It’s no secret that marketing is essential for any business – but this is especially true for doctors. In a highly competitive industry, patients have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing a healthcare provider. That’s why it’s so important for doctors to make sure they’re doing everything they can to market themselves effectively.
But what exactly does effective marketing for doctors look like?
In this post, we’d like to help shape your marketing efforts by sharing a few dos and don’ts for marketing your medical practice in this technological age.
Table of Contents
1. Have a vision and strategy
While it sounds obvious, most practices fail for lack of a vision and strategy. Start by defining what type of patients your practice serves. A clear vision and strategy ensure your target audience in a more personalized and authentic manner. The four main ways to define your target audience are behavior, demographics, geography, and psychographics. The more specific your target audience is, the better you can tailor your marketing campaigns to provoke a positive response.
Next, answer a few introspective questions such as:
· Where do you envision your practice in five years?
· What form of marketing will get you there?
· Who will be on the marketing team? What will their roles be?
A good strategic medical marketing strategy will help you evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, prospects, and risks. It should not only focus on implementing laid-out plans but also track results.
2. Have a budget
Now that you’ve established who your audience is and what strategy will reach them, you’ll need to set a realistic budget.
Your budget will depend on the size of your practice and whether you have in-house or outsourced marketers. You can use the widespread rule of thumb for medical facilities and allocate between 2-5% of your gross revenues for marketing.
Alternatively, you can wing it and use your gut to set the budget. If you are starting from scratch, a good way to nail down a budget is to consider how much your competition is spending and match or exceed their marketing efforts.
3. Make use of digital marketing materials
The fast-paced technological landscape can make implementing an effective marketing strategy feel like shooting at a moving target. That’s why doctors tend to favor traditional marketing tactics like word-of-mouth, but there’s a huge opportunity with digital marketing that’s the now and future of healthcare marketing. Some of the most effective marketing materials include:
· Having a website – About 85% of the households in the U.S. having a broadband internet subscription, it’s easy to see why you need a digital space. Having a professional, engaging, and intuitive website legitimizes your business and adds to your credibility. Byhaving a website, you have control over your brand’s perception as you can tell your own story. A good website should have details, such as your contact details, employees’ details and their qualifications, patient forms such as appointment schedules, and a chat plugin. Also, don’t neglect your website design – it should be responsive, clean, and user-friendly.
· Social media marketing – Social media platforms provide you with an opportunity to interact with patients or your target audience in a fun and engaging manner. They also enable you to increase your brand awareness. Use quality images whenever possible and link the social media content back to your website. Always respond professionally and ask those with medical issues to either contact you privately or schedule an appointment.
· Content marketing – Creating rich and patient-driven content is key to promoting your medical practice and building an online presence. Include published well-researched and referenced content on your blog, medical journal, or newsletter. The content should also be created with SEO (search engine optimization) in mind to garner organic search traffic. This means that the content should be skimmable, adequately organized with clear and descriptive headings, and contain keywords that are relevant to your target audience. Doing so will boost your practice’s search engine rankings, which can help to funnel more prospective patients to your practice website.
· Video Marketing – You could also add a human touch to your content by creating short video content for common queries. These don’t have to be too “sales-ey” but could simply help to educate patients on conditions, treatments, or even how to make an appointment with your office.
· Print media – For your online marketing campaign to be effective, you need to complement it with print media such as brochures and postcards. Traditional marketing tactics are not dead, and they can be quite effective when used correctly.
· Email marketing – Although this form of marketing is not as personal as some of the others, it can be highly effective, especially if you have a large mailing list. You can use email marketing to send appointment reminders, special offers, or educational content. This marketing form is best suited to reenergize inactive patients and get them back in your office.
· Google Business (Formerly known as Google My Business) – Google Business is a free business listing service provided by Google. Getting your business listed on Google Business can increase your visibility on Maps and Search, which can help you attract potential patients. Google auto-generates business listings based on information from your website and other online sources. So, your practice may already have a Google Business. If you do, claim the listing and update the information to ensure it is accurate. If your practice doesn’t yet have a Google Business, create one from scratch, verify your business, and set qor update your business information. Soon, your listing will appear in local search engine results and on Google Maps, displaying your business name, location, phone number, services, and other contact information. Yelp also hosts business listings, so consider claiming or creating a listing there.
4. Have a mobile-first mindset
According to recent research, about97% of Americans own a cell phone, 85% of which are smartphones. As is the case with other industries, patients need access to care providers without having to make calls. A mobile-friendly site makes it possible for patients to schedule an appointment or fill prescriptions from anywhere.
5. Be truthful and honest
The information you share on your website or social media pages should be factual. You should use reliable sources of information, giving facts or statistics. Other than creating and sharing your content only, your audience may be interested in articles on industry news, new technologies, medical breakthroughs, and important research.
6. Be clear
It is advisable that you avoid examples or testimonials that guarantee or promise specific results. Instead, use disclaimers such as “results may vary.” Avoid all forms of competitive superiority.
7. Familiarize yourself with the law
The rules and regulations that govern medical marketing and advertising vary. Familiarize yourself with the local and state laws so that you can modify your marketing campaign to accommodate them.
8. Ask for reviews from your current patients
The modern patient demands timely service and high-quality care, and if you’re providing that to your patients, that’s fantastic for your digital image. As with other service industries, online reviews of your medical practice have a huge influence on your offline and online reputation. Other than providing their feedback on your website and social media pages, ask them to share their patient experience on third-party review sites. Patient outreach efforts may take the forms of emails, calls, or in-person conversations. Word-of-mouth referrals are valuable, but these are sporadic and you don’t have much control over them.
1. Never offer discounts
You could be heavily penalized for offering discounts or coupons to entice new patients. Avoid using social media contests to offer free doctor visits. Besides this being a legal issue, offering such could create the illusion that you are unprofessional.
2. Do not reveal patients’ information
HIPAA requires that medical facilities do not disclose patients’ health information. You might want to discourage patients from taking photos in your facility as they might accidentally disclose such information should they post it online.
3. Do not view marketing as an expense
Your marketing plan should be a comprehensive game plan that is based on proven tactics and strategies. Your tactics need to be geared towards helping you develop a firm and long-lasting brand identity.
4. Don’t talk only about yourself and your practice
Although it is important to highlight your expertise, experience, and skills, these will not set you apart as an authority in the industry. Marketing in the medical field is invaluable. However, it needs to take place within strict legal confines. Adapting your healthcare practice to the modern patient is mandatory if you are to remain relevant.
Don’t talk only about yourself and your practice
Although it is important to highlight your expertise, experience, and skills, these will not set you apart as an authority in the industry. Marketing in the medical field is invaluable. However, it needs to take place within the legal confines. Adapting your practice to the modern patient is mandatory if you are to remain relevant.