Marketing for doctors: 4 ways to attract patients

marketing to doctors

Why does my wrist hurt? What causes red bumps on your skin? Do you really need to drink 64 ounces of water daily? Google is the first stop for 7% of people with health-related questions. But, what can you do to ensure your hospital or healthcare organization is front and center when potential new patients look online for medical solutions? That’s where digital marketing for doctors comes in.

There are four key things that you can do to increase the odds that new patients find your services and treatments—and schedule an appointment.

  1. Make sure that healthcare marketing resources that enhance the patient experience are incorporated into your website
  2. Promote your services and treatments where your patients spend time online, like Facebook and LinkedIn
  3. Optimize your local SEO to make it easier for potential new patients to find you
  4. Encourage satisfied patients to leave positive reviews about the care they received from your providers

Read on to learn more about these critical ways to ramp up your marketing for doctors.

How to reach more patients with online marketing for doctors

Attracting patients isn’t something that happens overnight. Like most things, you have to put in the work and invest in marketing for doctors. This won’t be an easy task where you’ll be able to set up physician profiles and post a few “meet our doctors” posts on social media. Instead, you’ll need to prioritize a variety of ways to reach your target audience and keep consistent with prioritizing.

1

Optimize your practice website for patient experience

In some ways, medical practice websites are like any other. It’s critical to check the boxes on the basics of a professional website as the baseline. This includes:

  • Mobile-first design, or at least mobile responsive
  • Fast site speed
  • Accessible content
  • Accurate practice information
  • Online forms and click-to-call access

As we dive deeper into marketing for doctors specifically, there are additional ways to offer your users a good patient experience online.

Have an active content marketing strategy

Your content marketing strategy is really just your plan for keeping your website up-to-date. At its most basic, this is a regular review of your current website pages to ensure they are accurate. More active strategies can help new patients find you online, including informational blog posts and downloadable guides.

Tips to optimize your medical marketing content strategy:

  • Be sure the services offered at your brick-and-mortar practice are correctly listed and defined on your website.
  • When you have news at the clinic, share it online. Blog posts are a great way to share information patients care about (e.g., announce a new doctor, highlight practice milestones, or promote new services or technologies)
  • Each year, pinpoint a service area you want to prioritize, grow and generate content related to it. For example, if you’re going to increase your sports physicals appointments for local student-athletes, create a calendar for content related to that service area. Then stick to it!

Create procedure based content that relates to patients

As part of content marketing for doctors, give patients clarity about how specific procedures and recovery usually work at your practice. Pull back the velvet curtain, so to speak.

While your goals with marketing are to establish authority and grow your practice, your future patient’s goals are to understand what services they need and try to pick the right provider to help them.

By generating content about how patients with specific conditions are evaluated, plus treatment options and recovery methods, you are actually meeting both goals–for you and for your patients.

mother smiles at son's pediatrician whom she found because of marketing for doctorsA mother smiles at her son’s pediatrician, whom she found because of marketing for doctors.

2

Invest in social media marketing for doctors

You may not think of social media as a natural fit for medical marketing. In some ways, you’re right.

Many users on Facebook are not likely to request an appointment straight away from a post in their timeline as that’s not where they are in their customer journey.

Think a little higher in the patient journey for the best connections with your customers on social media. Think awareness and consideration content types. For instance, rather than posting day after day about requesting an appointment, share content like:

  • News and announcements at your practice
  • “Get to know us” posts with photos of your team members
  • “What others are saying” posts share positive feedback you’ve heard from existing patients
  • Patient success stories
  • Guides and checklists that walk patients through procedures and recovery

Generate leads with Google Ads and social ads

While you will be tempted to try an ads strategy that points users directly to appointment request forms, keep in mind that the higher-funnel content noted above tends to see much better lead gen results.

Why? To answer that, let’s consider an example patient journey.

A user sees your post on Facebook announcing a new service or procedure you are offering. They click on the post, then they are taken to:

  • an appointment form so they can request an appointment or leave the page
  • a webpage with more information with the option to provide their email to access additional resources

Overwhelmingly, patients from paid ads or paid social promotions tend to convert more often to access additional resources. Once you have their email address and they’ve engaged with your content, they are further down the funnel, a bit of a warmer lead. This is an excellent opportunity to implement strategic marketing for doctors to work their leads down the funnel.

Use your ads to reach users in your target audience and then provide them with helpful information to start building that trust.

3

Develop a local search engine optimization strategy

One of the simplest ways to see results with marketing for doctors is to optimize your local listings.

A popular example is the Google Business Profile. You’ll show up for related keywords more often in local search results by optimizing your medical practice listing on Google.

Optimize your medical practice listings for local SEO

We’ll cover the basics here, but you’ll want to check out how to knock your Google Business healthcare listing out of the park using our GMB optimizing checklist

How to optimize local SEO marketing for doctors

  • Website: Ensure your contact information is correct
  • Google My Business: Claim your business listing profile, and make sure all information is accurate
  • Local healthcare search engines (e.g., ZocDoc and Healthgrades): Add details about your practice and specialists and point satisfied patients to those listings to leave positive reviews
4

Generate new patient reviews

Word of mouth marketing is powerful. Offline, this happens when neighbors and friends share about their experience and make a recommendation. Online, this is mainly done via patient reviews.

Collecting more patient reviews is as simple as asking your loyal patients to do it for you.

Online reviews aren’t just for Amazon. They are a priority pillar of marketing for doctors to help you get new patients online.

Correct your provider profile listings

This goes hand-in-hand with the recommendations from the local listings above, but it’s worth pointing out here. For your patients to give you online reviews, they have to be able to find your provider listings and profiles.

Make sure your practice name, address, website URL, and other details are correctly listed on your profiles to help your patients know they are in the right spot to leave a review.

Respond to reviews as part of your medical practice marketing

When you do have users leave reviews–positive OR otherwise–make it a standard practice to respond on all platforms and profiles.

Graciously accepting positive feedback and thanking the patient as a public response to their review shows good follow-up and demonstrates part of the patient experience at your practice. You’re showing potential patients that you are listening, and you respond. They will love to see it!

But what about when you get a negative comment in a review? Should you ignore it or try to get it removed? Consider this a resounding “No!” Negative reviews are a great way to show your customer service to potential patients. Respond thoughtfully and give the reviewer a way to more directly communicate with your team to resolve their issues.

Believe it or not, seeing proactive responses to negative reviews is good for lead gen!

FAQs about marketing for doctors

Marketing best practices vary by industry, and that’s true for doctors, too. Check out FAQs about marketing for doctors to find answers to common questions healthcare marketers ask.

I have heard that medical marketing is complex these days, but do I really need a specialized healthcare marketing company?

Yes! Marketing is an umbrella term that covers a lot of things. You’ll want to work with marketers who have experience with medical marketing and verified results that align with your business goals.

  • Do you need general awareness about a new service you offer in your local area?
  • Are you opening a new location and need to target a new demographic?
  • Do you need to grow a specific service line or specialty in your practice or streamline appointment requests from the web because you’re missing some callbacks from your staff?
  • Do you have no idea where your traffic and leads are coming from, so need help with analytics and tracking?

Whatever your specific needs are for your practice, you’ll want a marketing team that has proven results when marketing for doctors.

Isn’t there a shortcut to SEO for my medical practice, or do I really have to take these steps?

There are no real shortcuts to organic SEO. Anyone trying to sell you a quick fix should give you pause. While it can seem frustrating that SEO is a long game that builds and grows over time, it’s actually a real benefit to search users. We want to be able to improve your organic search results, but if there were quick fixes or you could just “buy SEO” from Google, then it would be about who has the most significant budget rather than who has the best information for users.

Why can’t I just use a drag-and-drop website builder for my medical marketing website?

A medical practice website without a strategy is not likely to see results. A drag and drop builder can be a good tool for those just getting started, but they often fall short when you want to see significant results from your online marketing for doctors. 

But, why?

  • Analytics tracking may not be up to par, meaning it’s more challenging to see which of your marketing tactics are performing.
  • Mobile and responsive views may not be as optimized as a custom website build.
  • Site speed is sometimes slower on a drag and drop builder since each plug-in and widget needs to run scripts behind the scenes.
  • Content management can be more unwieldy, and you may not find the exact elements you need to showcase your unique content from one of the pre-existing templates.

nurse takes care of her patientA nurse takes care of her patient.

What is schema, and how does it impact the SEO of my medical website?

Schemas are behind-the-scenes frameworks for your website content that help search engines where to look. Schemas, or structured data markups, can be quite complex depending on your content and goals. When done correctly, schema helps SEO by directing search engine bots easily pick up key details on your site.

For example, there is a local business schema that identifies your practice name, address, and phone number correctly behind the scenes for easier crawling.

Why is conversion rate important?

Conversion rate is the measure we use to determine which tactics are most successful so we can replicate and scale them for improved results.

  • If you get 10 new followers per month on your Facebook page, but none of those convert into patients, that’s good to know.
  • If you get 100 views on your appointment form weekly but receive only five submissions, that’s good to know.

Conversion rates are a guidepost to help us assess marketing tactics and prioritize them.

Does the design of my healthcare website impact my medical marketing?

If your website is a lead gen tool, then the design matters. If you accept online appointment requests or other forms, or if you have a phone number you want patients to call on your healthcare website, you’ll want to pay attention to its design.

Example of how unoptimized healthcare website design can impact medical marketing:

  • Low conversion rates on landing pages
  • Poor mobile user experience
  • Slow site speed (which is sometimes caused if you have a lot of scripts or supersized images and videos)

A final word on marketing for doctors

We’ve established that your patients are online, paying attention to social media, and looking for healthcare providers to help them with specific conditions.

The goal is for you to connect with those patients online, get them in for a visit, and provide them with outstanding care. How are you going to do that?

  • Use your website as an extension of the patient experience
  • Engage with patients on social media with messaging that makes sense for where they are in their journey
  • Optimize local SEO to help new patients find you when they are searching the web
  • Let your patients tell others how great you are in their own words with online reviews

Medical marketing is complex

You now have the information you need to have an amazing digital marketing strategy that generates tangible results for your business. But do you have the time and the tools?

Many of our clients understand these concepts, but content writing, creating social media graphics, and implementing a strategy to collect online reviews–all of this marketing work is too much on top of their patient responsibilities and gets pushed to the back burner. That’s where we can help.

Let’s talk about how we can help you get more from your healthcare marketing

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Sarah

About the author | Sarah Matlock

Sarah was a marketing manager at TBH Creative from 2016-2022. She liked to blog about how to interpret marketing data, the latest trends in the industry, and how to engage the online community.

View more posts by Sarah

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