As technology and communication have evolved, consumer habits have followed suit. Companies and service providers in virtually every industry have had to adapt their marketing and outreach methods to stay relevant. These changes haven’t been confined to strictly commercial entities, they have run over into even the most basic and essential industries, like healthcare, government, and higher education.
To many physicians, especially those who earned their degrees and licenses decades ago, actively marketing their practice can seem excessive or unprofessional. The truth is that marketing, especially digital marketing, is now a necessity. There is no way around it.
Of course these changes require a great deal of labor and resources on the part of individual physicians, private practices, and hospitals, but there are innumerable benefits to investing in medical marketing and doing it well.
WHERE DO I BEGIN?
To start thinking about how inbound marketing could work in relation to your practice, you should do some research on the characteristics of your ideal patients. Begin compiling outlines of these ideal personas - put together summaries of each of their backgrounds, their problems, and the things they are looking for most in their experience with your practice.
Once you have defined these ideal personas, you can start catering your content (blog posts, social media posts, and website content) to these personas in order to provide them with the exact information they are searching for right when they set out to find it. This may sound complicated at first, but once you get into the inbound groove, this process will become second nature.
MANAGE YOUR REPUTATION + INCREASE YOUR INFLUENCE
Physicians have traditionally relied on referrals to ensure the continued success of their practices but today’s patients aren’t just looking for references from their family and primary care physicians. They are looking for doctors on the internet, reading reviews, researching procedures, and investigating backgrounds and experience.
If you are not providing and curating this information yourself, you will risk prospective patients encountering information about you from outside sources who may be competitors or under-informed civilians. If you are providing and curating this information yourself, you will have much more control over the way people are interpreting your history, your personality, and your overall expertise.
Marketing your services is the number one way to stay in control of these things. This will involveoptimizing your website to provide the content patients need exactly when they need it and sharing that information online through channels like social media and blogs. This will all come together to project a sense of transparency and helpfulness while building up trust and addressing your patients’ most pressing questions and concerns.
The face-to-face meetings that happen during appointments and checkups only make up a small portion of the relationships patients expect to have with their physicians today.
Conversation should be ongoing to ensure that they feel a real sense of connection to you and your practice. The best way to foster these types of relationships is to use your online presence to provide educational content for prospective patients.
Patients gather a great deal of information to make their decision. They want to know your experience and success rates, exactly how your procedures are done, and what they should expect every step of the way. Expanding the reach of your expertise and influence onto the web will help your patients to feel like they understand you, what you do, and why you’re the best before they even walk in the door.
KEEP TRACK OF YOUR PROGRESS
One of the most important aspects of inbound marketing is measuring the effects of your marketing efforts and using those measurements to refine your processes. This is especially crucial for groups working within limited marketing budgets.
Tracking and analyzing data from your website visits, interactions with visitors, and your social reach will provide you with the insights you need measure how your marketing performance compares to your initial goals, determine which aspects of your strategy are working well, and rethink efforts that may not be providing the ROI you had initially hoped for.
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