Healthcare marketingMedical Practice Marketing

Strategy, tactics and ideas that could help you dramatically increase your patient numbers.

How can you get the best results from your medical practice marketing?

 

“There’s no point in studying medicine if you can’t find a patient.”William Ostler.

 

There’s no point in having medical practice if you don’t have the right marketing systems in place to attract and capture patients.

Medical practice marketing has changed so much in the last 10 years, most practices are struggling to come to terms with it.

How has medical practice marketing changed?

This statistic sums up the changes perfectly:

Up to 90% of people will visit your website before contacting you. – Hubspot 2014

Patients demand more information about your services and they go online to find it. How successful website and online marketing works is getting increasingly complex. For example:

Search Engine OptimisationSearch Engine Optimisation – Over 50 factors must be taken into consideration when you are optimising a single page on your website. Each of the 50 factors may have another two or three important points to consider.

Google – Makes an estimated 500-600 changes to its algorithm a year that may affect your search engine positioning, website traffic and your practice’s revenue – Moz research 2015.

Social Media – Over 65% of medical practices are now using social media. But most practices don’t have a plan in place that includes:

  • Alignment with practice strategy
  • Content plan for the next 6-12 months
  • Crisis responses or a risk management plan to combat negative comments
  • Budget – Money, human resources and time requirements
  • Plan to grow social media following
  • Measure and report success factors and areas for improvement

 

Other compelling website statistics to add to this discussion include:

Of the people who visit your website, 98% of them won’t contact you the first time they use it!

 eConsultancy 2014

People will visit 3 of your competitor’s websites before making a decision!

ConversionXL 2014

 

What if you could increase the number of patients that contact you?

What difference would it make if you could increase your patient numbers by as little as 1% to 3% per month?

That could mean a 12% – 36% difference to your practice’s revenue at the end of the year!

Medical practice marketing goals

 

So what steps can you take to optimise your medical practice’s marketing efforts?

Step 1: Layout what you want to achieve – Strategy and plan

Map out answers to these questions with your team:

  • Asses your current marketing efforts and your practices mission and goals
  • What are your practices main services and strengths?
  • What is your yearly marketing budget?
  • How is your practice different or unique?
  • What specific goals do you want to accomplish through your marketing efforts?
  • Who are your target audience/s?
  • What will be the best way to reach your target audience?
  • What results do you need to show to your stakeholders?

Helpful tips:

Helpful tips1. In your marketing highlight your practice benefits from a patients perspective. For example – We have extended practice hours to help accommodate busy working families or we hold specialised education clinics for diabetics.

2. Integrate your marketing plan with your business and financial goals and create a clear brand and message.

3. Ensure your marketing plans have goals, timeframe, budget and measurement mechanisms.

4. Your marketing should focus on what your patients really care about when choosing you. Focus on their problems, frustrations, annoyances, and confusion that they have when dealing with your speciality. Some may include:

  • Pain management
  • Appointment waiting times

 

Step 2: Optimise your website or build a better one

With up to 90% of people checking your website before contacting you it makes perfect sense to have a great website that drives patients to you.

If you don’t know what features your medical practice’s website should have I recommend signing up to receive this:

THE MEDICAL PRACTICE MANAGERS FREE WEBSITE TOOLKIT!

“10 features your practice’s website must have to improve income and patient care!”


 

Why optimise your website?

Your website is the gift that keeps on giving:

  • It works for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a weekMobile friendly website
  • Patients are looking for your services online
  • The money you pour into it is invested wisely due to its long life
  • You can easily measure website traffic and patient conversion
  • A good website should help build relationships and trust
  • Your services can easily be shared online
  • If set up properly your website should convert visitors into patients

 

Your website must be mobile friendly – Why?

Mobile internet searches are now consistently exceeding desktop searches.

Smart Insights 2015

If you don’t have a mobile friendly website, you are offering your patients a poor experience. The chances are they will bounce off your website and go and find a competitor (someone who has a mobile friendly website).

 

Your healthcare practice’s online presence is only as good as your website.

Website design checklistWhat does your website say about your medical practice? Does (or is) your website:

  • Have a modern look and feel?
  • Give a good first impression
  • Look well-organised
  • Easy-to-navigate
  • Up-to-date
  • Help attract and convert new patients.
  • Visit website design for doctors for more information

Your medical practice’s website should host plenty of useful information in your field of specialisation. Potential patients should be able to find easy-to-understand explanations of common conditions, causes as well as clear information about how exactly your practice may help. You must make yourself the trusted expert in the eyes of your patients.

Look to make a positive impact on the lives of your patients and the local community by sharing the latest health information – If you’re a GP little tips like ‘how to combat dehydration during the hot summer months’ can be a great start.

Seek a website and online marketing professionals advice to ensure your website is giving you it’s optimal performance.

Point made, so lets move on…..

Email marketing

 

Step 3: Target your existing patients – Email marketing

They already know and trust you, so creating email campaigns that taps into your existing patient base is a powerful way to get results.

Building a database for any medical practice is important. Done well it can lead to more patient referrals, follow-up services, help retain existing patients and enhance your reputation.

Email marketing is also:

  • Low cost
  • Easy to implement
  • Quick to deploy and
  • Personalised

Tip – List 12 topics that are useful to your target patients and develop a content plan and email calendar so you can email your patients once per month.

Step 4 – Social Media

Social media is a great way to communicate and educate your patients about what is happening in the community and at your practice.

Find out how to develop a social media plan and how to avoid the dangers.

Note – For Australian readers please ensure you follow AHPRA Social Media Guidelines.

 

Step 5 – Pay Per Click Advertising

Pay per clickPotential patients frequently search for local health information and healthcare professionals online. Pay Per Click advertising on search engines such Google, Bing and Yahoo can be a very powerful way of reaching prospective patients.

It’s great because it can be targeted to specific search terms, target audiences in your geographic location and you only pay for visitors who search for your service, look at your ad and choose to click through to your website.

But, your website must be set up with specific landing pages and mechanisms to capture details of potential patients. 95% of medical websites that I come across don’t do this well or at all. As a result they waste their money by not converting website browsers into patients effectively.

 

 

Step 6 – Signage and other promotion materialFlyers

Signage and other promotional material (flyers) is often not utilised well by the majority of medical practices. I commonly see information overload by too many pamphlets or a wasted signage opportunities.

Step 7 – Make your waiting room a pleasant place to be

Combat tired looking reception areas and waiting rooms that lack a friendly touch by appealing to your patients. If children commonly visit your practice include a toys area (and steam clean them once a week), have a water cooler and invest in some comfortable, robust chairs. Invest in some new magazines every 2 months and get rid of the old dog-eared copies that date back to the 1990’s. Aim for a fresh, positive, clean look. It reflects directly on your practice and helps make your patients comfortable and more likely to recommend you.

Have items that prompt patients to ask about key health items or promotions you are having, but don’t overload them. For example – If you want a patient to sign up to receive your online newsletter, outline the benefits  (general health, skin and diet tips, flu shots, immunisation) and have an iPad or tablet at your practice to sign them up whilst they are there.

If you have online bookings let your patients know they can now book in at their convenience 24 hours a day 7 days a week – Advertise it on your business card or a fridge magnet!

 

Step 8 – Online videosOnline video

Videos get attention. Some people won’t read a long article, but they will watch a video of it. Videos put a face to a name, provide a voice of authority, supply eye contact, body language and movement and it comes with a simple press play button.

Many studies have been done on video and the success they may have in improving conversion rates and search engine optimisation – Crazyegg 2014.

A great way to start thinking about video is by listing the common questions about your practice and the key points patients are looking for. A number of short, sharp interesting and helpful videos may just be the answer.

 

Step 9 – Content marketing and blogging

Content marketingProducing interesting content that appeals to patients is a must. Developing a content calendar goes a long way to help you start this process. It should be driven by patient wants and needs, frequently asked question, topical items and your practices key services, strengths and items you want to push. The great benefit about your content calendar is that you can use it on your:

  • Websites blog
  • Social media and;
  • Email marketing

Blogs allow your practice to:

  • Demonstrate your expertise
  • Offer valuable information
  • Gain their trust and loyalty
  • Post interesting, keyword-rich content to boost your search engine optimisation

All content must be written with your patients in mind. Use simple language and make it be easy to read. Take social media. Social media is just what it means. It’s meant to be social and light. It must be entertaining and wherever possible provide, relevant images, info-graphs, quotes or video.

Lock in your content calendar topics and stick to it. Put 15 minutes aside with your team to discuss content ideas you can include.

Ensure you blog, social media and emails posts happen at least once per month. If they are few and far between your patients will wonder what the problem is and most likely switch off.

 

The Big PictureThe big picture

Effectively marketing a health care practice online is anything but simple. It requires a significant investment of expertise, time and effort to achieve the desired effect. Amazing results start to happen in as little as 2 to 9 months.

Your best bet is to hire an online marketing expert with the experience to tackle every single step of the process in the most creative, consistent, and strategic way possible.

Medical practice marketing must have maximum impact and supply the best return on investment for your dollar in line with your practice’s strategic priorities.

 

 

David Douglas

“These strategic tips have proven very useful for the majority of the practices we help.
If you have any questions please feel free to call me.”
David Douglas – Medical Website Solutions

Ph: 0438 325 246