Knowing how to be a great doctor and treat patients with the best medical knowledge and care isn’t enough for most medical practices to survive and thrive in today’s competitive medical environment. Your practice needs a comprehensive medical marketing strategy and the means and knowledge to execute that strategy effectively.
Fortunately, with the power of digital marketing, your medical practice can market itself effectively and efficiently, and be in complete compliance with all the laws and regulations on healthcare providers. This guide will tell you exactly how to do all of that – so let’s get started.
What is Medical Practice Marketing?
Medical practice marketing is simply marketing your medical practice. You should be marketing your practice to attract new patients and increase awareness of your brand and services in your community.
Healthcare marketing is valuable for practices of all sizes, from independents physicians to medium-sized med spas and concierge medical providers to large practices.
Why Do You Need Medical Marketing?
Marketing your medical practice is just good business sense. Today, patients have more options than ever about where they receive medical care and get medical information. The internet has made it easier for patients to do extensive research on their own. Whether they’re looking for information about a condition they have or researching potential physicians to try out.
Medical Marketing Helps Your Business Grow
In order to grow, you need to attract a continuous stream of new patients. Your practice might have plenty of current patients, but they can always move out of the area. They could also find another practitioner or just stop needing the treatments you offer. Replacing them with new patients is vital – your practice won’t grow without it.
But attracting new patients just by word-of-mouth is pretty tricky and time-consuming. If you want to see real results, you need to invest in digital marketing for your medical practice.
Medical marketing can help you build strong brand awareness among your pool of potential patients. So, when they’re looking for a new physician or practice, you come to mind (or appear at the top of their search engine results).
Building Your Medical Marketing Strategy
Now that you know why marketing for your medical practice is essential, how can you create your own medical marketing strategy? Start by building a strong, thoughtful, complete strategy before you start dreaming of marketing tactics.
Launching your marketing plan by just trying a few digital marketing tactics you think sound good won’t get you optimal results. You need a real strategy to start with, and the tactics will flow from there.
Start With Medical Marketing Strategy Roadmap
Instead, try starting with this strategy roadmap for medical marketing.
First, Begin by Thinking About Your Marketing Goals
Get specific – “make more money” just isn’t going to be concrete enough.
Do you want to attract more patients? Attract more lucrative patients? Grow a specific part of your practice? Grow your prospective patient pool outside of your current geographical area?
These are all great goals. And getting these clear from the beginning will help you pick the right marketing plan.
Next, Consider Your Marketing Budget
Setting a clear budget will give you a good idea of how much you can afford to spend. You can then target your marketing dollars accordingly.
The beauty of digital marketing is that there are possibilities for every price point. So, don’t think that just because your budget isn’t huge that you can’t get results. Not sure how much money you should be spending on marketing? Try our free marketing budget tool to find out.
Finally, Come Up With a Strategy That Takes Your Goals and Budget into Account
You’ll want to think about the best ways to attract the kinds of patients you want. And how to increase your brand awareness in or outside your geographical area. This part can be pretty tough – after all, you’re a medical practitioner, not a marketing guru.
This is where working with a marketing agency (like Content First Marketing) can be very helpful, so you know your strategy is solid and your budget is being spent without waste.
Medical Marketing Tactics
Once your marketing strategy is in place, it’s time to think about some potential marketing tactics to build your practice. There are many different kinds of digital marketing tactics you can use. Here are the ones we recommend the most.
Create a Great Digital Presence
Many patients won’t have their first interaction with your practice in person – they’ll encounter your website first. That’s why your practice website needs to be as welcoming and professional as your physical office, so it makes a great first impression.
Your practice’s website should not only look great and present your practice in a positive light. It should also offer plenty of information about what you do. Why you’re qualified to do it. And offer resources for patients as well.
You can add in tools like online booking software so patients can schedule appointments right at their computer too.
While it’s certainly possible to build your own basic website with the web builders on the market. We don’t recommend it. Your website establishes you as a credible authority. Which is vital in medical marketing since patients trust you with their health.
Creating and maintaining an informative, easy-to-use, up-to-date website is an important part of that image. A digital marketing or web development agency can help you build a perfect, pristine website for your practice.
Get Measurable Results With Content Marketing
One of the best low-cost ways to bring in new patients is through content marketing. This typically involves writing lots of informative, engaging blog posts that tell your patients what they need to know about medical conditions and how your practice can help them.
Content marketing blogs and other content need to be written with SEO best practices in mind, as this is what will help your practice be found when people use search engines to look for specific topics.
Content marketing works because it continues to establish your practice as knowledgeable and helpful. This is vital to forming and maintaining relationships with patients. Over time, as your practice’s website and content become more established, you will start to see potential new patients finding your website and engaging with your content through search engines.
All you need to do to get this traffic, which is a great source of new patients, is to consistently create high-quality content on your website. This could be blogs, ebooks, or even videos. But of course, all content must avoid making any false claims that would trigger a warning from the Food and Drug Administration. We suggest working with an experienced health care digital marketing company that knows how to write for your target audience without violating regulations (just like Content First Marketing does).
Nurture Relationships With Email Marketing
Speaking directly to your potential and current patients in their email inboxes – that’s a very powerful tool for building relationships. And that’s exactly what email marketing efforts allow your healthcare practice to achieve.
Email marketing helps you nurture relationships with your patients, so they stay loyal to you as well. You can remind them of upcoming appointments, wish them a happy birthday, or suggest treatments they may be interested in based on their past experiences. And email marketing is low-cost considering the return on investment you receive, so it’s doable even for smaller practices with limited budgets.
You can also send different email campaigns to different target audiences – say your practice currently has a large portion of people who need treatment for chronic conditions, but you would also like to attract more patients who are interested in BHRT. You can easily segment your emails to send and deliver emails to a customized group to maximize your effectiveness.
Get Patients in the Door With Paid Ads
Content and email marketing are very effective for building your practice up over time – but what if you need more patients in the door now? After all, your healthcare practice has bills and employees to pay right now. This is when paid ads are very helpful.
You can put paid ads for your services on social media platforms like Facebook, which tends to be effective for medical providers. However, you will need to be very aware of the rules about what you can and cannot advertise so you don’t get banned from putting up ads. The same applies to search engine ads, which can be very effective but also require you to adherence to ad standards.
Also, you will need to know how to manage your ad spend so that you’re getting the most effective results without wasting money, which can be difficult to strike a balance. Making mistakes with paid ads can be very costly, so we recommend working with a digital marketing company with experience in the healthcare field.
Stay Ahead of the Game With Reputation Management
One of the biggest game-changers for doctors and medical practices in the last two decades is the rise of healthcare provider review websites. Now patients can leave feedback and read reviews about healthcare providers and practices with the click of a button. That can be beneficial for patients – but a big problem for providers.
That’s because one bad review can tank your ratings and drive away potential patients. Managing your online reputation is absolutely vital to keep patients coming in the door. While review sites won’t allow you to take down legitimate negative reviews, there are plenty of ways to ensure your ratings accurately reflect the excellent patient experience you offer.
You can ask your most satisfied patients (in other words, your NPS Promoters) to write reviews, as people left to their own devices tend only to bother leaving reviews about negative experiences. And you should always take negative feedback into account – you can uncover ways to provide better patient service next time.
Marketing for Doctors Is Vital for the Success of Your Practice
Marketing doesn’t come naturally to most healthcare providers – doctors didn’t go to medical school to learn how to promote themselves and build a business. But marketing is just as vital to the success of your practice as providing great patient care and medical expertise.
Healthcare is a business, and your practice will only grow if you treat it like one.
However, marketing your medical practice isn’t exactly like marketing a business. There are rules and regulations in place that govern medical marketing that doesn’t apply to those who are trying to sell socks, for example.
Using real images and stories of patients is tricky because you need to remain compliant with HIPAA. And medical ads are governed by the FDA stringently, so you don’t want to fall afoul of those standards and get a warning or have your ads taken down by your ad network. Plus, most medical practices don’t have money to burn on marketing experiments that don’t work out.
You Need to Stand Out From The Crowd
The market in many places is saturated, so you need to figure out how to stand out from the crowd in all the right ways without overspending your budget. This can be difficult to manage on your own without a dedicated marketing hire, which can be an expensive full-time position.
Hiring the Right Medical Marketing Partner
If your healthcare practice is looking for a partner to help you do your digital marketing the right way, you need to find an agency with deep experience in the healthcare marketing field. The right partner will help you develop a data-backed healthcare marketing strategy, create compelling content and optimized ads that adhere to all regulations, and manage your online reputation, so your business doesn’t fail based on one bad review.
We Have What Your Business Needs for Medical Practice Marketing
What is the best way to find that partner with extensive healthcare industry experience and deep digital marketing knowledge? It’s by working with Content First Marketing, a leading provider of digital marketing services for healthcare practices across the country. We know what it takes for your practice to succeed and grow, and we’ll show you the clear data to prove that what we’re doing together is really working.
Do you want to learn more about how we can work together to build and grow your healthcare practice the right way? Schedule your free business review today.