Marketing for physicians: how to market a medical practice

Whether it’s after years of work, or right out the gate finishing medical education, starting your own medical practice can be a dream come true for capable and business-minded physicians. However, it might come as a surprise that no matter how fantastic you are as a physician, medical practice marketing doesn’t come without hard work.

Read on to learn about 20 of the best marketing strategies for a small medical practice, and learn how you can help boost your practice to its optimum potential. You’re a great physician, and now it’s time to let your caseload and earning potential reflect that!

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1. Create the perfect website

We recently talked about how important managing your online reputation can be. People are searching for you – and if you’ve been working on your online presence – your website is one of the first things potential patients will see.

A professional, user-friendly website that reflects your values and ability is one of the easiest ways of marketing for physicians. You can have a website professionally designed and built, or you can use tools that provide guidance to help you craft one yourself. Many of these DIY website tools use templates that assist with graphic design elements, and with some creativity and forethought, creating conversion-friendly copy can be a breeze. When considering how to market a medical practice via your website, think to yourself – would I trust this person? If you aren’t impressed with your online appearance, it’s likely patients won’t be either. You have complete control over how to appear here (unlike with online reviews or on social media), so use this to your advantage!

2. Send a newsletter to current and potential patients

While old-fashioned word of mouth can be a fantastic recruiter for new patients, don’t you sometimes wish you could speak to everyone who has ever clicked on your website at once? Well, you can. Armed with an engaging, informative newsletter and lead list, you can contact everyone who is interested in your practice with special deals, practice updates, and more. Email marketing tools such as MailChimp or Constant Contact allow you to easily organize your leads and create professional-looking email templates in just a few minutes, so all you need to worry about is providing the information.

3. Use social media to engage with patients

Social media – love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. When it comes to advertising for medical practices, social media is simple, effective, and widely used. By creating a page for your practice on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, you provide a landing point for patients to post reviews of your clinic, engage with potential new clients by sharing your posts, communicate with you and your staff, and get regular updates on your practice (provided you’re committed to posting them!). If you’re looking to take things up a notch and start marketing to healthcare professionals to share details of your practice, you could also consider using a social media network created just for physicians, like Sermo. 

When polled, 36% of Sermo physicians claimed to get new patients by referral from other physicians. 

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Boosting your reputation on sites like these can help elevate your practice and encourage new patients to seek your services. In a recent poll, only 16% of Sermo physicians claimed that they used social media to find new patients, but 27% agreed that an online presence was an effective marketing tool. Not sure where to start, or don’t have the bandwidth to maintain multiple accounts? Consider hiring a social media professional to help get you going.

4. Get published in journals – and share your work!

Why does a patient seek out your practice? One reason could be to obtain specialist care that they can’t get elsewhere. If you’ve worked hard to focus your research and clinical practice, getting published is the first step to improving your reputation and drawing in specialized patient populations. When marketing physician practices, it’s essential to develop a positive reputation and set yourself apart from other physicians. Using websites like Sermo can also allow you to share your knowledge and continue to spread the word.

5. Leverage local search engines

When polled, 36% of Sermo physicians said they used Google My Business for marketing, 10% said they used Yelp, and the remaining 54% said they used some other form of local search engine advertising to market their practice. One of the most effective forms of medical practice marketing is free, quick to set up, and incredibly easy to optimize to get local patients connected with your clinic today. With these local methods of advertising for medical practice, you can also control your online presence by responding to reviews (negative and positive!), adding special deals and discounts for patients to share, keep patients updated with changes to your clinic and staff, and get ahead of the competition simply by getting eyes on your practice first.

6. Invest in paid search and social campaigns

If you want to go one step further with your digital marketing campaign, you can combine your practice’s presence of social media and local search engines by investing in paid advertising. While it might seem like a big commitment, investing in well-placed paid advertising can be one of the most effective forms of medical practice marketing, because it can be directly targeted to the types of patients who want your services. Only 5% of Sermo physicians are currently investing in paid campaigns, and they might be missing out. Paid advertising can make your practice more visible on search engine pages and on social media, meaning more eyes on your services and more money in your pocket.

7. Start a referral program for current patients

When polled, Sermo physicians are certain – 42% said that they find new patients through existing referrals. The simplest way for you to facilitate this is by rewarding patients for sharing their good experiences. Patient referral programs take minimal investment on your behalf, and can then become one of the most used marketing ideas for medical offices over time. Some ideas include: discounts for patients who refer 5, 10, 20 or more new patients, gift bags and gift cards to other local businesses, and free add-on services to treatments or non-medical treatments such as massage or spa services. Get creative and remember – medical practice marketing can be fun!

8. Hold an open house

New clinic? This is the perfect time to host an open house or launch party for the space. Partner with other local businesses to provide refreshments, gifts, raffles and games, service demonstrations, and more. 59% of Sermo physicians said they weren’t involved in community events to help market their business. An open house is the perfect way to meet members of your community that can be essential in helping market your business, directly market to potential new patients, and drive buzz around your new business. People will thank you for welcoming them to the space, and you get to meet your patients outside of the treatment room – a win-win and another one of the most enjoyable marketing strategies for a small medical practice.

9. Sponsor an event

If you’d like to get out into your community even more, a great form of medical practice marketing is to get out into the community and sponsor local events. Examples would include races, charity drives and galas, benefits or events for schools and colleges, or other research fundraisers. Many event organizers aren’t just looking for monetary sponsors, they’re looking for experts in your field, so this is a great way to show off your expertise and share knowledge with potential patients.

10. Reminders and celebrations – communication goes a long way

Marketing for medical practices is not just about obtaining new patients, it’s about retaining your existing ones too. This means keeping patients coming to their appointments by sending out timely reminders for their appointments, and reaching out to assist them with rescheduling if they cancel or have stopped attending a course of treatment. Another way to communicate with patients in a more personal way is to send out birthday wishes via email or card. This will keep your clinic at the forefront of their minds, even if they’re not currently seeking treatment.

11. Build a solid team around you

You might think as the practice owner or director, the task of marketing for medical practice falls entirely on you, but you’re mistaken. Having a team of professionals dedicated to helping build the future of your clinic will benefit not just you, but them too. Your front desk and administrative team, billing, assistants, and technicians can all help market your clinic with their excellent service, word of mouth referrals, and great customer service.

12. Consider preview consults

Digital marketing isn’t for everyone. 40% of Sermo physicians don’t even believe it’s necessary for good medical practice marketing. If you consider yourself to be better at selling and marketing face-to-face, getting to know your patients, you might want to offer free initial preview consults to interested patients. For those who are on the fence about you, your practice, or a particular service, this could be just what they need to finally make an appointment with you.

13. Get on a screen near you!

If you’d like to use your image as advertising for medical practice, why not take out an advertisement on a local radio station, billboard, newspaper or television screen? With some help from adept marketing professionals (or not, if you’ve got the skills), you can create a compelling commercial that will meet your patients wherever they are. This is particularly useful if you’d like to reach patients who don’t use social media or email.

14. Get some merchandise with your name on it

Everyone loves free things, so why not combine the idea of gifts with advertising for medical practice? You can bulk order pens, magnets, pins, and more that have your practice’s name, logo, and contact details on. Distribute these at local events, and offer them to patients so that they can help spread the word without even trying. If you’re hosting an open house, these also make great prizes for games and raffles, or if you’re stuck for ideas on what to offer for referrals, a branded gift can be an excellent incentive to help you market your business.

15. Start a blog

You’ve already got the website, and patients are regularly finding it and visiting. How can you keep them clicking and better yet, encourage them to share your website on social media and with their friends? Start a blog! You can leverage your expertise and knowledge on specific issues your clinic treats by writing a blog that will both interest patients and increase your search engine visibility. Not a creative writer? Consider hiring an expert to craft compelling copy that will have your patients coming back for more every time you post.

16. Hold a webinar

Is there a particular issue that’s close to your heart? Maybe you have some research that was recently published, and you’d love to share it with both current and potential patients. A webinar can both be an effective way to educate patients and is a way of marketing to healthcare professionals, encouraging them to refer individuals back to you. Webinars can be hosted on social media sites like Facebook, on your own website, in your clinic with the help of communication tools like Zoom, or even on made-for-physician networks like Sermo. 

17. Go old school

Get back to basics with traditional forms of marketing for physicians such as direct mail, postcards and newsletters delivered to patients’ doors. While many patients now prefer and expect digital communication, there is still a portion of your patient load that would love hard copy communication – and you don’t want to leave them out! Distribute newsletters at your office for those who may not have access to email, and encourage them to share with their friends.

18. Become a source for journalists

When considering how to market a medical practice, you want to make sure you are the primary information source for local newspapers and other media sources. You can build a reputation as the primary authority on medical concerns by building rapport with journalists. Let them know that they can come to you for insight, and patients will see you as the place to go for their concerns. You can also partner up with local news sources on a more consistent and formal basis; consider offering your services in the form of a column or Q+A that is regularly published. Sign up to Help a Reporter Out to receive alerts about opportunities to provide information to journalists and be featured in their articles.

19. Improve patient experience

Patients want to go to a clinic where their physician makes their day better (and easier!), and this doesn’t stop at your care. Make it simple for your patients to access their health information by using an EHR (Electronic Health Record). Allow patients to reschedule their appointments online with an electronic booking session. Offer a chat function on your website to answer simple questions. These are all ways to improve the user experience for your patients, and make coming to your clinic simple and effective.

20. Promote yourself!

Finally, no one can market your business better than you. If you don’t believe in your own practice and services, there’s almost no chance that a patient will. The most vital component of medical practice marketing lies in your ability to sell yourself. You’re a highly trained, competent, and game-changing individual – so tell people that! Post about your business and research on your own social media, and share the information with friends – healthcare professionals and patients alike.

Hopefully, some of these tools for medical practice marketing resonate with you and you can implement them in your own strategy for success. 

Still need more ideas? Allow other physicians to teach you how to market a medical practice by signing up for Sermo today. Made by physicians, for physicians, Sermo is a unique professional network where physicians can come together to share knowledge across the entire spectrum of their career. It takes just minutes to create an account and get verified, and you’ll have access to thousands of polls and posts that will give you marketing ideas for medical offices. 

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