A good healthcare marketing strategy is essential to grow a practice, but most physician-owners have little experience with marketing. Because of this, it’s common for doctors to make a few mistakes.
The problem is that little medical marketing mistakes can have big consequences. If your site is not optimized for search engines, for example, new patients probably aren’t finding you online. Or, if your online business information does not actually match what your practice offers, patients who do find you could rationalize that your practice is not well-run.
Are you making some of the most common medical advertising and marketing mistakes doctors make? Read on to find out which healthcare marketing mistakes you’re guilty of making at your practice.
Fix these marketing mistakes to grow your practice
1. You haven’t defined your target audience
Defining your target audience is a critical first step in any medical marketing strategy. Without defining who you’re trying to attract to your practice, you could be wasting time and money on marketing to people who have no interest in or need of your services.
Defining your target audience can help you avoid other healthcare marketing mistakes by helping you focus your efforts. For example, if you’ve defined Millennials as your target audience, you’re likely better off launching a social media campaign than you are placing an advertisement in a newspaper.
Healthcare marketers can define their target audience by analyzing their healthcare practice and who they want to serve. Beyond basic demographics such as age, gender, and location, consider the services you want to provide more of and the types of people who would be most interested in those services.
2. Your website isn’t optimized
You likely understand the value of a website with an aesthetically-pleasing and modern look, but there’s more to a successful healthcare website than good design.
To attract new patients, your website needs to be optimized. Having an optimized website means it is easily found by search engines like Google, and it is organized in a way that encourages site visitors to schedule appointments.
You should have a clear call-to-action (CTA) on your website that directs visitors to call your practice or book an appointment. Your site should also load quickly, contain valuable content, and resize to a mobile or tablet view. You will also want to ensure your locations are clearly listed and that you have a page for each of the services you offer.
3. You haven’t claimed your online directory profiles
Your practice might be listed on dozens of online directories such as Google and Foursquare. As a health provider, you might also have profiles on sites like Vitals. Often, anyone can create these profiles, so they can include incorrect or outdated information.
It’s important that you claim and update your online profiles on online directories to correct any inconsistencies for two reasons. First, search engines consider these sites highly reputable, and they use the information they find on directories to build your practice in the online world. Inconsistent information reduces your chances of appearing in search results, which can negatively impact your other medical marketing efforts.
Second, some 16 percent of patients say they start their search for doctors on healthcare directories or social media sites, according to Pew Research Center. Incorrect information about your healthcare practice could frustrate patients enough to choose a different doctor, whereas a missing profile means they won’t find you at all.
4. You’re not asking satisfied patients for reviews and testimonials
Reviews are the foundation of your online reputation, and oftentimes are how you make your first impression to potential patients. Online review sites tend to rank highly on search engines and, in a survey by Software Advice, 72 percent of patients say they use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor.
Ask your patients to give reviews on third-party sites like Google as part of your medical marketing strategy. According to BrightLocal, 85 percent of consumers consider reviews older than three months irrelevant, so it’s important that you’re asking for feedback on a consistent basis.
5. You’re not blogging
Blogging is great marketing activity for doctors because it gives them the opportunity to educate patients about their healthcare specialty.
By blogging, you constantly refresh your website with healthcare-related content, which can help with your search engine ranking. You are also adding pages to your website, which increases the chances that new patients will land on your site when they’re searching for keywords related to your specialty on search engines.
Get started with blogging by compiling ideas for blog posts. This could include information about the healthcare services you offer, information about conditions you treat most often, or even questions your patients commonly ask. Then, commit to a blog frequency. Can you write a blog post once per week? Once per month? Once every three months? Finally, create an editorial calendar to outline when you will write each blog post and when you will publish them on your site.