You thought patients would flood your doors when opened up your medical practice. 6 months down the line, you're barely scratching the surface.
It's like no one seem to be interested in what you offer. Sometimes, you wonder if people really have health problems. Opening a medical practice, meant that you'll finally be independent, charge your own rates and enjoy the practice.
If you've been struggling to get your medical practice running, there is good news. Instead of listing all the various ways you can market your medical practice, today I want you to focus only on 6 legitimate marketing strategy.
If you want to market effectively, you don't need to be a jack of all trades and master of none. You just need to focus on improving one aspect of marketing and until you master it. Then you can move to the next.
There are lots of people who would list 20 ways of marketing your medical practice without giving you a solid guidance on each of them. The following steps will help you a lot.
Get A Website
In a World where everybody knows "Googling" their way to right information. You need to have a website. There is no way you can operate without one in 2017.
In fact, patients are becoming more savvy. Before they visit you, they want to do a search on you. They want to find out if you have their ideal solution. They want to know the number of positive reviews that you have online. Do people trust you enough.
In fact, 80% of customers will trust something that they saw on Google than when they hear it from a trusted friend. In other words, head over to namecheap.com, buy a domain name and get hosting.
Take Advantage of Local SEO
A website is important for your website. If you can't market your website, it's like you are having a supermarket that people rely buy. The question is, how do you market your website on shoe string budget?
Simple. All you need is to take advantage of the local SEO. The following short steps will guide you on creating in winning local SEO ranking.
Step 0: Ensure Your NAP is consistent across all the directories you're listed on.
- Phone Number
ConstantContact did a survey and found out that 49% of business never update their listing online. In other words, it is common to find business with different names, email address and phone numbers. That makes it hard for clients to contact you. In case you change your phone number, you need to update it across the all the directories you're listed. Here is an exact example of how NAP looks like:
Arthur's NAP Dental Services
2384 North Street
Montana, C0 802749
Step 1: Get Reviews
If you have past clients, you can ask them politely to write reviews for your business. Good reviews make your medical practice standout. More importantly, they will increase the your conversion rate.
90% of online customers admit that reviews influence their purchasing decision. You need to make sure that most of your reviews that are coming from customers are positive. Even if you have one negative review, chances of that ruining your entire practice is high.
If you get a negative review from a customer, be cautious enough to respond or follow back on the customer. You not only want to ask for an apology, you want to make it up for them. You want them to come back again.
How do you get reviews from customers? Five ways:
- Ask patients to leave a review on Google or Yelp
- Create a dedicated review page on your site
- Create an email signature link directing patients to leave a review.
- Writing an apology to customers who write bad review.
- Giving customers discount when they post a review.
Step 2: Claim Your Google Listing
Chances are, you're losing clients because you have not yet claimed your Google listing. Google listing allows you to manage your medical practice online. Let me explain.
Head over to Google and search for "dentist." What do you see on the first page of Google. You may or not see ads. But what will catch your attention is the listing of nearby dental places in the neighbourhood.
People that list their business on Google, will get more traffic and more customers than those who don't.
To get better results, you must work hard so that you're at least in the first 3 spots that Google gives local business.
To do that, head over to Google.com/business. Click on the button that says "Get on Google". Then you log in with your Google account if you have one.
Search for the name of your medical practice, if you found it the claim it. If not, click on add your business. Key in the main information about your business in the listing.
Google will send you a postcard to verify your business. If you have verified your business. You need to upload high quality images that will show up in the Google listing.
In fact, hire a celebrity photographer to take stunning photos of your places. Have as many photos as possible.
Step 3: Add maps
When people search your services, they are also looking for a direction. How far or near is the places from where they are. To make it easier for the clients, create Google maps for your business.
The maps make it easier for people to find you. It would be appropriate to have maps because 86% of people, check maps to find where business are located.
Local Search Engine
Create time to make sure that your business is listed in many relevant local business directories. Google, Yahoo and Bing crawl on those directories to update their information and validate citation.
In other words, a website needs to have been listed in the local business directories have a higher chance of getting indexed and gain rankings. As a medical practitioner, you want to take advantage of local search engines. Here are a few local search engine you can get started with:
Bing Places for Business
Bing is the third largest search engine on the planet as from 2013. It is just a matter of time before it takes the position two. When you're building your medical practice, you want to be everywhere your competitor has never thought about.
For instance, Bing is the most forgot search engines by most marketers. To be ahead, you need to be on Bing. Here are the steps on how you can get a listing from bing.
Visit BingPlaces.com and click on the get started. Here is a screenshot on how the home page looks like
You can either claim your existing business or you can add your business if not listed. You'll have to enter information about your business .
Manage your listing. In this step, you'll receive the PIN number to enable you to start listing your business.
Yelp for business owners
Early on, I talked about being getting a review from Yelp. However, you need to be listed on Yelp, before you can get a review from there. Yelp is a social network, user reviews and local search web site.
In other words, it is a site that helps people to find cool places to eat, drink, shop, relax or even hang out. If your medical practice is not listed on Yelp, you're leaving free traffic on the table. Here are the three step process to get started
Visit yelp and create a free account now. Then search for your medical practice. If not available, then create a listing.
You need to fill out the required information
Wait for 24 to 48 hours to get an email confirmation link from YELP Team showing that your business has been listed online.
Verify your business. A representative from Yelp will call you and give you certain codes for you to enter. Once the calls ends, your company could now have been listed.
As of the time of writing, Merchant circle has 1.7 million local businesses. What started as an online marketplace is now an engaging platform that brings lots of traffic to both small and medium-sized business. More importantly, the merchant circle offers local business services for its visitors. Here is how to create a merchant circle account.
Head over to merchantcircle.com and create an account. Once there, you have to choose am a merchant in order to list your business.
Add your medical practice
Once there, you'll have to specify your business name, phone number, street address zip code and website.
You have three merchantcircle listing places. Merchant circle provides you with three listing: Standard, premium and premium with MC. The standard is the basic option.
Another option may cost money and it may be worth to pay if you want to give your medical practice a little bit of exposure. For instance, if you choose the premium with MC. A merchantcircle representative will have to call you after you've filled down your information on the best possible way to help you.
Verification process. You'll receive an email notification for your to confirm your account
Before the internet, there was a yellow page. Although it is quite odd, believe me, today people still search for businesses on the Yellow Page. Because it is neglected, not most people would want to use it. Yellow page has their online version, you can use that to your advantage.
Yellow page gives you two listing options, you can either choose the free option or the paid listing. The free option is perfect for medical practice. You don't have to pay premium unless you really want. Here are the steps to creating a yellow page account:
Enter basic business information. You need to fill out your name, contact email and choose the category for your business.
Provide business details. In this section, you'll need to have a clean professional photo. You will need to fill out your business name, the email address, website URLa and the payment methods that you accept.
Sign up. Once you have finished providing the detail information, you'll need a yellow page account to complete or edit the listing. If you have an existing account, you can sign to complete the process
Verification process .It is the final stage. The yellow page team will call you through your business number to complete the whole process
Yahoo listing on Yahoo.
It is the second largest powerful search engines. There are people that still use Yahoo, a listing from Yahoo can get you on the edge. Like I said, not most, medical practitioners will utilize these marketing gems.
Listing on Yahoo is a little bit complicated if you don't know what you're doing. Here is a 4 step from that simplifies the things:
Head over to Yahoo and search for business. You'll see a section that says " add or update your business listing. If you don't see it, click this link it will help: http://www.yext.com/
Step 2 :
Key in the details of your business information and click " Find my listings." Don't be afraid if you see a page powered by yext or see error "rating". Just click on continues
Complete the page and don't forget to use the name, address and phone number of your medical practise
Yext then will provide you with a paid plan to compete your business listing on Yahoo.
A great way for people to get to know your practice, is listing it in the health citation. Most of these health directories have millions of visitors. My job is to help you tap into these visitors. Even if you have 50 clients from any of these health directories, that can be a huge boosts to your practice.
More important, is the SEO boost that you get when your website is listed on these healthcare directories. Some health care directories will serve as a knowledge pool for patients.
In other words, they provide lots of details about the doctors and areas of their specialties. What is more, is the number of reviews that these doctors have, which establishes trust.
Here are some health care situations and brief explanation on what you do to take advantage. Here are a few health directories that you can get listed on:
The Healthgrades has over million patient users. More importantly, they serve patients with doctors information. The patients also have the opportunity to write a post-appointment notes/reminder.
Imagine patients contacting you on these sites asking about your availability and what you can do to help them. Keep in mind that having a strong presence on healthcare grades is important. In case you encounter any negative feedback, please follow and address the patient according.
If possible, ask the patient to come back again for a free treatment. Here is how you can create a strong presence on healthcare grades.
Head over to healthgrades and create an account. Make sure to upload a professional cleaner looking photo. For best results, let a celebrity photographer take a photo of you. Please have multiple photos at least 20.
Invite your past clients to leave a review on healthcare grades. Patients who have had a better experience with you are more likely to leave a review on healthcare grades. To make it easier for you, Health grades allows practitioners to embed a link to their site. They also offer a card to a patient
Monitor your rating.Like I said earlier, you need to monitor your rating. Don't let any patient ruin your reputation. If you get negative feedback, ask the patient how you could make it up to them.
Vitals.com is similar to healthcare grades. The vitals website ranks high on the search engines, and this makes it a better target for medical marketing.
Unlike healthcare grades, vitals includes physicians, educational background, liability claims and insurance data sources. Vitals emphasis largely on the patient's reviews. Here is a how to get started with vitals.
Click to get started
Provide details of your medical practice information
Verification process. This is the final step, where you need to verify your information. You'll receive an email confirmation link.
RateMDs is a web-based tool that allows anyone to publish a comment about a physician. The website provides for minimal oversight, post tags and categories. If you have a medical practice, you're free to register it on RateMDs.
If you provide excellent services, chances are customers will give you a good rating that could be the "hallmark of your profession". The scoring, ranges from 0 up to 5. Most importantly, rateMDs.com list information about local specialist near the patient's home. Here is how you can take advantage of this:
Head over to rateMDs.com and open an account with them
Provide them with detailed information including your medical practice.
It is not a review medical website like others but it offers a better way for patients to book appointments with the specialists that they want to see. In other words, the main focus on ZocDoc is helping patients to book appointment with doctors.
ZocDoc is not everywhere. Before you create an account, you may need to check whether ZocDoc provides that service in your area. Here are the steps to make your profile stand out.
Clean, professional looking photos. Have you ever heard of the saying,'' don't judge a book by its own cover.''
Sorry folks, people still judge others based on their appearance. How do you stand out, call celebrity photography, let him take a photo of your working area, the photos of you. Let him edit. Then upload as many photos as possible into zocdoc
Fill out your professional information. Fill out your schedule, hospital affiliations and others.
Professional statement. A lot of people will leave it out these sections. Or just fill the words to pass out time. Here you need to give the patients the reason why they should book an appointment with you instead of another physician.
If you're not a wordsmith, you may need to hire a copywriter to craft a compelling slogan for you. A statement that stands out will make you close clients
If you have not known, most review medical review website like Healthgrades, ZocDoc and Vitals, tend to attract high-net worth clients. In other words, patients that have a net worth of more than $100,000 per year.
CareDash was designed to serve that low-income earner seeking for medical assistance and help. Or that patients that have no insurance cover and can't cough out lots of money for medical.
Unlike other sites, CareDash focuses solely on what patients have to say about you, rather what you have to say about your practice.
What makes it different is that it prides itself on providing helpful reviews and resources to these patients. If you are starting out, you may need to create an account with CareDash and reap the benefit of free traffics.
Create a Facebook fan page
Want to interact with your audience, go where they are. Go social. Your audience may not have the time to send personal email to you, but they are eager to leave you, messages or comments on Facebook.
Most people that have Facebook fan page have engaged audience. Here are the steps to create a robust online profile for your fan page.
Use keywords that you want to medical practice to be identified with. Be creative and use as many keywords as possible. For instance, if you run a clinic in a Texas, you can clinic in Texas.
Claim your vanity url. Facebook gives the options of claiming your url, which resembles a web address(www.facebook.com/your business). A url like this gives your Facebook a professional page and a branded feel. If you don't change your url, it will include random numbers, letters and special characters.
Get reviews. If you want your business to stand out, invite clients to write reviews on your web pages. All you need is to ask loyal customers to leave an honest review in exchange for a discount. It may look like you're bribing them, but you need your practice to grow. And the only way to use your review is to market your practice.
Features are important. In fact, features earn you credibility and trust. The only way to get features are to write a guest post to popular sites that get that have millions of followers. For instance, if you publish your medical opinion on a site like Forbes, the Huffington post, Washington post and USA today, chances are you will receive visitors.
After you have received a features, all you need is to take the Forbes logo or their badge and include in your website. You can that tell your audience that you have been featured in such publication. Here are the steps to get published on big sites.
Find a popular problem or a solution that you think your patients care about. If you can't brainstorm, you can hire a writer to do that work for you.
Write down at least 20 topics before pitching the editors.
Pitch the editors about the topic that you have in mind. If they give you a go ahead, you can then publish your popular posts.
Create Explainer Video
Have you heard of explainer video? If not, they are the future of video and they are changing the way people use video marketing. An explainer video is simply a video that explains or describe what your medical practice does in simple language. Most business use explainer video for three reasons:
- To increase their email, click through rates
- To raise understanding of their business
- To condense 2 million words into a one-minute pitch
You too, can use explainer video to gain those three benefits. Here are a three steps to creating an explainer video for your medical practice.
Step 1: Writer Useful Killer Script
A killer script the backbone of an explainer video. Without a moving script, your effort is wasted. All you need is hiring a writer that with a great specialist in these areas.
Step 2: Choose your animation style
They are 4 animation style that you can choose for your explainer video. You have the options to choose from the following:
- Doodle marker style
- Infographic style
- Clear graphic style
- Video block style
Step 3: Record your voice over
After you've created your animation, then thing is to find or create your own voice over. If you don't have a clear or an appealing voice, you can hire a voice over artist.
There is a philosophy in the medical world, a physician doesn't need to market their service. If you have searched mentality, you're leaving a lot of money on the table. In 2017 and beyond, patients are savvy, because they shell out their cash, they will take a look on your first.
That's where email marketing comes in, you need to send out regular email to educate your patients on what is happening in the medical fraternity.
Patients want to be in the know. If you have news about a new cholera drug or malaria pneumonia drug, you can alert the patient.
As a doctor, you have a wealth of information, why don't you take the chance to educate your patient on healthy living and drug safety. You don't need to wait for the patients to be sick, that is when you're ready to share with them.
If you share news and ideas inform of the blog post to your patient, any time there are sick, they will remember you, I promise you that. Look at draxe, for instance, he has an ebook where patients can subscribe to get free ebook.
Cheap Paid Social Ads
A million blog posts are published every single day. Chances are, only 20% of this post will ever receive traffic. The rest, which are 80% will go unnoticed, maybe buried deep on the 100th page of Google. That means as a medical practitioner, you need to find smart ways of getting your blog post noticed.
The question is, how do you stand out in the sea of noise? How do you get your post noticed. The best way is for you, advertise on social media.
Before you say anything, it will cost you less the amount of money. Leave the big marketing budget for the big business. When you're running social ads, you need to target new audiences who may not have heard about you.
The main reason, why you are writing a blog post is to get traffic. Or to let other people know about you. Here is how you can take advantage of cheap social ads using Facebook.
Go to facebook ad manager and fill in the required information.
When asked for the type of ads to choose. Choose carousel ads. They are cheap and gold mine. Carousel ads allow you to display lots of blog posts on a single ad.
In other words. Instead of running a single blog post on an ad, you a running 10 or even 20 at the same time without increasing your ads cost.
This way, you give your patient a chance to read the blog post that appeal to them. With time, you'll get smart and discover the most pressing issues this patient have. And this will make you write similar posts to address your patients' concerns.
Get Featured On Google Rich Snippet
As for 2016, Google as a rolled out something called "Google rich snippet." A rich snippet is a simple section that contains the frequent questions that people ask. For instance, when a person Googles, the term, " how to treat pneumonia?" on search. Chances are, they may be interested in questions such as
How do you get rid of pneumonia?
What is the best antibiotic to treat pneumonia?
Can you die from Pneumonia?
You get the picture. Now let's head over to Google and check out the question people ask for when we Google the term, How to cure pneumonia, here is the screenshot of the rich snippet.
How do you come up with a rich snippet for your site. Simple, the following steps will assist you.
Decide on the type of rich snippet that you want to use. They are three types of rich snippet that get featured on Google: Paragraph, list and Tables
The next step is to brainstorm the questions that you think your patient will ask. You may use a keyword tool like Semrush. Semrush has a section where you can check out your competitors rich snippet.
You can look up to see how they're framing the questions. The next tool you can use is answer the public. It almost every question imaginable that you can use to come up with ideas to create a rich snippet
The best rich snippet has like 40 to 50 words. When you want to rank, you need to limit your word count to 50 words or less.
Make sure that you rich snippet has a professional photo on it. Photos draws people to read your snippet. Your photos need to be optimized.
Tap Into Instagram
I know it sound a bit odd to use Instagram for your medical practice. In fact, you may think that it's a bit odd that people who want to share it. The fact is instragram is the second largest social media network in the United States. In fact, statistics who that it will have over 111.6 million users by 2020. That's 40% of the internet users.
What do those numbers mean for you? It means that you need to tap it to grow your business. Now you may be wondering what kind of images can you share on instagram. Everything, as long as your post doesn't contain nude images.
For instance, you can share photos of you, your staff, your work place, your equipment, your patients, the examination room, the surgical room, even drugs. If you're chickening out from using instagram look at Dr. Lisa Long, the images of her post.
Other notable doctors that use instagram on their advantages include: Dr. Myron Rollei, Dr. Sandra Lee, Dr. ATl. You can follow them to find inspiration on how you can use instagram to take your practice to the next level.
That's not all. You can also use Instagram ads to give your brand a heavy boost. There 4 types of ads that you can create on instagram:
- Photos ads,
- Video Ads
- Slideshare Ads
- Carousel adds.
You won't break the bank advertising on the instragram. It will only cost you $10 or $5 a day. In a month, you could have spent around $300 with a better ROI. Make sure to do a caption for the ad. Every caption on instagram usually includes around 300 characters. You can use that space to say something about what you're advertising and how it helps your patients.
With over 328 million users, Twitter is something that you should take advantage of. And you definitely, don't need to have a large following before you start tweeting. You can start slowly and let the followers grow organically. A lot depends on how active you're.
Instead of tweeting them every time of the day, you can schedule your tweets to go at different times of the day. There are lots of twitter automation out there like Hootsuite's that lets you manage your tweets in places.
Then you can follow up later on the day, to find out what has been happening. Most importantly, you can also use twitter advanced search for your advantage to find out the questions, problems and concerns people are having.
Some patients will tweet to find a solution to problems that they are having. Since most doctors follow hashtags, it becomes easier to find to give a recommendation.
Maybe you're asking yourself, how do you go about it. You can search for keywords related to your industries, then add a question mark at the end. Twitter will then bring out lots of tweets containing that keyword search phrase.
Create viral infographics.
It is not secret that your patients love data. Not just, your patients, people everywhere love to consume data, statistics, facts, numbers. And infographics are better ways of helping to simplify information to them.
Are you aware that 90% of the information that you consume are visual. That's because the brain like to grasp visual content better than text.
And there's no better way of creating visual content rather than having infographics for your medical practice. Here are the two steps process that you need to create a compelling infographic for your medical practice
Find data source. The key thing in creating a popular infographic is finding reliable data. How do you find a good date. Well, first, you have to find what kind of data has been published in your industry. What has gone viral in the past? Then ask yourself how you can come up with good dates.
For instance, if you're a dentist, you can head over to Google and search for " dentist infographics". Google will show you the most popular infographics. You can also use the Buzzsumo. Head over there and filter out infographics then searches for your industry term.
Buzzsumo will highlight the infographics based on the number of shares, tweet and likes the post have. Once you've studied the 20 best infographics, it is time to crunch out numbers and figure what you can do to make yours better.
You can also carry out a survey using surveymonkey and come out with something original. Whatever data you compile it has to be something that patient care about and will give them a reason to view your site.
Finding the right designers for the project. Once you have the right data. You need to invest in a good designer. You can use tools like Dribbble and Behance to find the designer for your project. All you need is create an account using one of those sites.
Then, using the keyword, infographics, you can search the designs. You'll see different designers based on likes, comments and favorites. The designers that have the most comments, likes and favorites are the best guys in the field and have lots of respects from their fellow designers.
Another way to go about this, is through a content on sites like 99designs, where you can host contents, then you can choose the winner of your project.
Publication and Promotion. Once you infographic is ready, you can publish it your own sites. Don't be the guy that creates something awesome and leave it sitting there hoping somebody will find it. Invest a little money and time to promote the infographics.
You can do email outreach your fellow doctors that have a large following to tweet or share it with their patients. You can also promote your infographics using Facebook ads, twitter ads and instagram ads.
Get Video Testimonials
Testimonials are the bread and butter for your medical practice. In fact, testimonial are marketing tool for your business. Dr. Jeffrey Donaldson does a good job with testimonial on his site.
At the end of each session with a client. Or, after the client has fully recovered it is perfect to ask them for a testimonial. More importantly, if you can get them talking on video narrating how you help them, it will be marvelous.
When conducting a testimonial, you need to prepare questions that form the basis of the testimonial like:
- Why did you decide to come up to me for this surgical operation?
- What happened after I solved the problem for you?
After that you can publish this testimonial on your site or embedded them in your email signature. Doing that alone will get you lots of clients.
Publishing Cornerstone Content
You need to have a blog on your website. The purpose of a blog is to educate the readers. The more information you give out on your blog.
You'll be perceived as an expert when you publish articles on your sites. All you need is to publish one post per month or one per week.
Before creating content, make sure that you have the following things:
- An incentive to offer clients in exchange for an email address.
- An email marketing service provider
To gain traffic, you can ask local blogs to feature you. All you need is to create a nice article that would be suited for that audience. If you build relationship with other successful medical practitioners with blogs, they will in future refer some of their clients to you.
In other words, when you're building a relationship with fellow blogger, see them as allies that want to see you succeed. If you blog to a medical organization, you can ask them to feature your blogs. Or ask them the criteria they use to feature blogs on their website.
Hiring Marketing Experts
Chances are you're overwhelmed with all the tactics that I have written here. Well, if you want to spend your time with your patient instead of figuring out every marketing loophole in the planet, you need to invest in a marketing expert or agency.
A market expert specialized in healthcare marketing service, will give you an edge. And all you'll be doing is spending your time helping patients recover well. If you don't have the budget, create time. You don't have to do all things in one sitting. For instance, I didn't write all these materials in one sitting, it was a week's sitting.
If you're looking for a marketing expert, check out the number of healthcare companies he has worked for. You can also check the sample project he has done the past, to get a feeling of the work. If you're looking for results, then you'll check for the case study documenting the success stories their clients have. Winning in the healthcare market is easy.
In fact, if you only applied a tiny fraction of what I have written, you will get a boost. But if you want to dominate your local market, then you need to create time or hire market expert, document a strategy that you'll use to throw your competitor out of the window. Marketing in health care has just got easy.
How To Use This Information
I have told you lots of things that you can do to get customers or market your dental practice. This information may look overwhelming for you to implement everything at once.
First, you need to have a plan. Spare one week to do each of the following tasks including the steps that I have described. You can plan your work as follows:
- Week 1: Buying a domain name and hosting account.
- Week 2: Getting listed on Google
- Week 3: Creating a Google map
If you follow that rule of doing one thing at a time you'll find success.
If you implemented even 10% of what I have suggested, chances are you'll get results. However, I am not advocating that you get lazy and do little. If you're serious about building your medical practice, you'll do whatever it takes to market and make it a success.