Think digital first: The benefits of modern marketing and advertising for dermatologists
The days of limited advertising options in print, radio and television are gone. You don’t need to rely solely on pricey newspaper ads, radio spots, or direct mail to attract new patients, grow your dermatology practice, and increase revenue. Healthcare consumers have more options in the digital marketplace, and so do dermatology providers. Modern marketing and advertising tactics offer huge benefits over their print and broadcast counterparts, including greater flexibility and control, lower costs, advanced analytics to measure success, and the ability to reach more people where they already spend time – online.
Traditional marketing and advertising techniques are costly, but they do play a role in reaching older generations and promoting brand awareness in your community. However, their impact in patient conversion is difficult to track, so it’s hard to know what’s working or when to refine strategies.
Digital marketing is a gamechanger for attracting new patients and growing your dermatology practice in a competitive marketplace. Digital tools and tactics can be customized and adapted to meet the specific needs and goals of your business and offer immediate feedback about what’s working (and what’s not). Taking your marketing online can seem daunting, but it offers benefits that traditional marketing and advertising lack.
Here are just a few of them:
- Your practice, your rules. Digital marketing gives you total control over your budget, ad targeting preferences, and desired impressions, clicks, and conversions. You can get highly specific, and target prospective patients by age, location, demographic information, or even by interests and attributes that align with your specialty – acne, Botox, or laser hair removal, for example. When an ad underperforms, you can quickly adapt, so you don’t use time and resources without results. When an ad performs well, you can instantly scale up to maximize its impact, gain new patients and increase conversions in real time. You set your own terms, every time.
- It works for all budgets. Low production costs give digital marketing and advertising an edge over traditional print and broadcast media. You can start small and scale up as you bring in more revenue. It’s practically guaranteed that you will see returns on your investment, especially if you’re savvy about adjusting your strategies as you learn from the data you collect. Tracking is advanced; most digital advertising tools allow you to pinpoint how many patients you acquired with each dollar you spent.
- You get real-time analytics and insights. Traditional ads offer few reliable metrics and can be difficult to track. With digital marketing, you can rely on concrete data to measure your return on investment in real time. Specific information enables you to refine your strategy, tweaking existing ads to meet your goals as you go. When an ad is working for you, you can boost it to reach even more people and increase conversions. If an ad doesn’t perform well, you can adjust it by changing the ad image, headline, or copy for better results.
- Creativity can pay off. Because you can adapt your strategy as you go, digital marketing allows you to experiment and try new things. If you’re lucky, that creativity will be rewarded. For instance, social posts can go viral, and help spread the word about your practice.
- Sophisticated targeting. There are many possibilities for advanced targeting through digital marketing and advertising. You can drill down by geography, demographics, personal interests, and behavior. Better targeting results in better conversion rates, so you not only reach more people; you reach the right people.
Branding basics for dermatology practices
Effective dermatology practice marketing requires an updated branding strategy. Your brand can attract new patients, enhance your reputation, increase loyalty among existing patients, and differentiate you from your competition.
Research shows the average U.S. consumer spends nearly four hours per day on their mobile devices, so one of the best ways to ensure your brand resonates is to take it online2. You have to meet patients where they are, and a smart branding strategy will help you put your best foot forward.
Successful brands know that search engine optimization, compelling content creation, and a stellar online reputation are all must-haves for effective digital marketing. So, how do you build a powerful online brand?
The first step is to create and maintain an attractive website to make a great first impression and bring in more patients. Savvy prospective dermatology patients research their options online, and a first-class website is a reflection of the quality of care they can expect to receive at your practice.
Here’s a quick guide to refreshing your website design:
- Add provider bios. Put a human face on the excellent dermatology care patients receive at your practice to help build trust with prospective patients. This highlights your providers’ medical expertise, so include language about how your doctors prioritize the overall health and wellbeing of patients.
- Highlight the services & procedures you offer, especially those that differentiate you from your competition.
- Include patient testimonials or online reviews. Have current patients describe the exceptional dermatology care you provide. Testimonials can help influence a website visitor to book an appointment or service.
- List practice information. Include basics, such as your hours of operation and contact info. Also consider posting your policies and procedures, plus a preview of your patient portal to give people a glimpse of the patient experience.
Your online presence should extend beyond your website. Targeted search engine optimization, an active social media presence, and smart reputation management also build your brand, fostering connection with prospective and existing patients.
Consistent branding does not require the services of a costly marketing firm. You can build a strong brand for your dermatology practice by following these top tips:
- A clear and compelling logo. You should use the same logo anywhere you promote your business. It should appear on your website, digital assets, print materials, and office signs. A visually compelling logo communicates competence and is often one of the first things a prospective patient notices about your practice. Good design is a must, and consistency across materials can increase your brand prominence.
- An eye-catching color palette. Consider a cohesive palette of two, three, or four colors, including those in your logo, to round out your website, digital, and print materials.
- A simple font scheme. Choose one or two consistent fonts to use across your marketing materials, including the typeface from your logo. Readability and simplicity are the keys here; anything that confuses the eye should be avoided.
- Articulate your identity. Use a small set of words to describe your dermatology practice, such as“high-quality,” “patient-centered,” or “full service.” When used consistently, these words can bolster your brand identity. Use them in your digital and print marketing materials.
Choose meaningful images. A picture is worth a thousand words, so the images on your website, social media, and other marketing platforms do much of the talking for your practice. Your content and images should align to convey your brand. You may opt for clinical images to showcase state-of-the-art care for skin diseases, such as psoriasis, eczema, or skin cancer. Depending on your practice specialty, you might choose aesthetic images that highlight cosmetic treatments, such as dermal fillers, Botox, chemical peels, and skin tightening.
Rise to the top of search results with local search marketing and SEO
Prospective patients have lots of options at their fingertips when selecting a dermatologist, so your practice has to stand out in an online search query. Mastering local search marketing and search engine optimization has the power to elevate your business well above your competition.
There are several steps you can take to enhance your online presence and ensure your dermatology practice rises to the top of search results for prospective patients.
First, review the scope of your web presence. Search for your practice name online to audit all the places a prospective patient might see your business. Check to make sure your practice name, address, and phone number are up-to-date and accurate. This ensures new patients can find you and strengthens your searchability. Search engines including Google may skip your practice listing in results if your online profiles contain conflicting or inaccurate information.
Improving Google My Business profile can also boost your online performance. The more details you provide, the greater your chances of showing up in an online search for your practice specialty.
Google My Business is also the biggest factor that impacts which businesses are featured in the Google “local pack” map feature that appears at the top of organic search results.
Details to include on your Google My Business profile include photos of your practice and providers, links to your website, patient reviews from other websites, and specific keywords that can help drive patients to you.
Also, your website should be optimized, which means it is mobile-friendly and quick to load. According to Google, if page load time increases from one to five seconds, people are 90 percent more likely to leave the site3. It goes without saying that your website must be indexed by search engines and findable in a local search. Patients also need plenty of opportunities to connect with your practice and take action on your website. Two convenient options for actions include the option to schedule an appointment online, or dial the office automatically. When your website includes detailed information about specific skin conditions and treatment options, you can also improve your online performance. Unique subpages for each of your specialties can also boost your authority and communicate your expertise. Unique subpages also allow you to use more keywords and specific phrases that a potential patient might search for online, which gives Google more information to index and amplify your ranking in search results.
Finally, effective reputation management can help improve your standing online. Your online reputation helps drive patient acquisition and influences your search ranking. Businesses with more and better reviews typically outperform their peers in organic search rankings. Reviews are also the fourth most important factor that determines where your business shows up in an online search. Research shows that nearly 69 percent of patients will only consider a practice with a 4.0 rating or higher.
Start an intentional review strategy to gain more reviews from patients, and use the feedback to cater to requests or suggestions. You can send automated patient satisfaction surveys after recent appointments, which make patients 2.3 times more likely to proactively review your practice on sites such as Google, Yelp, or Vitals.
More on local search marketing and SEO
How to increase your healthcare practice's online presence: 5 tips
Improving your SEO series: 3 tips to optimize your business and healthcare listings for local search engine optimization
Page 1 potential: 5 tactics to get your healthcare practice toward the top of search results
A guide to content marketing for dermatologists
Providing unique website content associated with your dermatology practice allows you to strengthen connections with prospective patients, which is critical to your overall marketing strategy. This also gives search engines including Google more keywords and information to index, which boosts your search ranking status.
In a recent survey, almost 90 percent of healthcare practitioners said they’re working in a competitive market, with more than one-third describing their market as “highly competitive.” A content marketing strategy helps your practice stand out.
Sharing valuable content can help you attract new patients and deepen relationships with existing patients. Your dermatology practice marketing and content creation strategy should include a compelling blog, savvy social media presence, and smart email campaigns.
Blogging boosts search ranking and conversion.
A blog that lives permanently on your website improves your search engine ranking when you add topical, quality content that includes relevant keywords. Blogging is a great way to delve deep into your dermatology expertise and to cater to the needs of people who are researching their specific skin care concerns online.
An effective blogging strategy includes:
- Highlighted topic areas. Your topics should correspond with your dermatology specialties.
- Smart use of keywords. Google’s keyword planner can help you identify keywords that have less competition and higher rates of conversion.
- A consistent schedule. Decide how often you can post, and stick to that schedule. Posting once a month is better than being too ambitious and letting the blog go entirely dormant.
- Analytics tools. Using a tool like Google Analytics can inform which of your blog posts have the highest amount of traffic. These help you refine your blog posts as you go.
Social media is all about connection and consistency.
Blog posts aren’t the only marketing content to consider. Social media is another avenue to promote your practice. Today, 72 percent of people use at least one social media channel regularly4. Social media platforms have sophisticated targeting and analytics to help you reach patients where they spend time. Social media platforms also encourage interaction and engagement with patients, and they can get to know your providers better.
To make the best use of social media, consider these top tips:
- Choose your platform(s) wisely. Facebook is the most popular social media platform, so you can’t really go wrong there. But Instagram is growing, with nearly 90 percent of its users following at least one business. If you can maintain a consistent output of visually compelling content, Instagram is worth your investment in the long run. It’s better to be active on one or two platforms than to let your content get stale on more platforms than you can manage.
- Plan short, timely posts. Create an editorial schedule for posting content and stick to it. Three to four posts per week is optimal. Keep the posts short, use high-quality images whenever possible, and link back to your website often (posting new blog content drives traffic back to your website). One-fourth of your posts should promote your brand, while the others can be more educational.
- Participate in online discussions. Social media can result in new patient leads when someone comments on a post, so engage in the discussion. Answer questions, respond to feedback, invite people to like and share your content, and post links that drive traffic back to your website. When patients see the people behind your brand, they’re more likely to feel connected to your practice and recommend it to others.
Email campaigns can amplify convenience and expertise
Email campaigns can also help your practice stay in regular communication with patients. For instance, when summer hits, you can send an informative email about the importance of sunscreen with a link to book an appointment. Or during the holidays, you can highlight skin rejuvenation treatments to try in the New Year. However, don’t overuse email marketing or your emails may be marked as spam.
Need inspiration? Here’s a list of common dermatology-related topics for your next blog, social media post, or email campaign.
Common Dermatology Symptoms & Conditions
- Acne/Acne Scars
- Hair Loss
- Mohs Surgery
- PRP (Pityriasis rubra pilaris)
- Skin Cancer
- Skin Tags
- Skin Cancer
- Weight Loss
Common Dermatology Procedures & Treatments
- General Dermatology
- Medical Dermatology
- Cosmetic Dermatology
- Acne Treatment
- Anti-Aging Treatment
- Body Contouring
- Botox and Fillers
- Chemical Peels
- Dermal Fillers/Fillers
- Dermatology Services for Skin of Color
- Laser Hair Removal
- Laser Genesis
- Laser Treatment/Laser Treatments
- Mole Removal
- Skin Tightening
- Tattoo Removal
- IPL (intense pulsed light) therapy
- Skin Rejuvenation
- Laser Skin Resurfacing
- PDO Thread Lift
- Skin Care
Think like a patient when deciding on content marketing topics. What topics are your patients most likely to search for?
The dermatologist toolbox for patient retention
Practice growth is about more than patient acquisition. It’s about keeping existing patients happy, too. Patient retention must be a priority in any long-term practice growth plan. How can you strengthen the patient-provider relationship at your practice and boost patient loyalty? Here are some top tips:
- Seek patient feedback. Patient satisfaction surveys signal that you care about the patient experience at your dermatology practice. On social media, take time to respond to any feedback you receive. A simple ‘thank you’ on a positive review or a thoughtful response to negative feedback shows patients you’re listening. Plus, patient reviews help enhance your online reputation, which bolsters your patient acquisition as well.
- Reduce wait times. Allow patients to fill out paperwork ahead of time with digital registration and intake tools. This results in reduced time in the waiting room and better practice efficiency
- Prioritize convenience. Dermatology patients expect convenience, whether they want to address skin-related medical concerns or cosmetic treatments. Online scheduling, automated appointment confirmations and reminders, telehealth appointments, and text messaging give patients more convenient options
Remind patients you’re there for them. Email campaigns that include a call to action (for instance, a prompt for patients to use your online scheduling system) can encourage patients to book a new service or an appointment they’ve delayed. Instead of relying on patients to book an annual skin exam, a well-timed email with one-click appointment booking can prompt them to return on time.
Strategies for dermatology practice growth
Growing a successful dermatology practice doesn’t just happen. Smart, focused strategies for patient acquisition and retention are essential. No matter how advanced your dermatology care is, your practice won’t thrive if no one knows about you. And you have to make it easy for existing patients to stick with you, despite the competition.
Marketing and advertising strategies are crucial to any practice growth strategy, but growth requires intentional management over the long term. When your marketing tactics bring in new patients, how will you ensure you continue to provide the level of exceptional care your dermatology practice is known for?
You need a plan. Reasonable, sustainable goals set annually or quarterly are a good starting point, followed by regular check-ins to measure progress.
A comprehensive practice growth platform will help you monitor key performance indicators and help you achieve your goals. Here are some things to watch as your practice grows:
- Newly scheduled appointments: A steady increase in appointment volume is a good indicator of growth. Growing too fast, however, can increase appointment wait times for existing patients or require additional staffing, so you’ll want to find a sustainable balance. Your no-show rate can also offer valuable information for your growth strategy. Patients may need email or text reminders about appointments, for example.
- Search engine results rankings: As your practice grows, your local search performance should improve. Ask your patients for ongoing feedback, and continue to add content, photos, and keywords to your Google My Business profile.
Reputation insights: Since growth usually results in more online reviews, you’ll also have more data points to analyze success. Listen to the experiences your patients have to strengthen your relationships and boost your online reputation.
1Local Consumer Review Survey 2020, BrightLocal
2“Average US Time Spent with Mobile in 2019 Has Increased,” eMarketer
3“Find out how you stack up to new industry benchmarks for mobile page speed,” Think with Google
4Social Media Fact Sheet, Pew Research Center
5“Thank You and Happy Birthday, Instagram!”, Instagram Business