21 Aug 5 Key Insights To Know About Patients When Marketing Your Medical Practice
When you market for clients in the medical field, you sure do learn an awful lot about patients. We’ve worked with physicians, nurses, and staff at medical practices and healthcare clinics of many sizes and specialities, and can say for certain that while digital marketing has core principles that apply to clients across all industries, it helps to apply a few expert insights when attracting new patients and growing a medical practice.
Take these top five insights about prospective patients into account if you’re considering how to market and grow your medical practice:
1> Patients Are Galloping On A Horse Called Google, And You’ve Got To Keep Up
Across all medical and healthcare practices, one leading marketing indicator is crystal clear: Healthcare consumers want to purchase medical services the same way they like to purchase anything else—by researching online, reading reviews, and seeking referrals.
In fact, well over 80% of patients research medical conditions, doctors, and practices online before finally deciding on a specialist. In fact, doctors sometimes refer to Google as “Dr. Google” thanks to how often the search engine is consulted. Patients today are much more savvy about researching and making choices regarding their medical care rather than just accepting their general practitioner’s referral.
Whether a patient’s search question is, “Best eye doctors near me,” or “What is cataract eye surgery?” they click on the results that show on the first page of Google, Bing or Yahoo. Simply put, if your medical practice or healthcare clinic doesn’t show up there, that prospective patient doesn’t show up in your waiting room.
2> Wear Your “Thinking Like A Patient” Cap
The biggest difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing techniques like direct mail, print ads, or yellow pages, is that digital marketing can be targeted to the ideal consumer for a particular practice.
Knowing the most searched for medical terms based on a specialty and location sheds light on just how many prospective patients may be looking for you. To continue with the eye doctor example, if you know that more people are entering “cataract doctor near me” than “ophthalmologist near me,” you can direct your keywords and titles accordingly for SEO. And when all your SEO arrows are aimed in the same direction, your Google ranking improves.
Doctors often prefer the more clinical terms for titles or procedure descriptions, but if that’s not what patients are searching for it just isn’t as effective. Yes, “ophthalmologist” may be more reflective of a physician’s expertise, but if patients are entering “cataract doctor” in their search engines and you want them to find you, then you need to write like they think.
3> Tell Them A Story They Can Star In
One of the easiest ways to attract new patients is to engage them with stories that inform them and build their trust in a medical practice. As discussed in Why Medical Practice Managers Should Care About Online Marketing, today’s prospective patients are looking for a practice that can provide them with solid information about their condition, including examples of how that practice has helped others who were in the same boat.
Don’t stress about getting permission to use a patient’s full name in a blog post or case study, either—that’s not necessary for the example to be persuasive. We’ve found it’s just as effective to use a patient’s first name only, or even a general term like “a young teacher” or a “grandfather” to provide some context. However, the results still must be able to be verified as accurate for that specific case. It’s also always advisable to be conservative and remind patients that results vary depending on factors such as the severity of their condition and their overall health.
We refer to this aspect of online marketing as the “me too!” motivational strategy—if a patient reads how that eye clinic, for example, has the technology that helped free someone with a problem or pain like theirs, they’re more likely to come to the conclusion that “maybe they can help me too.”
4> Shower Them With Content That Saves Them (And Doctors—Yes, Really!) Time
Today’s patients expect to save time by having resources at their disposal that allow them to become all the more informed before even shaking a doctor’s hand. The beautiful byproduct of this is that doctors and medical staff reap the time-saving benefits of informed, prepared patients.
For example, we’ve had doctors comment on how helpful it is when a patient comes in and says they’ve read the blog post on their website called “4 Key Questions To Ask Your Doctor Before Cataract Surgery.” Blog posts can prepare patients for what to expect during a visit, how to determine if they’re a candidate for a procedure, and how to prepare for a procedure.
And eBooks, quizzes, or checklists about pre-emptive health measures such as smoking cessation—which is desired before many major surgical procedures—can be promoted to prepare patients for the most successful outcome.
5> Put Out The Welcome Mat & Hold The Online Door Open
Let’s face it. None of us want to be patients. We want to be perfectly healthy and have no need to research medical ailments or how to find the best doctor. But of course, this isn’t the reality. So when prospective patients are searching for you need to make it as easy as possible for them to contact you and book an appointment.
Every medical practice should have an online appointment or contact us form, at the very least. Case in point, a surgical group we worked with had no option for patients to request appointments online. Adding this simple fix alone resulted in over 30 appointments within 90 days.
The key to each of these five insights about patients is to analyze your website traffic to see who is looking for your help and specifically why, then create online marketing content for those prospective patients. If you do this, you’ll attract patients who are an excellent fit for your practice’s top services.
These are the strategies Baker Labs used in marketing a vein clinic and vascular surgery group practice that was not having success with their traditional marketing methods. To see how we increased their website traffic 300% and generated hundreds of new appointment requests online, view this case study.
At Baker Labs, we believe in the power of content marketing and use a variety of digital strategies to help medical practices grow by attracting new and loyal patients and establishing the medical practice’s reputation as a leader in their region. We also understand that effective healthcare marketing must not only produce exceptional results, but it must remain compliant when doing so. Contact us for a free marketing assessment of your medical practice.