For today’s medical practice, it’s not enough to have the latest technology and innovative treatments:
Physicians and practice managers must be savvy marketers as well.
Likewise, marketing has also transformed, and it’s no longer as simple as placing an ad in the local newspaper or building a beautiful website.
Marketing has become an intricate layer of strategies and algorithms –and you need to master them if you want to exceed your goals.
More importantly, effective marketing strategies are no longer an additional luxury—they are a critical necessity for your success.
Because marketing is such a vital lifeline for every practice, we’d like to highlight 4 marketing terms all practice administrators should know.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When a patient Googles “doctors in my area,” it’s important that your practice appears in the results. This means more patients—and potential patients—find you!
Optimizing your website for search engine results means your practice’s website gains a higher visibility.
To really understand SEO, it’s helpful to take a look at how search engines work.
How do search engines work?
When you type a term into Google (or another search engine), the engines “crawl” the internet to find matches, looking for sites that are both relevant and popular.
They do this by utilizing complicated mathematical algorithms to index web content and deliver the results.
The key takeaways here are relevant and popular.
For example, if you searched for “doctors near me,” you wouldn’t find TV shows featuring doctors or businesses such as the Rug Doctor. Why?
The search engine guesses what the user wants.
If certain sites are popular, the search engine “assumes” it must have the correct information. After all, if the site is popular, it must have given the user what he/she wants!
SEO is the science (and to some extent, art) of creating content that makes your site relevant and popular to gain search engines’ attention.
This process is much more than simply making sure your site contains the terms people are looking for; several factors influence SEO. These include:
- Links to reliable sources
- Title pages and meta tags in the programming code
- New and updated content
- Broken links
- Domain name/ URL
- Security status of your website
- Original, engaging content
- Number of website visitors
- Photographs and “alt” tags
All of these pieces work together in concert to enhance your search engine placement. You can’t expand your patient base if no one can find your website.
When the search engine delivers query results, they are displayed on the search engine results page (SERP). The first page listings are prime real estate. Few users will click to the second page, and even fewer to the third.
Businesses on the first Google SERP page received 91 percent of the search engine traffic. For the second SERP page, this number drops dramatically to 4.8 percent.
“Businesses on the first Google SERP page received 91 percent of the search engine traffic.” tweet this
Maximizing your SEO doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be in the top spot; it dramatically shifts the odds in your favor.
These principles do NOT apply to paid advertisements, only to organic searches.
What is an organic search and what is the difference between a paid advertisement and organic search?
What I described earlier was an organic search: The search engine returns results that the most relevant to whatever term was entered in the search query.
By contrast, paid results are essentially online advertisements, usually placed above or to the right of the organic results.
2. Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
What sets you apart from your competitors? Lots of medical practices have the latest technology and outstanding doctors, but what is your “X” factor? Why are you unique and valuable?
Your unique value proposition (UVP) is vital to establishing your brand.
This should be the focus of your marketing efforts. Thousands of websites declare that their businesses provide “quality service,” but what does quality service mean to YOUR organization?
Even more important, how can you convey this to potential patients?
Your UVP is an important part of your brand.
(If you want to know more about what branding is and how it affects you, our Proclaim president wrote a comprehensive blog post about it.)
If you don’t know your UVP, we’ll be happy to assist you so you can rise above the noise of a crowded marketplace.
3. Pay Per Click (PPC) for Google Ads
When you use PPC advertising, you pay a fee each time your ad is clicked. The cost of each click depends upon which keyword you are targeting and how many other businesses are targeting that same keyword.
The most popular keywords have a higher PPC rate. In order to make PPC work, you have to ensure a good ROI (return on investment).
If you are paying $5 per click, but one customer will bring $200 worth of business to you, that’s a good return.
For example, if you’re an accountant, you want your ad to appear at the top of the page when someone searches for “tax preparation.”
However, if other accountants also want to purchase that same keyword then you will pay significantly more for the ad.
The key is to bid on search words that are popular but not cost-prohibitive.
Then, you have to ensure that when the user clicks on the ad, he or she goes to a page providing instructions on how the reader can use or purchase your product.
A good digital marketing firm is a perfect partner to ensure the best strategy for the best results. (We have had incredible success in helping our clients achieve success with PPC.)
4. Lifetime Value of a Patient
The main goal for your medical practice is to get more patients. For each new patient visit, you receive $60. So the total value of 4 new patients would be 4 x $60, which would equal $240. Right?
If you’ve been using this basic formula, you’re vastly underestimating the lifetime value of a new patient. Consider:
- Most patients will see their doctors at least twice a year.
- Patients with chronic illnesses see their doctors more often—and with the vast increase in type 2 diabetes, chronic illnesses are becoming more prevalent.
- Patients will return for acute treatment for problems such as seasonal allergies, bronchitis, minor sprains or the flu.
- What is your patient retention rate? On average, how long do your patients remain with your practice? Each year represents more revenue.
- Have you considered the impact of referrals or word-of-mouth? A patient with a positive experience easily becomes a walking advertisement for your business.
Let’s revisit that calculation again, only let’s revise this to a more realistic (albeit oversimplified) scenario.
You earn 4 new patients. Each one sees a doctor twice a year. That’s a total of 8 visits.
Let’s assume that all of these patients stay with your practice for 2 years. That’s a total of 16 visits.
Of those 4 patients, one of them has seasonal allergies and returns for 2 additional visits.
That’s a total of 18 visits.
If each visit is worth $60, then 18 x $60 equals $1,080—and that’s assuming these 4 patients are only with your practice for 2 years. You have dramatically underestimated the value of these 4 new patients.
Of course, this just an illustration. The actual value of a patient can be precisely calculated by using a formula that examines several factors. We work extensively with medical clients and would be happy to help you.
You may have heard these terms before, but weren’t sure how they related to expanding your patient base. These marketing terms clearly illustrate that strategies are not “one size fits all.”
Needs develop and change over time, and you have a lot on your plate.
In the long run, you’ll save money and maximize your marketing if you let a digital advertising agency worry about the details for you.
This means you’ll spend more time running your practice and less time worrying about your SEO, UVP, Pay-Per-Click or lifetime value of a patient.
We’ve worked with medical clients across the country from a variety of specialties, and we’re thrilled to report that we have helped them exceed their marketing goals.
Interested in learning more about marketing your medical practice? We’ve compiled some useful information here:
Established in 2000, Proclaim Interactive is an award-winning, think-out-of-the-box digital marketing agency located in Wilmington, NC. Proclaim Interactive provides website design, social media management, SEO and general marketing services designed to amplify clients’ messages. For more information call 910.795.4143.