53 ACTIONABLE Tips for Your Podiatry Marketing Strategy
If you’re looking for tips on how to market your podiatry practice effectively, the odds are pretty good that you already know how important this is for your success.
In the event you don’t fall into that camp, here’s something to think about:
Digital marketing includes all the best current practices for reaching new target markets, converting site visitors to patient leads, and staying connected with your patients.
Basically, if you want to grow your practice—or even if you simply don’t want your patient numbers to start dropping—you need to market it properly.
Since that “properly” part is pretty important, our digital marketing agency has some tips for you.
This is a ton of content for you to digest, so let’s jump right into it:
1. Establish your practice’s business goals first
As a starting point, it’s important to understand the difference between your practice’s business goals and marketing goals. It might help to think about them this way:
- Your business goals are the ones that relate directly to revenue and profits. For example, your goal might be to see an extra 15 patients per week, or to increase per-visit revenue by 10%, or to see more patients in a certain category (such as those needing services that are highly profitable, or that you specialize in) and less in other categories.
- Your marketing goals can help you achieve business goals.
In other words, digital marketing metrics like pageviews or contact form submissions are important, but they are not in and of themselves the primary goal. You need to start with what you want to achieve in your business first. A critical example: a rush of traffic to your bunions page might look good on a spreadsheet, but if your business goal is actually to see more neuropathy patients, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
With that being the case, your starting point for marketing your medical practice is to establish your business goals. When you do, make sure they are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound).
2. Use business goals to establish marketing goals
Once you’ve clearly defined your business goals, you’re now ready to start thinking about what you need to do with your marketing plan to achieve them.
As you do this, you will create marketing goals—which should also be SMART goals, of course.
As an example, if one of your business goals is to see more patients for a specific high-revenue service, you might decide to create engaging online content (service page, landing page, social media posts) and a digital ad campaign promoting that service.
Your marketing goals in this instance might be generating a certain number of new leads for this service within a certain timeframe, increasing your rank on the Google search results page for related keywords, or boosting the amount of traffic to your website from social media.
Again, it’s important to be SMART. Vague goals, like “I want more leads,” are not all that helpful and can lead to unfocused work. Use your business goals here. For example, if your business goal is to see 20 more patients per week, or to increase your annual revenue by $100,000, think about how many extra leads you need to generate to meet that goal.
3. Understand “the buyer’s journey”
Even though you have patients and not “buyers,” the fact of the matter is that people still go through the same basic process—the buyer’s journey.
So what’s that?
Okay, it’s not entirely this simple, but the basic concept here is that people must first become aware of a problem, then consider solutions, and finally decide on which one to take.
Understanding this process is key for effective marketing, even for a medical practice like yours.
4. Define your perfect patient
As a doctor, it’s not like you’re going to turn away patients who need medical care, right? At the same time, though, not all your patients have the same value for your practice’s profitability. So if you want your practice to thrive, you need to focus your marketing efforts on bringing in the best possible patients.
And we refer to this demographic as being your “perfect patient.”
Your marketing works best when you invest time in identifying which group(s) to target. Perhaps it’s those who suffer from heel pain, or mothers looking for a make-over, possibly teenagers in need of braces, or eye care patients in need of new glasses. It could be any other condition, depending on you and your practice. The key is targeting those that are especially profitable.
Regardless as to who your perfect patient is, your marketing strategy will be focused on reaching them.
5. Perform a SWOT analysis
For any business, a SWOT analysis entails an extensive look into Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This is also an integral element for a successful medical marketing plan. Let’s break that down a bit:
- Strengths. Where does your practice already excel? What are the things that elevate you above your competitors? What do your current patients say they love about you? This could include everything from your staff, to specific advanced treatments you provide, to your office environment, to your website.
- Weaknesses. What are some things your practice is lacking? Things your competitor is currently doing better than you? Things your patients say they don’t like? Possibilities include budget or staffing limitations, an outdated website or marketing strategy, etc.
- Opportunities. These are external factors you see over the horizon that could help contribute to your success. For example, maybe you serve a community that is growing (and/or aging) and demand for podiatry services is likely to increase. Or maybe you have opportunities to partner with local organizations or other physicians to boost your visibility and referrals.
- Threats. These are external factors that could jeopardize your success. Examples might be changes in compliance regulations or insurance coverage, emergence of a competing practice or medical group, etc.
When you do the analysis, consider including several trusted members of your team (who would feel comfortable speaking openly about the practice, including weaknesses and threats) into the brainstorming session. Once you have a good list of bullet points in all four categories, prioritize them and begin to develop plans that capitalize on your strengths, shore up any weaknesses, seize the right opportunities, and deal with any threats to your business (both existing and potential/future ones).
6. Know your competition
Performing a SWOT analysis for your own practice is a great start … but you’re not done yet!
In addition to understanding your practice’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, you should spend some time and effort researching them for your competition, too. This will entail things like checking out their website and social media platforms and looking into how they’re using keywords and online ads.
The better you know your competition, the better you will be able to market your medical practice in ways that will help you find success. Remember, understanding your competitors’ “weaknesses” and “threats” will often help you clarify what your biggest opportunities are!
7. Identify your key differentiators
A common mistake in marketing a medical practice is this:
Forgetting that it’s a business.
And because your practice is a business, you need to market it accordingly. A big part of that is identifying your key differentiators.
Okay, so what are those and how do you identify them?
Basically, key differentiators are those things that make you different than your competition.
Sure, either you or the doctor across town can probably put together an effective treatment plan to help someone overcome heel pain—but if you offer patients coffee while they wait (and your competition doesn’t), that’s a key differentiator.
(See how this goes back to the importance of understanding your competition?)
8. Create your unique selling proposition (USP)
Once you’ve identified your key differentiators, then you can use them to create your practice’s USP.
Now, the “selling” part might sound as though it would apply more to a retailer than a medical practice, but think of it this way:
You have to sell potential patients on the fact that you’re the right choice for the professional medical care they need.
Something that can help you create your USP is to think of it as being an “elevator speech.” That means it needs to be fairly short—like the 20-30 seconds you might spend in an elevator with someone—and cover the truly important information … which should include your strongest key differentiator(s).
9. Determine your brand
As we had just noted, one of the most common medical marketing mistakes is not thinking in terms of a typical business. A specific example of this is not realizing (or forgetting) that your practice has a brand.
If that’s you, then you aren’t in control of your brand—which is a big problem.
Many doctors have that issue, and this can be attributed to the fact that they didn’t take time to determine what they wanted their brand to be in the first place.
Alright, so why does branding matter?
Done correctly, branding creates trust and allows your patients to easily recognize anything coming from your office. That second part is important because overwhelmed human brains love “easy” (and then associate positive feelings with your practice).
It’s also important to understand that “branding” is a lot more than just picking out a logo and some official colors. Quality branding is memorable, makes an impression, and even establishes a sense of credibility and trust with your patients. It also says something about you, and your values.
If you don’t have a consistent or professional look, it’s time to consider a refresh of your branding.
10. Audit existing marketing efforts
If you are already using email and social media (etc.) to market your practice, you should audit them to see how well they are working (if at all…). There are two ways of doing this:
- Audit your digital marketing when creating a new strategy. This is quite beneficial for helping you determine your plan’s goals.
- Audit your digital marketing after your strategy has already been implemented. This practice will allow you to see if you’re hitting your marks (or are at least heading in the right direction) and provide guidance for making any corrections or adjustments.
Either way, you will want to conduct audits in all facets of your marketing plan for optimal value and results.
11. Critique your website
Along with auditing your medical practice’s digital marketing efforts, you should also assess the performance of your website.
Remember, your website is the keystone of your marketing. The goal for your emails, social media posts, online ads (etc.) is to bring people to your site and then ultimately convert them into patients.
If you want that to happen—and you absolutely should—your website needs to be on point. That means it needs to both look and perform amazingly well.
12. Plan your marketing strategy
Since it’s been alluded to enough, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that you need to put together a strategy if you want medical marketing that works.
To that end, you need to think about your perfect patients and how you’re going to reach them. It can be helpful to list out the various marketing elements you want to use—email, social media, blogging, online ads, etc.
Once you have your list in place, start thinking about how they are all going to connect, and what kinds of actions you want them to influence.
For example, you might plan to create a compelling social media post that encourages people to go to a landing page on your website so they can claim a valuable offer. In exchange, you can have them provide their email addresses—which then becomes a database for your email marketing.
See how it can all connect? That’s a huge reason why you need to be strategic and carefully plan everything in advance.
13. Understand best practices for calls-to-action (CTAs)
There’s no point in marketing if it’s not going to generate results. And for you to get the best results when marketing your practice, you need to use effective calls-to-actions (CTAs).
A CTA is simply the messaging you use so your target market knows what to do next. You are probably more familiar with these than you think. (The “call now” bit at the end of an infomercial is a classic example.)
Here’s something important to keep in mind regarding CTAs:
Although they don’t only have to come at the very end, you also don’t want to use them too early in the “conversation” you’re establishing with a site visitor, email recipient, etc.
Think of it this way—you don’t ask someone to marry you five minutes into a first date, right? (Well, you can, but the success rate is bound to be extremely low.)
If you want your marketing to work, you need to follow best practices like making sure they arise at the appropriate time.
14. Be consistent in your branding
When we talked earlier about determining your practice’s brand, we noted that branding can create trust and heighten name recognition. As you might imagine, this only happens if you are consistent.
Invest time on the front end of your marketing strategy to determine the colors you use, how your logo appears, what kind of voice you will use in your content, etc.
Once you have all of that in place, adhere to it with everything you do. Always use the same fonts in your emails and, even better, make them match those found on your website. Don’t vary in shades of colors—pick what you want and stick to them.
Every little detail can make a difference here, but the importance of consistency cannot be overstated.
15. Determine offers
By now, you’re probably seeing how intertwined everything can be in a comprehensive medical marketing plan. And we say that because “offers” is a bit of a callback to the example we used about planning your marketing strategy.
If you’ll recall, we mentioned that you might want to direct people to a landing page where they can claim an offer in exchange for their email addresses. So, what constitutes an offer?
Well, there is a fair amount of variance here. Perhaps you want to give them information they’ll find useful and valuable—such as in an eBook or guide—or a discount on services or products you sell in your office.
No matter what kinds of offers you plan, the basic concept is that you have to give something if you want people to give you their contact info (so you can stay in touch and be their first choice when they need medical care).
16. Create a content calendar
Given that successful medical marketing plans consist of many moving parts and are intricately planned, you need tools for tracking everything. In this case, one of your best tools is going to be a content calendar.
A content calendar is simply a written schedule of what types of content (blogs, webpage, videos, social media promotions, etc.) you plan to produce, and when they’ll be posted. Depending on the complexity of your digital marketing strategy, this could be in a simple document or a spreadsheet—it just has to be clear and organized.
In addition to helping you track your content throughout the year, this is also an invaluable tool for planning it all on the front end. You can use your calendar to ensure content is structured in a logical manner.
17. Get your staff involved
By now, you should have a pretty good sense that effectively marketing a medical practice takes a tremendous amount of time and effort. Accordingly, you can’t do it all on your own.
(Technically, you can—but that’s not best practice if you want optimal results. Or time to sleep.)
When it comes to getting your staff involved, there are two ways of looking at this:
- Depending on their respective skillsets, you might want them to do some of your marketing work (such as write blog posts or manage your social media accounts, etc.).
- Even if you don’t assign them specific marketing tasks, you should have them follow your practice’s social media accounts, participate in office events, take pictures you can use for blog and social media posts, as well as other things along those lines.
Again, you are a doctor, not a full-time marketer. You cannot do everything necessary to successfully market your practice by yourself. You need help—and your staff is one possible option.
18. Claim local listings
Whether you’re aware of it or not, your practice can be found online, in tons of different locations. Even if you don’t have a website—which is something you really should take care of ASAP—people can find information about your practice through a variety of sources.
Most of those sources are what we call “listing sites.” Examples include Google My Business (which is the box with map, images, and NAP info that probably comes up on the side of the screen when you search for your practice name), Facebook, Healthgrades, and many more.
As you’ll see in just a moment, there’s a second facet here—but let’s start with this:
If you aren’t already on important listing sites, you need to claim your listings NOW.
In doing so, you give Google and other search engines reference points to determine that your practice is legit and know where you’re based, which in turn will help you show up better in local search results.
It also allows you to take control over updating the information on the listing site, including adding or updating your hours, address, office photos, and description. You can even respond to reviews. This, again, helps you in search—but also makes your listing more appealing to a prospective patient, who is then more likely to call or schedule.
Claiming a listing may require a multi-step process, such as responding to a postcard or call from the listing site. While it can be a minor inconvenience, these steps are well worth taking, especially for the big listing sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, Bing—and for the podiatry industry, sites like Healthgrades and RateMDs, too.
19. Verify accuracy in existing listings
Claiming your local listings is the first step. It’s not the last, however.
As noted, your information can probably already be found on various listing sites. That might sound like a good thing—and it certainly can be—but here’s the thing:
If those listings contain errant or false information, it can have a negative effect for your site’s performance in local search.
With that being the situation, you also need to verify your listings. This entails knowing where your site is listed, checking to make sure all NAP (name, address, phone number) information and office hours are correct, and then taking action to correct anything that isn’t right.
20. Start (or reboot) your blog
Blogging serves a couple of different functions for a medical marketing strategy. When done correctly, it will:
- Establish your authority. Sure, you know you have the experience, knowledge, and skill to solve their healthcare needs, but your blog is where you can show them all of this.
- Improve your site’s performance in search engine ranking pages (SERPs). To this point, you need to stay on top of changes to the algorithms Google (and other search engines) uses to rank webpages in search results.
- Increase site visitor engagement. Providing interesting and/or entertaining content will keep your potential market engaged—which means you’ll be “top of mind” when they need medical care.
There are other benefits as well, but keep in mind that part of the “done correctly” bit is making sure you post new content to your blog on a regular basis.
21. Follow best current practices for content marketing
Regardless as to whether we’re talking about blog posts, webpages, or any other type of content, your practice benefits when you follow best content marketing practices.
That might seem obvious—after all, you need to use best practices to achieve optimal results—but let’s dig a little deeper.
There are two elements you need to be mindful of regarding best practices for content marketing:
- Those which are ever-changing. Search engines are constantly updating the algorithms they use to determine how to rank websites and pages in search results. And one particular area that seems to change often is in the realm of content. At various times, content that was shorter and posted more frequently was deemed to be best practice. At other times, including the present, search engines give greater weight to longer content (that is of high quality!).
- Those which never change. While search engines are always changing their minds when it comes to how they rank content, writing is static. This means you always benefit from using good storytelling techniques, presenting information in the proper order, understanding basic psychology, etc.
If you want the best results from your marketing content, these are both essential considerations.
22. Consider your audience
This can qualify as one of those never-changing elements from our previous point—it is always best practice to understand your audience and keep them in mind when writing.
Earlier, we noted that you need to define your perfect patients. Part of this process should entail creating “personas” for them.
What is included in a persona?
There are a variety of things in an effective persona, all related to things like:
- Who they are
- How you will reach them
- What kinds of problems they experience
- What solutions you offer (to help them overcome those problems)
Once you have this information established, use it to develop content that truly “speaks” to your audience. Don’t make the mistake of just writing what YOU want to say. Sure, that is important, but you need to frame the conversation more through the lens of what THEY want to hear.
If you do that, you will create content that resonates, makes your potential patients feel valued, and will ultimately lead to them choosing your practice (and not your competition’s).
23. Provide valuable information in your posts
Tying in with our previous tip for medical practice marketing that works, your blog posts must contain genuinely valuable information.
Even if you have copy that is compelling and beautifully written, it needs to be worthy of your audience’s time. Otherwise, they will feel cheated and, most likely, misappropriate negative feelings towards your practice and the brand you’re working so hard to cultivate.
That is clearly a huge mistake.
Fortunately, it’s one you can avoid by giving the reader information they can use—and this connects with the importance of being strategic and creating a content calendar (so you can easily look at the big picture).
24. Create original, unique content
As tempting as it may be, do NOT just copy other people’s posts.
First, this is simply an ethical issue. Plagiarism is intellectual theft. You are better than that. Create your own content!
Beyond the ethics involved with this, another reason for creating unique content to market your practice is the fact that Google penalizes duplicate copy. You want your website to rank as highly as possible—and that means you need original webpages and blog posts.
Finally, keep your audience and branding in mind. They don’t want to read content that can be found on other sites. Plus, your voice is an integral component of your practice’s brand. If you’re copying other people’s words, you aren’t staying true to your branding.
25. No errors!
All your marketing and branding adds up to what can be described as “the online face” of your medical practice.
Since this is how people come to know and identify your brand, it’s important that you convey the right amount of professionalism. Sure, people need to know you are an authority in your field, but your brand also should have a certain degree of personality.
No matter what this mix looks like for your practice, here’s the deal:
Yes, when people rant about politics or whatever in online forms and social media posts and comments, they often butcher the English language. And it’s considered rather pedantic (and generally pointless…) to bring this to their attention.
But your professional branding is different!
You need to portray yourself—and (by default) your practice—with professionalism. Fair or not, people WILL judge you negatively if your website and social media accounts (etc.) are rife with grammatical errors.
26. Establish authority
Diving a bit deeper into something from that previous tip, you need to use your marketing plan to establish authority.
When people are researching doctors in your field, reviewing your website, and/or checking out your practice’s social media accounts, they need to see that you are an expert and will be able to help them overcome their healthcare needs.
To do so, your webpages and blog posts must be full of accurate, useful information—which, in turn, needs to be presented in a way that a reader can understand and make sense of it all.
Think back to the “consider your audience” tip. In all likelihood, you aren’t marketing to fellow doctors, right? Rather, your target market A) doesn’t have the extensive education and knowledge you do and B) doesn’t need to know every technical detail or name. They just need to know enough to understand that you can help them with their problem!
So be the expert who can put things in a way the average person will understand.
27. Show some personality
Being perceived as an expert in your field is essential. Even better is having a brand that is likable and people can relate to—and this is where personality enters the picture.
If you are familiar with acclaimed author and speaker Simon Sinek’s classic book Start With Why, you know that people make decisions with the emotional parts of their brains. Sure, logic is factored into the equation, but emotion drives action.
That is also true of choosing which medical practice to visit when in need of professional treatment.
For that reason, it is critical that you show your brand’s personality throughout your content. This is why you should highlight office events on social media and write in a conversational voice.
At the end of the day, there’s no way around this:
People do business—including scheduling appointments—with brands they like, trust, and find to be credible. So your office should be a trusted, credible authority that is likeable!
28. Make your content evergreen
Local interests and seasonal topics can make for content that is interesting and engaging. Unfortunately, however, they can also make for blog posts that become outdated quickly.
When you plan content for your website, you ideally will outline subjects and titles that are relevant year-round, or even ones that still apply in the same season for future years.
Here’s an example:
As a doctor, there’s a decent chance you’d like to connect with and write for local running groups. After all, the running community is a demographic that often needs professional treatment for all sorts of injuries.
With that being the case, here are two possible blog posts you might write:
- “What to Do If Your Heels Hurt After the Upcoming Jingle Bells 5K”
- “What to Do If Your Heels Hurt After Running a 5K”
In the first example, you’d probably want to include information about the actual event itself—and those details might change on a yearly basis. (So someone reading about the 2019 race in 2021 might be presented with things they don’t need/want to know about.)
The second example, though, is “evergreen.” It is relevant no matter if the reader is running the Jingle Bells 5K, the Turkey Trot, Cheers to New Years, the Easter Egg 5K, or the Five on the 4th (of July).
Now, promoting time-bound events and holidays is useful—just keep it to your social media and email marketing strategies. In fact, a social media post that would work quite well is something along the lines of:
“The Jingle Bells 5K is right around the corner. What should you do if your heels hurt after the race? We have the answers you need!” (Linking to your blog post, of course!)
29. Post consistently
From both social media and blogging perspectives, one thing you can do to boost your marketing is to post content on a regular basis.
Regarding social media, this is something you want to do to have better engagement and more likes and followers.
For your blogging, being consistent helps you build up the volume of content you can share in social media and email marketing. And if your content is consistent and consistently good, it can really help boost your site’s performance in search engine ranking pages.
Don’t gloss over the “consistently good” part! In an earlier era of the internet, the name of the game was pumping out as many short blog posts as possible—quantity over quality. That’s no longer the case—in fact, short blogs that provide little value to readers can actually hurt your web performance. Try to keep a pace where you can sustain quantity and quality. For many practices, this might look like one to three high-quality blogs per month.
This may seem as though it’d be a lot to track—and that’s because it is. Of course, the interconnected nature of an effective marketing plan highlights the importance of having a carefully planned content calendar.
30. Repurpose content
You obviously don’t want to post the same thing over and over on your medical practice blog, but you can take blog posts, webpages, and other forms of content and utilize them in different ways.
For example, you might want to take a couple pieces of a popular blog post and turn them into an engaging email—one that drives action.
This doesn’t only apply to copy (written word), however!
In fact, a form of content that is especially awesome for repurposing is video. So use your marketing and testimonial videos on blog posts and webpages. Share them on social media platforms. Include the videos in emails. You get the idea.
31. Audit and update your content regularly
If you’ve been blogging for a while, and you’ve started to amass a fairly large number of pages on your website, it’s almost inevitable you will start to notice at least some of the following problems, among others:
- Some pages will become obsolete or incorrect if you add (or remove) a new medical service, change locations, add physicians, etc., potentially confusing your site visitors.
- Some of your pages, even if well written and still accurate, may have very low traffic stats—and too many badly performing pages can penalize your entire site in terms of Google ranking.
- Some older pages might still perform well, but lack links to new pages that would be relevant to readers—simply because those pages hadn’t been written yet when you last edited your older page!
- Some pages simply become redundant (because you later wrote a better page on the same topic that took its place)—and redundant pages will often cannibalize each other’s ranking potential instead of guiding traffic to the page you actually want people to see.
It’s important to review all the content on your website on a regular basis—at least yearly, or sometimes quarterly. If pages are out of date, update them. And if they’re performing poorly in analytics, consider rewriting, improving, or in some cases deleting and redirecting those poor performers. Pruning and tending your existing content can often be more valuable than simply writing brand new posts.
32. Get testimonials to feature on your website
The single most effective kind of marketing is referral marketing—which is when a friend or family member tells you about a product, service, or brand they like, or shares about an exceptional experience they had.
Either way, the personal connection is huge.
The fact of the matter, though, is that an endorsement doesn’t need to be personal to work. After all, most people don’t personally know celebrity endorsers.
Here’s the thing:
Endorsements can still work even if it’s not a celebrity. For an example of this, you don’t really have to look much further than the reviews people leave on Amazon. People trust those reviews all the time, without knowing the reviewer personally, or who they are.
This is a key reason you need to make sure you use testimonials in your marketing plan. It’s basically the same general concept—and it’s one that works.
33. Ask patients for reviews
Testimonials are important. Online reviews, however, are even more so.
Yes, they absolutely act as endorsements of your medical practice—just as with testimonials—but the key distinction is that online reviews can also affect how your website performs in search engine rankings.
As you might expect, Google tends to give more weight to businesses (including medical practices) that have better reviews.
Now, about that:
Reviews don’t just magically appear. (At least positive reviews typically don’t. Negative ones are more likely to crop up, seemingly out of the blue.)
Obviously, you prefer to see more 4- and 5-star reviews.
But for that to happen consistently, the simple fact is that you’ll need to ask for them. (To be clear, you aren’t asking “hey, would you give us a 5-star review,” but rather, “would you be willing to share your story by leaving a review for us on Google?”)
34. Monitor your reviews
Your online reputation matters—especially when anyone who’s interested in your practice goes online to learn about you and see what others are saying!
With that being the case, you need to stay vigilant and know what people have to say about your practice. Doing so will allow you to know if you are getting enough positive reviews or you need to start asking more patients—preferably happy ones—for them.
At the same time, this also enables you to see if people are leaving negative reviews.
Here are two reasons that is so important:
- You may be able to gain insight into opportunities for improvement. Some negative reviews are, sadly, completely unfounded (and you will want to flag them with Google or wherever they appear). But there are also ones that contain valuable feedback you can use to improve your practice.
- You might need to share your side of the story. Which leads us to…
35. Respond to all reviews (good and bad)
Between the two scenarios—replying to a good review vs. a bad one—it might seem more obvious to respond to the bad review. That certainly makes sense. After all, you need to make your case for why the reviewer is wrong, right?
Eh, not quite.
As you can see, we’re encouraging you to respond to ALL reviews—and that does include the not-quite-positive ones. But it’s important to know how to formulate an appropriate response.
While responding to a negative review requires a fair amount of diplomacy and tact, replying to a glowing review is much easier. In this case, you can simply acknowledge the kind words by expressing gratitude.
The one caveat we cannot overemphasize here is that, since you are in the medical field, you absolutely must ensure that your response does not violate HIPPA regulations. (Regardless as to the nature of the review you’re responding to…)
36. Stay connected with email marketing
The simple truth about our modern lives is this:
We are all more highly connected than at any other time in history.
Technology is the leading factor for this situation—including the powerful, tiny computers we carry in our pockets as we walk around every day. (We might call them “phones,” but that’s what they really are.)
If you want to successfully market your practice, you need to stay connected with your current patients. Given that an overwhelming majority of people receive and read emails on their phones, email marketing is a great way to do exactly that.
Our next couple of tips will give you some things to consider for optimal results.
37. Create a monthly newsletter
Creating a strategy for your practice’s email marketing is an outstanding idea. But what, exactly, are you going to send out to your segmented email lists?
Well, something you might want to consider is developing and designing a monthly newsletter.
As we’re going to discuss further in just a second here, your emails need to provide value. If they don’t, they’re just junk and will be treated as such.
A newsletter is an outstanding way to provide your patients—both current and future—with valuable content. They can help you solidify your branding by showcasing personality, speaking in your brand’s voice, and displaying colors and custom graphics your target market will easily recognize.
On top of that, this is a great way to share information people find useful and/or entertaining (depending on your brand, of course).
38. Develop custom email campaigns
While email blasts are fine for sharing general practice news that would be relevant to all your patients, some patients need a targeted approach based on their specific needs. Custom campaigns are a great way to do this—and your updated patient list is your secret weapon, because it enables you to send out highly effective, engaging emails automatically.
Some quick examples:
- Campaign to request feedback and/or online reviews from patients.
- Campaign to remind patients when they’re due for a check-up appointment.
- Campaign to send patients helpful tips and reminders (stretching instructions, warning signs to watch out for, discount offers on subsequent treatment sessions, etc.) that are specific to their condition or service and are automated to go out at the exact right time they need the information.
A successful email campaign not only keeps you at the front of your patients’ minds, but helps you build trust. Good campaigns can quite often lead to better patient compliance and health outcomes.
39. Use email blasts to share news
Are you opening a new office? Changing locations? Did you bring on a new doctor recently?
If so—or you have any other important practice news—email blasts are a great way to get the word out to the masses.
Now, this brings up the difference between an email blast and a customized campaign.
While blasts can be shared with everyone, if you have information that is planned ahead of time and relevant more to a particular demographic, we’re talking about a campaign.
(Custom campaigns are also an integral element of a comprehensive marketing strategy for a medical practice like yours.)
40. Write subject lines that increase open rates
There’s no point in sending out emails that don’t get opened. So if that’s the case, you need to determine why people aren’t opening them.
This might not always be the case, but here’s a common explanation for this situation:
Your emails have subject lines that aren’t inspiring people to click them.
If you’ve come to that conclusion and are looking to make a change, it might be tempting to start using subject lines that can be described as “clickbait.”
Even if you don’t explicitly know what that means, you probably can recognize it more easily than you’d guess. For example, something along the lines of “25 Amazing Ways to Avoid Heel Pain (You Won’t Believe #17)!!”
Seems like that approach would work, right? It creates intrigue and capitalizes on “knowledge gaps,” so why avoid it?
Well, in that example, your email isn’t going to contain a list of twenty-five things. More likely, it would then direct people to a blog post with that title.
But that’s not what the recipients were expecting!
See, clickbait subject lines can destroy trust. And, as was noted earlier, people do business/make appointments with brands they trust. Your subject line offers a promise—make sure you stay trusted by fulfilling it.
41. Keep emails short
Yes, email works well because virtually everyone is walking around with devices that—amongst other things—receive emails and make it easy to read them while on the go.
In fact, by now the majority of emails are read on phones, and the proportion is only increasing.
Of course, phone screens are significantly smaller than the ones you find on tablets, laptops, and desktops (for those who still use them at home or in the office). And that’s an important consideration when you write your emails.
When you combine screen size with dwindling attention spans in the general population, it only stands to reason that you benefit from keeping down the word count in your emails.
At the same time, you need to be mindful of those who receive your emails and their state of awareness. (The reason we note this is because people in lower states of awareness typically need more to the story—which necessitates additional words—than those in higher states.)
42. No spam!!
Email marketing isn’t a matter of filling up inboxes for the sake of just sending out emails. Sure, that can get you noticed—it’s just that it’ll get you noticed in the same way that a mosquito buzzing around your head draws attention.
And in the same way that you’ll swat (and hopefully squish) the pesky mosquito, those on your email list will be quick to click “unsubscribe” if you are just annoying them.
(On a related note, the #1 cause for unsubscribing to email lists is getting too many emails.)
Instead, what you need to do is create strategic email campaigns and write emails that provide value to the recipients.
Even if you are trying to promote something like an office opening or a great new blog post, make sure you focus on the benefit for the reader. Otherwise, you’re being a mosquito.
43. Update email lists frequently
When we advise you to keep your email marketing lists updated, there are two specific reasons:
- So your emails aren’t going to the wrong people.
- So your emails go to all the right people.
To the first point, it is incredibly embarrassing and unprofessional to send a “your heel pain should be going away at this point” email to someone who came in to see you for a case of fungal toenails. Or you might send a happy birthday email … five months after their birthday.
It’s rather obvious as to why you want to avoid that kind of situation. Perhaps less obvious is if you don’t update your email lists and you miss out on the opportunity to reach—and stay connected to—existing patients.
You can reduce your risk of tarnishing your practice’s brand or missing out on valuable connection opportunities by regularly updating your email lists.
44. Use videos on all platforms
Out of all the various marketing tools you should be using to promote your practice and establish your brand, videos have one of the highest returns on investment (ROI).
Alright, so why do they offer an incredible amount of value?
Put simply, because they get results. Videos are remarkably effective at getting people to act.
You can easily find numerous statistics to back that up, including this particularly impressive gem:
People are 85% more likely to take action after watching a video.
That’s especially interesting if you want people to do something—like, let’s say, request an appointment with your office.
45. Make sure your videos look and sound good
When it comes to videos, keep this in mind:
While you don’t have to be the next Spielberg or Scorsese to film marketing videos for your practice, you also need to have a better final product than the average five-year-old can produce.
(With technology being what it is nowadays, that’s probably at least somewhat better than you’d imagine…)
And when we talk about quality, we mean both visual and auditory elements. So, in other words, your videos need to look and sound good. At least if you want to convey professionalism (even if you intend to take a more playful or humorous approach).
46. Use your social media accounts to promote other content
At this point, you surely understand the importance of having a comprehensive marketing plan in place for your practice. Furthermore, you likely can see how all the various elements connect and work with each other.
In that spirit, one of the best ways to direct traffic to your website—your practice’s ultimate marketing tool—is through your social media accounts.
If you’ll recall from when we talked about evergreen content, we mentioned that instead of writing a blog post about an upcoming 5K, you write about heel pain after running—and then link to it with a social media post about the local fun run.
That is merely a single example of many approaches you can take.
Beyond your blog, perhaps you’ll use social media to bring traffic to landing pages or encourage people to sign up for your monthly newsletter. The potential options at your disposal are numerous.
47. Use your social media accounts to show personality
Remember when we said earlier that you want your practice’s brand to be liked, trusted, and found to be credible? Well, conveying personality throughout your marketing efforts can go a long way toward establishing, maintaining, and even improving likability.
And that provides the rationale for showcasing personality through social media channels.
Let’s take a second to address the proverbial elephant in the room:
There’s a chance you’re not a fan of social media.
Look, we get it. There are certainly people out there for whom social media isn’t their cup of tea. That’s cool. Social media marketing is still important, however, because A) it is quite popular and B) it’s not going away anytime soon.
With that being the case, you need to take advantage of it—especially because this form of marketing gives you the opportunity to show your practice’s personality.
So post videos, share pics of office events, keep people updated on your office’s food drive. Things like these give you a social media presence and make your practice relatable.
48. Engage with social media followers
The whole point of social media is – surprise! – to be social. And for marketing in a world where people essentially demand opportunities for engagement, this is a good thing.
Your practice’s social media accounts allow people to engage and feel connected. When your posts are fun and/or provide valuable information, it gives them the opportunities they want.
But make sure this isn’t a one-and-done kind of deal. When someone posts a comment, either comment back or (at the very least) “like” it.
49. Like and follow social media accounts and posts for local organizations
Based on those previous tips, you’re hopefully picking up the theme that you need to be active on social media if you want to reach and connect with patients—present AND future.
An intelligent way for your practice to connect is by following social media accounts for local organizations.
This will allow you to stay in the loop about what’s happening and establish your presence in the community. You will also be able to learn about and recognize opportunities for you to promote your practice in a way that makes sense.
To best do this, take into consideration the nature of what you do, and think about how it relates to various groups/organizations/etc. within your community.
For example, a podiatrist might get a lot of value out of following the Facebook page for local running groups. An example for an optometrist could be following social media accounts for local schools and colleges. When they post information about back-to-school (and they will!), you can comment on those posts and encourage scheduling eye appointments before the school year gets started.
Why that’s important:
This provides valuable exposure for your practice. If you think about it, this is even better than paying to have a banner hanging at a fieldhouse/stadium/aquatic center/etc. (because it doesn’t cost a dime).
50. Determine appropriate metrics to track
We’ve delved pretty heavily into things you should be doing if you want to successfully market a medical practice. Now we’re going to switch gears a bit.
The whole point of almost every endeavor is to achieve something, right? Well, marketing is no exception. You are doing all of this for a reason—to bring new patients into your practice.
When working toward a goal, it’s wise to keep a pulse on your progress. Medical marketing is no exception.
In this case, you need to spend some time determining the essential metrics to track. This will help ensure you’re on pace to meet your objectives.
As you determine the metrics you’ll be tracking, it’s very important you keep this in mind:
The “R” in SMART goals is relevant, so make sure you are choosing metrics that matter!
There are loads of things you can track in a marketing plan—but not all of them are relevant. To identify which ones are worth tracking, you need to think about your endgame here.
Your overall marketing plan is created so you can bring new patients into your practice and keep a steady (and increasing) revenue stream.
With that being the case, it might be tempting to think that you just need to track how many “new patient” visits your practice is seeing.
That’s undoubtedly important, but we’ve been talking exclusively about your digital marketing. So success in this regard relates more to the traffic visiting your website, what they are doing when they get there, and if you are getting more calls from these visits (etc.).
Why that’s the case:
Digital marketing converts strangers into patient leads—but those leads don’t become actual patients if they have a poor experience when they call your office. (That’s merely a single example.)
Accordingly, you need to track the metrics that are most relevant for your digital marketing efforts.
PLEASE NOTE: This really should be done on the front end (when you develop the marketing strategy for your practice). We are only covering it now because of how it relates to the subsequent tips.
51. Review your analytics
When you lay out the schedule for your practice’s marketing strategy, you should also schedule various points to collect data. As we just noted, you will then use it to see if you’re on track for achieving your goals.
The frequency with which you compile this information may vary (depending on an array of factors), but a general guideline is that it’s good to do this on at least a monthly basis.
As you might imagine, it is especially helpful to create a document or spreadsheet—whichever you prefer (what you record is considerably more important than how you do it)—to record this information.
By keeping a historical record on hand, it’s easier to assess how things are going.
52. Modify your strategy if analytics aren’t showing what you want to see
If you crunch the numbers and don’t find the progress you should expect to see, it’s time to make some modifications to your marketing strategy.
Before we go further, something to tuck away:
If that’s your situation, don’t take it personally or feel like a failure. Remember, almost every success comes on the heels of failed efforts. After all, that’s how we, as humans, learn and improve.
Keep that mindset as you determine what hasn’t been working for you and what you can do differently as you go forward.
Yes, your practice’s marketing strategy absolutely must be carefully prepared. At the same time, even the best-laid plans of mice and men (and doctors) go awry.
So you need to be flexible and wiling to modify your strategy (when needed).
That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that you need to completely scrap everything and start all over. You will almost certainly see things that are working for you.
Similarly to what you do following your SWOT analysis, capitalize on your strengths and shore up your weaknesses—then move ahead, wiser and more experienced in how to successfully market your medical practice.
53. Have someone else do it all for you
As you can see, it takes a ton of work to market your practice and generate results. There are obviously many important things to keep in mind.
And, in some ways, we’ve barely scratched the surface…
If you want to try handling it all on your own, that’s your choice and we sincerely wish you the best of luck (because our agency truly wants your practice to succeed).
At the same time, you do have another option:
Farm it out to a marketing agency like ours—one that has an entire team of specialists who can do it all for you.
In all likelihood, you don’t have resources like that in your office—but that’s why we’re here for you.
BONUS TIP: Work WITH your marketing team
No matter if you enlist the help of your staff, hire an outside agency, or choose to partner with us, you will see better results by working with those doing the work (than you would by taking a completely “hands off” approach).
But fear not—this doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of time or effort!
Since you do have a team doing the heavy lifting, you will need minimal involvement. That said, the minimal involvement is still extremely important.
Don’t want to go at it all alone? Let’s chat!
Our team of talented specialists works hard and uses the best current marketing practices to provide results for our clients from across the nation—and we’d love the opportunity to do the same for you.
We are driven by a mission to help you fill your waiting room with your perfect patients. If you also want to spend more time treating the kinds of patients you enjoy treating, you might want to think about reaching out to us.
Whenever you decide it’s time to ask for help with marketing your practice, we’re here for you. Just give us a call or send us a message online and we can get started on your custom marketing strategy!
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