In today’s modern world, both marketing and media have become a fundamental part of organizational growth, even for medical practices. To reach audiences such as consumers, patients, adolescents, seniors, and so on, you need to target your messages and marketing methods. The truth of the matter is, with rising advancements in technology, more and more individuals are turning to the internet for answers, including health-related information. Therefore, you need to align your medical marketing strategies with what the marketplace is looking for.
Each individual has different media preferences. Research shows that 84% of patients use both offline and online media before making a decision: 32% use TV for research, 20% use magazines, and 18% use newspapers. With the right approach, offline media can be just as powerful as online media. In both cases, you need to generate exposure to your medical practice and the services you offer. Whether patients or other referring doctors read your name in a magazine article or find you on the top pages of Google, what matters most is you provide them with an easy way to find you.
You may be wondering how you can juggle both your professional and personal life without experiencing burnout. As a doctor, you spend hours and hours every day buried under piles of work, and sometimes, the greatest issue with marketing is focus. You know you should be marketing yourself and your services, so you take action. However, when it comes to marketing, many of you may feel as if you are on a hamster wheel—frantically running and running and not going anywhere. This lack of focus is common. While your heart is in the right place to dive into digital marketing, the most important thing you should remember is to get oriented and review your goals. Some of the best and most effective ways for you to build a strong marketing plan and reach more patients is to follow these few steps:
Identify Your Core Values
Core values are the bedrock on which your medical practice is built. Every practice has slightly different core values: long-term relationships with patients, empathy, integrity, profitability, etc. Your job is to identify these values and show how they differentiate your practice from your competition. Ultimately, these values will give your practice its own personality and guide it toward creating marketing content you and your patients will be proud of.
Set Your Goals
It is important to set marketing goals that are realistic for you and your practice; they will help you to clearly identify your objectives and give you a defined outcome to strive for. In any organization, goals serve as a measurement for how successful you have been, where you want to go, and what kind of return on investment you are getting for your efforts. Without a goal, how will you know if you are heading towards success or failure?
Select a Few Marketing Tools
As a doctor, you know how hectic life in a practice can become. You know the frustration of not having enough hours in the day to ensure exceptional patient experiences, all the while marketing your practice. There seems to be a new social media channel, website feature, or mobile application coming out every day. The reality is, the more you take on, the less time and mental energy you have to do things well. This is why selecting the proper marketing tools is so important.
- SEO and website design: Your website is the central feature of your digital marketing strategy. Create content your practice is proud for individuals to see. Capture your values in your website and ensure it can be found quickly and easily by major search engines (e.g., Google, Yahoo, Bing).
- Email marketing: Email marketing is the practice of collecting email addresses from individuals willing to receive correspondences from your practice. Offer your current and potential patients special promotions, educational materials, newsletters, and wellness reminders—you will be glad you did.
- Community outreach: The community may be the single best way to bring new patients into your practice. Interact with them on a personal level and get involved in local, nonprofit organizations.
- Social media: Social media is easy to start and fun to use, not to mention cheap. While it may feel exhausting, approaching social networking with both your core values and specific goals can lighten the load. You may feel uneasy about using tools such as Facebook and Instagram, however, the great thing about the internet nowadays is you can choose from many other useful and safe social media channels. By establishing an online presence, you can market your practice to more potential patients and expand your reach at the click of a button. Encourage patients to share their experiences with your practice and the services you provide. What better way to keep existing patients within your network than to build trust by featuring verified reviews from real patients? You can leverage your good reputation by placing these reviews on your website and other social media channels.
Once you have identified your core values, set your goals, and selected a few marketing tools, you are ready for marketing success. You should feel relaxed and ready to take on manageable tasks. If you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, you may want to reevaluate your goals and the social media channels you are considering. It’s far better to focus on one thing than to jump into numerous projects.
Patients are always curious about their doctors—where they went to school, how long they have been practicing medicine, what their area of expertise is, and so on. Keep in mind that most of them are technology-savvy and chances are they will run your name through search engines before considering whether or not they want to become your patient. So, the real question is, what do you want them to find?
By building an effective marketing plan and establishing an active social media presence, you can meet your patient acquisition objectives and boost patient loyalty. The key to acquiring new patients digitally is simply making sure your medical practice and its information are easily accessible for those who need it quickest. You will soon see how the value of your efforts will pan out in terms of revenue, enhancing reputation and brand recognition, and patient retention. Be patient, focused, and persistent.