Medical Marketing can seem overwhelming. In the digital age, there are so many different tactics that it’s hard to know which one or two things actually produce results. And let’s face it, your staff is already spread very thin and doesn’t always have the time to dedicate to marketing, so the “marketing can” gets kicked down the road for another month. Or maybe you have a “set it and forget it” mentality and keep running the newspaper ad month after month, or the Google AdWords campaign and you really have no idea if your marketing dollars are even being spent well.
I wanted to share with you a conversation that I had today that I think could bring value to other practices that may have the same questions. I met with two potential new clients that want to work with Medical Marketing Whiz for their online marketing. About a year ago, this office purchased a new piece of equipment for the office that is not covered by insurance. It’s the first cash-based procedure that the office has offered to their patients.
For the last 12 months, they have been doing their own marketing which was simply running a Google ad for key words related to this procedure. They were not getting good results, so they called me for a meeting. During our meeting, we were talking about all of the different ways that you can market your medical practice. They had been trying the Google ads route, but you also have things like your website, social media, email marketing, mailers, and seminars, just to name a few. But where do you even begin?
Phase one should always be the patients within your own practice. These people already know, like and trust you. They're comfortable with your office. They've come to you for a long time.
This particular practice was doing what I would call phase two marketing - marketing outside your practice. They completely skipped phase one marketing, which should be marketing within your practice.
So in terms of what I recommend in order of importance:
Number one, your website. If your website is not mobile friendly, was done by you and not a professional, it needs to be updated immediately. People are going to judge your medical care, based on what your website looks like. Visiting your website is the first thing they'll do. If your site is outdated, homemade, or not mobile friendly, it can actually repel patients.
The second thing is your online reputation. You can spend a lot of time and effort marketing but the first thing people are going to do is Google you. If you have less than a four star average on Google, you want to get that fixed immediately. Your website and Google reviews will make or break the conversion of your marketing dollars so fix these two things first (we do both by the way!)
Third is email marketing. Believe it or not, email marketing trumps everything. It trumps social media and all of the rest of your efforts including Google ads, and Facebook ads. It is still the marketing tactic that produces the highest conversion rates and by the way it’s FREE!
So make sure that your staff is collecting patient email addresses. Every time a patient comes in, your staff should ask “Do we have your up to date email address?”. It's something that your staff needs to be very diligent about, and not just for new patients. Once you have at least 250 emails, you should start a monthly email newsletter. This is not a salesy email, its educational. It helps patients learn about their health and it shows them that you care about educating them. Patients will look forward to these newsletters and it builds trust in your practice and awareness about what you offer. In the email newsletter you can sprinkle in information about new services or procedures that you offer. This comes across a lot better than sending an email such as a "special of the month" or salesy type of messaging.
If you work with Medical Marketing Whiz, our team writes all of the content for you and formats the email in a template that is congruent with your office branding. We have written thousands of emails and we know which ones convert well.
Social media would be next in order of importance. In this day and age, a Facebook Business page is now a basic necessity in terms of marketing. You need to be doing it for two reasons. Number one, this is where your patients are. They are not reading magazines…..they’re on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. It’s a missed opportunity if you are not connecting with them and teaching them about your services on social media and providing value.
The second reason you need to be on social media is that the Google crawlers are looking everywhere online where your business is mentioned and they associate keywords with your practice. So if you're wanting to promote a specific service, the fact that you're talking about on your social media is actually going help your Google search ranking.
Finally, seminars and events are highly effective marketing tactics. We recommend doing a seminar or event once a quarter. Patients enjoy learning from your expertise and often bring friends and family to the seminar who may not be patients at your office. Seminars and events convert into new procedures and new patients and you need to be doing them!
If you’d like to learn more about these strategies, check out our free webinar where we go over these tactics in a lot more detail and give you specific examples of what gives you the biggest bang for your medical marketing dollars. . We have a free webinar. We go over this in a lot more detail.
In summary, internal marketing (marketing to your own patients) is Phase 1 marketing is where you should start. Do that before you start paying money for Google ads, mailers, radio etc. because the patients that already know, like, and trust you are going to be the people that are most likely to talk to you about additional services and procedures that you offer. Hopefully that helps!
- Lori Werner, Medical Marketing Whiz