The nature of how patients find a new doctor has changed drastically, with more than half of all consumers searching online. Of those, about half of consumers also visit a healthcare provider website during their search.
Additionally, 77 percent of consumers reported “always” or “regularly” reading online reviews to search for a new practice.
What this means for your practice is that your online presence matters, and it helps you draw in new clients. Here are 10 ways you can use your website and marketing strategy to grow your practice:
1. Hone in on Your Brand Distinction
What would make someone choose your practice over another? Your brand distinction is that thing that sets you apart from the competition, and capitalizing on it can help you bring in new, aligned patients. Your Brand is made up of your Brand Promise (what you say you’ll do) and your Brand Purpose (why you do what you do), paired with your Brand Performance (what your patients and prospective patients actually experience).
2. Know Your Ideal Patient
Knowing who your ideal patient is is the foundation of a successful marketing plan. Without knowing who you’re trying to reach, your marketing efforts can miss the mark. But when you get specific, you can attract new clients quickly because your content feels catered to them.
Knowing details like who you’re talking to, what their pain points are, where they hang out online and where they are in their life can help you create a highly targeted, effective marketing plan that brings in new clients with ease.
3. Understand the Patient JourneyEven after you’ve determined who your ideal client is, there is still more to discover. Some of your potential clients are looking to book an appointment as soon as possible, but others are not. You can think of the patient journey as three distinct stages: 1) Awareness: Patients are unaware of their problems or their solutions, 2) Consideration: Patients understand their problems better, but need more information before choosing a solution, and 3) Decision: Patients have found a handful of solutions, but need validation before making a decision.
4. Have a Content Strategy Based on the Patient Journey
Create an implementation strategy that is centered on your ideal patient, and the stages of their journey. For example, when they’re beginning their search, what keywords might they type into Google to find you? What resources are they looking for? Are they going to pick up the phone and call for more information, or would they scope out your website first?
5. Create Content for the Patient Journey
After you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time to create the awesome, engaging content that will drive new patients your way.
What you create, and how you share it, is incredibly important. At this stage, many practices will try to be everywhere at once, which is a recipe for burnout. Find the few most effective ways to reach your ideal patients where they’re at, and focus on those outlets. It could be blogging, video production, engaging Facebook posts, email marketing or even short, casual vidoes.
From there, you’ll need to dig a little deeper. Remember the patient journey? Different types of content will appeal to patients at different stages of the journey. This is also called a sales funnel, and it includes three levels:
1) Top of the Funnel: Content to promote includes blog posts and premium content such as eBooks, video, and social media posts
2) Middle of the Funnel: content to promote includes automated emails with supporting content
3) Bottom of the Funnel: Content to promote includes automated emails with closing content
6. Optimize Your Website
Social media is great, but you don’t own it. The Facebook algorithm could change tomorrow and make it far more difficult to see your posts. That’s why it pays to invest in your website, which is owned by you. Your newsletter list is also owned by you, and gives you a way to reach your potential patients without social media.
Optimizing your website means making the strong foundation your marketing strategies need to succeed. Optimization could include improving your keywords, updating the design and search function of your site, using keyword-based titles, creating meta tags, and more.
7. Automate When You Can
Automation is an essential component of fast-growing practices. If growth is your goal, you need a way to scale without overloading your team with more work. Automation can help you schedule posts, book appointments, onboard patients and gather feedback without adding additional work to your employees’ plates.
8. Find the Automation Tools that Work For You
Once you’ve decided where to automate, you’ll next need to know how. There is an overwhelming amount of automation tools on the market, and it’s important that the tools you choose can integrate and work together. If your CRM system, email marketing platform, scheduling system, and other key tools can all work harmoniously, it’s going to make it that much easier to bring in new patients.
9. Create a Consistent Marketing System
Once you have the pieces in place, you’ll have to decide how to keep it going. It’s not enough to roll out on big marketing campaign that brings in a spurt of new business. How can you implement a system that works for the long term? Knowing your goals for this year, next year and beyond can help you create a plan that helps your practice grow.
10. Listen to Feedback and Update Your Approach
No matter how well you plan, things are always changing. Technology, patient expectations and your practice are all constantly in flux. So while it’s important to keep your eye on future goals, it’s just as important to have a way to communicate with your patients and know what’s working right now. Stay flexible and be open to new approaches, because that’s what’s going to keep your practice strong and competitive as time goes on.