How do I market my private practice? This question is essential for those who wish to launch or grow a successful practice. But answering it often turns into a challenge. Besides caring for their patients, practitioners have to deal with multiple business issues, leaving them little time to research and implement marketing techniques.
Many practitioners use a word-of-mouth approach and a template website to promote their services. But though these means are useful to some extent, they are not sufficient. To expand a patient base, an independent practitioner needs a well-thought-out approach based on a mix of proactive marketing strategies.
Here are 5 proven marketing strategies that private practice can deploy.
1. Understand Your Target Audience
Developing a deep understanding of your clientele is the first place to start, as it will be the backbone of your marketing efforts. Look at your current customer base and identify common characteristics and interests. Talk to your patients, encourage feedback, send them quick surveys, and listen to them on social media.
Knowing how and where your customers found out about you is a precious source of information for a successful marketing strategy and your practice’s overall growth. Without knowing how your patients found you, you could be missing opportunities to boost your most effective marketing channels. You could also be wasting a lot of your time, money, and effort on ineffective methods. That’s why it’s vital to know how your patients found you.
While it’s always nice to have a friendly face-to-face chat with your patient to learn more about their customer journey, it’s not always doable in practice. The best way to automate and speed up this process is by using a 'How Did You Hear About Us?' survey or adding a quick question to a patient form.
Once you know precisely who you are targeting, step into their shoes and research your competitors to see how they appeal to patients and get some inspiration from their techniques.
The more you understand your patients' wants, goals, and challenges, the easier it is to decide which media you can use to reach them and what marketing messages will resonate with them.
2. Keep Your Website Up-to-date
As the modern world becomes increasingly technologically dependent, the launch of your website is just the beginning of your digital journey. Your ability to keep up with the latest digital trends can make or break your success.
Getting organic traffic to your website should be your priority before you start investing in other marketing tactics. Since so many people turn to Google every day to do their research before booking an appointment with a specialist, SEO (search engine optimization) is a must. Keeping up to date with SEO standards and understanding key performance indicators can be challenging, so some practitioners find it easier to hand this off to marketing experts. However, optimizing your website for local searches is a far less time-consuming option that can reap significant rewards. A simple way to give your practice a good chance of appearing in local search results is to complete a Google My Business listing as fully as possible and encourage your existing patients to leave a review.
Make your website really work for you by including a strong call-to-action (CTA) on your homepage. This will help prevent people from leaving your website without taking any action. Consider implementing an online appointment booking or a call scheduling feature, newsletter signup, or an option to submit a contact form. Strong CTAs can be very effective in gaining new patients and quickly building a database for your future marketing efforts.
Keep your content fresh, relevant, and up-to-date. Search engines favor websites that update their content regularly, seeing fresh content as the most relevant for potential customers. Publishing regular content to your site also allows you to include more keywords. Content containing relevant keywords helps search engines recognize your website in relation to your services, allowing people to find your site easily.
Fresh content also builds your practice’s credibility. If a patient visits your website and sees noticeably outdated or inaccurate information, they’re going to leave, and your bounce rate will skyrocket.
Posting consistently and staying up-to-date encourages repeat visits and grows loyalty as your website becomes a trusted source for new information.
Nearly every website in existence needs to have a major overhaul every three to five years to catch up with modern advances in design and keep up with competitors. Technology changes rapidly online. If your website is more than five years old, you are missing out on providing the most user-friendly experience to your current and potential patients.
3. Invest in Analytics Early-On
A data-driven marketing strategy gives you an edge and makes your initiatives more effective. As a busy practitioner, you cannot afford to make mistakes. You need to do things right the first time, and that is where data and analytics can help you.
The best part? There are plenty of free or affordable options that you can use. Social media analytics, for example, is available for free as most platforms have built-in analytics tools that can provide you with all the essential information. For your website, you can use Google Analytics to get insights into traffic acquisition channels, visitors’ behavior, user experience, top-performing content, device functionality, and more. Ensure your website has Google Analytics installed, and use this informative tool to check that your online efforts are engaging your potential customers efficiently.
Whichever marketing tactic you try, you should track and measure performance metrics and do your research before implementing it.
4. Leverage Social Media Marketing
Social media may not be your main lead generation source, but it’s important in developing a credible and authentic online presence. It’s surprisingly easy to get the hang of, so don’t let it fall by the wayside!
If you’re willing to invest the time and effort, you can do this in-house with minimal expenditure. As your practice grows, you can leverage social media marketing tools to manage your accounts.
Here are some social media marketing tips to get you started:
- Choose one or two platforms your patients likely use and focus your efforts there.
- Be regular and consistent in posting social media content.
- Post tailored content that answers your patients’ key questions.
- Post content your followers are likely to share or comment upon, potentially extending your reach to their connections.
- Use high-quality and eye-catching visuals to attract audience attention.
- Use popular and relevant hashtags to reach more people.
5. Win Patients’ Trust Through Genuine Reviews
Online reviews play a crucial role in building trust with potential patients, improving your SEO rank and online visibility, and leading to patient acquisition and retention. Recent research has shown that over 70% of consumers read online reviews when considering a new doctor (source: Reputation).
According to research, patients look at both the quantity and sentiment of online reviews. Thus, 80% of respondents expect five or more reviews before they deem a provider trustworthy, and 72% will only choose a doctor if they have 4-star reviews or higher.
It is crucial to make patient reviews work for you. Make leaving feedback easy to do on any of your online platforms, whether via your website, social media, or in response to newsletters. Request existing patients to provide testimonials and post reviews online. Furthermore, you can embed the reviews and testimonials in website content, blogs, promotional videos, and marketing materials.
Responding to reviews gives you another opportunity to stay top-of-mind with your patients while showing potential customers that you are responsive and care about their feedback.
These are tried-and-tested marketing techniques that can give you the push you need to ace your marketing game. Once you have your initiatives running and have experimented with a few strategies, pay attention to the data. It will tell you what's working. As you scale up, it's a good idea to double down on proven methods of generating new patients.