A marketing guide for physicians who offer cosmetic services like Botox, Laser Skin Treatments, Fillers and more.
A solid marketing plan is vital to the success of any medical practice, especially when it comes to the marketing of elective or cosmetic procedures. Without a clear marketing plan in place, you can expect to flounder like a ship without a rudder. Whether you are a Dermatologist, Cosmetic Surgeon, or a Family Physician, a robust marketing plan will help you set objectives and roll out the necessary tactics, schedules and budgets through which you can achieve them.
Here are 21 ideas your practice can take advantage of today and begin to expand your marketing efforts.
1) Design an Effective Website
A few key building blocks to successful medical marketing is making sure that your website exists, has a clean, well thought through cutting-edge design. An antiquated website with outdated content is truly worse than having no website at all. Web visitors will make broad assumptions about the quality and efficiency of your practice, and a sub-standard website will leave them with a poor impression of you. Your competition is targeting these same potential patients, that’s why you must do all you can, even if you need to hire a marketing company that will create a website that sets you apart from your local competition.
A great website has typically been designed by professionals who understand what design elements are necessary for a medical practice and how to maximize the user’s experience. Several technical factors, in addition to the creative design, contribute to a successful website deployment formula, overall quality, and search engine appeal of your website. These include load-time, mobile responsiveness, use of images and color, page layout, and more.
2) Show That You Are an Expert in Your Field
As noted above, having a clean and efficient website is vitally important, but it is not quite enough to convert your web visitors into new patients. People seeking services like yours online are literally, at that moment, in the process of doing their research, and they’re almost ready to make choices on who to visit and commit their valuable time and money. To persuade them that you are the right medical professional for them, you must include quality content into your marketing.
You should include detailed information regarding the various procedures you offer. All leading search engines place a great deal of significance on the quality of your website’s content, and the more user-relevant information you can provide, the greater your likelihood of ranking higher on those search engines. There are numerous online media to deliver this information to your prospective patients, in a variety of formats including graphics, first-person videos, blogs, patient testimonial videos, and other social media posts. What your web visitors really want to see online, that will help them select you, are prominently displayed ‘before and after’ pictures of your patients that have utilized your unique talents.
3) Know the Type of New Patient You Want to Attract, and That May Seek Your Services
Good marketing calls for thorough research and planning in order to accomplish its objective. It’s essential to you know exactly who your target audience is before you begin developing content or spending any money on marketing and advertising. You also need to know specifically what your target audience is looking for, why they’re looking at you, and who else they may be looking at for services.
Your first step should be to develop ‘buyer personas’, characterizations of your ideal new patient. This could include data such as their age, gender, income, education, and other socioeconomic factors. You may also consider looking into your target audience’s consumer buying habits, including how they spend their time online, including social media, mobile applications, etc. In your medical specialty marketing plan, you should develop at least three target buyer personas. This will ensure you can cover a multitude of prospective patient types with your marketing efforts.
4) Target Local New Patients with Google AdWords and YouTube Ads
Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform, Google AdWords, offers medical practices a powerful and cost-effective method to reach potential new patients and offer services, raise visibility in the community and drive traffic to your website – eventually to your office. One of the best features is that proper use of Google AdWords offers nearly instant results. Google adverting programs even reach YouTube, a tremendous medium for promoting your practice.
The ever changing, all powerful consumer can be reached through a variety of online tools: desktop, mobile, banner ads, and retargeting all via Google AdWords. Navigating Google AdWords, has grown in complexity and is not for the meek or drive by user. Maximizing your investment requires a great deal of time and talent. If you do not have the internal resources to manage your Google advertising, it would be wise to hire a professional, experienced agency to help your strategy, create, deploy and track your Google ads.
5) Leverage Google Maps to Drive Local Patients to Your Website and Office
An astonishing 1 billion monthly users, more than 40% of all online users worldwide use Google Maps to provide basic search results, business information and directions. In both desktop and mobile searches, the Google Maps results appear above the organic search results. This means greater visibility for the map results which has proven to translate into increased website traffic.
If you haven’t, you should list your medical practice on Google My Business, a free tool offered by Google to enhance your local awareness. The setup is simple and takes just a few minutes. The proximity of your office to the location of a web searcher’s search now the top factor in ranking local search.
There are several methods to optimize Google Maps including creating and keeping fresh your unique, relevant website content, optimizing and utilizing inbound links and proper use of local keywords and phrases. It is recommended that you keep track of your search rankings and regularly evaluate the performance of your local SEO efforts.
6) Automate Your Email Marketing
Email marketing is an effective method for reaching out to existing patients. The most important part of email marketing is building a solid contact list. Creating an email marketing list should begin with your medical practice building into its normal patient communications the asking of the patients for their email addresses. If a patient gives you their email address, it is crucial that you avoid spamming them. They gave you their address trusting you wouldn’t abuse it. Now it is up to you to honor their trust and be selective of your use of their email.
Throughout this article, we make mention of your need to post new, interesting and relevant articles, stories and testimonials on your website blog and social media sites. This information is perfect for pushing out to your email database on a routine basis. Consider emailing other marketing content such as sponsored community events, new procedures offered, discount for referrals, the ideas are endless.
There are numerous tools available now through the popular email marketing programs like MailChimp and Constant Contact where emailing to your patients can be automated and triggered by a limitless set of criteria. Consider linking your email applications with your scheduling or billing programs to be able to remind patients of upcoming appointments, or to contact patients that haven’t visited or contacted you in a determined period of time. Another great tip is to email recent patients and ask that they provide a review and 5 star rating that could be posted to your Reputation Management portal and other review sites.
7) Use a Review/Reputation Management Tool
Reputation management is the practice of attracting and publishing positive reviews and minimizing then responding to negative reviews or ratings. It’s monitoring anything online that might be said about your medical practice and quickly responding to both the positive and the negative.
Did you know that positive comments online from happy customers produce an average increase in sales of 18% and that consumers are likely to spend 31% more because of positive reviews? Conversely, 22% of consumers won’t buy a product or service after reading just one negative review, and four or more bad comments can chase away up to 70% of a business’s potential new customers.
Patient reviews also play a very important part in your SEO efficiency. Review websites like Yelp and Google tend to display bad reviews before they display good reviews. As a result, when a potential new patient searches your practice’s name, they’re more likely to see the bad reviews before the 5-star reviews. Read how to get more 5-star reviews in this article.
Reviews will also impact important metrics like click-through-rate that Google uses to determine how to rank your website. When someone searches your website, Google looks at engagement with your site to determine whether you’re ranked appropriately for the right terms. If you are not getting clicks because of your ratings, your ranking on search engines will likely decrease.
Reputation management works to, over time, push any negative reviews down and display just the positive reviews. This takes a lot of work and skill. That’s one of the reasons why it is important to call on an experienced team to help you with this. Reputation management will allow you to develop guidelines for responding to both positive and negative reviews, as well as a strategy for attracting and filtering those reviews.
8) Utilize Patient Education Videos on Your Website
Video content continues to grow in popularity. Why not jump on the trend and start creating useful and educational videos for patients that you distribute through your social networks and email campaigns?
Providing patient education videos on your website can help educate existing and prospective patients about treatments including Botox, laser skin treatments, fillers and all elective cosmetic surgery procedures. On your website, these would typically be located under a separate menu label often titled “Video Library” or “Patient Education Videos.” For greater SEO results, use a specific title for your video and include keywords in their titles and descriptions.
From documenting various procedures to sharing tips and tricks, video can be fun, engaging, and most importantly, useful to patients. Videos could run across several topics, like Pre- and Post-Op Instructions, a Virtual Tour of your office, and presentations by the doctor.
The proper use of video on your website will likely improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and rankings. Recent research shows that more people, and prospective new patients, respond to video over other types of online marketing, and that websites containing quality video segments consistently have a lower bounce rate and increased time-on-site versus websites without video content.
9) Market Your Procedures via Patient Testimonial Videos
Testimonial videos are powerful videos that tell web visitors what your medical practice can do for them through creative, visual, engaging storytelling. Using videos on your website or specialty landing pages can increase new patient conversions by over 75%.
Imagine a patient looking for Botox treatments. Perhaps they have reached the age where their wrinkles are more noticeable and they’re affecting the patient’s confidence and social life. Now imagine you take their case on and return to them to a more youthful look with beautiful skin. Once they’ve completed their treatment, you could record their story, talk about what you did, and produce a short video that tells others several things. First that you take the time to listen and care for your patients. Second, that you have the skills to help them meet their desired objectives. And finally, that you’re the right professional; for the job.
The testimonial video will get your message across and when done well, through the use of motivating storytelling techniques, your video will likely be shared on your website and across social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
10) Start a Blog on Your Website
Blogging allows you to discuss topics of interest to existing and prospective new patients, then share these posts on your social media accounts, and even push them out to more through email marketing. As people begin to read the content you create they may have an interest to share it on their social networks, further increasing your audience reach.
Your website likely consists of pages in two distinct formats ‘pages’ and ‘posts’. Blogs are posts that are regularly added to or updated, where pages often remain unchanged unless new information specific to your practice is to be published. Consider blogs as a journal, a regular media outlet for your business. Do you have news? Publish it on your blog. Have you added a new treatment to your practice? Publish it on your blog. Want to get the word out that you are a local expert in your field? Publish it on your blog.
Fresh, original and user-relevant content is one of the key factors that search engines look at when determining your website’s rankings. The algorithms that drive the results for leading search engines like Google and Bing give more weight to content that was published recently on user-searched topics than to existing, possibly stale website content. Over time this content is not only indexed by the search engines, but it also makes its rounds on social networks and can drive additional new interest to your practice.
11) Build and Promote Interesting Infographics
An Infographic (information + graphic) is a visual representation of data, relying little on text and big on graphics. Infographics visually explain data, complex concepts, trends, and any other information that can be better presented visually than through the written word.
The use of compelling infographics can make what is an abstract idea much easier to understand (hence infographics popularity in marketing and on websites).
People love interesting statistics. And here lies the key to any effective infographic – the data has to be considered ‘interesting’. Once again, we find ourselves returning to the importance of good, fresh, relevant content. Even the best designed infographic will fail before it’s even published if it isn’t based on data that could be of interest to your target audience.
Infographics can also be an excellent source of backlinks and web traffic, especially when you succeed in making them go viral on social media outlets. This hinges on sharing in the right way at the right time. Another benefit of including infographics on your website is that they can increase your overall user engagement thanks to the amount of likes, shares and comments that they may generate. It has been reported that infographics can contributed to an increase of over 35% in engagement with targeted audiences.
12) Have an Active Social Media Presence
An active social media profile can help build your brand and present it to a fresh audience, daily. Every industry is competitive online today, this holds true for medical practices like yours. The businesses that find the most success via social media are the ones that are willing to share information with their identified target audience in order to be viewed as a trusted source. Social media is one avenue to share such information and connect with potential patients in order to give them a positive view of your practice and unique specialty.
You can also use social media as a very inexpensive way to generate public relations for your medical practice. When most users visit social sites, they enjoy how quickly they can receive updates and promotions from all of their favorite brands and services. Social media provides the connected world with information in real time and has become a primary source of news, information, trends, and as a valuable marketing medium.
13) Hold a Contest on Social Media
Conducting a contest on social media is an effective way to drum up interest and enthusiasm for your medical practice, add to your list of email subscribers, get new followers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and even create a fun experience for your targeted audience in the process. Once you have drilled into Facebook’s and Twitter’s targeted advertising mechanism, you’ll find that you can specifically reach demographics that match those of your targeted audience. You’ll be able to pin-point age, gender, income, household status and more to specify who you want to participate, and reward in your contest.
Online contests and sweepstakes don’t need to be overly complicated. It could be an incentive for a patient referral, a simple trivia quiz, a random sweepstakes drawing for a prize, even a personality test. Be creative, the possibilities are endless.
Web visitors are often obsessed with the quality of their experience (particularly millennials). If your contest is fun and exciting, they may be inclined to share that experience with their friends online, enhancing your chances of going viral.
You may be tempted to use medical procedure sales as a goal for conducting online contests. But, generally speaking, contest entrants are more interested in the chance of winning a prize and not necessarily becoming an immediate patient. It’s better to focus on the long term opportunity. Look at your social media contests as a way to create lasting relationships with web visitors who may, in the future become new patients.
14) Regularly Post Content to Your Blog, and to Your Social Media Sites
Your website should be a living, breathing entity on the Internet. Every update you post to your website should play an important part in its contact with visitors, prospective new patients, and the search engines. In contrast, an old, stale website without regular updates of any kind may be viewed by search engines as a dead entity, with no life and nothing new to offer. Guess what? The search engines won’t send new traffic to your website.
Thankfully, your frequently updated website offers search engines a haven for fresh content and sources of new information for their search requests. The more frequently you update your website with blog posts, videos, even new web pages, the more frequently the search engines will stop by to visit your website. When search engines look at your site more frequently, you have the opportunity to achieve higher rankings based on the content you provide.
When you publish fresh content on your website and social media outlets, you present even more opportunities for your website to contain more relevant keywords. Keywords are key to the search engines’ indexing and ranking. Frequently added content, such as blog post, article, or new page, allows you to optimize the copy with related keywords that can attract visitors to your website.
And, there is nothing worse than visiting a professional’s website where the last blog was published over six months ago. It doesn’t show prospective new patients that you follow through on keeping things current. Of course, content automation services and ghostwriters can help with writing your weekly post and automating the posting process. Many companies can provide these services at a reasonable cost.
15) Write Articles for Local Publications and Other Websites
Previously, we’ve mentioned that it’s important to position you and your practice as experts in your field, and within your community for your unique medical specialty. There are probably a handful of existing publications in your community and online who, right now, are struggling with what stories to tell, or who can contribute to stories they’re actively working on.
Spend a few moments, perform some research in the traditional and new media outlets that cater to your target audience. Send an email a few reporters and editors you discover who cover your industry, pitch your practice, and offer to contribute an occasional story as a Guest Blogger. If you’re really successful, you may pitch an article that gets syndicated nationally or you can find a way to localize your story and reach out to news outlets in hundreds of cities nationwide. When these stories are published online, they will include what’s called ‘backlinks’ to your website, backlinks are another valuable component of a solid online marketing strategy.
16) Utilize a Unique, Consistent Logo and Tagline
Your brand is what your patients and potentially new patients will connect with. A brand is often delivered in the form of a logo, usually with a supporting tagline. Good branding differentiates your services in a positive way that sticks in the minds of potential patients – resulting in increased website conversions, leading to new bookings and revenue.
A great logo manages to convey quite a bit about a medical practice, communicating what the practice does, why this office is special, and something about its character and personality. Logos can even evoke emotions in prospective patients, reinforcing why that particular brand should matter to them and how it makes them feel.
A tagline is a small phrase, usually three to seven words that accompanies your logo. The tagline expresses your practice’s most important benefits and what your customers believe they’ll receive by visiting you. Think of it as the words you want to linger in your target audience’s mind about your practice and the treatments and procedures you have to offer.
Your brand should build awareness and develop trust and loyalty with customers. A constantly changing brand personality just doesn’t do the job. That’s why it’s important to develop standards for brand consistency, both online and offline. Every interaction your patients have with your brand should embody the brand promises and values in a dependable, professional and understandable way.
17) Don’t Forget That Direct Mail Still Works
Let’s start with a few facts: 42% of direct mail recipients actually read or scan direct mail pieces. That means that nearly half of your target audience is actually willing to stop, even if it’s for just a few seconds, a take a look at your message. If you’ve designed your direct mail piece properly, with a strong and relevant offer or call-to-action, you might count on a 1%, 2%, even 3% response rate. Online ads, in contrast, are successful if they get a 0.10% clickthrough rate, and then, once they arrive on your website, you’ll be lucky if you convert anything over 2%.
Earlier we mentioned the importance of identifying your ideal target audience. Utilizing a well-executed direct marketing program, you will be able to target your mailings of postcards, flyers, and special offers directly to this previously defined audience. Why waste money mailing to everyone in your community when everyone is not a potential new patient? You will need to target the prospects who can convert into patients. This is the difference between mass marketing and target marketing. Targeted mailing lists pinpoint your target audience. There is less waste and a higher percentage of prospects responding to your mailing.
The greatest opportunity for your marketing success may lie in combining a well-planned online marketing strategy with a bit of old-school thrown in. Doing so may enables your medical practice to offset the occasional weaknesses of one with the strengths of the other.
18) Participate in Local Events
Local activities such as festivals, business expos, health fairs, and other community events are all solid opportunities to promote your medical practice locally. If you’re not taking advantage of local community events to promote your practice, you’re likely missing out on a valuable opportunity to build upon your brand and showcase your practice. A recent study discovered that 44% of marketers see a 3 to 1 return on their event marketing investments.
Partnering with a non-competing business, maybe another doctor’s office in your building or near you with a similar target audience as yours can benefit both businesses. Each company could promote the event to their own clientele, which can create new customers for the other business.
At the event, be sure to have sign-up sheets for future email blasts with incentives for signing up. This will provide another way of getting in touch with the prospective patient you meet once the events are over. Look for opportunities to obtain professional referrals at these events. Keep in contact with these new prospects, send them email blasts of your fresh and interesting content, invite them to follow and like you on social media, and you’ll be more likely to get them in through your front door.
19) Make sure the Caliber of Your Front Office Personnel Supports All the Above
No matter how well your marketing tools are designed, deployed and performing, it’s absolutely critical that your front office matches the personality presented on your website and online presence. If you’re trying to tell potential patients that your medical practice is their best option because you listen and care for your patients, then make sure every single person in your office is trained to delight each person that they may come in contact with.
This starts with your receptionist. He or she is the first line of defense when it comes to keeping your reputation everything it needs to be. If a person calls your office only to have a poor initial experience with your receptionist, then it’s highly unlikely that they will convert to an actual patient or recommend your office to others. In fact, even more likely that they will go out of their way to tell other people about their interaction with your under-par receptionist. Good, consistent, positive customer relations training and reinforcement is time well spent with your support staff.
20) Test Everything and Track Your Analytics
We can’t stress enough the importance of always testing your marketing strategy, tactics, campaigns and results. Whether it be the creative elements, your target audience, your chosen marketing media, your service offerings, developing a measurement and testing plan is a necessity.
Always ask your newly obtained patients how they heard of your practice and what brought them to you. This sort of person-to-person market research costs nothing and invites a unique form of conversation. And whatever is bringing you new patients, keep doing, and then do more!
In the marketing plan for your medical practice you should have planned for changes and adjustments based on your results and tracking. Don’t feel like you always have to come up with new ‘grand plans’ to increase performance. You would be amazed at how a simple adjustment like changing the color on your website’s call-to-action button from blue to orange can immediately increase new inquiry conversions.
If you’re running campaigns through Google, there are a host of quality analytics and metrics you can utilize to measure and tweak your campaigns’ performance. You’ll be able to easily track overall traffic to your website and unique landing pages, paid search (PPC) vs. organic search (SEO), duration of website visits, bounce rates, dollars spent, your search ranking results and more.
Once you know where your web visitors are coming from and how each element and traffic source is converting on your website, you will be able to make intelligent optimizations to your campaigns and achieve greater overall results. With this sort of marketing data in hand, you will be able to benchmark against it when planning for future campaigns, making your entire marketing efforts even smarter and more effective.
21) Hire Some Marketing Help
There are a lot of places you can go online to get assistance with your marketing. Make no mistake about it – putting your marketing in the hands of a professional is the best way to go about things. By employing an experienced agency that focuses on digital marketing for medical practices you’ll be working with people who are on top of the most recent medical marketing ideas, with a solid understanding of what works and how.
The right agency (Optimized360) will:
- Build or optimize your website;
- Provide comprehensive visitor reporting;
- Aggressive ranking techniques, putting you ahead of your competition;
- Only use ethical, approved forms of marketing, ensuring lasting results;
- Target multiple search engines, while focusing on the most effective;
- Thorough analysis and research on keywords for your unique specialty;
- Employ effective on-site and off-site search engine optimization techniques/
You can only help prospective patients with their elective procedure needs if they know you exist and how to reach you, and that requires an effective digital marketing strategy that reaches your target audience and leads them to your practice.
Above we have outlined a mere 21 ideas on how to effectively market and promote your medical procedures. Maybe today you’re doing a few of these, hopefully you will be able to add many more to your marketing mix in the near future. Time isn’t going to stop and wait for you, and your competition isn’t going to let up either.
It’s critical that you review what you’re doing, how you’re spending your practice’s time and money marketing your elective procedures, and come up with an action plan that moves your practice, your brand, your revenue and earnings forward.