Many newly minted physicians are anxious to promote their practices online, and can’t wait to learn about new ways to reach new patients.
Other physicians are more reluctant to enter the world of online marketing. This is especially true of doctors who already have established practices or doctors who are not active participants on social media. Sometimes a lack of understanding or misunderstanding of the digital world can be a barrier for physicians.
These four techniques will help marketers show reluctant physicians how effective online marketing can be and why they should be utilizing it in their practice.
1. Training and Education
If a physician does not personally use social media sites, such as Facebook or Twitter, he or she may be completely in the dark as to what these sites do. Sometimes opening a physician’s mind to online marketing can be as simple as sitting down with him or her and showing them how people interact on social media. Training physicians in the social media platforms that you want to utilize can help convince them that their practice will benefit from their use.
In the case of Search Marketing, educating prospective physicians can go a long way towards swinging the pendulum in your favor. Share search data for their target market and show the physician that people are actually online searching for the services they provide. Some specialties (incontinence, infertility, body sculpting, etc) are a perfect fit for digital marketing due to the sensitive nature of the specialty. People are more apt to conduct searches in the privacy of their own home (and on their own computer) then ask a friend for a referral.
2. Show them examples of successful marketing efforts
Some physicians are reluctant to use online marketing techniques because they feel they do not reflect well upon the practice. He or she might feel that social media degrades the integrity of the profession, or that certain techniques are disagreeable.
Talk to the physician to identify the source of his or her hesitance, and then find examples that successfully overcome those issues. Identifying other marketing campaigns that avoid problem areas will show that online marketing can be done in a way that enhances the image of the practice.
3. Explain how the job will get done
One effective technique marketers frequently employ is to start a physician blog on their client’s website. Some physicians are hesitant, however, because they think it will require more of their time. While some physicians welcome the opportunity to interact with patients in this way, many do not have the time or inclination.
Explaining how marketing tasks will be accomplished can ease physician concerns. For example, a blog can be outsourced to a ghost writer and approved by the physician. Make it clear that establishing an online identity does not necessarily require an additional time commitment from the physician.
4. Quantify results
The most convincing argument for digital marketing is that it gets measurable results. Digital marketing has an advantage over traditional marketing channels (Radio, Print, TV) because of the ability to provide better tracking and more concrete analytics. Instead of dealing with impression sizes, traffic spikes, or other vanity numbers, you can provide actual results that impact the practice (appointments to revenue). If your physician is reluctant to dive head first into the world of digital marketing, start off slow and show him or her the results and how your work has impacted the practice.
Physicians are often astounded how a website can boost their visibility and lead to more appointments. Quantify your website results and share them with your physician. Seeing how effective having a Web presence is will be enough to whet their appetite to establish a more far-reaching digital brand that includes social media, blogging, videos, and more.