Today's medical practices face steep competition for patients, and too often, unfortunately, marketing falls to the bottom of the priorities list for busy providers and practice managers. However, in order to survive, every practice needs to take steps to increase its visibility in the marketplace and attract new patients, as well as retain their best existing ones.
If you're new to marketing and not sure where to start, these six steps will set you on the path to successfully marketing your medical practice.
1. Market to Your Existing Patients
It's no secret that it costs seven times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing one, so you really can't afford to neglect your loyal patients besides, their good recommendations and word-of-mouth referrals are a gold mine for a practice. Think about things you can do to better serve your patients (birthday cards, extended office hours for routine tests, welcome letters and patient surveys) and improve their experience at your practice.
2. Revamp Your Website
As a local business, you cannot afford to neglect local SEO if you want to attract new patients. Start with a site audit and make sure you are paying attention to search ranking factors such as having a mobile-friendly website, getting positive reviews from existing patients, and retooling your site for schema markups. The vast majority of local searchers only visit the first three or four websites on their search results page, so rank definitely matters.
Keep in mind, as well, that mobile does matter: Most local searches happen on a mobile device and if your site doesn't render quickly and easily, you'll lose potential patients. Be sure it's easy to find answers to most of the questions a new patient might have (office hours, insurance plans you accept, locations and directions, for example); putting this information on the home page is a good idea.
3. Initiate an Email Marketing Program
Email is an inexpensive and effective way of building relationships with existing patients and reaching out to new ones. At a minimum, your practice should be sending these emails:
- Appointment Reminders
- Follow-Up Instructions
- Patient Surveys
- Email Newsletters
4. Get Started with Content Marketing
You already know how important SEO is to your overall marketing strategy, and after a website overhaul, content marketing is the next biggest plank in your digital marketing strategy. Start with a blog on your practice website; if you aren't confident you can write relevant, engaging articles that interest your patients, contract it out or hire a ghostwriter. Aim to post at least once or twice a week about topics your patients care about.
5. Engage over Social Media
This is another great way to build awareness about your practice and cultivate loyalty among your existing patients. Choose social platforms according to your patient demographics; Facebook, of course, is pretty universal, but other platforms have very specific follower profiles. A busy OB-GYN practice might do well on Pinterest, which attracts a largely female/young mother demographic, while an urban practice with a heavy 18 to 29 demographic would engage on Instagram. In addition to growing your audience and engaging your patients, a solid social media presence also contributes to SEO.
6. Work within Your Local Healthcare Ecosystem
Local hospitals, emergency rooms, urgent care clinics, and specialty practices are a natural source of new patients, the trick is getting the right referrals. Can you take some of the local ER's overflow patients without an appointment? Let the ER know and ask for referrals. Engage in outreach with area inpatient nurses; they're frequently in a position to recommend a doctor to their patients. Tell urgent care centers you're accepting new patients for their unaffiliated patients who need follow-up.
At M-Scribe, we have professionals who can help you build your practice with excellent marketing and customer service. Contact us today for a free consultation to see what we can do for you.