Starting a new medical practice is hard. There are many things to consider: staffing. Office space. Getting business documents in order.
But the most important concern for new practices? A steady, consistent flow of new patients.
If you're starting your medical practice from square 1, you need patients – and fast.
There are many marketing strategies that can get you there, but the best one to grow your new medical practice is paid online advertising.
In this episode of the Medical Marketing Podcast, we'll show you why all doctors should start their new practice journey with paid advertising to get patients and grow their practice quickly.
Why advertise in the first place? Well, there are many reasons. But, the most important one is that online advertising helps you get new patients immediately.
Online advertising is effective because you're essentially "buying" the #1 spot on Google. You're "going to the traffic store", so to speak, to get more eyeballs on your practice. And more traffic = more patients.
And don't believe everything you hear about patients ignoring ads. In fact, a study from Wordstream found that for high "commercial intent" searches, 2/3 of clicks are clicks on ads.
If you can use paid advertising to buy that #1 spot and get more eyeballs on your site, you'll get more patients.
Other strategies like SEO or word-of-mouth can be very effective for your practice, but they aren't great strategies to start out with for a new practice. Why? Because they can take a long time to see results.
Paid advertising, on the other hand, can help you get new patient leads within hours of setting up your campaigns.
Online advertising also helps you track performance. With paid advertising, you can know how many leads you received, and how much you had to spend in order to acquire them.
This is one of the most important factors in successful online advertising. You want to know how much you need to spend for each lead, and what your conversion rates are so that you can make adjustments accordingly. This will help you tailor your budget more effectively.
The name of the game in paid advertising is data. You're not just throwing money into the void and hoping that something works. With every ad impression, every click, and every new patient, you're collecting valuable new data that will help improve your advertising and help you make better strategic decisions.
Depending on your market and competition, online advertising may be less expensive than you think. We'll discuss ROI later on, but for now, just know that online advertising doesn't have to be prohibitively expensive. You obviously have lots of other costs involved in setting up a new practice – if advertising were too expensive, nobody would do it!
There are a lot of factors that go into budgets and the "cost per click" on Google – and that's probably a topic for another day – but you should know that advertising doesn't have to be expensive. Yes, there are costs associated with advertising online, but advertising can be one of the best investments you can make in your practice growth, especially early on in your journey.
These are three reasons why all new doctors should consider setting up online advertising campaigns to direct patients to their website.
Speaking of websites, there's a common refrain we hear from many doctors: isn't my website alone enough?
I have a practice website. Isn't that enough?
To be frank: no, your practice website isn't enough to attract patients and kickstart your growth.
When your practice is brand new, nobody (not even Google) knows you exist. That's why over 40% of all small businesses fail within the first 5 years...and medical practices aren't much different.
As we mentioned before, organic SEO can work wonders for your practice growth, but it's not the best way to start. Google doesn't know you exist, and it can take a long time for Google to start ranking you higher than your competition if they've been around for a long time.
You could be waiting months – or years – for good rankings if you're brand new.
Don't get me wrong – it can still be done – but oftentimes, the timeline is incompatible with the needs of a new practice. As a new practice owner, you can't be waiting around for months for patients to walk in the door. You just don't have that kind of time.
Your website may be great, but it's not enough. That's why you need to supplement your efforts with some smart paid advertising campaigns.
Can't I just do social media?
This is another common question we get. Somewhere along the line, doctors became convinced that social media was their "golden ticket" to practice growth.
The problem is that 99% of the time, new followers ≠ new patients.
Social media followers are largely a vanity metric. I'm not saying they aren't valuable - they can help your practice build social proof and help showcase reviews – but they often don't translate into real patients and real revenue. That's why focusing on organic social media alone isn't going to move the needle.
There are two types of marketing messages: push and pull.
Most of the time, social media is pushing content into a prospective patient's face: they never asked for it, and they may not be interested in it. You can't read their mind, so you have no idea whether or not your message is what they're looking for.
On the other hand, advertising (done right) is pull marketing. When you advertise on Google, you can match your ads to specific keywords, so you know what someone is searching for. You know what they want. And you can craft an ad that speaks directly to their needs, pulling them in and getting them to learn more. There's demonstrated intent that you can fulfill.
So social media alone probably won't cut it. But add advertising into the mix, and you'll be on your way to more patients and faster practice growth.
I have my doubts about advertising. Seems like a waste of money...
Many doctors (especially doctors with new practices) are hesitant to spend money on advertising. There's a real need to control costs and make the venture a success, so they're cautious with every dollar.
On its face, this is a wise move.
But if a practice hasn't considered advertising because they think they'd be throwing money into the void? That's foolish.
You can't just put an ad out there and hope it works. You have to be strategic about your paid advertising campaign.
You need a plan that includes the following:
- A targeting strategy (i.e., where do I want my ads seen?)
- Keywords for optimization (so people searching Google will find me)
- Targeted content and landing pages for those keywords so people will actually read what you've written
Done right, paid advertising can have an incredible payoff, especially for practices with high margins on procedures. It's worth investing the time to get this right upfront.
Honestly, focusing on costs is the wrong mindset to adopt when it comes to paid advertising. What you should be focusing on are revenue and ROI.
The math is clear: paid advertising offers the tremendous ROI that new practices need. A study by WebFX found that every $1 spent on online advertising, medical practices make an average of $2 in revenue.
Many medical practices see incredible ROI with paid advertising.
In fact, one of our clients booked an additional 12 surgeries and saw a 1921% ROI last month alone.
The other important mindset to adopt is that of reinvestment. The #1 way to grow your practice quickly is to re-invest as much money as you can into strategies that accelerate growth.
As your marketing begins to work and you attract new patients, take any profit left over after paying expenses and re-invest it back into marketing. This means you can increase budgets, be more competitive, and win more patients.
We call this the practice growth flywheel. It takes time and effort to get it spinning, but thanks to momentum, eventually it will begin to spin at a faster and faster rate. This means more patients than you can handle - and that's a very good problem to have.
Success builds upon success and compounds over time. If you get your practice growth flywheel spinning, soon enough you'll have that practice you've always dreamed of.
Online Advertising: The #1 Way to Grow a New Medical Practice
It's simple: if you're building a new practice or just starting out on your own, you need to advertise.
You need to share your message with the world and show prospective patients how you can help them live a better life.
A small investment in advertising early on pays off big dividends in the future. The more you are able to invest early, the higher "starting point" you start off at. This means getting your flywheel spinning faster and reaching your practice growth goals more quickly.
Advertising is the key to kickstarting your growth so you can free up valuable time and resources faster than you ever would be able to organically.
Well, that’s all for this week’s episode of the Medical Marketing Podcast – thanks for tuning in.
You can subscribe to The Medical Marketing Podcast for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. And if you like the show, let us know by writing a review on Apple Podcasts – we’ll have a link in the show notes.
If you want more practice marketing resources, check out our website at www.messenger.md. We’re always sharing helpful tips and know-how to help you improve your practice marketing, grow revenue, and take your patient experience to the next level.
That’s all for today’s episode – I’m Crawford Ifland. See you next time.
Whether you're starting a new practice, or if you're just feeling a bit stuck with your practice marketing, we can help. Contact us today and our team of marketing professionals can help you create a strategy that will accelerate your growth and help your practice reach new heights.