To attract and retain patients is one of the main marketing goals for any medical practice. As if the challenge of an ever-changing landscape of healthcare isn’t enough, the multitude of marketing and advertising options can be overwhelming for people whose primary focus is tending to the needs of their patients.
Healthcare is, more and more, a business, and medical practitioners can benefit from a strong, comprehensive marketing plan just as much as any other professional organization. Let’s take a look at marketing strategies that can strengthen your medical practice’s presence both online and offline. But first, a reminder of some things to keep in mind as you create your marketing plan.
Marketing is a comprehensive, ongoing investment. It involves not only advertising but also client support, public relations, media planning, and market research. Your marketing plan should include long-term strategies that allow you to grow your practice over time while allowing the flexibility to respond to changes in client needs. You should invest not only in the planning of but also the tracking and analysis of your marketing campaigns to understand the performance of your efforts and the impact on your ROI.
With those ideas in mind, here is a list of eight marketing strategies for doctors and medical practices:
1. Modern, Responsive Website
Today’s consumers utilize Internet searches to find everything, including medical practitioners. Your practice’s website is the digital face of your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It allows potential patients to discover you and can provide a wealth of information and resources to existing clients. A top-notch website will be fast, device responsive and mobile friendly, and offer interactive experiences to site visitors.
Whether you create and maintain your own website or hire an agency to handle those tasks depends on your comfort level with such technology and your budgetary situation. Website hosting platforms like Squarespace offer responsive, modern site templates that can highlight your services and experience and assist in your marketing efforts.
A fully responsive site is critical. Not only are the majority of searches done on mobile devices but search engines, like Google, also rank higher those websites with responsive designs. Page loading speeds also impact both user experience and search engine rankings so it is important to ensure that your content is optimized for the quickest viewing speed possible. Intuitive site navigation is another component that will help you present a user-friendly online experience to your existing and potential clients.
Your website should offer information about your qualifications and experiences as well as those of your staff. The treatments and other services your practice offers should also be easily found on your site. Convenient lead forms for information gathering and appointment setting are another effective component to include on your site.
Share your knowledge and expertise by including a regularly updated blog page on your site. Establish yourself as a leader in your field. Post blog articles about topics within your medical specialty, trends in the industry, and patient stories. Use a writing voice that keeps in mind your target audience and helps clients learn more about who you are as a medical professional.
Search engine optimization (SEO) best practices should be followed when developing your website and as you add additional content. Keywords and phrase, page structure, and more will help your site be competitive and more likely to show in search results. Let’s take a more in-depth look at SEO strategies.
2. Search Engine Optimization
We just mentioned the importance of utilizing relevant keywords and phrases throughout your site to increase your SEO. It is also important to establish pages with clean URLs and HTML mark up. In addition, you want to use tags, categories, and alt text to optimize videos and images for quick loading and readability by search engines.
Another, less thought of aspect for business website SEO is to claim and ensure the accuracy of your listing with online directories. Your contact and business information should be uniform across all platforms to give you the best chance to rank well in Internet searches. The more review sites and directories you appear on, the more confidence search engines like Google will have in your medical practice.
3. Email Marketing
Email marketing is an effective tool for new client acquisition, client retention, and brand awareness. It is relatively inexpensive, easy to implement, and allows you to not only target specific segments of your audience but also personalize your messaging. You can share promotions or specials, push out your blog posts or newsletter, and let patients know about any newsworthy events or updates involving your practice.
You can capture email addresses as patients are on your website and also as they complete paperwork in your office. Encourage people to sign up for your blog or newsletter so they receive regular communications from your practice and keep you at the forefront of their minds.
4. Social Media Marketing
To do social media well, you must post regularly, maintain consistency, brand-centered messaging, optimize your content, post original images and text that provide an interactive experience and share content that speaks to your target audience and drives them to your website. No problem, right? We understand that full-out social can be overwhelming for people who don’t make a living doing it so let’s break it down a bit.
Start by understanding which platforms are a good fit for your medical practice. An Instagram account would make sense for a plastic surgery practice as before and after pictures would be a fantastic way to showcase your work. The same cannot be said for a gastroenterology practice. Just saying… Then determine which platforms your target audience is using. You want to make sure you are spending your time and energy on profiles that reach existing and potential clients. Combining these two pieces of information will help you narrow it down to one or two social channels on which you can establish a presence.
Facebook is a safe starting point for most medical practices. It allows you to post a variety of content from articles to infographics to pictures and so on. It also provides an opportunity for the interactions that help you build solid relationships with your clients. Facebook posts are easily shared to encourage word of mouth business and the platform also provides analytic tools that will help you track and tweak your marketing efforts.
5. Social Media Advertising
Digital advertising on platforms like Facebook and Google Ads allows you to target specific audiences based on geographical location, age, keywords, online behaviors, and many other demographics. It helps you put the right information in front of the right segment of your audience. If you specialize in geriatric care, you don’t have to waste money on advertising to people under the age of 60. If you specialize in women’s care, you can create campaigns for a female only audience.
The analytics provided on these platforms also come in handy here to help you monitor your return on investment, to understand which ads are performing well, eliciting the most likes, shares, and so on. The tools will also help you determine which ads are most effective in driving traffic to your practice’s website. And if you see that an ad isn’t performing as expected, you can easily pull it, re-focus the content, and put it back up on the platform. Try that with traditional advertising!
6. Patient Reviews
Leverage reviews from your current patients and referring doctors to provide the social proof that so many people seek before committing to a service provider. Comments from satisfied clients can help build and maintain a positive reputation of your medical practice, convert potential patients, and increase your SEO in regards to local search rankings.
Of course, it is important to have a streamlined process that is fully HIPAA compliant, something a marketing agency like Strategy Driven Marketing can assist with. It is also important to respond to any negative reviews quickly and professionally to let existing and prospective clients know your goal is to provide the best services at all times.
7. Video Content
In addition to providing hours of entertaining and educational videos, YouTube is now a competitive search engine. There are several ways a medical practice can utilize video content to engage with clients and the public, in general. Take your client reviews and testimonials a step further by creating them in video format. You can feature staff members in “get to know us” types of videos.
You can also post videos that feature the medical experts in your office discussing common medical conditions and your practice’s treatment options. Many people are fearful of visiting a medical professional. They will be more comfortable during an office visit if they understand what they will experience and who the people are they will be interacting with.
8. Ongoing Marketing Management
There are a number of constantly changing elements to consider: client needs and wants, the algorithms used by search engines to rank your site, and the way social media platforms present advertising content. Therefore, it is essential to manage your digital marketing plan in an ongoing manner. You need to continuously monitor, analyze, and optimize your efforts to get the most from all of your marketing campaigns.
Benchmarks and goals are an important part of your initial marketing plan so you are able to measure your progress and fully understand your return on investment. Keep doing what is successful and go back to the drawing board if you find your marketing strategies are not keeping you in-line with and on track to meet those original goals.
Consider your marketing to be a conversation between you and your clients. Create campaigns that focus on the needs and wants of your target audience. Provide timely and appropriate information and answers to their questions. Provide solutions to problems.
Patients are the heart of your business and a patient-centered approach to your practice will serve you well. Make a doctor/staff-patient relationship an integral part of your practice experience. Know that patients have a choice, that they want to have an active role in their health care, and they will look elsewhere if they don’t find what they want.
Also, be careful what you promise on your website or in your marketing. If you can’t back up your statements, you’ll quickly run into problems. Communicate your dedication to high-quality patient care, your expertise in the field, and how you’ve helped others with challenges similar to those of your target audience.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing have extensive experience with clients of all sizes and across all industries. We’d love to help your medical practice make the most of your marketing efforts. From all aspects of your website to email campaigns, social media, and more, we are ready to spend time learning about your practice so we can create a custom marketing proposal that aligns with your goals and challenges. Let’s get started!