In today's world of constant connectivity, organizations of all types need to be seen and heard to grow.
And it's no different for medical practices. If you want to increase your visibility so patients can find you, you have to be willing to jump into marketing. But where do you start?
The idea of marketing your practice can be overwhelming since there are so many different approaches to try. The key is to take it one step at a time. If you're thinking about creating a marketing strategy for your practice, let these top medical practice marketing tips and considerations serve as your guide.
1. Decide on key branding elements.
Before your practice can make a splash, you need to nail down the visual elements of your brand. Choose a professional color palette, logo, and practice name that differentiate you from similar practices in your area. Then use those elements across all your marketing efforts to create brand recognition. Consistent, repetitive branding can go a long way in bringing awareness to your practice.
There's an old rule in marketing called the Rule of Seven, and according to this rule, potential patients need to to see and hear your message at least seven times before it resonates and they take action. Branding is an important piece of that puzzle.
2. Create a responsive website.
If you want to compete with other practices in your area, you must have an effective marketing website. What does that mean? Your site should clearly define your services, including what types of medical professionals you employ, what diagnoses you treat, and what procedures you offer. It should also include helpful and relevant health information that answers patient questions.
Roughly 80% of internet users have searched online for a health-related topic, and strong website content can help you rank in traditional and voice searches. You should also ensure visitors can quickly find what they need to request an appointment or get more information.
3. Start an email newsletter.
Email is a powerful way to build an audience and get word out about your practice. Over 90% of U.S. customers use email daily, so your target audience is likely checking email regularly. With an email list, you can easily reach out to that audience multiple times to stay top of mind (which goes back to the Rule of Seven).
Additionally, sending out a regular email newsletter provides an outlet for educating people on relevant healthcare topics and trends, sharing staff updates, and promoting special services or discounts. Add a newsletter signup form to your website, emails, and other marketing to start building your email list.
4. Get on social media.
If you feel like a small fish in a big pond, social media is a great way to elevate your brand. More than two billion people across the globe regularly interact with social media sites, so having a successful social media strategy can be an important differentiator for your practice. Social media sites create real-time connection points with patients (think live videos and stories) and provide a relatively easy way to organically promote your practitioners and services.
The top social channels for healthcare content distribution are Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. You can also take advantage of location-based targeting with paid social ads and offer special deals on low-priced services to introduce people to your practice.
5. Network, network, network.
Networking can have a powerful impact on your practice. Referrals are often the backbone of a private practice, but there are don't follow up on specialist referrals. Partnering with colleagues in other specialties can help you create a successful referral loop that increases your patient acquisition.
Joining various community groups, like your local Chamber of Commerce, can also bring awareness to your practice. The Chamber receives hundreds of relocation requests each year that include new residents looking for a referral to a local doctor. Clubs like Kiwanis and Lions also provide an opportunity to build trust with community members and grow your practice because people prefer to do business with those they know and trust.
Other Important Considerations
As you begin navigating the waters of medical practice marketing, there are two critical pillars you cannot ignore.
Word-of-mouth referrals are the #1 patient acquisition source for most successful practices. What's more, half of all word of mouth happens online, which means online reviews play an essential role in reputation management. In fact, positive online reviews can enhance the performance of other marketing efforts, including paid, social, and SEO.
If your practitioners are prioritizing patient experience, your marketers should be promoting the positive experience. The first step is to claim your practice and provider profiles online with Google My Business, Bing, Healthgrades, etc., which allows you to monitor and maintain your reputation.
Pro Tip: Automate the collection of positive reviews through patient satisfaction surveys. You can set up logic that automatically presents a review link to any patients who give high satisfaction ratings on the survey.
You are likely well aware of the privacy standards set by HIPAA, but you may not have considered how HIPAA affects your marketing. If you post images, videos, and other content on your social media profiles and website, you are at risk of HIPAA violations. Be sure to check your HIPAA compliance blind spots and verify that your content doesn't inadvertently disclose private patient information. It's also important to get formal consent if you are using patient images or testimonial videos in your marketing.
Pro Tip: Embed HIPAA compliant online forms on your site to streamline data collection for appointment requests, information requests, and more. These forms have added security features to reduce risks and customizable styling features to match your branding.
Need help organizing your medical practice marketing strategy?
It can be difficult to keep everything organized and on-track when pulling together a marketing strategy. Use this medical practice marketing plan template to create a strategic marketing plan that helps your team achieve major marketing goals. Get it now for free!