modernise your clinic

How to modernise your clinic with digital?

It’s easy to lose sight of innovation in the digital and online marketing space as a doctor. You offer the most innovative treatment pathways, and yet, your online presence may suggest you still live in 1999. Let’s go over the action steps to modernise your clinic with an updated online presence and marketing strategy. 

modernise your clinic

How to modernise your clinic with digital?

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

May 11, 2022

The need for digital literacy as a doctor

digital literacy

Sometimes a doctor refers to the online space as ‘IT’. Information Technology. In a way, that is accurate, but the time has come to see online communication as a business strategy activity, not as a technical process that involves computer technology only.

Digital literacy as a doctor is not about the tools and platforms. It’s not about understanding how websites are built and trying to do that by yourself over the weekend! 

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"Digital literacy is about understanding the digital information consumption on the patient’s side. What are they doing that you can measure, map and integrate in your business processes, to attract more patients online?"

A few decades ago, you could just focus on reaching your KPIs, looking at the number of procedures per month and checking your GP referrals.

Over the last 10-15 years, customer expectations have evolved and we now all agree that bedside manners are important too. It’s no longer about finding the best specialist doctor or surgeon, it’s about finding the best human match in someone who has these expert qualifications as a doctor. And that is also why the majority of doctor reviews talk about human qualities.

To modernise your clinic, the first step is to learn about patient search behaviour, to understand the research that exists about your niche and your medical specialty.

  • What are patients Googling for?
  • What different search terms do they use in different stages of their health journey, looking into the commodity of the service, comparing specialists, or educating themselves or a loved one about the conditions and symptoms, treatments or surgeries?
  • What are the elements that define a conversion? Time spent on a website? Clickthrough rates to your booking page? What are common tools and communication tactics that help you stand out from the competition, generate more traffic and leads and convert more online conversations into new patient leads?

The reason we can help you with that? We specialise in medical. We specialise in the business aspects of running a private practice. That is why we achieve spectacular results for our customers.

Beyond just serving yourself: Purpose marketing

building personality

Building personality and a leadership profile online as a doctor is not simple.

Ambitious doctors with a private practice or a strong personal profile are able to discover the fun in creating a vision. It could be as simple as gaining more leverage in the group practice that you are part of. Or it could be your own brand, a global impact in academic research, ecommerce, or launching your own brick-and-mortar multidisciplinary clinic.

The modern private practice uses personality to fuel that vision, because people connect with the passion and energy behind it.

Marketing your practice around your purpose is also a success tactic. It means that you communicate from a different position, not just serving your own interest and the growth of your business, but focusing on the greater god. What value does your clinic bring to the community? What problem do you solve not just for an individual patient but for their families, the people in your community?

In our market research, we see a strong evolution towards more personalised conversations before consumers choose a specialist. They are often invisible for the non-digitally savvy doctor, because they happen in the digital space:

  • Website clicks and time spent on a content page about a specific condition
  • Semi-automated funnels and web forms that ask the patient about their experience or interests
  • Newsletters and downloads such as eBooks or white papers, starting a conversation with a doctor
  • LinkedIn articles and posts, connection requests between specialist and GPs

Modernising your practice means mastering this new part of the healthcare landscape. From just being the expert, who hopes to be seen and recognised as the best doctor in their specialty, more business is now going in the direction of those who are able to present themselves as the leaders in communicating about a condition or a treatment.
That is when building personality becomes an active focus of your practice as a business.

modernise your clinic

The ongoing character of being a leader

ongoing marketing

Ongoing leadership requires ongoing online communication. That’s right. If you want your leadership position to become a sustainable aspect of your medical practice, you need a plan and it can not be static.

Regular updates are essential in two ways, when we talk about digital marketing:

  • Content: Google rewards fresh website updates with higher organic visibility, provided your content is published to the highest standards of quality content.
  • Social: Social media content is volatile by nature because it only appears in your followers’ feeds at that very specific point in time. Once you stop publishing, all your future patients can see is that you disappeared off the platform two years ago, which is not a reassuring signal.

When you think about content, there are the dry academic and medical facts, often evolving around surgical techniques, clinical outcomes or patient satisfaction.
Equally important is reminding your audience about your qualities as a human being.

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"I am not promoting social media behaviour that consists of posting where you had a beer or that you let the dog out at 6.45 pm. Sharing a human story in line with your leadership position as a doctor is about building rapport and trust. You want patients to trust you as a doctor and as a human being."

Modernising the appearance of your clinic starts with a contemporary first impression. It’s not your reception desk. It’s your homepage. The style, format and the quality of the execution in that department could be defining for your growth potential as you develop your private practice.

If you are in doubt about prioritising new website content versus new social media content, think about the ROI. The return on investment from ongoing marketing and content updates is expressed in monthly visitors and monthly new patient leads. The ROI on social media expenditure is often expressed in follower numbers. Flattering for our ego, irrelevant for our business bottom line and therefore, it’s wise to focus on patients, not followers.

Less is more. But sometimes more is needed.

marketing budget for doctors

To modernise your clinic, you may need to look at the fitout of your rooms or other aspects of your service delivery.

In the digital space, the saying ‘less is more’ applies from time to time when we:

  • Avoid jumping on the latest hyped platforms such as TikTok if there is no clear reason to use this platform.
  • Extract the essential medical information that patients need to know and clarify it in their own words so they are not overwhelmed by overly technical medical terms

But sometimes, what is needed to stay ahead of the pack is a more sophisticated approach. A typical marketing budget for doctors would consist of a one-time investment to get your foundation right, and ongoing monthly work to add new content and build organic visibility for your practice around the main Google search terms that patients use.

An ideal marketing budget takes into account what your average patient lifetime value represents, the current capacity of your clinics and theatre lists, and your ideal business growth.

We then work out the tools that are needed to start more online conversations and to convert more traffic into qualified patient leads.

Depending on your investment, your marketing tactics would typically consist of:

  • Optimised content pages to create organic visibilty in Google
  • A monthly blog to add new articles and generate more visibility
  • YouTube videos to add personality and rapport to your web pages and social media accounts so patients spend more time with your brand
  • Custom social media posts to build and maintain your educator profile, either with potential referrers via LinkedIn or toward consumers on Facebook or Instagram
  • A marketing funnel, initiating new conversations with patients on your medical websites so you can help them make a well-informed decision.
  • Google Ads to drive additional traffic to your quality content, only if you see a direct benefit from generating additional leads and if the ROI for your Google Ads budget justifies the ad spending.

The key to a modern private practice

seo packages

This is where we radically innovated the space of so-called ‘SEO packages’. Search Engine Optimisation has rapidly evolved into a billion dollar industry and Google keeps updating its algorithms to tackle those who are trying to trick the system… and create Google rankings with mediocre content. 

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"What Google really wants is quality content and no matter how you look at it, they have more power to improve their capacity to identify quality, than the people who are trying to bypass Google’s algorithms."

So in other words, your best choice is to aim for quality content. SEO Packages that only focus on getting you higher Google rankings, without improving your medical website content, would probably deserve further scrutiny. 

Check out our articles about the Return on Investment for digital medical marketing, or our bold statement that most doctors should never depend on advertising. They provide a good starting point to modernise your digital architecture.

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compliant marketing techniques

If you want to explore how we can bring your online presence up to speed, book a free 1:1 Strategy Session. We only use AHPRA compliant marketing techniques, and focus on content marketing to reduce your advertising cost and increase your organic visibility. 

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