It used to be that patients would seek out doctors and not the other way around. Yet, in today’s world of medicine, it is becoming a necessity for doctors to market themselves and their practices to the fullest of their capabilities. Marketing your practice should include innovative strategies relating to public relations, branding, patient communications, referrals, staff recruitment, and more. Some of these strategies work better than others; however, this generally depends on how you choose to apply them and who your target audience is.
There are numerous platforms available nowadays for marketing your practice and accomplishing both your short-term and long-term goals. It can be rather difficult deciding which are right for your practice but keep in mind that your success depends on your marketing efforts. As a doctor who is striving to build a practice with prospective, new patients, there are several things you can do to ensure your practice thrives:
1. Build a professional website
A website is an extension of who you are and what services your practice has to offer. Not only is it important for you to have a website but it is essential that your website is informative, mobile-friendly, and welcoming. According to recent findings, over 70% of Americans search online for health-related information. Therefore, if you want to market your practice, you have to establish an online presence. Your professional website is the first impression you make on a prospective patient.
2. Apply SEO
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the optimal choice for your website because search rankings are the largest driver of website traffic. When a patient searches online for a medical practice in their area, you want yours to be one of the first names that they see. This is where SEO comes in. SEO is a process that lists which keywords your target audience commonly uses to find your practice. Upon listing the keywords, the pages and links on your website are built around these keywords. All of this is done in order to increase search rankings and place your practice among the first few pages of search engine results.
3. Dedicate your time to social media platforms
Like it or not, social media has become a powerful marketing tool and it can be quite influential if it is used properly. Consider selecting a few social media platforms and dedicate your time and energy into marketing your practice. Over 40% of social media users manage their health based on information they read through social media platforms. This being said, having an active, online presence can be of great advantage to you in establishing your brand, standing out from the competition, building trust, and growing your following. Ultimately, this is likely to encourage new patients to book appointments at your practice.
4. Share relevant and outstanding content
If you want to engage existing patients and attract new ones, you have to share content that is fresh, informative, and relates to their needs. Most health-related content can take some time to read, so consider posting a few videos that will get the same messages across. Make sure the videos are shared on your professional website and other social media platforms that have been set up by your practice. At the end of the day, prospective patients expect accurate facts and recommendations.
5. Use email marketing
Email marketing is a great way to remind your patients about their upcoming appointments. You can even schedule follow-up emails after each appointment and send out helpful health-related tips and newsletters. Email marketing is also a powerful approach for personalized communication and updating patients on the latest news associated with your practice – new diagnostic tools, seasonal offers and discounts, and more.
6. Utilize online customer reviews
Online customer review sites, such as Yelp and Healthgrades, are vastly becoming popular among patients. These sites allow patients to inform one another about quality of patient care and patient satisfaction. According to recent findings, more than 30% of prospective patients regularly visit online review sites to research information on doctors, the services they have to offer, and patient experiences. Your practice will have a better chance of establishing a brand image and attracting new patients if you utilize online customer reviews for marketing your practice.
7. Ask for referrals
Word-of-mouth referrals can go a long way in helping your practice grow. You give your patients referrals all the time so do not be shy in asking your patients to refer you to their family and friends. Create a referral program in order to attract current patients to spread positive news about your practice. Once your practice begins to attract new patients, brand awareness and reputation will be your apparent benefits.
8. Get involved within your community
Getting involved within your community is a great way to establish some degree of trust among local individuals. Call up local schools and offer to host a free lecture or participate in health fairs. The more involved you are, the more chances you have of reaching out to new patients and growing in popularity.
9. Offer exceptional patient services
One sure way to stay ahead of the competition is by providing exceptional patient experience. When it comes down to it, the services that you offer patients are why they come in to see you in the first place. Although it is your job to provide a medical service, it is vital that you make every patient feel comfortable in their surroundings. Start by asking your current patients to rate your practice in terms of pros and cons. When necessary, consider expanding your services by offering house calls, extended hours, and so on. From the moment they step through your door to when they leave your office, always make sure to keep your patients satisfied and coming back.
10. Deliver on promises
As a doctor, you must understand your responsibilities, set expectations and deliver on promises. If a patient is not satisfied with your services, they will likely choose your competition over you. Always make sure to establish expectations and promises that you can deliver. This is important not only for your image, but also for the image of your practice.
11. Expand your reach through blogging
Blogging is a great way to connect with other doctors and your patients. FindaTopDoc has established a platform, known as the “Expert Blog”, where you can host your own blog by writing your very own content. You can introduce readers to who you are and your areas of specialization. If done right, you can expand your reach to your target demographic and build trust within the online health community.
12. Be flexible
Above all, one of the surest ways to grow your practice is to be flexible to the needs of your patients. Very few medical practices offer this service so reflect on your role in offering exceptional care. For instance, consider scheduling appointments in the evening at least once a week. This will help increase your online reviews and enhance your credibility.
Most medical practices choose to blend together different marketing strategies for the purpose of staying ahead of the competition, increasing revenue share, promoting their services, building patient trust, and enhancing their reputation. There are hundreds and hundreds of strategies to choose from and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to marketing your practice. What works best for one practice may not necessary work as well for your practice. Focus your marketing efforts on your skills and get to know your niche. FindaTopDoc’s “Expert Blog is merely an example of an innovative platform that has been created to help you connect with prospective patients, all the while building your online brand and credibility. Marketing is a highly influential approach in any industry and by establishing yourself as a healthcare expert; you can express your passion for your work and deep commitment to your patients.