You can’t expect your practice to survive without patient leads.
And most private practices can’t acquire leads without some form of marketing.
A medical practice marketing plan is one of the most powerful business assets your practice has – and as we head into a new year, marketing plans are at the forefront of many physicians’ minds.
In this article we’ll explain our five best ways to market your medical practice in 2021 and beyond.
1. Search Engine Optimization
Healthcare Search Engine Optimization remains one of the best opportunities for long-term practice growth. And there’s a good reason: more than 8 out of 10 patients these days start their search for a doctor on Google.
But SEO is hard, especially in a crowded, competitive space like healthcare.
That’s why hiring a healthcare SEO expert is crucial to win in this area.
You need someone who not only knows the SEO space, but knows the healthcare space, too.
Google is always changing, and as they change, your practice’s SEO strategy will need to change, too. Gone are the days of black-hat SEO tricks and the “experts” who promised to get you to Page 1 in 3 weeks. They don’t work anymore.
What does work is a focus on patient experience, website speed, and E-A-T. Get these factors right and Google will reward you for it with higher rankings and more patient leads.
If you want your practice to thrive, you need to be at the top of the page in Google Search Results – and that means engaging in a smart SEO strategy.
2. Paid Advertising
If SEO is the best opportunity for long-term practice growth, paid online advertising is the best opportunity for immediate growth.
We know what you’re thinking: yes, pay-per-click advertising requires ad spend. If you don’t pay, you can’t play.
But unlike SEO, which can take months to see results, pay-per-click campaigns can start delivering patient leads within minutes of setting them up. That’s the power of paid advertising at work.
But like anything in digital marketing, pay-per-click advertising is a rapidly-changing field.
Old strategies that used to dominate, like cost-per-click bidding, are being replaced by powerful Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning applications that can deliver better results at a lower cost.
One of the biggest mistakes we see practices make is trying to set up paid advertising campaigns themselves, without the guidance of an expert.
Too often practices miss crucial steps along the way, like conversion tracking, analytics linking, or keyword audits. This causes them to pour money down the drain, waiting for results while not collecting accurate data.
If you want immediate patient leads in 2021, start with paid advertising. Just be sure to hire a professional to help manage your advertising, like a Google Partner who can help you set your campaigns up for maximum success.
3. Email Marketing
Email has been around for a long time. Love your inbox or hate it, it’s not going anywhere.
And that’s why email marketing (done correctly) is such a powerful medical practice marketing tool.
On average, email produces an ROI of $43 for every $1 invested. Think about that for a minute: 43X ROI!
But most practices don’t know how to do email well.
For one, it requires time to build an email list if you don’t have one already. It takes time and investment.
And of course, you have to make sure you have patients’ permission to email them – you never want to run afoul of HIPAA regulations.
But for practices who have spent the time and effort to develop a relationship, email remains a vital tool for practice growth. This is especially true for practices that offer elective procedures or might sell their services to a patient multiple times, such as cosmetic surgeons.
If you want to build long-term growth and engage with patients who are devoted to your practice brand, an investment in a smart email marketing strategy will pay off in 2021 and beyond.
4. Patient Review Marketing
If you’ve ever bought something online, you’ve probably read reviews for it before clicking “Add to Cart.” If you’ve ever looked for a plumber, car mechanic, or other service provider, you’ve probably asked your friends or family for their recommendations.
Patients are no different when it comes to their health.
Patient review sites like Google, Healthgrades, Vitals, and others are one of the fastest-growing healthcare marketing channels in 2021.
And yet, many doctors don’t think of these platforms as marketing channels.
But they are – and they are incredibly powerful.
More than 80% of patients trust online reviews of a doctor as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend or family member. Patients really care about the number of reviews, overall star rating, and recency of the reviews your practice has.
And positive online reviews (especially on Google) are great for local SEO.
Want to capture more leads than your competition down the street? Focus on getting more patient reviews.
The practices that make investments in patient review generation across all channels and make asking patients for reviews part of their DNA are winning. They’re ranking higher, winning more patients, and building a name for themselves.
If your practice has limited time or budget to devote to other marketing strategies, focus on patient review first – it will pay off big-time.
5. Influencer Marketing
Social media has seen explosive growth in recent years, and healthcare providers have jumped on the bandwagon.
But just posting and trying to attract followers to your page organically doesn’t work as well as it did in the past. If you want to turn social media followers into real patients, you might need the help of an influencer.
Practices who perform surgeries for athletes or celebrities have an easy time with this – one Instagram post about their experience can lead to lots of new patients.
Other practices have seen success by identifying local bloggers with large followings and asking them to review their experience having a consultation at their practice.
Not only are these influencers’ social media followings large, but any mentions they give you on their website or blog can help with SEO as well.
This strategy may take a bit more manual labor to pull off, but it can pay large dividends. You may have to pay influencers (either in cash or with a reduced-price or free procedure), but in the long run, this marketing channels tends to be as effective as PPC and other local marketing strategies, and much cheaper, too.
Kick 2021 Off Right
Effective healthcare marketing is no easy task. Telling your practice’s story in a way that connects with patients and gets more appointments on your schedule is far from hands-free.
But if you employ the right strategies and make strategic investments in the most effective marketing channels, your practice can see strong, consistent growth and begin to build a buffer against hardships like we’ve seen in 2020.
We hope that by implementing some of the ideas in this article, you will be able to build a lasting healthcare brand that thrives in 2021 and for years to come.