Attract more patients with only an hour or two each week of effort and start out with a simple digital marketing plan
Have you ever spent a lot of money on a “sure thing” digital marketing plan and ended up with a report of thousands of “impressions” but no new patients or return on investment?
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by social media and in awe of businesses that show up consistently seemingly at just the right time? Are you frustrated by the constant social media algorithm changes that tend to thwart your best efforts?
Concentrated effort for concentrated return
There is an easier way for you to show up consistently and authentically to attract the types of patients you want to work with the most. Even better, it won’t cost you much money — just expertise from you and an hour or so from one of your team members each week. And best yet, your efforts will bring your practice into the top organic (not sponsored/paid) first page results when people are searching online for what you have to offer.
I am in the trenches just like you. I can attest that while the following steps don’t always result in immediate results like some paid advertising, this method does work beautifully over time. One good reason why is that your efforts don’t disappear as soon as your paid advertising campaign is done — your content (assets) continues to serve you month after month. Like it or not, consumers are searching online for their practitioners and you must have a presence both with content and positive online reviews.
Digital marketing plan: 10 steps to success
Implement these tried-and-true simplified organic digital marketing plan tactics and turn online confusion into consistent patient leads, outstanding patient education and ongoing patient engagement:
1. Pick a platform and start there.
For patients, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram tend to work best. If not already created, start your page/channel on that medium. Give it your practice name or however people search for you and your practice.
2. Find someone on your team who loves social media and is creative and trustworthy.
In my experience consulting with practices, there is nearly always someone internal that meets these criteria. If not, you can hire an inexpensive virtual assistant to help, or even use one of your teenage children if appropriate.
3. Over time, posts will become second nature and more fun to create.
In the beginning, just pick a theme for 3-5 days/week such as Monday Motivation (graphic post with a motivational quote and your logo), Transformational Tuesday (testimonials), In the News (link to a pertinent article or your take on something happening in the news), The Doctor is In (quick video of you or a team member answering a commonly-asked question you get in your practice), Product/Team Member Highlight and the like.
4. Don’t overthink the tech!
Personalized graphics can easily be created in Canva, Publisher, or many other software products. Video can be made with your phone or computer right in Facebook or Instagram (and shared between the two) or created on your phone, then uploaded to your very own YouTube channel. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Patients like to see the real you.
5. Use keywords people are searching for regularly on the internet.
Use the search phrase in the title of your post and in any description under your post. Not sure what people are searching for? Just do a search on Google for your topic and the search bar will automatically show you the most common search phrases.
6. About 80% of your posts should be helpful/educational and 20% sales-oriented.
You want to build trust and be authentically helpful. However, be sure each post includes some sort of CTA (call to action), even if it is just how to reach out to you if they want more information.
7. Use your content in multiple ways.
I shoot a video and then have it transcribed and post it on social media, on my YouTube channel, on my podcast channel as appropriate, and on my blog.
8. Over time you want to increase engagement (comments) on your posts.
Invite people to like/join your pages on social media.
9. Convert posts to ads.
Once you see your highest performing posts, you can even convert them into advertisements (your proven research was organically done for you) and take it to a deeper (more successful) level.
10. Repurpose your “assets.”
Over time, you will build many written, graphic and video assets (content) that you can re-use in multiple ways. You can even turn blogs into a book or patient educational “lead magnet” to attract more patients.
I realize these are simplified steps, but these tactics can be a lot of fun and very effective. The practices I work with and my own channels are living proof. Make this year your journey of growing your practice with an organic digital marketing plan, even if starting with only one.
About the author
Karol Clark, MSN, RN, is the best-selling author of “How to Add Medical Weight Loss to Your Practice: 7 Steps to an Enjoyable Business, Healthier Patients and Increased Profitability” and owner of Weight Loss Practice Builder. She has more than 20 years experience working with surgical and non-surgical weight-loss patients and assisting physicians in building an enjoyable weight-loss practice. She partners with Nutritional Resources (d/b/a HealthWise) for creation of educational