Medical Marketing 101: Are You Branding Your Practice?
For better or worse, we're a nation of branding. Every consumer choice we make, from choosing our favorite cookies to our preferred doctors, is influenced heavily by brand.
When patients are looking for a doctor, the doctor's branding is what determines a patient's first impression. Every factor that goes into branding, from online/offline reputation to patient engagement, must be considered and manicured to maintain the most optimal brand possible.
The first question every doctor should ask themselves is: do I consider myself and my practice to be a brand?
Branding isn't just commissioning ads. Branding is the association that's attached to a practice and its practitioners. Everything - the diplomas on the wall, the friendliness of the staff, the effectiveness of the practice's adverts - determines branding for any given practice.
Marketing exercises like branding can seem like unnecessary legwork, but they're crucial in determining the ultimate success of a practice.
To lay the foundation of a good brand, a practice must look into a few common traits of a successful brand.
- Patient outreach and engagement - Doctors should consider how they're getting their name out there. In the case of outreach, the most effective methods vary between localities. However, there is one common theme: outreach has to be savvy in order to be effective. Effective messaging and targeting are behind every successful outreach campaign. The ads a doctor commissions for patient outreach, whether they're on a billboard or below the Google search bar, have a very deep effect on how patients perceive that doctor's branding.
- Technological savvy - SEO and online advertising are powerful tools to promote outreach. In the age of instant communication and results, doctors have to consider updating their practice's online presence. Becoming literate in today's super-connected online world is a huge advantage when it comes to constructing any brand.
- Patient experience - At the end of the day, branding comes down to experience. What will patients expect when they walk into a waiting room? What will they walk away with? Investing time and effort into ensuring a good experience can go a long way into coalescing a good brand. Keeping one ear on online reputation sites such as Yelp can give valuable information on how to tailor the patient experience.