4 Ways to Reach Your Perfect Patient

Here’s a basic truth about digital marketing:

We can build your podiatry practice the best possible website—one that is easily found in online searches, properly branded with visual appeal, and has an optimal user experience (UX)—but it won’t matter unless you are able to connect with your target market.

That’s important to know because one of your key marketing goals should be driving the right traffic to your practice’s site. Once there, they should be presented with content that helps convert them from “site visitor” to “qualified patient lead.”

Know Your Marketing Goals

Quick point of clarification:

When you are reviewing your marketing data and metrics, you use the term “conversion” for that transition from visitor to lead. A common mistake is thinking that a conversion is someone who has scheduled an appointment.

(Yes, that’s the ultimate goal, but people are leads before they’re patients.)

For conversions to happen, you need to devote time while planning your marketing strategy to define what you consider to be an ideal target market for your podiatry practice and brand.

When you do, you should really dive in and give the matter some careful thought. Start by thinking about what you value and want to accomplish.

Because we’ve been able to help so many podiatrists over the years, we know that sometimes the overall goal is to build and grow a practice that secures your family’s future. At other times, a podiatrist might focus on something like diabetic wound care—knowing that this could potentially save lives.

Of course, there are certainly other motivations as well.

Now, depending on your business goals and objectives, this could mean you determine that you would like to treat more patients for heel pain, or perhaps ingrown toenails.

Once you have that established, this group becomes your “perfect patient”—and your marketing efforts will be geared toward them.

More than that:

It is imperative you connect with your target market. (At least, it is if you want to hit your marketing and business goals!)

So, how do you connect with them?

From a high-level perspective, you need to understand your perfect patient and know what they value and how they use each marketing channel as they make the journey from awareness to consideration to decision. (Basically, the “buyer’s journey.”)

More specifically, here are four ways to help you as you better identify and engage your perfect patients through the best digital marketing practices:

1. Gain a True Understanding of What Matters to Your Perfect Patient

In this day and age, there is an incredible amount of data available—and even more when you are a marketing professional who has advanced tools and resources.

Tools like Google Analytics and Search Console can tell us how people are finding your podiatry practice online, and what they do when they visit your website.

If you want to know more about demographic insights like age, location, and interests of your target market, you can turn to Facebook Insights and Ad Manager.

Social media is a great way to find out what patients are saying about your practice and topics that interest them (which you can use to create content they care about).

All of these are examples of tools that enable you to know what is important to your perfect patient. Once you know that, you can use this information as a key focus for your podiatry marketing efforts.

A marketing tool that is especially helpful for this is a “buyer persona.”

(It’s totally fine if you want to relabel that as a “patient persona.”)

This is a document you fill out while creating your marketing strategy.

2. Speak Their Language

A lot of doctors—and perhaps even the majority—often forget this:

Your patients didn’t go to podiatry or medical school.

Well, maybe some did, but they are likely in the minority.

And that means the odds are pretty low that they know what a tarsal tunnel is or where the metatarsophalangeal joint can be found.

You can (and should!) use your digital marketing to educate your patients—just don’t lose sight of the fact that humans always need to walk before we can run. While you developed your ability to “run” through advanced education, training, and experience in the field, most people just don’t have that background.

As you help your potential patients better understand their condition, treatment options, and why your practice is the right one for them, make sure you start at a walking pace.

For example, the first time you refer to the MTP joint, let them know it’s where a toe connects to the foot. That is something they will understand. After all, people generally know what toes and feet are—so you’re speaking their language.

Here’s a kind of tricky thing, though:

You also need to make sure you establish yourself as an expert (because you are). And that means you can’t get too informal with your content and messaging, either.

There is a balance you need to strike. The best way to achieve this is to keep both your audience and your practice’s brand in mind for your marketing efforts.

3. Use Research to Find the Right Organic Keywords

The dynamics might be shifting, but organic search is still the largest source of traffic for websites.

All right, so what do we mean by organic search?

Put simply, this is the kind of online searching that comes to mind when people think about using search engines like Google and Bing.

Organic searches are where people look up keywords and then decide which results are most meaningful for them.

To get the most out of this common practice, you need to know both what terms people use to find your podiatry practice and why they are using them. Even better is if you have an understanding as to where the seeker falls in the buyer’s journey:

  • Are they aware of their existing problem?
  • Are they aware of what solutions can address it?
  • Are they aware of the services—and maybe products—you provide?
  • Are they aware of why your practice is the one they should go to?

Regarding the keywords used, there are three general categories you should know:

  • Informational: These are used to find broader topics or items. The user probably doesn’t know what they want or need at this time. They’re still researching. This is your opportunity to be helpful and/or interesting, increasing the likelihood that you’ll be their first choice for podiatry services when they need them.
  • Navigational: These terms are used to find a specific website. For example, they may be searching for your practice’s name, or a specific service you provide. These people have likely already done their research or know exactly what they want but may not be ready to commit to scheduling an appointment just yet.
  • Transactional: These terms are used to find a service (or product to purchase). For example, “get laser therapy for heel pain.” In this case, the user is ready to act and more likely to schedule an appointment (if your site compels them to).

By identifying relevant search terms and the user intent behind them, you can develop content to better address your audience’s need.

One more thought about this:

Informational content is often found in blog posts, FAQs, or other such resources. Navigational and transactional content is typically found in services and landing pages.

4. Stay Top of Mind with Retargeting

When patients are exposed to your marketing and branding early in their decision process—whether they come from an informational keyword search, blog post link, display ad, or any other means—they’re likely NOT going to request an appointment based on that visit to your site.

That’s to be expected and can be completely okay—if you proceed correctly.

The key here is this:

You can keep potential patients in the consideration phase and bring them back to your practice’s website (where they will ultimately contact you for an appointment) through retargeting efforts.

(Retargeting is online advertising targeted to people who displayed certain online actions—such as visiting a website or looking up a product on Amazon, etc.)

How can you use retargeting to work for you?

Numerous digital channels give you a variety of retargeting campaign options, such as:

  • Search retargeting with Google Ads
  • Website retargeting through Google Display Network
  • Retargeting on desktop and mobile devices with Facebook

Knowing who your audience is and what channels they use will help you decide what the best channels are for your retargeting initiatives.

Gaining a deep understanding of who your patients are and what motivates them will help you define a more qualified audience. Only then can you use digital channels to reach your target market, drive higher quality traffic, improve on-site engagement and, most importantly, increase your patient numbers!

For more information on how to use this for your practice, contact our VMD Services team. Give us a call today at (833) 823-3335 and talk to one of our marketing experts today!

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