A 2019 study found that there are more employed doctors than those who have their own clinics or practices. If you’re a physician who’s thinking of starting your own practice, this is a noble task—after all, so many people need and deserve access to quality healthcare; not just those who have contracted COVID-19.
But it’s not going to be easy. Our 2021 world is vastly different from the one we had before the COVID-19 crisis happened, and now more than ever we need to be sensitive and compassionate in the way we communicate with our potential patients and target demographic. If you’re starting your own medical practice during the pandemic, here are some marketing dos and don’ts to ensure your practice’s success.
Do: Prioritize public relations and digital marketing.
Living in a post-pandemic world means we can’t afford to ignore online marketing and good public relations (PR). We live in a time when we need to be sensitive about the messages we put forth, and we need to always communicate empathy and compassion to the people we are trying to reach to become our patients.
If you’re using new medical technology in your clinic, consider hiring life sciences PR professionals to help you navigate and choose the right branding and terminology for your practice. These experts understand the ins and outs of misinformation and how damaging it can be when left unchecked. They understand just how valuable it is for companies and practices like yours to present accurate and factual messaging, especially in healthcare.
Marketing experts also have the skills to come up with content that will let your potential patients know what your practice is all about, the values you hold dear, and why they need to trust your expertise and services. PR and marketing professionals will also help you say the right thing at the right time so that your branding and content always convey empathy and compassion during these difficult times. They will also help you come up with consistent branding and a solid marketing strategy.
Don’t: Neglect your patients’ online experience.
Another study found that 94 percent of website visitors leave certain websites when they’re difficult to navigate. Another one found that one of the things that cause users to leave websites is too many bells and whistles, like a video with sound or too many moving items. As a private practice, there are no two ways about it: You need to have a solid, easy-to-navigate website in the time of COVID-19. Here are some things to remember:
- Make sure the website is consistent with your branding.
- Keep it simple and clean. Avoid too many features that may cause you to lose your audience.
- Make it easy to navigate. Your users, no matter how young or old they are, must be able to find exactly what they’re looking for from the jump.
- Ensure that the design and interface are compatible with all kinds of devices—users now access information from their phones, laptops, tablets, and even from their car, smart TV, and refrigerators!
- Optimize search engine results (SEO) so that your patients can immediately find your website.
Do: Leverage social media, but do it the right way.
Social media can be a powerful tool for getting your practice’s name out there, but it doesn’t mean you need to rely on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to keep building a patient base. It can be a great way to make certain announcements, like schedules and promos, but social media should not be your only strategy. Consult with your marketing team on how paid advertising can help boost your engagement because doing this is more than just about clicking on the “boost post” on your home page—paid advertising also includes a lot of strategizing to ensure that you get the results that you want.
Don’t: Ignore patient reviews.
As a doctor, you must know that building rapport and healthy relationships with your patients and fellow doctors are crucial to your success. Leverage patient reviews by asking them for testimonials and their health stories, and make sure to get consent before you post them anywhere. Patient reviews are critical because they hold up a mirror on you and your practice. Find some happy and satisfied patients and ask them to vouch for the effectiveness of your methods as a physician.
These strategies can work to help grow your practice, but they need to work hand-in-hand and the methods need to be sustained. Partnering with PR and marketing professionals will be key so that you can focus on what you do best: Caring for your patients.