Doctors today navigate an ever-evolving world in many aspects of medicine, but this is especially true when it comes to attracting and retaining patients. Additionally, the fast-changing online landscape often makes implementing effective marketing strategies for medical practices feel like shooting a moving target.
But as hard as it can be, marketing is a must for doctors. Those who invest in marketing themselves prosper, while those who resist tend to fall behind. Fortunately, a few simple tactics can quickly boost your clinic’s online and offline presence, making it easier for patients to find you.
Before we dive in, there are a few key things to remember as you plan your marketing strategy:
- Marketing is not advertising, though advertising can play a part in your marketing strategy. Marketing involves public relations, media planning, client support, market research, and community involvement as well as advertising.
- Marketing is an ongoing process. Your strategy will adapt to changes in the industry and the world around you. Invest in a long-term strategy to grow your business over time rather than trying a “set-it-and-forget-it” scheme that will likely fall short.
- Marketing is an investment. You should not only plan to spend time and money on your marketing strategy, but you should also track results to determine your return on investment to ensure you’re on track towards success.
- Marketing is a conversation between you and your clients. As such, you should focus on what your target audiences—whether patients, other doctors, or a combination of both—wants and needs from their doctor, i.e., you.
- Marketing is useless if you cannot back up your claims. Your practice will grow from your clinical excellence—unmatched patient care, expertise in your field of medicine, and successful outcomes. Focusing your efforts on improving your practice will ultimately be the most effective marketing strategy.
Here are the best marketing strategies for doctors and medical practices:
1. Build a website
Your medical practice needs an online home, somewhere you can be found by current and potential patients. Luckily, you don’t need to be an HTML wiz to get up and running with a customized site. Online services like Wix and Squarespace are straightforward, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive. Alternatively, you can hire someone to design and code a site for you—you can find freelance contractors on sites like UpWork or Fiverr. How you proceed depends on your comfort level, time, budget, and skills.
2. Begin a blog
A blog that is regularly updated and connected to your medical practice website offers many opportunities to meet the needs and interests of your audience. It’s also a place for content marketing, a type of writing that helps build your personal brand and represent who you are. “The adage is’ show it, don’t tell. “You show that you are a leader in your field. Some topic suggestions include your expertise, trends, and patient stories.
3. Provide content on Facebook
There are more than 1.94 billion monthly active Facebook users worldwide. As the tag lines of the social network are clear, all sites concern the connection. Professional Facebook Pages of your medical practice (with your personal pages), you can often contact your potential customers to remember your presence. Publish advice, news and other remarkable items help keep in mind that followers and fans when followers and fans need medical services. In addition, the ideal forum for blog posts – can provide virtual word-of-mouth by sharing and providing useful and interesting links to Facebook.
4. Connect on Twitter and Instagram
Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks like Snapchat and LinkedIn provide additional opportunities to connect and share with your audience. Doctors-only services like Sermo can help you network with professionals around the world and further demonstrate expertise in your field. The key to maintaining a successful online presence is frequent and consistent posting—try posting to your Twitter and/or Instagram accounts several times a day, if possible.
5. Become a source for journalists
There are few better ways to establish expertise and gain exposure than by being cited in media. Journalists for print, online, and TV regularly seek out medical professionals to provide context and legitimacy to their stories. “Think about partnering with a local news outlet on a health column to position yourself as the expert to prospective and current patients,” advises Andrew Hanelly, Partner and Creative Director at Revmade, a marketing and advertising agency. Signing up for services like Help a Reporter Out and ProfNet will gain you access to media queries as well as provide you an outlet for pitching story ideas of your own to journalists.
6. Send an email newsletter
Capturing email addresses and regularly emailing your list of contacts drives traffic to your website, blog, and social network pages, which in turn, drives additional appointment requests and referrals. Start by collecting subscribers from your existing client and referral base as well as from your social media followers. Then create a newsletter template with an inexpensive mailing service like MailChimp or Constant Contact. Not sure what to include? Try starting with highlights of your recent work and links back to your blog posts.
7. Build an online profile
With so much going on in today’s digital world, like choosing where to eat and which babysitter to hire, people expect to be able to search and find doctors online. Building a profile in online industry marketplaces, like Zocdoc, will allow you to verify your information as well as add links to your website, upload photos, and display patient reviews.
8. Deliver unexpected care packages
Not all modern marketing methods are online only. Everyone loves free gifts and printing your office details on inexpensive promotional items like pens, stretch balls, magnets, and water bottles to give to patients and other doctors help. you get your contact information.
Your current patients and referring doctors are your best marketing partners. Harness the power of satisfied customers to help spread your name to potential patients by asking for referrals.
10. Contribute to industry publications
As well as blogging and serving as a media source for articles, writing for medical journals about your experience and expertise can improve your profile with fellow doctors and have likely to lead to referrals.
11. Start a patient referral program
A top-notch care record and genuine interest in your patients will help encourage word of mouth and positive referrals to friends and family. But what’s wrong, hope a little reminder. Print out referral cards with a simple message like “Share the gift of good health” and your office information, and then arrange to distribute them, which can be part of your care kit. Once you receive your referral, be sure to follow up to let your referring patients know how much you appreciate them with a handwritten note, phone call, or small token.
12. Improve your SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which improves your chances of being found through an online search, can help drive targeted leads (i.e. patients and referring doctors) to your site. You can improve your SEO with localization, such as by adding practice addresses to your web pages. Creating original content for your website and blog is also helpful, as is encouraging links to your pages from other sites. Host a guest blog on other doctors’ websites and comment on social media posts to drive more traffic to your own site.
Individually, each of these tactics can help grow your medical practice, but these marketing strategies are ideally used in tandem in a consistent and sustainable manner. They will support and reinforce each other, producing far better results than any other strategy.