Marketing for Doctors: The Do's and Don'ts of Medical Marketing
Today's consumer is spoiled for choice when it comes to the products and services they would wish to purchase. The medical field is no exception. Successful doctors are the ones who have acknowledged that marketing or advertising is an essential part of running their practice and have started using it in their favor.
With the U.S. healthcare expenditure expected to rise by 5.5% every year to get up to $5.7 trillion by 2026, visibility for healthcare practitioners is critical. One of the worst mistakes a medical practitioner can make is waiting for patients to come to them. The modern patient demands timely service and quality care. In this post, we share a few dos and don'ts for marketing your medical practice.
Have a vision and strategy
While it sounds obvious, most practices fail for lack of a vision and strategy. Start by defining what type of patients your practice serves. A clear vision and strategy ensure your target audience in a more personalized and authentic manner. The four main ways to define your target audience are behavior, demographics, geography, and psychographics. The more specific your target audience is, the better you can tailor your marketing campaigns to provoke a positive response.
Next, answer a few introspective questions such as:
Where do you envision your practice in five years?
What form of marketing will get you there?
Who will be on the marketing team? What will their roles be?
A good strategic marketing plan will help you evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, prospects, and risks. It should not only focus on implementing laid-out plans but also track results.
Have a budget
Now that you've established who your audience is and what strategy will reach them, you can set a realistic budget. Although some tactics might have immediate results, marketing is often an investment for long-term growth.
Make use of digital marketing materials
The fast-paced technological landscape can make implementing an effective marketing strategy feel like shooting at a moving target. Some of the most effective marketing materials include:
Having a website – about 85% of the households in the U.S. having a broadband internet subscription, it's easy to see why you need a digital space. Having a professional, engaging, and intuitive website legitimizes your business and adds to your credibility. By having a website, you have control over your brand's perception as you can tell your own story. A good website should have details, such as your contact details, employees' details and their qualifications, patient forms such as appointment schedules, and a chat plugin.
Social media – social media platforms provide you with an opportunity to interact with patients or your target audience in a fun and engaging manner. Use quality images whenever possible and link the social media content back to your website. Always respond professionally and ask those with medical issues to either contact you privately or schedule an appointment.
Content marketing – creating rich and patient-driven content is key to promoting your medical practice. Include published well-researched and referenced content on your blog, medical journal, or newsletter. You could also add a human touch to your content by creating short explainer videos for common queries.
Print media – for your online marketing campaign to be effective, you need to complement it with print media such as brochures and postcards.
Have a mobile-first mindset
According to recent research, about 97% of Americans own a cell phone, 85% of which are smartphones. As is the case with other industries, patients need access to care providers without having to make calls. A mobile-friendly site makes it possible for patients to schedule an appointment or fill prescriptions from anywhere.
Be truthful and honest
The information you share on your website or social media pages should be factual. You should use reliable sources of information, giving facts or statistics. Other than creating and sharing your content only, your audience may be interested in articles on industry news, new technologies, medical breakthroughs, and important research.
It is advisable that you avoid examples or testimonials that guarantee or promise specific results. Instead, use disclaimers such as "results may vary." Avoid all forms of competitive superiority.
Familiarize yourself with the law
The rules and regulations that govern medical marketing and advertising vary. Familiarize yourself with the local and state laws so that you can modify your marketing campaign to accommodate them.
Ask for reviews from your patients
As with other service industries, reviews of your medical practice have a huge influence on your online and offline reputation. Other than providing their feedback on your website and social media pages, ask your patients to give their reviews on third-party sites. As
Never offer discounts
You could be heavily penalized for offering discounts or coupons to entice new patients. Avoid using social media contests to offer free doctor visits. Besides this being a legal issue, offering such could create the illusion that you are unprofessional.
Do not reveal patients' information
HIPAA requires that medical facilities do not disclose patients' health information. You might want to discourage patients from taking photos in your facility as they might accidentally disclose such information should they post it online.
Do not view marketing as an expense
Your marketing plan should be a comprehensive game plan that is based on proven tactics and strategies. Your tactics need to be geared towards helping you develop a firm and long-lasting brand identity.
Don't talk only about yourself and your practice
Although it is important to highlight your expertise, experience, and skills, these will not set you apart as an authority in the industry. Marketing in the medical field is invaluable. However, it needs to take place within the legal confines. Adapting your practice to the modern patient is mandatory if you are to remain relevant.