Business is changing for medical practices. Marketing for medical practices is becoming a necessity to help them find new patients. As a business, it’s something they need to do to avoid being swallowed by larger health systems.
Why Medical Practices Need Marketing
It wasn’t that long ago that becoming a physician was thought of as a high-paying and secure profession. Doctors were almost guaranteed a better-than-average income because of their expertise and the fact that patients would always be there.
But the business of medicine is transforming. The Affordable Care Act is bringing untold changes to the industry. In addition, independent physician groups are being absorbed by larger healthcare systems around the country. The medical groups that wish to retain their separation from these large corporations are finding that they need to do business differently than what they had done in the past.
To stay independent, they need to attract more patients. To do that, medical practices need marketing.
We Never Needed It Before…
Marketing was never something that physicians had to do, or particularly wanted to do. The idea of marketing and advertising does not sit well with some physicians, believing a profession such as theirs should not engage in demeaning sales activities.
In the past, referrals had been enough to sustain a practice, especially if those physicians were specialists. For these reasons, the idea of needing marketing is a bit alien to many in the profession. Those who have been practicing for any length of time may have the attitude that, “We’ve never needed it in the past, why do we need it now?”
The reality, though, is that medical practices are businesses. They need money from patients and their insurance providers to pay expenses and salaries of doctors, nurses and staff. To be able to do that, they need to attract patients just as any business needs to attract customers.
How Marketing Can Help
The successful practices are already doing it. Here’s how online marketing for medical practices can help.
- Get Found Online – Through a three-pronged approach that involves SEO, content and social media, your website has a better chance to be found in relevant searches. Ranking high and being found are the first steps to getting more website traffic, and more patients.
- Build Awareness – Having an active presence on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social sites lets consumers know that you exist and you are ready to serve them. Through a regular program of relevant posts, you will be able to build top-of-mind awareness for your medical practice.Engaging in social advertising, for as little as $5 per day, takes it to the next level. Advertising allows you to reach out to the patient demographics you want to attract.
- Be the Experts – Through blog articles and social media posts that explain what you do and how you do it, your practice can stake its claim as the go-to expert in your particular specialty. The medical profession has so much content that sharing helpful information is never a problem for specialists.
- Tell Your Story – Being active on your blog and social media allows your practice to tell its story. Let followers know about the physicians and staff in your practice. In this way, you humanize it and ultimately make it more attractable to potential patients.
- Differentiate Your Practice – For specialists, content marketing is especially important. Through social media posts and blogging, you can set yourself apart from the larger healthcare systems and your competition by writing about why you are different and a better choice. This will help you gain referrals and prompt patients to seek you out.
- Boost Your Search Rankings – Google rewards websites that add new content regularly. Blogging on your site lets Google’s algorithm know that you have authority in your specialty.Google also indexes certain social media sites when searches are conducted. The strategic use of these sites, along with regular bogging, will give you a boost in your search rankings.
Gone are the days when medical practices could sit back and wait for patients to come to them. Today, they must be proactive to attract new patients. That’s how they will survive.
Medical practices are businesses, in competition with each other and the larger healthcare systems. To win the battle for patients they need to differentiate themselves. To do that, they will need to adopt marketing strategies that help them stand out from the crowd. Want to learn how we’ve helped other medical practices? Call us at 513-237-5530.
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Bob Turner is a Digital and Social Media Marketing Consultant with Social Flair.