It won’t be an overstatement to say we’re living in the age of information. The sheer number of sources and channels of communication available to today’s consumers is mind-boggling. This information overload brings it with newer, digital challenges of reaching your target audience.
For doctors, this inevitably translates to mastering the art of digital marketing — to not only ensure they don’t miss out on a highly lucrative marketing channel but also to proactively grow their medical practice.
Relying solely on traditional media like TV, print, and radio is simply not sustainable in today’s healthcare market, especially when your competitors are actively putting themselves out there using every strategy possible. This is not to say traditional media is a thing of the past; far from it.
What is Digital Marketing for Doctors
When it comes to marketing healthcare practices, simply following industry-standard practices may not be the best choice. Medical marketing differs from, say, retail marketing or financial marketing as it deals with sensitive patient data and moreover, aims to capture mindshare around personal health, which patients regard as an expertise-driven business.
Medical marketing is a blanket term for all digital marketing activities undertaken by a healthcare practice to reach new patients and retain existing patients through a combination of communication and branding strategies.
A medical marketing strategy is an indispensable tool for any medical practice aiming to grow itself. Through a combination of inbound and outbound marketing, and leveraging both traditional and modern techniques, medical practices can chalk out a digital marketing strategy that’s unique to their practice.
Why Do Doctors Need Digital Marketing?
As a physician, you might be forgiven to assume that physician referrals and word-of-mouth is enough to generate new leads for your practice. But, as the data stands today, these strategies need to be supplemented with modern digital outreach strategies.
According to a 2020 survey of over 270 healthcare organizations, more than 90% use a variety of digital marketing techniques. And over 65% of them have a CRM system in place. Healthcare marketers are increasingly showing confidence in their website, social media, and SEO efforts. They’re also leveraging Facebook and Google advertising to increase awareness for their medical practices.
77% of online health searches start from search engines. People are dependent on Google search results for discovering doctors in their vicinity.
Hence, it’s only obvious that you need to meet your potential patients where they are. From website optimization and search engine optimization to a social media strategy and a content marketing plan, digital marketing for doctors needs a comprehensive approach.
A full-service medical marketing agency like Turnkey Mate can help you craft a robust digital marketing strategy perfectly suited for your healthcare practice.
Benefits of Digital Marketing for Your Medical Practice
It sounds well and good that digital marketing is essential. But what are the concrete benefits that can be derived from digital marketing for doctors? Read on:
- Target the right audience at the right place: What digital marketing does better than any other type of marketing is customization. With the help of platforms like Google and Facebook, you can tailor your campaigns to granular customer segments and skyrocket your marketing ROI
- Improve brand awareness: As a medical practice, your brand is your most important asset. By establishing yourself as an authority in your field and strengthening your online presence, you can organically grow your brand and translate that into leads and sales.
- Enhance patient loyalty and retention: Not only do you need to acquire more patients but you also need to retain your existing ones. No matter how impressive your care delivery is, if you’re not leveraging CRM and other online tools to enhance patient experience for your existing patients, they are sure to leave.
- Skyrocket your conversion rates: Digital marketing provides a cost-effective way to boost your conversion rates, decreasing your patient acquisition costs. Owing to the highly powerful customization tools at your disposal, you’re no longer wasting precious resources advertising to irrelevant leads.
- Measure your ROI: With access to advanced analytics tools and native CRM features, you always have a handle on how effective your marketing campaigns are. You can easily double down on what’s working and rectify what isn’t.
10 Effective Digital Marketing Strategies For Your Practice
The importance of a digital marketing strategy cannot be overstated but how exactly should you go about making one? With literally dozens of strategies available to you and the information overload rearing its head yet again, how do you decide what to choose for your unique medical practice?
We’ve put together a list of 10 simple but effective strategies you can start using today to build the foundation of your medical marketing strategy. And as always, you can reach out to a medical marketing agency to offload the heavy lifting.
1. Utilize Local SEO – The Heart of Digital Marketing
Local SEO refers to optimizing your online presence with the specific aim of ranking high for local search queries i.e. people near your practice looking for doctors online.
Get this — Google searches containing the keywords ‘near me’ or ‘close by’ grew by more than 900% over the past two years. This, more than anything else, shows the tremendous potential of local SEO for growing your business online.
Your medical practice should have a Google My Business (GMB) page showing complete information about the specialties you have and your address & contact information. Plus, your website should have individual landing pages for every specialty you have and every location you’re present at.
2. Optimize your Website Content – Make It Relevant
Your practice website is your number one salesperson, working 24×7 as a spokesperson for your business. You need to ensure that not only does it load fast, it’s also optimized for mobile devices, considering around half of the global web traffic comes from mobile phones.
Your website also needs to provide useful information to patients in an easily navigable manner and should provide an enriching experience to them. Make sure you have content on your website that’s relevant to what your target audience is searching for.
3. Invest in a Social Media Marketing Strategy
People spend, on average, around 2 hours 25 minutes daily on social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This presents to you a highly targeted opportunity to market your medical practice yourself to your desired demographic.
Have a look at the graphic below from The Infinite Dial 2021 report:
Based on such analyses, you can easily choose the social platform best suited for your practice and publish relevant, consistent content to generate genuine engagement from potential patients.
4. Use Online Advertising to Generate Leads
Digital advertising represents a powerful tool to reach highly targeted audiences, owing to platforms like Google and Facebook, among others. In fact, advertising on Google and Facebook is the preferred choice by healthcare marketers by far, with 80% and 90% of surveyed practices using the tool respectively.
Using parameters like age, geography, and interests, you can create highly customized ad campaigns and also track their performance using powerful analytics tools provided by Google and Facebook.
Digital advertising also provides a significant advantage over TV and print advertising as you can create interactive forms where users can provide their contact information.
5. Cultivate Patient Reviews – Social Proof Matters
A 2020 report showed that 91% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Patient reviews on your GMB page can make or break the online reputation of your practice. Potential patients will rarely choose a provider with low review scores.
Hence, it’s essential to cultivate reviews by encouraging your existing patients to leave their genuine comments on your business page. You should also make it a point to reply to their reviews, especially if someone faced a problem.
Automating this exercise using CRM software can greatly enhance the number of reviews you get from patients.
6. Build an Active Content Marketing Plan
Content marketing is at the core of establishing yourself as an authority in your field. If patients regard your physicians and your practice as experts in your particular specialty, they will not only choose you over the competition but spread positive word-of-mouth as well.
Publishing opinions on relevant industry trends can skyrocket the reputation of both your physicians and your medical practice. This can be done on your website, on your physicians’ LinkedIn profiles, or their Facebook pages.
YouTube also presents a unique and interactive thought leadership opportunity for your physicians. Let’s discuss it in-depth in the next section.
7. Use YouTube Marketing for Thought Leadership
Video content is the fastest-growing medium in today’s hyper-interactive internet. Users actually reported they’re 4 times more likely to use YouTube than other platforms to find information about a brand, product, or service. YouTube is famously the world’s second-largest search engine behind Google.
You can leverage this trend to build your YouTube presence by answering patient queries with highly engaging and informative videos. You can also document successful patient treatment journeys with their consent.
Lastly, you can feature your physicians in explainer videos to increase engagement and physician recalls.
8. Use Organic Backlinks to Increase Your Website Authority
When your target audience notices friends and family using a particular brand or vouching for a service provider, it saves them the work of researching for one themselves.
High-authority backlinks can increase your website DA (domain authority) and bump up your SEO ranking. You should generate backlinks from relevant websites that have a high DA themselves.
These can be prominent medical blogs, your practice’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles, and relevant medical directories.
You can automatically earn relevant backlinks from other websites if you publish genuinely useful and quality content on your website.
9. Refresh Your Business & Practitioner Listings
Your GMB page is not the only calling card you have online. Platforms like Facebook, Yelp, and many other websites host business information for millions of service providers.
Ensuring that your listings across the web are uniform and up-to-date will benefit your SEO ranking and prompt Google to recommend your practice over the competition.
You should also focus on updating the individual physician listings for your doctors on Google and their Facebook page. Often physician listings are outdated due to their frequent movement between practices.
10. Use CRM to Track Your Marketing Analytics
Measuring the performance of your marketing campaigns is paramount so you can do more of the stuff that works well and re-think that which doesn’t.
Using a reputed CRM software can provide you with real-time dashboards to track your marketing funnel and ad campaigns so you can make data-driven decisions. Google Data Studio is another powerful tool to create visual dashboards. And, it’s free.
Is Digital Marketing for Doctors Enough?
Digital Marketing is undoubtedly a gamechanger for doctors and medical practices looking to supercharge their growth. But it is not the holy grail of marketing.
Medical practices also need to experiment with traditional media like TV, print, and radio and see what works for them. Investing in a physician referral program with a dedicated team should also be part of the overall marketing strategy.
With a combination of digital marketing and traditional marketing, medical practices can unlock scalable growth and deliver better patient outcomes.