With most of the world moving their marketing efforts online, it would be a wise decision to invest in a digital presence for your business as well. Of the patients surveyed, 77% use online tools before deciding which medical practitioner or hospital to choose for their treatment. The speed that these tools, social networks, and Internet search tools are developing and evolve is even faster than the technologies and breakthroughs that happen in the medical world.
You probably already have a website or online profile for your medical business, but are you seeing the results you desire? Are you using it to your full potential? What would happen to your business if you had a professional website to promote your practice and the online social media presence to connect with the community? What if your patients could get the information and forms they needed from your website instead of calling the office?
Here is our marketing list of the medical business 10 “must-have’s”.
1. Brand Yourself – Be Consistent
It used to be enough to have a listing in the yellow pages and a crisp business card to market your business. Now people want to see your social profiles, search engine results, and local professional directories. It is important that your information remains consistent so that patients can relate your logo and website to you. Each time they find you, they should remember seeing the same information before and have more confidence that you are an authority in your field. Using multiple websites and logos can be confusing and can appear non-professional.
2. Put your best foot forward
Having a professionally designed logo is great! It’s a wonderful thing to put on letterhead or embroider on a shirt. However, people are coming to see you because they want to see YOU. Take the time to get a professional headshot done at a studio. Use the same headshot in your marketing, publications, and listings so people will remember you (see #1). People are much more likely to connect and, therefore, trust you based on seeing your picture rather than the name of your business in a fancy font.
3. First level customer support
People expect businesses to have a website which can answer some of their standard questions. Include the official name of your practice, your phone number, address, location, hours, what services you offer, what services you DON’T offer, intake forms, post-op treatment guidelines and appointment setting tools. Each time a patient can get their answer from the website, it eliminates the need for a phone call and shows that you are invested in your technology.
4. Links – Be Resourceful
Include links to your professional organizations, helpful websites, your publications, your social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Having links from your website often leads to people finding you in return links and allows your patients to share your information with their friends and family.
5. Newsletters – Get the word out
In addition to sharing information on the social networks, you create an online newsletter for your patients. Let them know it is time for their flu shots. If there is an epidemic circulating in the news, you can let your patients know what is important to know and any actions they should take. By connecting with them via newsletters and social media, they will be reminded that you care for them and are available if they need your help.
6. More eyes = More potentials
If you have been on a train or bus recently, you will see people looking at their cell phones more than reading printed newspapers. People are more likely to get the news from their Facebook Friends or online sources over traditional news outlets. Did you know that approximately 25% of ALL internet traffic is from Facebook? You may not think it is relevant, but it is the new way for people to send recommendations to their network of friends. I would bet that more first-time patients are from friend referrals and not from an ad in a local circular. By leveraging social media, you become more visible to more people and allow people to market on your behalf.
7. Out of town? No limits
Having your website easy to find in the search engines, allows people worldwide to find you. It may not seem important, but more and more people are traveling to save money on expensive procedures. People are relying on out of town friends and relatives to help them do research on local doctors and facilities. By having a website with global reach, you are allowing people to know about you and what you have to offer ever if they are out of the area.
8. Less Expensive – Organic Growth
When you look at the reach that you have with online marketing, it is far more cost effective than traditional marketing when considering the cost to reach each person. With the help of a some highly targeted online advertisement, you can quickly drive people to your website. The next phase of marketing happens without any advertising dollars at all which is why it is called “Organic.” Search engines will start listing you at the top of the search results, and people will share your information with their friends which won’t cost you a dime, and you may see the results continue for months and even years to come.
8. Long-term Patients
If you offer procedures to patients, they might be happy with the results, and then do another search for doctors for their next procedure. If you provide “care” to your patients, and you have a pre-existing relationship, they will seek your advice for the next event. Make sure your marketing message reflects that you take care of your patients, not just their symptoms.
9. Distinguish yourself
If you decide you want to redecorate your bathroom, you first step will likely be to do an online search for contractors in the area. If you find a contractor that has a professionally designed website, a brand name that is easy to remember, a list of his certifications and professional organizations and a photo gallery of some of the bathrooms he has redecorated, how would that make you feel? Is it worth calling him? Be “That Doctor with the exceptional website”. You are worth it.
10. Be local
Google studies show that people mostly want results of businesses in their areas. A search for “Italian Restaurants” means that people desire to have Italian food IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD. Make sure you are listed in the local directories with your current address to be found on Google Maps, Waze, and other local business directories. If people aren’t mobile, location may be a huge factor, so being found on map searches could be key to being discovered.
Help your medical business reach it’s full potential by having a website that best represents you and hire a social media director so you can focus on your patients.