Digital Marketing for Doctors –
As medical practitioner — physicians, dentists, surgeons — we go through many years of school before finally settling into one chosen field. Many among us choose to work for hospitals or other established practices. While many others, however, choose to open their own medical practice and start an entrepreneurial journey that gets more challenging with the new competitive environment.
Business mindset for doctors
The one consistent challenge we as medical professionals face in opening our own practice is that we had never been prepared to run a business. Worse, some of us have been taught that as physician or a medical professional it is bad to look for making money! A business venture requires a completely different set of skills and mindset than the medicine we have learned to practice.
There is a lot to be learned from doctors who successfully figured out how to grow their medical practices. They understood the shift in the mindset from how to do a Job to how to run a business! The result is the same when it come to the quality of the treatment you are offering to patient.
The reason behind your business
What’s your Why?
You have to decide what is most important to you and what you are doing all this for. If you’re just doing it for the money, you’re eventually going to burn out. Because no matter how much money you make, if you aren’t fulfilled, then you will never be happy.
So you have to ask yourself what you don’t want to give up on – why did you get into the business originally? What is it that you really want? What lights you up?
The answer will be different for every single one of you – but the common denominator is always the same: it’s living life on your terms. And the clearer that you can get on that, the more inspired and driven you will be to grow your practice. Because it becomes a vehicle to achieving happiness, and bringing you fulfillment.
There is no worse fate than to achieve everything but not be fulfilled. Make the decision today to create an extraordinary life. Make it a point to stop and celebrate your success and acknowledge your accomplishments. But at the same time, make it a priority to find what brings you passion and joy and how your practice fits into that. When you understand the merits of the science of achievement and the art of fulfillment, then you can start to make the shifts that lead to real, lasting change in your business – and in your life.
Don’t Do It Alone – Hire superstars
“Hiring the right people was key to our growth.”
The staff at a medical practice is its greatest asset — and its biggest cost.
It is impossible to be the main service provider and manage all the moving parts of a business, especially without the background knowledge of how to run a business. It is important to hire the right manager and team to support you. Plan out your organization chart rather than being reactionary to growth. Almost every specialty has benchmarks for how much support staff each physician needs. Waiting until you are overflowing with patients will lead to a bad customer experience and leave your staff scrambling and overwhelmed.
Consider the person working your front desk. When hiring, you may have focused more on whether or not they were capable of handling logistics, and if they were pleasant enough, then you deemed them the right fit. But even if they are nice and can handle the position’s duties, if they aren’t able to truly connect with people, they may actually be hurting your business. Interface is everything in that role.
So rather than settling for people who just get the job done, refuse to have nothing less than superstars in all positions. You will not only find that it is more efficient and effective for you, but your business and, ultimately, for that person in their own career.
Get support from other specialist, better pay a consultancy fee to study your market, your patients’ demography and competitor so you can position yourself from the right angle!
Build A Unique Brand
“Once we invested in our brand as a company based on great customer service and humor, the patients did all our marketing for us.”
Understand who your customers are: What do they want? What do they fear? What do they desire and how do you meet those needs for them? How can you give them the experience that they want?
Answering these question will help you find your advantage over your competition and marketing that to your patients. Once you know what your brand message will be focused on, you need to ensure you are consistent with it. People seek brands that are consistent in their messaging and reliability. Getting buy-in from your staff is key to making patients’ experience with your brand consistent.
I can help you, brand your medical practice now!
Focus on your patient experience
There are plenty of practices out there that forget that their business is in customer service. Your practice is about your patients and the satisfaction they get from having visited your offices. Online reviews have made this point increasingly important: A 2014 survey found that 88% of consumers put equal trust in web reviews as recommendations from friends and family. Create the perfect patient experience when they interact with your practice across all the channels.
Get your listing right
Clinics local listing have better visibility on google Map and attract more local customers. Make sure that you set up your google my business properly and be consistent across all directories about your brand message, your products and your contact details.
Build authority around your specialty and make sure that your website reflect it by attracting the right traffic. Optimize your website with SEO.
Monitor your online presence:
If your practice has some negative reviews, look for the most common reasons for the complaints. If the review sites allow, make sure you respond to both positive and negative feedback to show that you care. The more positive feedback you can collect, the more calls you’ll get from potential patients.
Follow up with patients:
Most of the practices spend about 90 percent of their resources to attract new patients. However, retaining existing patients is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to grow your practice. Also, nurturing relationships with existing patients will increase referrals. You can use emails for sending reminders, promotional offers and general updates about your practice to your existing patients.
Earn Positive Reviews
New avenues for patients to post online reviews of physicians are emerging all the time: Docturna, Google reviews, ZocDoc,… even Yelp. Today’s tech-savvy consumers are very likely to check out your reviews before becoming your patients, so put aside a few hours to see what has been said about you on these sites and others and put in place the proper resource to monitor and address these reviews.
If you’re noticing an abundance of negativity in your reviews, pay attention to the complaints. If multiple patients are harping on a similar issue, accept the problem, whatever it may be, and try to improve your performance in that area.
While you’re working on it, talk to a few of your most trusted long-term patients and ask how they feel about you and your practice. If they’re happy, nudge them toward sharing their positive feelings in an online review. Then, keep an eye on your scores and listen closely. As your reviews improve, you may start hearing more calls from potential new patients.
Establish or Enhance Your Presence on Social Media
Some docs are uneasy about using tools like Facebook in their businesses; communicating any sensitive data through social media is, of course, not OK. But there are many useful, safe ways to use social platforms to market a practice to potential patients.
When your current patients become “fans” of your business on Facebook, their friends see it. That can direct user traffic to your page (and, ultimately, your practice). Use an engaging page design to encourage users to “Like” your page.
You may also want to consider starting a blog where you provide wellness tips, promote local health events, and discuss general, positive information about yourself and your practice. Promote the blog on Twitter and use it to engage with organizations in your community. You may get more eyes on it than you think.
Dr. Natasha Burgert, a pediatrician, reports that her strong social media presence, which includes a blog and well-trafficked Twitter account, enables her practice to win, on average, one new patient family every week.
Embrace Technological Change
On this front, good word of mouth will always work in your favor. Young patients especially want to have a technologically connected healthcare experience, and that can be easy to create through low-cost technological updates.
Patient portals can give patients access to their lab results without needing to call the office or come in for a visit. The ability to email your practice to set up an appointment or ask a question can save time for your patients and your employees. And the Internet Journal of Healthcare Administration found that text message appointment reminders reduced patient no-shows by as much as 36%.
Patients who are happy with the convenient experience their physician provides are more likely to refer friends and family. Technology can make it easier to get patients, existing and new, in the door and happy to be there.
When was the last time you, or a representative of your practice, participated in a community service project or fundraising event? Community engagement of that sort is a great way to project a charitable, positive image of your practice to others.
If you do have a slate of events on your plate, like the same cancer walk and silent auction you did last year, branch out! Swap out one 5K for a similar running event for a different cause. Sponsor a local fundraiser outside of your normal healthcare scene, like a dinner-dance benefitting an area school you don’t have an existing connection to. Accept an invitation to a networking conference or speaking engagement that you’d normally decline.
Providing support to new communities through unexpected means will get you noticed by people you don’t know – who could ultimately become your patients.
Attract more visibility also through speaking in the radio or be a TV show host and talk about it in your social media.
Build a digital marketing strategy that works for your practice:
- Build an Awesome website – must be intelligent and focused on conversion. Intelligence means conversion tracking CRM for your website. 88 percent of the patients looking for medical services will contact you by calling you or simply finding you on a map. Majority of the time it is Google Maps.
- Google optimization – for your speciality keywords, like “urgent dental care in Dubai” or “best neurosurgeon in Dubai” or “cardiologist in Dubai”, normal SEO services company are not familiar with medical terms and how to make them work better for your practice.
- Google Local Optimizations. Read more about Local SEO
- Build your authority with a blog – maintain your Blog to interact better with your customers
- Use google adwords – learn more about paid traffic services
- Facebook and Instagram advertising and management for doctors – Learn more
- Monthly email marketing and newsletters
- Reputation management and patient review marketing
As the Digital Doctor Dubai, I can help you with these services with tailored package prices – Get in touch today and start growing your practice.
Launching your practice from scratch?
Here 13 steps for successful launch campaign!
- Step 1: Sign for the building to indicate your location / Local listing of your practice in Google
- Step 2: Logo / Business cards / Prescription pad / website
- Step 3: Doctor’s biography printed and promoted to local primary care physicians
- Step 4: Providing free “meet-and-greet” for parents of potential pediatric patients
- Step 5: Collaboration with local schools for “low-cost” physicals for school athletes
- Step 6: Mail drop in 5 mile radius using mail and flyers for parents of potential pediatric patients (need MOH approval)
- Step 7: Networking with other local businesses close to your own location
- Step 8: Using social media campaigns
- Step 9: Making the lobby of the clinic a pleasing place for parents of potential pediatric patients and for children
- Step 10: Referral program to market using existing for parents of potential pediatric patients
- Step 11: Launching your online strategy to market your practice (21 day before the official opening)
- Step 12: Offline advertising plan for your healthcare practice (Press release, radio or podcast intervention, event sponsoring)
- Step 13: Online Advertising plan for your healthcare practice
How to develop the right social media strategy for your practice?
One of the hardest things for organizations to recognize is the need for long-term consistency in the use of their social media. Results take time, so it’s important to have staff dedicated to managing social content on a regular and long-term basis.
Analysis of success needs to be ongoing as well and requires establishing clear objectives. For instance, are you using social media to attract new patients, to increase patient satisfaction, to promote community health, to educate your patients, or for some other reason?
It is likely that you have multiple goals, and you need to develop a strategy that allows you to track how specific strategies impact each of those goals so that your strategies can be optimized.
1. Select the best network that match your speciality and practice
Healthcare providers often use LinkedIn for professional purposes. Nonetheless, Twitter and Facebook have a large amount of medical engagement as well, and in the past few years, medical content on Instagram has been exploding. Choosing the best networks to be on depends critically on who you want to reach, what information you want to gather and the types of messages you want to get across.
Generally, LinkedIn is a great platform for connecting with colleagues, whereas Facebook is great for deploying advertisements targeted to the specific demographics of patients that you’re reaching out to. Instagram also tends to be best for connecting with patients, specially for cosmetic surgery, dermatology and esthetic dental as these specialities are visual. Twitter usually has benefits with both professional and general audiences.
Pinterest can be explored as well as it’s known to increase the google ranking and drive more organic traffic.
2. Make Social Media Someone’s Job
Identifying a social media champion in your practice is one way to ensure success, whereas hiring someone external is an option as well. Regardless of what works best, it is important that someone is accountable for social media strategy, content development and analysis.
For medical practices, it works best to have someone with medical training develop the content so that it is of high quality. Communications expertise is helpful as well, as it is critical to craft content that your audience can digest and that has the impact you want it to have.
It’s also advisable that the person managing your social media strategy be savvy and active on the networks you choose. Each social network is a unique online community with its own ethos and culture. Understanding and adapting your content and engagement to each channel will help drive engagement, as you’ll be seen to “get” the people who use that network. Someone who’s already active and successful on a channel will be better equipped to succeed for your practice.
3. Stay Actively Engaged to Build Following
One of the biggest challenges that you should think about as you are developing your strategy is gaining a following. It is best to build an organic following, and this takes time. Though it is not rare for people to purchase followers — and it may be tempting to do so as a “quick fix” — there are few benefits to doing so, as inorganic followers are not likely to engage authentically with your content or to promote your specific goals. Additionally, as people become more social media savvy — and as social networks continue cracking down on these practices — they can identify accounts that have purchased their followers, which can reduce your credibility.
To gain an organic following, you must provide content that is of value to the audience you are trying to attract. In healthcare, this type of content usually comes in the form of useful health information. Covering timely topics is one of the best ways to gain a following in healthcare.
4. Use a Social Media Management Tool to Manage Your Efforts
The best way to monitor engagement is to do so personally because it is the only way to respond constructively to those who have taken time to engage with you. Most social networks also offer their own analytics to help you see how well your posts are doing, but the information is often limited to consolidating the basic stats (such as likes and follows) that are already publicly displayed on the network.
For more robust analysis of your efforts, social media management tools can help you more efficiently engage on social media platforms on a regular basis. However, as with gaining a following, it is important when using management tools that you keep your engagement authentic. For instance, there are tools that will allow you to automatically comment on certain types of posts. However, if you have not actually read the post, it is unlikely that an automated comment will be thoughtful or useful.
Use social media analytics
These tools usually provide some analytics to help you determine the best times to post based on audience engagement, the types of content that are the most likely to lead to engagement, and often a way to track other social media accounts to see what they’re having success with. Identify a few top healthcare accounts (you can usually go to their website to see which ones they’re using) and see what aspects of what they do you can incorporate into your strategy. On social media, “follow the leader” is great way to get started.
Another benefit of using a social media management tool is that they enable you to create your posts whenever it’s convenient and schedule them for posting later. This is handy if your social media champion manages it part time in addition to their other tasks. Setting aside an hour in their day to see what’s happening on your social channels and scheduling the full day’s posts is great way to efficiently manage your social media efforts.