When you’re beginning to market your practice, the amount of to-dos can feel so overwhelming that you’re not even sure where to begin. That’s why some practices rarely, or inconsistently, implement a marketing plan.
Don’t panic - you don’t have to do everything to achieve your marketing goals. Focused effort in a few key areas can make a huge difference. Here are some of the tried-and-true methods that can take your practice to the next level.
1. Understand Your Brand
Effective marketing begins with a strong, well-defined brand. Your brand goes beyond colors, fonts and website design; it’s about your story, identity and perception as a practice. It’s the thing that makes you stand out in a sea of competitors. Your brand also helps you determine who your ideal patients are, and how you serve them. When you know these factors, it’s much easier to create a marketing plan that works.
2. Build a Successful Website
A website doesn’t have to be complicated to be successful. It’s more about the patient experience, and how easy it is to navigate your site. If potential patients get lost when they come to your site or can’t find what they need quickly, they are likelier to click away and check out a competitor’s site. Think like your patients and keep the user experience at the center of your website design.
3. Create a Blog
A consistently updated blog on your website accomplishes a few different things.
First, it boosts your site on search engines. When potential patients ask a question online, your blog might pop up as the answer. The more you blog, the more chances you have to rank for targeted keywords in search engines.
Second, blogging allows you to position yourself as an expert, and builds potential patients’ trust in you even before they talk to you. If a website visitor trusts and appreciates your content online, they are likelier to turn to you when they need a physician.
And last, a blog gives you content to share to social media that links back to your site. Sharing on social media is important, but so is drawing visitors to your site. By creating content on your site first and then sharing it to your social channels, you can engage with your followers while connecting them to your site.
4. Get Social
Like we just mentioned, social media does matter. But some practices fall into the trap of trying to be everywhere right away, which leads to burnout and inconsistency.
For a better approach, look at the branding exercises you’ve done. Who are your ideal patients, and where do they hang out online? Focus there first, maybe sticking with one or two social media sites to get started. From there, you can come up with a posting scheduling that works for you, and build on it when you can.
5. Claim Your Local Listing
Claiming your Google Business Profile listing is an easy way to help your business show up on searches. It also allows you to include information like your phone number, hours, location, and other information that patients want to have quick access to.
6. Maximize Reviews
According to a RepuGen survey, 81 percent of patients use online reviews to choose a healthcare provider. Clearly, reviews are a major part of a patient’s decision process, and you should maximize them as much as possible. Make it simple for your patients to leave reviews. Send them follow-up emails, texts or automated phone calls after their visit allowing them to leave a quick review. The more accessible you make the review process for your patients, the easier it will be to accumulate those reviews for your online listing.
7. Start a Newsletter
If a newsletter sounds intimidating, don’t worry; it can be as simple as you want it to be. The goal isn’t to put out long, in-depth newsletter emails every week (unless you want to.) Instead, a newsletter provides you with a way to directly speak to your current and potential patients, and give them a way to respond. Because of that, it can be a more casual outlet, where you share wellness tips, practice updates, introduce members of your team, and share anything else that your readers might want.
8. Improve SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, encompasses all of those online things that boost your visibility. That would include blogging, social media, your business listing, keyword optimization on your website, and more. If your practice is not showing up when people search for you, improving your SEO can help dramatically.
9. Build Your Network
Marketing extends beyond the online world. When you’re working with local patients, getting involved with others in your community can be a major source of business for your practice. Connect with other physicians, schools, workplaces, mental health care professionals and others in the area who could recommend your services. These connections can be essential as your practice grows, so it’s worth reaching out and introducing yourself.
10. Get Involved In Your Community
Getting to know other professionals in your community is important, but so is showing up and getting involved. You could volunteer to write something for the local paper or magazines, volunteer for speaking engagements, or sponsor a booth at local festivals.
Getting more visible in your community can really make a difference in your practice’s exposure, so don’t assume it’s all about online marketing efforts. A combination of both can expand your reach and effectively draw in new leads that will ultimately help your practice grow.