Archive for October, 2010
When you want to stay busy year round and build a practice based on referrals, it’s important to align your marketing strategy with the patient’s primary needs. Today’s patient isn’t necessarily looking for a great discount on a procedure or an amazing package. Most are looking for a doctor they can trust, and want to set up a consultation with a doctor who has credibility and earned positive reviews of patients who were in a similar situation as them.
This is why “hype” marketing doesn’t work in this industry. Glamorizing a procedure or promoting a special offer with a strong sales pitch will only go so far, and in many cases, can turn many patients off.
What does work when marketing and advertising your practice is a simple, no-frills approach.
You need to:
- Be easily accessible by making sure your contact information is easy to find on websites, profile pages, blogs and any other content online
- Make sure you’re easily found on the major search engines. Add your practice details to a specialized online directory so that you show up at the top of search results when patients search for procedures and treatments you offer online. These directories help you gain the highest possible rankings on the major search engines so that patients can find you easily.
- Stay active on Twitter and Facebook. If you’re going to participate on social networks, you have to be consistent — or don’t do it at all. Patients are looking for someone reliable, and long breaks on these social networking sites can make you lose credibility.
- Promote a professionally-designed website. Make sure your website truly represents your practice and philosophy, and is easy to read. Patients need to connect with you within seconds of arriving at your site ? make that first impression a positive one!
Focus on no-hype marketing strategies to build credibility with prospective patients and attract more high-quality patients on a regular basis.
Your practice website is an important element of your marketing campaign and needs to represent your practice in the most positive light. Most patients will spend less than ten minutes browsing your site, and may only spend a few seconds glancing at the home page and other landing pages. First impressions mean everything when it comes to creating your online presence, so you need to make sure your site contains enough information to keep your visitor interested and that it also looks professional.
Some key elements and sections that need to be included on your practice website include:
- Solid marketing copy that explains your areas of expertise and specialties, and the most asked-for procedures
- Pages written with keywords and keyphrases that the majority of patients are using to find information about procedures and treatments in your area
- Your full name, credentials and experience
- Photos of your practice or front desk
- A complete listing of services, procedures and treatments you offer
- Detailed information about each procedure (at least two to three paragraphs) to introduce new patients
- A brief intro message or welcome message from the doctor, to make prospective patients feel comfortable working with you
- A thorough “About Us” page that introduces staff members and lists your mission or vision
- A contact form, e-mail address or phone number on every page, ensuring that the patient can contact you easily when they’re ready to book a consultation
- Testimonials and/or positive reviews from past and current patients
Professionally-written content and an attractive website layout are essential elements for creating a positive experience for your site visitors. Make sure that your practice website is accurately telling your story and representing your practice so that you can set yourself apart from other practices in your area.
When you want to attract more patients and establish yourself as a leader or authority in your specialty, make sure your marketing strategy is reaching out in ways that really target your “ideal” patient.
Many prospective patients are now actively engaged on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and when used correctly, these platforms can be powerful enough to build your client list and establish positive rapport with your patients.
Here are just three simple ways you can build your practice’s social media presence:
1. Update your Twitter page daily or every other day. You don’t need to promote your services and special offers every day when using Twitter. The key to making this social networking tool work for you is to offer insights, advice and even tips that your patients will find useful or entertaining. Staying active on Twitter will help you stay at the “top of mind” of your followers and encourage people to interact with you at a whole new level.
2. Maintain a professional Facebook fan page. Encourage patients to “Like” your fan page. Build a positive online presence by posting updates about your practice, displaying photos, and providing news, tips and insights from both a doctor’s and a staff member’s perspective. Your Facebook presence can help break the barrier of communication between staff members and prospective patients, and also make the entire doctor-patient interaction a more positive one.
3. Update your LinkedIN page. If you don’t already have a LinkedIN profile, set one up (it’s free) to connect with other doctors and professionals in your industry. Patients who do a doctor name search for you will usually find your basic LinkedIN profile on the first page of search results. This makes you stand apart as a professional in the industry, and also provides another way for the patient to contact you.
When patients aren’t currently in the market for a procedure or treatment — but may be considering it within the next six months — you can encourage them to book a consultation with you to learn about the procedure and turn to you to have their questions answered.
Many patients spend several weeks and months learning about their procedure and doctors in their area before they book that first appointment.
When you’ve hit slow season and want to build your practice, you need to refocus your marketing efforts to promote how easy it is to get a consultation with you.
The consultation is the first step to creating a relationship with the patient and will help you build trust. When the patient knows that you are there to help them and can address their concerns, they will be more likely to book an appointment with you when they are ready to proceed with their treatment or procedure.
A simple way to encourage patients to book that consultation during slow season is to offer a free consultation for a single month, or offer a discount on the consultation. Some doctors discount a treatment for the price of the consultation if the patient decides to make an appointment within a certain time frame. Any type of incentive can encourage a patient to book time with you instead of another doctor in their area when they want to learn more.
Another way to book more consultations and attract more patients is to offer a package deal.
How many of your patients do you think may be interested in a minimally-invasive treatment, such as Botox or skin tightening treatments when they are learning about liposuction? Offering a package of procedures that may complement the procedure or treatment the patient is interested in could prompt a consultation and encourage them to learn more about other services and treatments you offer.
Taking that extra step to build a solid relationship with prospective patients is what will set you apart from other doctors and surgeons in your area. Book more consultations during the slow season with some creative marketing approaches, and focus on building trust with every patient so that they can count on you as the expert, and come to you when they’re ready to proceed with their surgery or treatment.