In 2015, expenditures on physician and clinical services (payments for services) grew 6.3 percent to nearly $635 billion, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. By 2025, health spending is expected to grow at an average rate of nearly five percent per person per year.
Regardless of these trends, physicians shouldn’t expect incremental annual growth of their practice. People today have more options than ever before for whom they give their business, and it’s crucial to strategically attract new patients in order to grow your practice. Doctors who become complacent, relying on anticipated patient need alone, will fall behind.
To win new patients, you must seek them out in a patient-centric way. We’ve compiled five physician marketing tips to help you get started:
1. Create a physician outreach program.
You can incorporate a number of marketing tools in a physician outreach program, such as sending e-newsletters with valuable healthcare insights and providing easy-to-use referral landing page forms that make it easy for physicians to refer patients. It’s a good idea to take your relationships offline, too, by joining a professional group or attending conferences with colleagues who may provide referrals.
2. Add calls to action to your website.
Calls to action (CTAs) help increase new patient conversions by making the next step feel natural during a patient’s online journey. Use simple, forward-moving language and make it easy for the patient to schedule an appointment, sign up for your e-newsletter, or complete another goal. CTAs don’t have to be elaborate buttons. In fact, marketing giant HubSpot reported in 2016 that anchor-text CTAs, those that appear as inline or stand-alone hyperlinks, increased conversion rates by 121 percent.
3. Complete your online profiles on third-party sites.
When consumers want to book a hotel room, they don’t automatically visit the website of the hotel they have in mind. They start with a search engine like Google and click into third-party sites to see what others think. This is exactly what people do when looking for healthcare. Third-party sites such as Vitals, Healthgrades, and Google are the healthcare equivalent of Priceline.com. People can see star ratings and reviews of your care. Take ownership of your profiles on these sites to make sure your online reputation reflects the high-quality care you show your patients.
4. Capture patient reviews at the point of care.
I can’t stress enough how important the patient experience is for your online reputation. As early as 2013, the HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey deemed patient experience and satisfaction as the No. 1 priority for healthcare executives, and it’s even more important in growing your practice today. Patients look to you to recommend relief or make a tough situation more bearable. They’ll return and refer others if you’re kind and attentive to their concerns. Remember—people make decisions based on what they find in public settings; make sure your patients have positive experiences to share.
5. Optimize your website to outrank social media sites.
Your website can be a powerful marketing tool to create and share information with patients and referring physicians. Make it work for you by implementing effective search engine optimization strategies. In 2017, Google ranks relevant, natural content higher than content that is crammed with unnatural “exact match” keyword phrases. Publish helpful, relevant content to your website and use social media to increase your brand and drive traffic. Make sure what you share is honest and helpful.
You don’t have to do everything all at once—my recommendation is to choose a step that feels manageable and start there. Once you have a good handle on that step, move to the next one and press “go” again.
Healthcare carries the stigma of producing many ideas but little action. Use these five tips to prove this stereotype wrong—and attract new patients in the process.