The modern marketing plan
Ensure that your practice keeps up in the digital age.
By Kay Coulson
Medical marketing is a topic that evokes strong emotions. Many physicians and practice administrators love it, finding it sexy, dynamic and influential. But those who hate it think, “Why can’t I just practice medicine? Marketing is distasteful and unnecessary.”
I find truth in both positions. Marketing is a waste of time and money if you don’t first deliver the business basics: Treat people well, see them on time, deliver a great result and charge them fairly. Yet much of what’s required in medical marketing today is not simply that you say you do things well or uniquely compared to others, but that you prove it. Excellent physician ratings, patient reviews and primo search engine presence are, to a certain degree, proof of expertise. The digital age encourages commenting about everything, which is uncomfortable for practices that aren’t prepared.
The following articles illuminate facets of marketing that are critical to your future success, as every consumer with an Internet connection can weigh in on how well you do what you do. Michael Dobkowski and the team at Glacial Multimedia suggest you look upon your practice with fresh eyes, using a tablet, not a desktop computer. Evaluate your website legibility to both young and aging eyes. Does your site promote a phone call, quick access to driving directions and immediate scheduling? Does it load quickly and highlight real expertise? Do you understand what people look at, beyond the home page? Do you know your SEO scores and PPC position? All are critical to your relevance.
COURTESY MICHAEL DOBKOWSKI & TONI DOUGLASS
50% of patients will go
OUT OF NETWORK
to see a doctor with
Shareef Mahdavi and the experts at Red Dot Interactive provide real data on lead conversion differences between SEO and SEM. Do you have both an optimization and paid ad strategy in place? Are you following best practices, tracking your leads objectively, and using call and form tracking? Any practice today that doesn’t objectively quantify leads, and make determinations of spending based on actual conversion, is falling behind.
Finally, consider the specific steps that Ryan Miller at Etna Interactive provides about how to create a meaningful reputation management process. Most practices say “word-of-mouth” is their most influential marketing tool. However, the person who speaks one-to-many online is overtaking the one-to-one influencers of our past. The reputation sites you monitor, the review sites you promote and the tenor of patient engagement all make digital word-of-mouth forceful and permanent. Mr. Miller lays out specific steps to navigate this minefield for your consideration.
About the Author
Kay Coulson is the president of Elective Medical Marketing based in Denver, Colo., a consultancy helping surgeons grow their elective vision service lines. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.