Your Basic Medical Marketing Tools (And How to Use Them)
Becoming the most prestigious practice in your metro is more than your certifications and reputation. You need to be the first name that pops up when someone is thinking about getting a consultation or a diagnosis. You need to drive your practice's image throughout your entire locality.
In other words, you need to market your practice. In today's world, this means using a few digital tools to spread the word. Blogs, social media, email marketing, online advertising, they're all very useful ways to underline your prestige in the eyes of your future patients.
When you're about to embark on your medical marketing campaign, you should know the proper methodology behind each marketing tool.
Blogs are a great way to establish thought leadership, which establishes your expertise in the minds of all who stumble upon it. It's the best way to serve fresh content that engages potential patients. By maintaining a blog that serves useful content, you're effectively becoming THE medical expert that patients can consult for solid medical advice.
Of course, if you're not a natural writer, it's probably best to outsource your blog to a good content specialist with experience in healthcare. A good writer is a good investment, because it's very important to have a consistent source of fresh content in order to maintain a good blog. A good blog is an asset, but a bad one can be a waste of resources and may even hurt your reputation in the long run.
2. Social Media
Become savvy with Twitter and Facebook. This doesn't mean that you have to pour hours into a social network and post updates every ten minutes. Social media's real strength is creating conversation. It's an extremely efficient and viral way to engage current and potential patients.
The main problem behind social media is knowing what content to publish. You can't expect instant engagement by posting your favorite articles from your preferred health journals. It takes time to develop a sense of social media. Each doctor is in front of a different audience, but if you can figure out which content is most likely to stir conversation, then social media becomes your own personal pulpit.
Plus, patients really appreciate genuine responses and feedback to their questions in real time. Social media offers that kind of connection between doctors and patients on a widespread scale.
3. Online Advertising
Quite possibly the farthest reaching medical marketing tool in the box, but it can also be the most expensive.
Online advertising can reach a mass of patients that wouldn't be touched otherwise. These days, you can specifically target the ads so that they'll only show up to patients who live in your area.
But of all the basic marketing tools discussed here, this one is easily the most expensive.
There are two ways to run a successful online campaign: be smart with your budget, and don't hesitate to experiment with EVERYTHING.
Determine the amount of money you'd like to set aside for an online ad campaign. Then, play around with your ads by switching out photos and copy, and be sure to keep an eye out on the best performing ad campaigns.
Above all, make sure that budget stays consistent until you've found a method that works.
4. Email Marketing
Email marketing can be immensely effective in promoting your practice, but it's the trickiest one out of the four.
Your email address isn't just a way to reach out to specific patients. When it's done right, your email address is like having a coat-of-arms. People will pay more attention to an email being sent by a certified doctor, especially if that email was to provide helpful and easily digestible healthcare content.
Emails are short, sweet blasts that have the power to immediately engage your patients and get them into your lobby.
Creating a newsletter through emails can be tough. Today's spam laws require all businesses, medical or otherwise, to maintain a certain etiquette when it comes to sending email blasts. The patients must agree to receive these medical marketing emails, so you can't just blast all of your patients with your latest promo. The patients must be free to unsubscribe from your medical marketing emails, which requires you to install ways to remove patients from your mailing list.
Which is why we highly recommend using a third-party email system (we recommend something easy-to-use like MailChimp) to send your blasts.
If you're not a strong writer, I suggest hiring a freelance copywriter to handle your emails. Emails that are too long-winded or too technical are much less likely to be opened. So make sure you screen potential writers that specialize in concise, punchy, and informative content, which is the most effective when sending emails.
Hopefully this primer can give you a good sense of what you have to work with. Think of medical marketing as a toolbox to build the infrastructure of your brand. Use the right tools to get the results that you want.
Be mindful of the resources that you have, and don't think you absolutely need to have a blog, a social networking account, online adverts, and emails running at the same time. Invest your time and energy in the tools that can give you the best results, and eventually, you'll have a great brand that'll naturally attract the patients you want into your waiting room.