This is a guest post written by medical copywriter, Jere Paulmeno, owner of Healthcare Copy in Denver, CO. After you read his post, you’ll never wonder again what persuasive copy elements to include in your marketing brochure.
I am a medical device copywriter.
My job is to write persuasively for my clients. My writing helps clients sell to decision-makers responsible for purchasing medical devices used to treat patients in doctor’s offices, hospitals, and clinics. Decisions to purchase medical devices are always influenced, if not always driven, by an institution’s medical professionals.
There’s no grand mystery in how I try to persuade medical professionals, such as a physician, nurse, or pharmacist. As would any B-to-B copywriter, I succeed when I build my story upon a good understanding of the market, the product, and the customer.
What Makes Medical Copywriting Different?
Still, it’s a different beast, the medical device market.
For one, those I would persuade belong to a unique work culture. They are highly-educated, technically, while also dedicated to a simple human ideal—a mission of caring where the stakes can be life itself. Medicine is compassionate, but also science-based, with a focus on objective results. It is a business, too, at the core of an astonishingly-complex bureaucratic system.
Also unique in this market is that product marketing is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It makes my job easier when I learn upfront what I can and cannot write in promoting a specific product. Otherwise, I may face an epic rewrite after weeks of work due to the red marks of an attorney.
Basic Principles Still Apply
Once armed with knowledge of the market, product, and customer, I then focus on applying the fundamentals of persuasion, as Rita Braun has presented so well in this blog post. These fundamentals apply as well to my writing, or to any other copywriting, because they arise from knowledge of human nature. No matter our station in life, each of us responds pretty much alike to arguments aimed at convincing our heart and mind of a product or cause or idea.
Guided Tour of a Medical Device Brochure
Here is an example of a brochure I wrote to help promote the NeoFeed® drug infusion pump that delivers nutritional solutions into patients unable to be fed any other way. It is used to treat ill or extremely premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) of hospitals. The pump’s use is prescribed by a physician, but it is typically operated by the NICU nursing staff.
The NICU nursing supervisor or NICU nurse responsible for specifying infusion pumps and participating in the institution’s purchase decision. (Once the physician has embraced the generic technology, the nurse generally leads in specifying the actual pump models or brands to purchase.)
To inform and motivate the nurse to contact a sales representative to learn more about the pump. Decision-making often involves additional learning about the product and may include an equipment trial.
A standard four-page design in which:
- the Front Page serves as a product message platform to gain reader attention;
- the two Inside Pages develop the message into a product story, through a narrative and listing of key features; and
- the Back Page summarizing product specifications, and identifying the product manufacturer and how to contact it.
Persuasive Copy Elements
Note: If you haven’t done so alreay, download the NeoFeed® brochure, then open and view or print it. Each highlighted letter below corresponds to a persuasive copy element listed on the brochure.
Front Page (page 1)
A: Most prominently visible at upper left is the product brand and generic name. If nothing else, you want the reader to remember this.
B: What does not appear up here, but I always try to include it near the product name, is the word “New.” It is a proven attention-getter! But in this case, the client chose not to use it because the pump was not “new” in the sense of being “just introduced”; they had just not promoted it much before.
C: This headline is written to signal the clinical problem (tubing misconnects) and the solution (connect to the pump instead). The problem is addressed in direct speech as an imperative to “Avoid IV Misconnections.”
D: Also important, but less so than the other important things on the front page, and placed at lower right, is the manufacturer’s name. (If the company were large with an instantly-recognizable name, it could be a reasonable strategy to place it on top above the product name.)
Inside Pages (page 2)
E: The product name continues to display prominently to build brand awareness.
F: The inside headline reverses the front page message and in parallel structure urges in an imperative phrase to “Connect to the NeoFeed Pump.” This is the lead-in to the product story.
G: The product story first relates the existing method of nutritional infusion, and then identifies the safety problem posed by this practice. The language used acknowledges that readers are aware of existing feeding practices, equipment and issues, but points out, and then emphasizes, the risk caused by existing practice.
Note that the language also assumes the vocabulary and jargon in common usage among the brochure’s readers. My aim is always to speak directly and clearly, while using the appropriate language and respecting the readers’ knowledge of the subject. The challenge is to infuse drive and urgency into an argument while maintaining an authentic professional voice that mirrors the reader.
H: The problem statement is capped by reference to a hospital regulatory authority’s report that is given in actual quotations. This provides:
a. credible supporting evidence of the problem, and
b. a technical recommendation for avoiding the problem that justifies the design
of the NeoFeed pump.
I: Sub-headers are used to:
a. spotlight the brochure’s story through a series of messages that highlight it, and
b. help the reader navigate the information structure of the brochure.
J: The second sub-header signals the part of the story that introduces the solution to the problem summarized in G above. Here, the pump is described and it’s most important features and benefits are previewed.
K: The reference to the professional report quoted in H above is given here to demonstrate its credibility in the argument.
Inside Pages (page 3)
L: Moving on to the inside second page, here is where all of the pump’s noteworthy safety, simplicity, and convenience features are detailed. The section header expresses that the story has now expanded to show all of how the pump is specially designed for the NICU. The list of short bolded phrases makes it easy to scan pump features and their resulting benefits.
M: This sub-header recalls the headline in order to wrap up the argument for the pump. The brief paragraph consists of a summation statement of benefit and a call to action.
N: This list of product specifications gives the reader the chance to scan a technical profile of the pump, in terms of common categories of data that can be compared to those of other pumps with which they are familiar.
O: Ordering and corporate information, with corporate ID element repeated, round out the brochure’s presentation.
I hope these suggestions kick-start or help you improve your marketing brochure project.
If you would like to discuss your project, review my work samples and references, or receive a project cost estimate, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.452.7732.
Rita Braun writes and edits B2B publications for people who research, teach, market, and sell. Take a look at her work samples here, and contact her here.