How to Grow Your Healthcare Business by Promoting Your Doctors
A successful healthcare organization is one that attracts new patients, but it’s equally important to remember that patients choose doctors, not hospitals. Insurance, location, equipment, and staff are all elements that may impact patients’ decisions, but the fact remains that doctors are the most important factor.
Personally, when I find a doctor I like and trust, I will follow them high and low. If this means going to another hospital, so be it. I find comfort in the fact that they know my medical history and changing the doctor would mean starting all over for me — and the majority of people around me feel the same way.
So, how can you take advantage of this to grow your hospital and improve your patient base? By promoting your doctors instead of hindering their growth. Also, as Google is the first stop for people with health-related questions, make sure your doctors are front and center in search results, so patients can find them easily.
However, this isn’t something that happens overnight. It involves much more than setting up physician profiles and posting a few “meet our doctors” posts on social media. Instead, you’ll need to define a variety of ways to brand your doctors to reach a target audience and keep consistent with prioritizing.
Word-of-mouth has always contributed to success in almost every profession, particularly among medical professionals. Today, Google has become the contemporary word-of-mouth, as the first stop for people with health-related questions.
How can you make sure your hospital or healthcare organization is front and center when potential new patients look online for medical solutions? The answer is investing in digital marketing and promoting your doctors instead of hindering their growth.
Importance of Healthcare Branding
Until fairly recently,
doctors and hospitals weren’t concerned that much about branding. Traditional healthcare delivery systems were reasonably stable with predictable patient flow and unchanging competition.
Now, in an increasingly saturated market, healthcare branding is essential to any healthcare organization looking to increase patient acquisition and grow its business.
More than ever, patients are taking an informed and proactive role in their healthcare decisions. What they want is authoritative information and doctors with strong reputations. To strongly differentiate themselves in the minds of patients, healthcare organizations have to put emphasis on their doctors’ brands. Ultimately, they’re your core strength and the reason why patients choose your organization instead of your competitors. Also, this is how you can respond to the shifting competitive landscape. Physician branding is a pathway to remaining top-of-mind with the patients, visible and distinctive from the competition.
Improve Patients’ Loyalty and Trust with Physician Branding
We’ve already said that the majority of people turn to Google when they have health-related questions. But, what can you do to ensure your hospital or healthcare organization is found when patients look online for medical solutions? Promote your doctors and rely on them to increase the odds that patients schedule an appointment at your healthcare organization or hospital.
So, where can potential patients find your doctors?
Local Search Results
When developing strategies for physician branding, you should also concentrate on your local area. Patients typically choose doctors in a nearby location rather than traveling long distances. This is confirmed by Google consumer insights, which report a 500%+ increase in “near me” searches over a two-year period.
Because location information is such an important factor for patients when they qualify and select doctors, be sure to include it in their profiles. Also, one of the best ways to rank better in local search results is to optimize Google Business Profiles (GBP) as the place where everything is combined — vital business information, photos, reviews, and ratings.
Google allows you to set up listings for each physician at each location where they work. To better promote your doctors, it’s essential to create all of these listings separately. Creating a local presence for them helps patients find doctors both through their own name and their practice’s name.
In addition to adding essential information to your profile, make sure to check phone numbers and working hours because a doctor’s available hours may not necessarily be the hospital’s practice hours. Also, name formats should be identical across your website and your GBP listings — for doctors, only list their name and their qualification.
When choosing categories that describe your services, make sure that they align with categories listed on your website, and remember that less is more. Pick the main category that best describes what your doctor does and add only one or two additional categories.
Also, make sure to fill in any blanks in your listings to improve relevance, and don’t forget that optimizing your listings is an ongoing process. You can’t claim them and then leave them be.
Do you know what’s even more important to patients than where your doctors went to school, the grades they achieved, or their level of expertise? It’s how they apply the knowledge they gained through the care they provide to patients. And how can patients learn more about this? Through other patients’ experiences.
To benefit from online reputation, you need to generate and manage your doctors’ reviews on prominent healthcare and business review sites, primarily through Google Business Profiles, but also Yelp, Healthgrades, and others. It’s also important to make sure all information is correctly listed on profiles across relevant sites to help patients know they’re in the right place to leave a review.
When users leave reviews, positive or otherwise, you should make it a standard practice to respond on all platforms and profiles. Accepting positive feedback and thanking the patient as a public response to their review shows good follow-up and demonstrates that patient experience is important at your healthcare organization or hospital. Negative reviews can seem daunting, but you can turn them to your advantage by showing patients that you are willing to listen and improve. Always make sure you respond thoughtfully to negative reviews on behalf of your doctors and give patients an opportunity to resolve their issues more directly, if necessary.
It’s equally important to ask for reviews for your doctors because if they don’t show up online, you can be at a huge disadvantage. What’s more, the majority of consumers who are pleased with their experience will consider leaving a positive review if you simply ask them. You can make this easy for your patients by sending them an automated text or email and providing a link where they can share their opinion about doctors at your healthcare organization directly.
Your Healthcare Organization’s Website
Healthcare organizations’ websites should check all the boxes on the basics of a professional website. This includes:
- Mobile-friendly design,
- Fast site speed,
- Accessible content,
- Accurate healthcare organization information,
- Online appointment-booking forms and click-to-call access.
Besides these recommendations, there are additional ways to offer your users a good patient experience online and promote your doctors. Patients want to know that a doctor can treat their particular condition or perform the surgery they want or need. They also want to see degrees and certifications, ratings, and reviews. That’s why you need to make sure patients find this information for each doctor in your practice, so:
- Create robust doctor profiles and highlight credentials, experience, publications, and awards. Make sure to include a professional headshot, video introduction, case studies, or patient testimonials.
- Provide detailed service pages about conditions your doctors treat and the services they offer. These pages should highlight each doctor’s experience in treating different conditions, major successes, as well as information about their methods or approaches. It’s also useful to share additional information, recommendations, and health tips that further demonstrate doctors’ expertise.
- If you have a blog section as part of your website, encourage your doctors to participate, give them space to share their opinions, and feature them as blog authors.
Chances are your healthcare organization or hospital already has an established presence on different social media channels. But do you use them primarily for brand awareness and other kinds of promotional work instead of promoting your doctors?
When used well, social media can be a fantastic tool for doctor promotion because it can directly influence patient decisions when selecting a specific doctor or seeking a second opinion.
First of all, it’s important to find the social media channels that work best for your patients and doctors and focus on creating great content for those audiences. When you provide valuable content and offer practical information such as quick health tips, it positions doctors at your healthcare organization as a source of great information. If you present content that demonstrates their expertise, and that shows they have a warm personality that patients seek, their following will grow, and this will reflect on your patient volume.
While it’s important to keep doctors in the loop regarding your overall marketing strategy — because ultimately, the purpose is to help them get more patients — it’s equally important to proactively educate your doctors about your organization’s social media policies, guidelines, and best practices. This can improve the effectiveness of using social media for doctor promotion, and also help you avoid potential problems. At the same time, doctors should separate their professional accounts from their personal accounts and avoid sharing the same information on both, unless it’s appropriate.
To promote your doctors, you need to advertise where your target audience spends their time. Paid ads appear at the top of Google search results, making conversions more likely. Plus, by targeting ads based on age, interests, behaviors, geography, and specific demographics, you can ensure you reach the patients who are likely to be the best fit for your doctors.
To make good use of paid ads for physician promotion, you need to cover all bases and optimize ads both for searches that include your doctors’ names and for the treatments they specialize in. Most patients don’t search by name, but by title or condition and location information: for example, “knee surgeon Utah”. These are the types of phrases that you should primarily target with your search ads. Protecting your doctors’ personal brands is also very important, and keeping active brand ads for their names won’t cost you much, but will prevent your competitors’ from jumping in front of you and your practitioners on the search results.
Use Physician Promotion to Grow Your Healthcare Organization
The consumers targeted by healthcare brands want many of the same things they’re used to receiving from companies in other areas of their life — convenience, easy access, and affordability. But, these elements alone aren’t enough. Care and compassion are one of the main drivers of patients choosing their doctors. This makes physician branding a vital tool for attracting and retaining patients.
The doctors who work at your healthcare organization are the most important assets that differentiate you consistently over time. They’re the ones who communicate the unique competitive advantage that influences your patients to see your healthcare organization as their best choice.
Executed in the right way, promoting your doctors can improve patient acquisition and expand market share by encouraging patients to switch to your healthcare organization or hospital, your doctors, or the services you offer. However, we understand that this is often easier said than done, as effective physician branding requires carefully designed tactics to generate tangible results.
If implementing a strategy for physician promotion is too much on top of your other responsibilities and gets pushed to the back burner, SocialClimb can help. With our HIPAA-compliant platform, you can create, manage, track, and optimize multiple GBP listings, reviews, and digital ads all in one place. This way, you can remain present on all the channels your patients are using when searching for doctors, but also measure results, collect data, and know what’s working and where you need to make adjustments.