September 20, 2012
Let’s face it, the competition to attract new patients to our medical practices is high. And, there is no shortage of new and emerging methods of getting your practice to be top of mind for your target patient population. I wanted to share with you a few cutting edge strategies that I have seen recently.
Marketing your medical practice through search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective on-line marketing strategies to attract new patients. There’s a lot more you can do besides revamping your website to achieve a higher ranking in the search engines. Here are a few additional strategies:
Google Places Listing – When researching a new doctor many Americans take to the Internet. They read through reviews, visit your website, look up directions to your office and more. When a patient searches for doctors in your specialty in your local area, you want to come up in at minimum the top 10 listings on Google – even better is to show up in the top three. A Google Places listing is one way to improve your accessibility on-line and your rankings with search engines and, it’s FREE.
Add a blog to your website – Continually adding new content to your website not only keeps your patients informed and interested in staying in contact with the practice, but also incorporating your specific keywords into that content increases your rankings in the search engines. You don’t have to do all of the writing yourself – there are many article banks where you can obtain targeted articles that relate to your specialty and target patient population.
Create and/or Enhance Your Image in Your Community
Doctors of the USA – An interesting service here in Central Florida is a company called Doctors of the USA. This group has two components: a regular Friday blog talk radio broadcast, as well as a video production service. Both of these opportunities give doctors a venue to talk about an area of expertise in a casual interview style format that allows potential patients to get a feel for the doctor’s personality and ‘bedside manner’. This purely editorial content by its very nature establishes the doctor as an expert in his/her field.
A Doctors of the USA produced 30 minute video can be edited into clips appropriate for placing on your website, loading to YouTube, playing on an in-office monitor and many other venues. Video is one of the best ways to impact your on-line rankings, and many of Doctors of the USA’s clients find that their listing rises to the top of the Google Search page. You can find out more about Doctors of the USA on their webpage at www.doctorsoftheusa.com.
ZocDoc – I read about the owner of ZocDoc in Forbes magazine recently. ZocDoc is a free service that allows patients to book appointments with doctors instantly on-line. It provides prospective patients with the names of doctors in their local area in the specialty the patient is seeking with reviews, available appointment time slots and what insurances the doctor accepts. In August, Orlando became the 20th city in the US to roll out ZocDoc. The service increases practice visibility and even helps to fill unexpected openings in your calendar. With an opportunity to rate the practice and provide reviews, ZocDoc increases your ‘word-of-mouth’ advertising reach. You can learn more about ZocDoc at www.zocdoc.com.
Banner Ads on Hospital and/or Doctor Office Check-in Kiosks – I was recently in one of our local hospitals and noticed a check-in kiosk which was running banner ads for various medical professionals. What a great idea! To learn more about this service, contact your local hospital or medical center to inquire whether they use a check-in kiosk and how you can advertise there.
Press Releases – When was the last time you sent out a press release about your practice? It’s likely you haven’t thought about it since you opened your practice. But, if you’ve added new services or new doctors have joined your practice, it’s a prime time to send out a press release. Create the release then send it to local publications to generate a little media buzz about your practice.
Using Social Media
It doesn’t make a lot of sense to create accounts on social media networks if you’re not going to develop a strategy for following through consistently. Once you’ve created your strategy (who is your target market, what social media is most likely to reach that market, how often are you going to post, where are you getting your content, etc.), then make sure you have a structure in place to maintain your presence. Start small by getting one social network in place then gradually increase at a pace that is comfortable for you to maintain.
Your strategy for marketing your medical practice should be multi-faceted. What I’ve listed here are just a few new ideas to add to your arsenal. But, remember, no one strategy is enough. Your current and prospective new patients, are a varied population – you want to be sure you have enough strategies in place that your practice comes to mind when someone needs your services. A good marketing principle to remember is that it typically takes 7-12 ‘touches’ for your target market to convert from interested to committed patient. Don’t stop too soon, but do periodically evaluate your strategy to ensure that you’re moving forward.
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