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  • Michael Bolt

How to save your patients from Dr Google

Do you know who the largest provider of healthcare advice is? The NHS? BUPA? AXA maybe? Not even close. It’s Google.

Google is so prevalent here that it’s entered popular culture and spawned its own catchphrase, Dr Google.

But there’s a problem.

Because usually when you check in with Dr.Google – you generally hear you are going to die, which isn’t really the prognosis people want to hear when they are looking for professional help.

So, as the real practitioner of medical advice and guidance here – what can you do to ensure your patients don’t suffer that same fate and mistake the common cold for ebola?

Raise your profile and provide an alternate, authoritative voice of reason.

In this article, the first in a series on private practice marketing, we’ll show you how.

1. Think long term

Inbound marketing (defined as activities which brings visitors in, rather than outbound glossy advertising) is hugely beneficial to private practice.

It is extremely effective at increasing your brand awareness, attracting a large audience, keeping them engaged and getting your message across.

Creating a system of blogging, email marketing and social media to share your knowledge and build up relationships can take time. It is still worth doing, but just like the medicine you prescribe, you will need to complete the course for it to be truly effective.

2. Go where your patients are

With 78% of people saying that social media impacts their decisions on whether to buy a new product or service, it is true to say Social Media has massive advantages for a modern medical practice.

So much so, you could be forgiven for thinking that all you need do is put up a profile and paying customers will start falling from the sky.

Yes your clients are probably all on Facebook, but this does not necessarily mean they want to engage with you.

So before you rush in creating profiles, you need to understand the demographics of each so you can deal with them accordingly and pick the ones right for you. A one-size fits all approach does not work.

3. Integrate the message

Marketing in 2015 is more drip feed than hard sell. You will not convert many people – if any – in a single sitting. The key is more about being there when they go looking time and again, so they position you as a trusted source.

Many of these interactions can be automated to reduce your workload and to help you even more, you should integrate your message into your everyday business.

This does not mean send the same update across all your channels, instead, if for example you send appointment confirmations, why not add links to your social channels, website or email auto-responder to nurture those relationships.

4. Diversify the channels

According to a well-known study on buyer behaviour, it is a fact that people check more than 10 sources of information before making a purchase decision.

A single ad in a glossy journal will not be as effective as it used to be.

Diversification is key, so spread your marketing, maybe publicize your blog with pay per click advertisements, write an article, use email and social to distribute it, lead readers to a landing page on your website with an email auto-responder to capture their interest and convert them into a customer.

5. Blog

A regularly updated blog is one of the most beneficial things you can do to raise your profile on search engines like Google. This is because of 2 reasons; 1. Search engines love new relevant content, and, 2. Your blog will exemplify what you do and establish your expertise.

In the rest of this series we will examine more closely each area to give you a better understanding of how you can use them to grow your organisation.

Complete these steps and you will be well on the way to professionally market your practice, so much so that your patients won’t feel the need to check in with Dr Google more than you!


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