13 Jul Inbound Marketing Strategy for Surgical Practices Explained
Welcome to the world of inbound marketing! Chances are you’ve realized that the traditional methods of marketing aren’t working quite as well as they used to. If you’re wondering why, think about why you don’t recommend radiated water, leeches, or bloodletting (yikes!) as treatment options for your ailing patients. As times change, medicine changes, and people and their preferences change as well. The technological advancements that have been made over the past few years have caused these changes to happen more quickly, making “keeping up with the times” difficult, yet an absolute must for all practices who strive to stay cutting edge.
In recognizing the fluidity with which people now interact with each other, inbound marketing addresses this new patient persona and their decision-making process. This is one of the most important ways technology has affected the general public and companies alike. Landlines are disappearing and the mobile community is alive and well. We live in a fast-paced society where people are plugged in and on the move 24/7. So, when people decide to have cosmetic surgery, undergo laser liposuction, or have an abscess removed, where are they going to look to find a caring medical professional to do the job? Take a guess.
Research shows that your potential patient will turn to Google and social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) before they would ever turn to the Yellow Pages or a brochure in their mailbox; and if they can’t find your practice when doing so, you won’t be getting their business.
A few statistics to consider:
- On average, we conduct 12 billion searches per month on the web in the United States. (Comscore, July 2014)
- 61% of global Internet users research products online. (Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance, 2012)
- 44% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine. (Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance, 2012)
- 50% of all mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results, and 61% of those searches result in a purchase. (Search Engine Watch)
- Businesses with websites of 401-1000 pages get 6x more leads than those with 51-100 pages. (HubSpot Lead Generation Lessons from 4,000 Businesses, 2011)
For more inbound marketing statistics, download our free ebook of 10 Powerful Inbound Charts.
Now, here’s the big question: How does the inbound marketing strategy work?
Understanding Your Current Patients
Inbound marketing is consumer focused and consumer driven and this is why it achieves such good results. Before you begin marketing to your target audience, it is important that you get to know your current patients by investigating their demographics with questions like:
- Who are they?
- What do they do?
- What are they looking for in a product or service?
With these answers, you can tailor your marketing approach to catch the eye of the specific patient you’re trying to attract.
Attracting Potential Patients
After you have a better understanding of your patients, you can start the process of attracting new ones. Inbound marketing differs from traditional marketing in that it focuses on engaging and interacting with consumers through captivating content rather than screaming sales pitches. Blogging about topics that interest your audience (such as the benefits of coconut oil for thyroid health) or answering popular questions (such as, How would vein treatment improve my quality of life?) is a great way to do this.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your patients are educated consumers. With the latest and greatest technology at their fingertips, your patients play an active role in their health care plan. Search englines like Google allow them to research their health care provider and treatment options. By providing free information to answer their medical questions, you instantly become a valuable resource and will begin to build a relationship with them as someone they can trust.
Social media allows your potential and current patients to learn more about your practice, read and write reviews, and communicate with you directly. Using Facebook or Twitter, you can begin a dialogue between you and your target patients. You can provide updates on a new procedure or product, or you can post a fun picture of your team interacting with children at a charity event. People love personality and want to put their trust in someone, and essentially, you want that someone to be you. Your goal is to communicate that you’re not a big time corporation just hunting for a check. You love medicine, you care about how you treat, and you care about your patients.
If your audience has confidence in your practice, and they’ve seen your knowledge and medical expertise demonstrated over the last couple months, they will not hesitate to come to you with their medical concerns (even the embarrassing ones) and will refer you to family and friends who are looking to improve their lives in the same way.
Converting Potentials to Prospects
While blogging and regular social media posts are an excellent way to increase your website traffic, they are of very little practical use if they do not help you generate leads and develop a bigger patient list. Inbound marketing allows you to directly communicate with website visitors who are interested in your services by capturing their contact information, specifically their email addresses. The best part about this process is that they are the ones giving you this information! You simply have to provide opportunities for them to do so.
We recommend using Premium Content Offers, which are simply valuable assets you give a potential patient in exchange for their contact information, usually an e-mail address. These educational offers can be anything from a downloadable eBook about how to prepare for surgery, an assessment about hemorrhoid treatment, or a checklist of steps to take in order to reduce leg swelling and pain. Interested parties who visit your website will voluntarily give you their contact information in exchange for these valuable materials, allowing you to stay connected with them as they continue their decision-making process. It’s a good trade!
Close with Appointments
Now that you have a list of potentials who have directly expressed interest in your practice’s specialty, it is time to find out how you can assist them with their medical needs. The best way to do this is by staying in contact with them through email. Sending automated, yet personal nurturing emails will gently remind your prospects that you are there to help. These emails will position you as a doctor or surgical group practice as a familiar expert. Email newsletters also work well because they provide readers with a glance at what your practice has been doing that month. If the situation warrants, you can even call your prospective patient directly to inquire about a treatment they referenced needing or to answer any questions they may have.
People who don’t seem interested in your practice now may become patients later, so don’t become discouraged if your patient list is shorter than your email list. Remember that everyone is at a different stage in the decision-making process and some just need a little more encouragement before they are comfortable making a medical decision, especially because it typically requires a big financial commitment. Occasional contact will maintain the relationship and remind those hesitating that you are there when they are ready to receive care.
Delighting Your Patients, Old and New
Inbound marketing operates with the understanding that a customer-minded business is the most successful. This being said, once you finish treating a patient, it is important to continue that relationship through email and maybe even the occasional phone call. Although this may require a little bit of effort on your part, the benefits of having a regular who provides you with a constant work flow or gives you a high-end referral makes it more than worth it.
We understand doctors and surgical practices and understand your current and potential patients. We know their thought patterns and how they process information. We know what they’re looking for when they have a question about a new treatment or surgical procedure. We know how they look for health care professionals when they’re considering a big medical decision. Because of this, we have the ability to lead these patients straight to you. As an expert in the surgical group and health care industry, you already have the answers and can easily be their solution… if only they can find AND trust you!
For more information on how we can help you be found on the web or if you have any other inbound marketing questions, please contact us.