Don’t fall for these medical marketing myths that could keep you from effectively building your practice.
Healthcare marketing has a tendency to lag behind traditional business marketing, and much of that gap is due to some well-established medical marketing myths. The top five medical marketing myths alone cause medical practices and physicians to miss out on the growth that can secure their independence.
Let’s bust those myths and get started on effective medical marketing that will attract new patients and grow your practice!
Myth #1: Practices don’t need to market themselves or their physicians.
Old-school patient acquisition was built on a system of referrals. If you’re only relying on referrals to attract new patients, you are not bringing in new patients efficiently.
Today’s patients turn to the internet and read online reviews when they need to find a new doctor. A recent study found that 71% of patients use online reviews as their first step to finding a doctor, and an additional 23% use reviews as a step in the process. That’s 94% of patients who read online reviews to find a new doctor.
As your patient base ages, you’ll see a greater number who are comfortable with information access in the digital age. That means that even if you’re okay with how many patients you have now, those numbers could go down. The COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated the issue, forcing more and more patients to turn to online sources to access needed information.
Physicians and medical practices need to take steps now to make sure they are fully visible online to patients who turn to the internet to find the medical care they need. If your doctors don’t show up when a medical consumer searches for a “medical provider near me” (or eye doctor or GI specialist or orthopedic surgeon—whatever the case may be) they won’t get that new patient.
The good news is that it’s an easy fix. Start with making sure your Google My Business (GMB) listings are up-to-date and optimized to show up in Local Search results with a decent number of high reviews. From there the possibilities are endless. You can easily layer in ads to capture both paid and organic traffic.
Myth #2: HIPAA constraints prevent traditional marketing efforts.
It’s vital to keep your patient information safe and secure, and that can hamper traditional marketing efforts—but it doesn’t have to. As long as the technology platform you are using is HIPAA compliant, you can market effectively AND keep your patient information safe and secure.
With the right platform, you can use sophisticated marketing strategies like segmenting, targeting, and even tracking your ROI. The technology inside your HIPAA security wall keeps everything secure; however, some retargeting and messaging will be limited because of HIPAA regulations. Healthcare professionals will always need to be careful about the information they share and even how to respond to reviews.
Myth #3: Brand marketing is more important than individual physician marketing.
Healthcare marketing has traditionally been all about building your brand. The disconnect here is that patients want to find the best doctor, regardless of brand. Attracting new patients is all about meeting the patient in their journey at that critical moment when they are looking for a new doctor, and that means marketing individual physicians.
That doesn’t mean you should ignore your practice or your brand, just that you shouldn’t overlook the importance of making doctors visible online. Patients need to be able to read reviews, compare doctors, and make an informed decision when it comes to their health.
Marketing your doctors can even enhance your brand. Think of your favorite sports team. You know who the stars are, and they draw fans to their games. Medical consumers in your area need to know how great your doctors are so they can feel confident in choosing a new healthcare provider. That is done by collecting reviews for your doctors, optimizing their GMB listings, implementing targeted marketing campaigns, and more.
You need to market your brand AND market your individual physicians in order to dominate search results in your location.
Myth #4: Healthcare marketing is not measurable.
Not true. Remember that HIPAA-compliant technology? With the right technology in place, a robust, HIPAA-compliant platform can track and measure everything you need to give you full transparency into the effectiveness of your marketing spend.
Here’s how it looks on our SocialClimb platform: Our call trackers follow every call that comes in. You will get a report that shows your new patients and how they found you. If someone clicks on your GMB listing to call, that is noted on the report. If they clicked on an ad, that shows up as well. We even have the ability to track calls from your website or any marketing campaign you initiate—from mailers to ads to billboards.
Knowing how your patients found you—your patient acquisition source—is key. With it you can easily know your patient acquisition cost and your return on investment (ROI).
Myth #5: Reputation is only about reviews and ratings.
Online reviews and star ratings are an essential components required to increase your online visibility, but if that’s all you’re focusing on, you’re missing a large piece of the puzzle.
As more practices and physicians focus on improving their reputation and rating, it’s more important than ever to take steps to stay ahead of the pack. Your online reputation is a means to an end, and that end is driving more traffic to your practice (attracting new patients). The more traffic you have on your GMB listing and your website, the more patients will schedule appointments.
Paid ads, including inexpensive brand ads, will get your information in front of patients in critical moments in their patient journey. They will see your ad at the top of organic search results as they search for a new provider. And if it’s not your ad they see, rest assured they will see an ad for another provider.
You can also protect your position in search results by optimizing your GMB listing to make sure it shows up in Google’s Local 3-Pack of search results.
Let go of these medical marketing myths and step into cutting-edge digital marketing to improve your online visibility, drive more traffic, attract new patients, and build your practice automatically.