11 Strategies to use to market your medical practice in Canada
A medical practice isn’t just about opening a clinic and waiting for patients to fill your schedule. You need to promote your services and the benefits that your patients will experience using your clinic. This requires increasing your brand’s presence online and offline.
Clinic marketing is about diversifying your media channels. Instead of solely focusing on Google Ads, you should also add direct mail, email campaigns, and social media into your marketing mix.
However, before you learn about these different marketing strategies, it is important to understand what marketing is in the first place:
- Marketing isn’t just a one-time activity that will reap benefits for years to come. Marketing is about adapting to the changing behaviors of your patients and the environment that your clinic runs in.
- Marketing isn’t just advertising, however, advertising is a subset of marketing. Your marketing helps you build your brand, find your target audience, and effectively connect with your patients.
- Marketing is a long-term investment that should be thoughtfully planned-out to see success over time.
- Marketing helps to build a conversation between your stakeholders and your brand.
- Effective marketing is backed by data and research.
11 Marketing Strategies For Your Healthcare Clinic in Canada
Have a Website That Converts
Your online presence is highly supplemented by your website. This is where your patients find information about your services, updates about your clinic, your contact information, and information about your team. Overall, your website provides patients with a better look into who you are.
Your website should be user-friendly, mobile-friendly, and fast. Although a quality website may be costly, making the investment helps your clinic connect with patients and grow a strong online presence. Note that this is a long-term investment as your clinic may be using the same website or foundation for years to come. There are various platforms to build your clinic’s website on, but some may require an experienced web developer in order to build a highly customized website. For instance, you can use WordPress to build a unique website, but editing it may be a constant challenge. However, platforms like Wix are user-friendly and you are able to create a high-quality website yourself. Overall, there are many elements to consider when it comes to web development, which you can understand more of here.
Take Advantage of Google’s Platforms
Utilize Google to its full advantage. Google is the highest used platform for searches globally (Forsey, 2018), and has a significant part in users’ clinic discovery; 77% of patients search online before booking an appointment (Gaughran, n.d.). Thus, you need to reach patients in this phase of their patient journey so they can discover your clinic when they are first searching.
Use Google My Business to create a Google Business Listing for your clinic. Add photos, your clinic’s hours, the Q&A feature, and a description for users to view. “Google My Business [also] offers the option to add details about services like telemedicine” (Google My Business Help, n.d.). You should regularly keep this updated, as users are likely to refer to your Google Business Listing for information. Overall, this helps your clinic show up when patients are searching for local clinics or services that relate to yours.
Improve Your Patient Experience
Your patient experience is vital to the operation of your clinic, as it can separate you from having loyal patients as opposed to patients that only come once. Your patient experience includes everything that happens from when a patient first steps foot through the door to what happens when they are leaving. Try creating a template and mapping out everything that a patient experiences within in this time frame. Does the administrative team say hello? Is the patient offered a water or coffee? Is the patient walked back to the front desk after their treatment?
Once you have everything that happens during a patient’s visit, make sure that each of your team members know and understands this process so they can implement this into their daily routine with patients. You need to ensure that your patient experience is scalable, repeatable, and profitable so that as you grow your patient experience doesn’t fall behind.
Email Campaigns Keep Your Patients Engaged
Getting a click from an email is 6x more likely than getting a click from a tweet (Backlinko, 2021). In addition, using emails to acquire customers is “40x more effective” than Facebook and Twitter’s efforts combined (Backlinko, 2021). Executing email campaigns are relatively simple, however, you need to create content that will increase patient engagement with your brand. Losing your audience is not an option; consider researching your target audience to understand them so you can write more about what they want to hear. This only needs to be done once a month and is a cost effective way to directly reach patients outside of the clinic.
Mailchimp is a user-friendly platform that you can create your email campaigns on and gather analytics with after each campaign. You are also able to integrate your Mailchimp account with Jane App to keep your email list updated with your patients in Jane.
Invest in Google Search Ads
Search ad campaigns on Google are a great way to get to the top of Google’s rankings. Your clinic will be one of the first results to show up when patients search using your keywords; even beating clinics with a strong SEO presence. A Google Search Ad will show up when patients are looking for a service or clinic using certain keywords that you used in your ads. Consider keeping an inventory of keywords that work for your clinic so you can develop effective future Google Ad campaigns.
Measure these campaigns using the metrics of each ad’s success to determine where you should invest more. The investment may vary depending on what strategy you are moving forward with. Google Ads can be tricky to learn and keep up with which is why working with a qualified expert is recommended.
Well Designed Signage Gets Your Clinic Noticed
Can your patients find your clinic easily when they are outside? Do they know where to go when they step in the door? Signage for clinics can be easily over-looked in the scheme of marketing activities, but it is useful for helping your patients get in and around your clinic. It can be the difference between your clinic being a landmark as opposed to being hidden away in a strip mall.
Good design is based on a set of criteria with the goal of creating functional, likable, and well-designed signage. There are 10 questions you should ask yourself when designing signage for your clinic which you can find here.
Social Media Helps You Engage With Your Patients
Social media helps your clinic connect with patients, influencers, and even other brands online. Consider using Facebook and Instagram to post updates about your clinic, introduce your team, and provide health tips.
Social media also opens a gateway for your clinic to join different groups and participate in healthcare conversations. To determine which platform your clinic should be on it is important to determine what is most relevant to your target audience and where they are. A strong social media strategy is based on analytics, has eye-catching content, and posts valuable content for the target audience. Consider creating a monthly social calendar and at the end of each month review the conversions of each post to determine what worked and what didn’t. You can also review the analytics of your social media weekly to determine if you should make changes to your social media calendar. A marketing professional can help you create content that inspires, educates, and raises brand awareness in your audience. Consider working with an agency to develop a targeted and successful social media strategy.
Ask Happy Patients for Reviews
Patient reviews are powerful in helping your clinic persuade prospective patients to book an appointment. When new patients see the praise of others in regard to your clinic, practitioners, and patient experience, they will be likely to look further into your services.
Don’t be hesitant to ask a happy patient for a Google review! If patients have had great experiences than they will likely be willing to write a glowing Google review about your clinic or your practitioners. The more positive reviews than the higher your clinic’s rating goes up in proportion to the number of reviews that you have. This makes your clinic look trustworthy to prospective patients. Furthermore, you can use these on your website and social media as social proof. Depending on your services, there are some restrictions to what and how you can show these reviews on your website. Contact a marketing professional to help you understand these restrictions and how you can use testimonials on your website.
Send Direct Mail
Direct mail is an effective method to connect with your target audience and reach new patients with tangible promotional materials. Your patients aren’t all the same and purely digital marketing doesn’t reach everyone. Your clinic needs different types of marketing for different age groups. Direct mail is a great way to connect with audience segments that refrain from using social media on a regular basis. Audiences that are often receptive to direct mail include members of Generation X and Baby Boomers. Direct mail is more effective than you may think as the life-span of direct mail is longer that other marketing activities such as email campaigns. Knowing the benefits of direct mail may help you understand how you can create a better campaign.
Get Patient Referrals From Many Sources
Referral partners are effective sources for new leads as they perform word-of-mouth marketing that is used to direct new patients towards your clinic. Referral partners come in many forms as they can be GP’s, women’s health clinics, insurance providers, coaches, and more.
As per Referrals for Doctors (2019), healthcare businesses can efficiently gain new patients through referrals from physicians. Moreover, a physician’s referral may be the difference between a patient choosing a competitor’s clinic over yours (Referrals for Doctors, 2019); thus it is important to establish relationships with physicians so they will consider referring your clinic to their patients. This can also be mutually beneficial as you may have the chance to refer a patient to a referral partner. Learn how you can reach out to referral partners so you can gain new patients and increase your marketing channels.
Start a Blog for Your Clinic
Your clinic’s blog can be used to compile an inventory of useful information on your website. These are also useful for improving your SEO to help your clinic show up higher on Google’s search rankings. This is a great way to keep patients engaged with your clinic while educating them. Consider involving practitioners in this activity by encouraging them to write blogs for your website. Your clinic should publish content that pertains to your services, treatments, or common symptoms. You can provide the most value to your patients though information packed blog posts that are published once a month. Here are three topic examples that you could consider depending on your clinic’s operations:
- 7 stretches for your back?
- Why you should visit the dentist every 6 months
- What you should know about skin cancer
Find topics that matter to your patients along with topics that your practitioners are experts on. You can also collaborate with local businesses that have complimentary services to your clinic’s. For instance, if you have a physiotherapy clinic you may collaborate on a piece with a fitness studio. Gradually, your blog will help your clinic become a thought leader.
Build a multifaceted marketing strategy for your clinic
Use these strategies in conjunction with each other in order to be successful. This will broaden your clinic’s marketing efforts through various channels of marketing tactics. Contact your marketing agency for help executing these strategies in a way that will work best for your clinic.
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. Contact your marketing agency to discuss a unique and effective strategy for your clinic.