shepherd
Christian Shepherd
Content Strategist
/ Founder

Humans are the new goldfish. No, it has nothing to do with how easily goldfish will eat themselves to death. (But if the shoe fits…) It has more to do with memory. This aquatic household pet, once the subject of countless memory jokes, was notorious for its alleged short attention span of nine seconds. But humans, ever the overachievers, took that title for themselves with a whopping short eight-second capacity. Not great news if you are in the business of earning attention. That is, unless you understand how to make the most of those 8 seconds. Don’t worry, we’ll teach you how.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Optimizing Your Website
Step 2: Optimizing Your Content
Step 3: Optimizing Your Social Media
Step 4: Optimizing for Search Engines
Step 5: Optimizing Your Email Marketing
Step 6: Optimizing Your Digital Ads

According to a report from Microsoft, the average human attention span dropped from 12 to 8 seconds in recent years. You know who else is known for their notoriously short attention span? Goldfish.

Look, we aren’t calling you specifically a goldfish. We are calling all of humanity a goldfish, especially those potential patients who are interested in your aesthetic treatments. Because, while you don’t have to fight for your own attention or the attention of everyone else on the planet, you do have to fight for theirs.

You must know how to tackle this Goldfish Conundrum head-on in every aspect of your digital marketing to grab your potential patient’s attention right away and maximize conversions.

Step 1: Optimizing Your Website

Your website is the central hub for all of your digital marketing. Like all roads lead to Rome, all of your other platforms should lead back to your site. When we talk about optimizing your website, there are a couple of different things we mean. The first is having a few fundamental and mission-critical components in your website design, and the second is making sure you can service the different schools of fish who will visit.

4 Must-Have Optimizations

When we design a website for one of our clients, we make sure that these four points are prioritized because of the impact they have on your practice’s success:

1. Your site needs to load fast. According to Kissmetrics, almost 40% of people would abandon a page if it did not load within 10 seconds. The same report shows that nearly 20% of visitors would leave if your page did not load within five seconds. 3% would leave if your site took more than a single second. Unless your last name is Rockefeller, you probably don’t want to give up any of these percentages.

2. You need to integrate social media. In a world where attention spans are shrinking, social media has developed a formula for keeping people active on their platforms. Tapping into that opportunity keeps people interested in your brand in more than one ecosystem. The only way to guarantee that is to make sure you have the icons front-and-center in your design, and yes, you have to actually post.

3. Be visually appealing. We have all seen or interacted with ugly websites, but aesthetics are the name of the game in your biz and in ours. Carefully selected imagery, elegant animations and even compelling videos are great ways to make sure your site is a place people want to spend time. If you are wondering why so many people are willing to go to that hipster coffee shop and spend $7 on a latte instead of making coffee at home, it’s for the atmosphere. This is no different for websites.

Be the hipster coffee shop, not the coffee at home. Especially if they are willing to pay $7 for a latte. Shoutout to Dr. Kaplan for giving Incredible the best $7 latte recommendation in San Francisco a few months ago. Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters hit harder than Miley Cyrus’ music video. It was a great place to sit around and talk about all things digital.

4. Stay “Above the Fold.” This is an old newspaper adage. You want the most important, attention grabbing information to be the first thing people see when they enter your site so they decide to stay, just like a news outlet puts its masthead and most important story above the halfway point where the newspaper would be folded to get readers to pick the paper up. It’s an old technique, but it still checks out.  

6 Prospective Patient Archetypes

Goldfish aren’t exactly the sexiest fish out there. So using them or other tank fish for archetypes doesn’t make for the most memorable comparison. And it is essential that these archetypes are memorable because they illustrate one of the most important parts of your digital marketing strategy: the marketing funnel.

Definition: Marketing Funnel — A sequence of steps that a potential patient will undergo that will lead them from initial exposure to your practice all the way to purchasing your services.

The Piranha.

A patient at this stage in the journey is ready to jump at an opportunity at a moment’s notice. To catch a piranha, you have to make sure your website is providing all the pivotal contact information and calls to action “above the fold;” that is, on the first screen the patient will see. Any obstacles they have to making a purchase decrease the likelihood of them converting. Spoon feed these patients at all costs!

The Dolphin.

Dolphins are notoriously smart animals. (And if you are on TikTok, you might’ve seen videos about how they are notoriously evil, unlike your patients, who are generally pretty chill. But we digress.) A dolphin is seeking out information more than anything else. They want to know more about procedures and treatments, and to reel them into your practice, you have to give them the information they seek via well-developed procedure pages on a quick and easily navigable website.

The Shrimp.

There will be a point in a patient’s journey where they will have decided they want a treatment performed but also want to make sure they pick a reputable medical professional. They might be a little scared to pull the trigger without knowing more about you. Make sure your “About Me” or “About Our Practice” pages include all the relevant information — and don’t be afraid to gloat a bit about your successes. Degrees, accolades, media features, and success stories are all great trust builders for those shrimp out there.

The Clam.

Some people don’t want procedures, they want products. Particularly in the nonsurgical and anti-aging space, you want to make sure you have an online store and navigation that is optimized for patients who are looking for these products. They just need to find the perfect pearl before pulling the trigger.

The Shark.

This potential patient is ready to purchase. They have all the information they need about your product or service and, like a shark in the water, they are just sniffing around for the perfect prey deal to strike. If you can keep specials advertised that one of these patients can feel good about finding, then you can reel them in without breaking a sweat.

The Blobfish.

We call them blobfishes because, well, they aren’t really here for anything in particular, they are just kind of… there, perusing casually and checking out the space. It’s difficult to optimize for these types of patients since they have no clear, unified goal, but it can be done. Educational content that is also entertaining (patient journeys, videos, fun blogs, etc.) are great ways to bait a casual browser into becoming a more serious prospect. Just make sure you provide them with plenty of calls to action along the way to help move them down the funnel.

Step 2: Optimizing Your Content

Content is king, but not all monarchs are created equal. And not every content format requires the same approach. It’s important to understand how to optimize all of your collateral for attention grabbing and holding.

Here are some quick and dirty tips to see it done:

Writing. Written content is tricky. It is simultaneously one of the most important foundational pieces of a strong web presence but is also the easiest medium to cause your potential patients to get bored and click away from your site.

To combat this, you have to:

  • Be smart about how you structure your content
  • Drop the jargon and keep the reading level easy to understand
  • Use headings early and often
  • Keep your paragraphs and sentences short
  • Don’t be afraid to add some personality

(Maybe skip the dad jokes, though, if you are a dad joke kind of person. Or not, you do you, boo.)

These tricks will help improve the amount of time someone interacts with your website or other platforms.

Photo. There are a couple of constants that you can always rely on in the aesthetic industry. One of those is the B&A Constant; that is, if a procedure exists, one of the most widely searched phrases for that treatment will be its name coupled with “before and after.”

(E.g., facelift before and after, breast augmentation before and after, kybella before and after, etc.)

With that kind of search volume, you really can’t afford to not have fully developed before and after photos on your site. You can do other things too, but we can help you figure those out later.

An example of a well-utilized before and after photo from Dermacare Laser and Skin Care Clinics.

Audio. Podcasts are obvious, and if you think you could sustain an entertaining and informative podcast, you should do it. Even if it is a one-off idea, having multimedia content for your different marketing channels is valuable — if nothing more than further cementing you as an authority in your field.

Just make sure when you produce a podcast, you use all the tools at your disposal to keep people there.

Here are some examples:

  • Audio effects
  • Engaging storytelling
  • Compelling guest speakers
  • Logical story progression
  • Interesting opening hooks
  • Unique opening numbers or music

Oh, and the production value is more important than you probably realize.

Video. There are a ton of different ways to incorporate video into your content in the hopes of combating your visitors’ short attention span. Working short snippets of video content into a page is one approach that has been proven to increase metrics like Time on Page, but you can also spend a little more effort and time producing long-form video content as well.

Documentary-style patient journeys or interviews, coupled with some b-roll of the office, you and your staff, can work wonders for not only holding attention but developing a personality that someone wants to spend more time with.

Imagery. Imagery such as infographics and graphs can do a lot of good when retaining someone’s attention. They are easily absorbed; visuals are actually processed 60,000 times faster than text.

According to Forbes, content with visuals gets 94 percent more views. An entire “Cone of Learning” has been developed and taught for decades to illustrate the power of imagery.

It estimates that you retain:

  • 10% of what you read
  • 20% of what you hear
  • 30% of what you see

It’s hard to go wrong with imagery, but you want to ensure that the graphics you include on your website are easy to digest.

Step 3: Optimizing Your Social Media

Make sure your social media is interesting. That’s as simple as it is. Your content shouldn’t be cookie-cutter, and if you are bored making the post, your users are going to be bored looking at it.

Alright, we kind of lied. There’s obviously a lot more to it than that. But really one of the biggest things you can do right now to give yourself an edge on the market is to adopt new trends like stories, reels or even get involved on the TikTok platform. While these areas are relatively new, you’d be surprised how much marketing power is behind them.

Here’s what our own Incredible Max has to say about the TikTok Revolution:

“TikTok might as well be Usain Bolt because they’re so far ahead of the competition they’re smiling across the finish line. To give you an idea of just how much more advanced TikTok’s algorithms are, they could give every other app an 8-hour handicap to users’ monthly screentime and second place (Facebook) would still be over an hour behind them.”

Step 4: Utilizing Search Engine Optimization

There are a couple of SEO tricks that you can use to pull attention over to your practice: featured snippets and voice search.

Featured Snippets. In total, there are four different kinds of featured snippets on Google. By tailoring content to win these snippets, you can effectively take over “position zero” on a search engine results page, beating out even the highest-ranking websites. This means even the most aloof goldfish would still set eyes on your website, even if you aren’t on the first page.

Here are the types of snippets and how to win them:

Snippet TypeFunctionHow to Win

ParagraphProvide long-form answers to queries.Answer high-volume questions in a natural but informative voice.TableProvide easily digestible data and info.Format tables into your content whenever possible. (Like the one you are reading now!)ListsProvide ranking or list on a particular subject.Find ways to break down content into easily referenced lists. Use headers to rank items.StepsProvide brief directions for a task.Structure your content to allow for a step list using headers or other formatting. Include phrases like “steps to take before surgery” or “things to do after your Botox.”

Voice Search. 58% of American adults use voice search on a daily basis. 20% of all online searches are voice. 31% of smartphone users throughout the world use voice technology at least once weekly. This year, 55% of households are expected to own some kind of smart speaker. Sorry for that stat dump, but those are some wild numbers.

How to Optimize: Start writing content with natural language patterns. In other words, write the way people speak. Don’t just focus on “breast augmentation recovery,” divert your energy to answering “what is breast augmentation recovery like during the first week.” Long-tail keywords (phrases that are between six and eight words long) are your friend. Study them, use them. For a more thorough guide, check out this article titled “Hey Alexa, how do I optimize my medical website for voice search?”

Step 5: Optimizing Your Email Marketing

If your average person has an attention span of about eight seconds but is being bombarded by a barrage of business emails, then it is safe to assume that you probably have even less than those precious seconds to grab the attention of those on your email list.

Don’t worry though, soldier. Here are three ways email marketing can help combat the Goldfish Conundrum right off the jump:

  1. A/B Testing — There is almost no other method besides email marketing to figure out what voice, strategies or approaches work best for your practice. You can offer two different groups two different specials and figure out which one performed better. You can try out a couple of different tones or personalities in your wheelhouse and see what lands better. Do this over the course of a few months or a year and you’ll know exactly what your larger audience cares about and how you should focus your content.
  2. Relationship Building — Email marketing can be fun when done right. If you use it as a way to demonstrate your personality and the volksgeist of your practice, then the people you reach are more likely to develop a bond with your practice and pay more attention to it. You should always think of email marketing as a two-way conversation;  with that mindset you’ll be able to create emails that are centered around relationships rather than sales.
  3. Staying Top of Mind — It’s hard to pump out enough content to be on everyone’s radar all the time. But email is a nonintrusive way to send regular reminders to a core group of patients that you still exist and are worth spending a little time on. People who sign up for your list do it willingly, so you shouldn’t be shy about leveraging that line of communication. Just make sure you’re not overloading your patients with too many emails that don’t bring value or they’ll click the not-so-proverbial unsubscribe button.

To make your email content compelling, try the following strategies:

  • Specials — Everyone loves a good deal, give them something to brag about to their friends once in a while.
  • Events — No better way to develop community than to host an event. Botox parties or injectable socials are all the rage and are constantly being sought out by potential patients.
  • New Treatments — Everyone loves new products — just look at the millions of haul videos available on YouTube and social media. If you have something new to offer your patients, let them know about it.
  • Accolades — You have to be careful about this one, but managing to tactfully highlight a recent achievement or feature is a great way to let your patients know you are the best person to invest their attention into. A great way to share an accolade, while also providing value to your audience is by sharing any media features that you or your practice has been featured in. Informational, trust building, and interactive.
  • Education — Again, this one is done poorly pretty easily. Remember that they aren’t making a Google search when they open your email, so they shouldn’t be hit with a wall of information text. Find a way to make it interesting and unique before smashing that send button.

Step 6: Optimizing Your Digital Ads

Advertising in Social Media

Quick and dirty tips to combat goldfish brain in your social ads:

  • Clearly defined demographic. Before you ever sit down to create content for an advertisement, you need to decide what portion of your audience you are trying to reach. Narrowing down your scope will help you write an ad that is engaging to that population of patients.
  • Clearly defined goals. What is it you want to achieve? More reach? Conversions? Website traffic? Promote a sale? An ad without a goal isn’t likely to be compelling enough to hold the attention of the eyes you pay for.
  • Clearly defined advertisement. Don’t waste the patient’s time. Grab their attention with an exciting approach. What are you offering? A luxurious experience? A 20% off Botox weekend? One free filler regimen to a lucky follower? Don’t make the reader work to understand what it is you are pushing. Everyone works enough already.
  • Clearly defined call to action. How do they enter the giveaway? Is there an immediate avenue for participation in your ad? Do you have the right plugins to allow for instant action? They should be able to follow the path your advertisement leads them down as soon as they decide they are interested, and they should be able to do it without ever leaving your website, or even the webpage.
  • Clearly defined… video? If the rise of TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts has taught us anything, it’s that people really like short-form video content. Luckily, most advertising platforms allow video content on their ads. Snagging some top-quality video content to use in your marketing could improve your ROIs significantly. Who would have thought?

Google Pay Per Click Campaigns

When it comes to grabbing attention on a search engine page, you just generally have to adhere to some of the best practices. Here is a couple to get you started:

  • Narrow your keywords. Remember what we said about not going after the attention of the entire world? It was a couple of thousand words ago, but it’s right up there in the intro. Getting the attention of everyone is tough. So, as they say, order a hamburger, not the entire cow. This will help you with the critical next step.
  • Develop a landing page. A landing page is the best way to make sure the person who clicked your ad will remain interested in your content. A compelling landing page will soar conversation rates and the average Time on Page. It creates a tailored journey for the patients you are focusing on. Looking to drive more rhinoplasty sales? Your landing page can be tailored for rhinoplasty prospects between the ages of 21 and 30 who live within a five-mile radius from the office and specifically want to address nasal humps.

Think Like a Goldfish… Get More Attention

There is always a new patient you can find who might be interested in your practice. Maybe a whole school of goldfish just waiting for you to figure out how to demand their attention.

I swear there is a saying for this.

Something, something fish in the sea, something, something?

But when it comes to growing your patient load, the “plenty of fish in the sea” idiom is more of a directive than a figure of speech. You need to optimize your digital marketing to be the most interesting… well, thing, in their line of sight.

Otherwise, as you face down your next growth outlook report, your line might be coming up empty.

You’re welcome for keeping this one brief. If you feel like you need more information or want to learn more about how to tackle getting more patients in a world where attention is so elusive, our educators are here to answer any questions you have, anytime, for free. Give us a call at (800) 949-0133 or schedule a one-on-one.