Digital marketing 101: Consumers buy doctors, not practices

Medical practice growth depends highly on a steady stream of new patients.  However, your patients don’t buy medical practices; they buy doctors!

On Friday’s Internet Health Magazine, author Ken Robbins writes an extremely informative article concerning the online challenges for healthcare marketers.  The title of the article is Digital Marketing 101: Consumers buy doctors, not practices.   The underlying current of the piece is that your medical practice growth depends on your communication.

There is tons of information available online, and patients are conducting plenty of their research before selecting providers.

  • 84% of consumers said they are likely to visit a provider’s website before booking an appointment,
  • with 61% saying they are very likely to do so. What they find there makes a massive difference in whether they book an appointment or continue looking elsewhere.
  • Consumers may also start by looking for what’s covered by their insurance.  While some practices can rely on the fact that they are in networks for a class of patients.  Those that want to use marketing to grow need to connect with doctors in the market.

The best strategy for practice marketers to reach these consumers is to build websites that contain individual pages for each clinician highlighting professional accomplishments, such as:

  • Areas of interest,
  • and philosophies of practicing medicine.
  • Feature videos of physicians speaking to subjects they are expert in to demystify complex topics, reduce fear, and showcase personable attributes. Also, include all of the information that patients can get from other sources like
    • board certifications,
    • medical schools attended,
    • and assurance that there have been no disciplinary actions or malpractice suits against each doctor in the practice.

Patient testimonials also have tremendous influence with consumers researching physicians.  Align each testimonial with a specific clinician and feature them on the individual page for that person. Videos of patients explaining why they like the practitioner along with the results they achieved are particularly powerful and resonate well with prospective patients.

Engagement through every step of the funnel

Though online research has become the norm in the way health consumers look up information,

65% of consumers say they still prefer to make an appointment over the phone.  That means the shopping journey is starting online, but relying on phone contact to convert.  It’s up to you to make that transition between channels as seamless as possible.

Make contact information easy to find from any page on your website.  Make sure it is clearly visible on every page when viewed on mobile devices.  This is extremely important as a great deal of information-seeking today is happening on mobile—

73% of all patients said they use mobile devices to research providers.  When those customers are ready to convert, they should be able to simply touch the phone number to automatically dial it and connect with your office.

Healthcare shopping journeys are mimicking the omnichannel retail shopping experience.  Consumers are engaging with brands on multiple devices.  Patients are entering and exiting the funnel several times in often unpredictable ways before converting.

But it’s not just about initial conversion—research and appointment-setting are just the beginning of engaging with patients in a meaningful way.   Email, text messaging and photo-sharing are among the methods that patients strongly desire to be able to use for communication with caregivers before, during, and after treatment.

With so many choices available, every follow-up appointment is like a new mini-conversion.  Remember that even after they have become patients, consumers must continue to make the active decision to remain patronizing your practice.  In their minds, they are continuing to “see the same doctor,” not visit the same medical group.

Again, as stated at the onset, your medical practice growth depends so much on your communication and the authority with which you communicate!

The article is splendid!  To read it in its entirety, just click on Digital Marketing 101: Consumers buy doctors, not practices.

We understand that both learning and applying techniques to pull your practice out into the ideal position takes time.  This precisely why we are offering a free comprehensive analysis of your current patient development game-plan.

We invite you to learn how Steve and Claudio can help you immediately increase your profits, give them a call at 916.750.6319, or write us.

From the desk of Claudio Gormaz, direct: 951.294.2274, personal email:

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