As an independent medical practitioner in today’s digital world, it’s critical that marketing is a fundamental part of your practice. More patients are relying on online information to make health decisions like finding a physician, understanding a health condition, and researching symptoms and illnesses. The more active you are in marketing your practice, the more likely you are to become a part of those patient journeys.

But you probably know that.

And you probably don’t have a lot of time to learn the ins and outs of marketing.

So, we’ve put together a list of 8 tactics that you can implement immediately to start marketing your medical practice.

1. Monitor your online reputation

In a recent survey of 500 healthcare consumers by Weatherby Healthcare, nearly every respondent indicated that they read physician reviews online. The first step is to understand how your practice is seen by the patient community today. When you search for your practice or your professional name, what shows up? Review the top search results and check to see if the information about your practice is accurate and consistent across each result. Set a reminder to check-in on these results, or if that’s too time-consuming there are online platforms that you can pay to monitor your online reputation.

2. Claim and maintain your online profiles

In the same Weatherby study, 55% of patients visited WebMD as the primary source to research their physician. Make sure that you’ve claimed your profile there and on any other site that ranks in your search results. You’ll often find a link on the page to claim the profile, but if not, reach out to the site directly to take ownership over your profile. If your practice is not already on the larger third-party practitioner sites like WebMD or Vitals or Healthgrades, consider adding a profile for those patients who already trust those platforms for health information.

3. Sign up for Google My Business

Google has 63% of search engine market share, and Google Reviews are the second-most viewed source for physician reviews. How your practice is presented on Google is incredibly important. So how do you control the information that’s most prominently displayed in the search results? Sign up for Google My Business. It’s what gives you ownership over what’s included in the information box on the search results page – what Google calls the Knowledge Graph.

LINA FiDi search result page
An example of Google’s Knowledge Graph for LINA FiDi

Once you’re set up, make sure to add high-quality photos and fill-in critical information like address, phone number, and hours. Over time, consider engaging with reviews from your patients here.

4. Get noticed through local SEO

70% of patients choose a physician based on location, which means it’s important that you show up in searches that are not just for your name. Start with claiming profiles in both Google My Business and Microsoft’s Bing Places. Choose the right business categories to stand out in those searches, and use the business description to include keywords or phrases that you want to rank for. This will cover a lot of ground for your practice, but there’s so much more to the world of local SEO. If you’re interested in going further, take a look at this thorough guide to local SEO from Ahrefs.

5. Optimize your practice for voice search

In a 2018 Voice Search for Local Business Study by BrightLocal, 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information in the last 12 months. While that may not seem relevant to finding a medical practice, when consumers were asked what type of businesses they’d consider using voice search to find, 28% said they’d use voice search to find a doctor.

Which business types would you use consider using voice search to find?

So how do you optimize your practice for voice search? Every voice assistant gets its information from different sources, but to maximize coverage it’s best to have your practice set up on Google My Business, Bing Places, Apple Maps, and Yelp. For a more detailed guide, take a look at Search Engine Watch’s voice search optimization guide.

6. Launch a website

It sounds like a lot of work, but these days it’s pretty simple to launch a website for your practice. There are free platforms like WordPress (it’s what we use at LINA), and there are platforms that charge a small monthly fee that require no technical knowledge to put together a website that you can be proud of.

So, why is this important? With minimal effort, your website will quickly climb to the top of the search results page for your name and it gives you complete ownership over the identity of your practice vs. relying on third-party sites. You can share more than the basic information about your practice. Share your philosophy, what makes your practice unique, certifications and publications, knowledge about common health questions in your area of expertise, highlight customer testimonials, show off your office, and anything else that you think is important for patients to know.

7. Improve your practice’s offline experience

Marketing is storytelling, and though your story with a new patient likely starts in the digital world it continues through to the office experience. How an appointment is booked, how a patient is greeted, how insurance details are discussed, waiting room details, how long they have to wait, and your in-person experience with them all play a role in that story. Share your goals with your staff and inspire them to help elevate the practice. Every detail throughout the patient journey can be the difference between an unhappy patient leaving a bad review and an evangelist of your practice.

8. Ask your patients how you’re doing with a survey

Every practice has something that could be made better, but the tough part is identifying what that is and how significant the issue. If you’ve collected email addresses with permission from your patients to reach out to them, consider using HIPAA-compliant survey companies like SurveyMonkey to ask for anonymized feedback. What did they like? What did they not like? How likely are they to recommend your practice to a friend or family member? You can even use conditional logic to ask anyone who’s had a positive experience to leave a review on Google or the site of your choice.

Remember that marketing never ends

The tactics we included are meant to be quick wins to implement today, but marketing is ongoing and constantly evolving. As a private medical practitioner, your time is already limited and we at LINA understand the increasing demands on your schedule. But we’re cheering you on, and we’ll continue to post content that will help your practice.