Now this is the time for you to radically rethink how you market your medical practice. This year, the digital landscape grew by what seems like decades within a matter of a few months. Technology adoption accelerated rapidly across nearly every industry. For medical practices, we saw not only the rush to provide telehealth solutions, but also the increased competition and spending in digital media channels.
Simply put, many of your patients have become more digitally savvy, and your competitor probably has too.
Well-built digital marketing strategy is one of the keys to success. It can provide the alignment in your team, clarity in your messaging and prioritization of your tactics.
10 questions that can help to build the foundation of any digital marketing strategy:
1. What are your practice goals?
Think of your goals as your overall desires and consider your strategy for how to get what you want. Don't overthink your goals, and don't set too many, or you may not achieve any of them.
For example, "your goal is to get enough patients to put add another physician to the practice"
2. What are specific, measurable outcomes to reach those practice goals?
Your objectives should have measurable results. Objectives that are too lofty aren't really objectives; they're goals.
Example: "Add 15 patients per month."
3. Who's your competition?
While this may seem like a straightforward question, telehealth has changed this dramatically. You may no longer be competing against the physicians and practices in your area - telehealth competitors form other locations or national brands are now likely going after the same patients.
In addition, for some medical specialties, if you have expanded lines of service — like orthopedics and pain management — you're really competing in multiple categories.
4. How is your practice really different?
This is perhaps the most difficult question to answer. Many medical practices don't answer it at all, or they rely solely on physician credentials to differentiate themselves.
Don't fall into the "better" trap when thinking about differentiation. Think about the treatments you offer, your patient experience and even the point of view you have on the category.
5. Who is your ideal patient?
Ensure that you have a clear picture of your ideal patients and build your marketing for them. Document it so you can create alignment across your teams and partners. Examples include the specific conditions your ideal patients have, the treatments they may need and what types of insurance they have.
This is particularly important to understand for your paid advertising efforts, as well as focusing your content creation efforts to impact SEO. You don't want to waste any of these efforts on the wrong patients.
6. What problems do you solve for them?
Patients may stop paying attention if you stop talking about their problems. Yet many medical practices talk only about their own expertise or the services they provide. Don't forget about the services you provide, but focus on the issues that your patients are fighting with. Your practice has an opportunity to get more patients to choose you by empathizing with their problems. Spend sometime reading through your practice reviews to get understanding of the problems you are solving and how it makes patients feel.
7. What are your key messages?
Outline your messages. Some of the answers above: the problems you solve and what makes your practice different should absolutely a part of your messages. If your practice is self-pay, think about any offers you want to include in your marketing.
Most importantly, think about the call to action that's in your key messages. Are you trying to drive calls, online appointment scheduling or something else?
8. What content should you create?
Your content should be directly related to your ideal patient definition, as well as the problems you solve. All content for medical practice will fall into a couple of categories:
- Educational content such as research on conditions and treatments
- Decision-making content such as information about your practice.
Be sure to address both types.
Perhaps the most important decisions are the format of your content and how you distribute it. Don't get stuck on blog posts alone. Make sure you're distributing content to your practice and physician listings, for example. Leverage video content as much as possible — it's more noticeable and does a better job of showing empathy.
9. What platforms are you prioritizing?
Focus on doing a good job on one channel before you diversify. One of the biggest mistakes that medical practices can make is spreading their investment of time and advertising dollars across too many channels.
The foundation for most of medical practices should be pay-per-click advertising and Facebook remarketing. Because search engine advertising captures those actively seeking treatment and remarketing ensures that you stay in front of those who are looking. Stay focused on nailing those channels before expanding.
10. How will you measure success?
Six essential marketing KPIs that every medical practice should be tracking and holding their marketing teams accountable for: Leads By Type, Cost Per Lead, Website Visitor To Lead Conversion Rate, Lead Conversion Rate By Source, New Patient Conversion Rate, Cost Per New Patient