June 20, 2018 Expert Voices

The following post is part of the DialogTech “Expert Voices” series where leading marketing experts share insights and best practices and recommend technologies. This post is authored by healthcare marketing expert Brian Dooley, the founder of Independence Digital, a marketing agency that connects patients to medical providers. 

Patient acquisition can be expensive, but that doesn’t mean it can’t pay for itself. The best marketing investments produce returns greater than their cost.

Every day, healthcare marketers are bombarded with sales pitches from TV, radio, magazines, and all sorts of digital marketing. It can be challenging to determine the best marketing mix for your organization.

Recent studies have shown that 77% of patients are using search engines and 88% of doctors’ appointments are scheduled by phone. Those two statistics make it clear that we should be focusing marketing efforts on two areas above all else: digital marketing and driving inbound calls. Other forms of marketing can be effective, but ignoring these two core areas will put your healthcare organization at a disadvantage. Below are five ways to improve your medical practice marketing and drive calls:

1. Leverage Your Website

Your website is the core of your digital presence. In many cases, it’s where potential patients are sent from your marketing campaigns – including non-digital campaigns like radio or TV. Your website should be easy to use, secure, mobile friendly, fast, and have clear calls to action. Location and contact information are primary reasons patients visit your website, so prominent placement of your phone numbers and addresses is important.

2. Optimize for Local Search

Google and Bing are the most commonly used search engines when patients are looking for healthcare providers. Both search engines allow medical practices and doctors to create business listings for free. When search engines see someone looking for a particular service, it will display local providers first. These local listings often appear before ads and web results. Claiming, updating, and optimizing your local listings is one of the most effective strategies for attracting more patients.

3. Be Proactive About Reputation Management

In addition to your contact and business information, your local listings also display your customer rating. Many patients don’t think about writing reviews after their appointment. In some cases, the only patients who write reviews are those who had a poor experience. It’s best to have an ongoing reputation management plan in place that encourages patients to share their experiences. This helps ensure a more accurate rating. It also shows potential patients that there are many others who have trusted you in the past and recommend your services. A low rating or review count can have a major impact on whether or not patients choose you over your competition.

4. Set SMART Goals

A doctor wouldn’t prescribe a medication without first understanding the problem, so why would you invest in marketing without a goal in mind? The best goals are specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, and time-bound (SMART). “We want to raise awareness of our new medical practice,” isn’t a smart goal. “Increasing the daily number of patients we see by 10% over the next 6 months,” is a much better goal.

5. Test, Measure, Analyze, Adjust

Best practices exist for marketing campaigns, but every business is different. That means we have to test different campaigns, measure the results, analyze the data, and make adjustments in approach. This is known as conversion optimization, and it helps your practice get better results while spending less. With so many doctors’ appointments made by phone, call tracking can be one of the most valuable optimization tools.

With services from DialogTech, medical practices can track exactly where calls come from. Without call tracking, it can be difficult for a medical marketer examine the true value of a campaign. Call tracking is extremely helpful for non-digital marketing. Determining how many new patients arrive after specific radio, print, or TV ads can help practices prioritize future investment.

Check out our eBook, “The Secret to Healthcare Marketing ROI: Inbound Calls ” and discover 6 call-related strategies that top healthcare marketers use to acquire and retain patients.

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About the author:

Brian Dooley

Healthcare Marketing Expert & Founder of Independence Digital

Brian Dooley is a healthcare marketing expert and the founder of Independence Digital, a marketing agency that connects patients to medical providers. He was previously the Director of Marketing and Customer Care for one of the largest urology practices in the nation. Specialties include increasing patient volume, profitability, and positioning medical providers as best-in-class.

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