The professional services industry is at a crossroads with the advent of the Internet – consumers who previously only had a few choices for a local doctor suddenly have exponentially more. Any doctor who cannot adjust to this with a new marketing strategy is sure to lose market share. Here are 10 huge mistakes that people make when marketing medical websites.
1. No Business Strategy
Many doctors do not see their office as a business. In order to cultivate a proper marketing plan, you need core competencies, opportunities for growth, an assessment of competition and a solid financial forecast in writing. Until this is done, doctors should put off the website with all of the extra apps.
2. No Understanding of the Target Market
If you are a pediatrician, are you marketing to kids or to parents? The answer should be easy, but many doctors will get it wrong. The mother makes 80 percent of the health care decisions in the home according to the United States Department of Labor. The patients that you serve and the market that you target may be two completely different things in some cases.
3. No Understanding of the Competition
If you are focusing on the large chain offices who may be taking a few of your clients out of state, then you are ignoring the majority of your competition. Doctors usually panic when a huge hospital moves in next door, but they should be much more scared of a small office doctor within the same discipline. If the little guy is localizing and optimizing web content, odds are he is taking much more out of your pocket than the big hospital.
4. Relying on Organic Growth
Word of mouth only goes so far these days. If you are lucky enough to earn a base of patients from traditional marketing, then you are two steps ahead; but you will not stay there if you do not incorporate newer techniques of market share maintenance. Unless you are looking to retire in a few years, you should be addressing issues of market growth and expansion of your brand aggressively.
5. Expecting Huge Results Instantly
Part of the reason to start right now on your marketing is the fact that it probably will not bring you results for six to 12 months. Google operates on a system of nepotism and grandfathers in websites only after they have showcased a consistent audience for some time. Also, do not expect huge spikes of business. The results, usually, will be long-term and sustained if the marketing effort is sustained as it should be.
6. Eschewing the Budget
Doctors either budget nothing at all for marketing or budget far too much – usually the first. Budgeting should be a definitive line item in your overall marketing, and that line item will eventually become more nuanced as you discover the successful paths to marketing in your area.
7. Forgetting about Content Marketing
Targeted content marketing costs around 62% less than old school marketing methods, and it brings around three times the results, according to esteemed online marketing manager Neil Patel. However, most doctors would not even know the difference between content marketing and traditional marketing. Basically, paying for ads is dead – doctors need to engage their audiences organically with a blog or even a podcast. Content marketing creates better search engine optimization for a site, giving it infinitely more long term reach than short term ads. At best, ads should be used inside of a PPC campaign primarily to assess the best strategies for an organic content marketing campaign.
8. Talking Down to the Audience
Everyone already knows that you are a doctor; you do not need to try to impress your audience with technical knowledge on your website. Feel free to explain your services, but save the industry lingo and Latin etymology for medical conditions for professional events and trade publications. People today respond to authenticity, which means that you have enough confidence in what you know to explain it simply to your target market.
9. Talking to Other Doctors Instead of to Patients
Many doctors waste their marketing dollars and their valuable time talking in niche medical forums to other doctors instead of trying to find the forums where their potential patients hang out. When you invest in social media and directories, look for the places where your patients are talking, and avoid the temptation to move towards your comfort zone of talking only to other people who are in your profession.
10. Copying Your Competitors Blindly
When many doctors first understand that marketing has a great deal to do with their loss in office activity, they will frantically look for a strategy to follow. They will hear about a new strategy that a competitor has tried and blindly follow it. This is the first way to waste money, because unless you know how successful that strategy was for your competitor, you should not try it! Odds are that he also got spooked by a drop in sales and went for the first thing that he saw. Take your time.