10 Winning Digital Marketing Strategies for Doctors & Physiciansvsya
40 to 50 years back, the population was small, cities were smaller in size than today, consumption of products was need based, and the service industry was restricted to the absolute essentials. 20 to 30 years back, options were increasing, population and cities were growing. But you were still likely to meet your consumption needs from either neighbourhood providers or those your family had been going to for generations. Truth be told, even while the options were increasing, the awareness was still somewhat limited. The bigger brands could advertise on television or radio, but other than that, you still went to your neighbourhood shop, or your trusted physician or even the hairdresser.
Then came the big boom – the INTERNET – and it changed the entire picture. Initially, the change was gradual, then it started happening in leaps and bounds, and today, it is acknowledged as the most powerful medium to reach out to your audience. This is true for all product and service providers, and that includes doctors and physicians.
With many options available for the consumer and immense competition in each field, one must find the right marketing strategy to put across who they are, and tapping online platforms are key to success. This is also true for the medical field.
Today, we will discuss 10 winning digital marketing strategies for doctors and physicians. At The Channel, we have many doctors and physicians who approach us for digital marketing. The typical initial brief is to create and run ads online for broader reach. While this may work for many industries, it does not work as well for the medical field.
Difference Between Digital Marketing and Advertising
Marketing strategy is the same as advertising – this is a huge misconception most people, including doctors, have.That is like saying that baking is the only step required in making a cake and ignoring all the steps that go in preparing the batter first. In fact,if we try to depict this in the form of a flowchart, then advertising will form only one part of the overall marketing strategy – that too somewhere in the middle. Your marketing strategy covers the full range of activities from identifying your targetaudience, positioning your services, defining the content strategy and designing the advertising around all of these.Running ads without having the complete marketing strategy in place will lead to using up your monetary resources without any useful output, especially when it comes to digital marketing.
This is truer for the medical field than others. In fact, there are some specific medical fields where paid advertising is not allowed at all. At TheChannel, we help doctors and physicians design and executetheir digital marketing strategy effectively. In this article, we are sharing 10 digital marketing strategies for doctors, which our experience tells us are crucial to success.
Educate Your Patients
Today’s patient is an aware person. They want to understand their symptoms, the underlying causes behind these symptoms (a diagnosis in short) and the medical treatment they must undergo for recovery. They are also tech savvy, and the internet gives them access to a whole host of information – not all of which is accurate. They are also not medically trained to assess their case themselves. Self-diagnosis can cause a lot of stress and harm to the psyche. Thus, they are also seeking to be educated when it comes to understanding their medical issues. Create your digital content to provide accurate information to your patients.
Use Original Content
Make sure that all your content is original. Plagiarism of information could land you into legal trouble. Make use of language that is your own. If you are using any source material which is not your own and using language verbatim from there, make sure to cite the relevant references and give credit where it is due.
Even if you could put the legal aspect aside, bringing in original content has a key benefit – it brings your perspective to the table, which helps the patient understand who you are and where you stand as a doctor. This helps facilitate their decision-making process.
Make Your Website User Friendly
No matter where and how your patients find you, they are likely to visit your website first up to learn more about you and your work. Make sure that your website is user friendly – clearly define the different sections and headings of the website and make iteasy to navigate and visually appealing.One should also be able to search for the relevant information.
Use a mix of long educative articles and easy-going blogs for better readability.This also helps ensure that your website is regularly updated.
Use Language People Can Understand
Your website understandably needs to have some technical content, especially when it comes to the functional part of the website. However, while medical jargons are second nature for you, most people do not understand what they mean. We always recommend you give the brief but get your public content written by a third party. They will understand the content but reproduce it in a mix of technical layman terms for better comprehension. This makes you and your content appear less intimidating and more comprehendible to a patient who is considering approaching you.
Focus on Video Based Content
We recommend that doctors include short but educational videos as part of the content strategy. The benefits of this approach are three-fold –
- You can better explain medical issues and procedures through the use of visual aids like graphics as well as the actual tools which you use.
- Looking at a live human being (especially one who will perform such an important role in their lives) rather than only text helps the patient form an initial connect with the doctor, which is a key part of the doctor-patient relationship.
- Video and audio input are also often easier to understand as opposed to reading through a lot of text.
Many doctors have video content not only on their websites,they evenhave YouTube channels as part of a successful digital marketing strategy. While this takes time to build, it is an effective tool. You also need to build on and keep updating your video content to keep up with the latest advancements in your field.
Use Trusted Third Party Platforms
Today, whenever one looks for a doctor, they are likely to log on to a third-party platform like Practo to find the relevant practitioner. A platform like Practo is trusted by people to guide them to the right doctor in the right field – today such a platform is more likely to be used by people first than a Google search. As part of a successful digital marketing strategy, align yourself to such platforms and get yourself registered on them for better visibility among your patients.
Build a Referral Network
Whether one is contemplating a school or day care for their child, redoing their bathrooms or even something as basic as ordering food on Zomato or Swiggy, they always look for feedback – either from people known to them or through online reviews. A good review or referral goes a long way in building confidence.
When it comes to doctors and physicians, it becomes even more relevant and crucial. People look for referrals before taking their children, themselves, or even their pets to a new doctor. Build your referral network as part of the digital marketing strategy. Ask your patients to leave you testimonials on your search engine pages, share those testimonials on your website as well as social media platforms as a confidence boosting measure.
Work on your Website’s SEO
As part of the initial strategy, you worked hard on building your digital content – you used the right mix of technical articles, blogs, and video content. However, all this hard work will be for nothing if this content is not available or easily accessible to your niche audience. If a patient does not know of you, then they cannot reach your website unless you also work on search engine optimization techniques, or SEO in short.
Your website must be optimized for the right set of keywords for people to reach it with ease. As part of the digital marketing strategy, research must be done to identify the RIGHT set of keywords, and then optimize the website for them. A digital marketing expert will be able to help you identify these keywords as per actual search trends for your specific field. These are not necessarily those which you think are relevant. This will help build organic reach for your website.
Use Social Media Platforms Effectively
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest – these are the set of social media platforms that are currently trending. A regular person is likely to be on one or more of these platforms for various reasons. As such, with such a large audience available on these platforms, social media can be used to reach out to your niche audience.
An effective digital media marketing strategy requires determining the right social media platform to cater to your segmented target audience – not all platforms are equally effective in every area. People’s presence and use of social media is determined by various factors, not limited to but including age, gender, race and social profile.
Analyse and Update Your Strategy Periodically
Marketing, including digital marketing, is not a one-time thing – it is an ongoing process. You will be starting out with one set of tactics, some of which will work and some of which will not work. It is important to analyse your efforts – you need to analyse your website statistics like visits, conversion rates, landing page statistics and so on. You also need to understand which of your content is working well and bringing in more traffic and reorient your content strategy according to that.
Cost-benefit analysis is also an important part of the process. While a part of the money you spend in your digital marketing efforts must be seen asa necessary investment, you must assess if there are spends that are either unnecessary, or excess or need to be otherwise diverted for a more successful digital marketing strategy.
Digital marketing itself is constantly evolving – trends may change from one day to the next, so may laws and rules pertaining to digital marketing, depending on policy decisions. This will require you to adapt to new standards and update your marketing tactics to sync with latest rules.
These were the 10 winning digital marketing strategies for doctors and physicians which we at The Channel have found to be most effective in running a successful digital marketing campaign for yourself or your clinic. If you are a doctor or a clinic looking at designing your digital marketing strategy for better reach among patients, we are there to be your partners. We will design a strategy specific to your requirements for optimum output.