online profiles for doctors

Online profiles for doctors: five super tips

Online profiles for doctors have only become relevant in the last decade and it makes perfect sense that many private practice owners are still figuring out what works best. In this article, we have summarised our five super tips to make your online profile work for you.

online profiles for doctors

Online profiles for doctors in private practice

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

November 12, 2022

Tip #1 Become super aware of your profile as an asset

marketing assets in healthcare

If you run a specialist practice, you probably spend energy, time and money in the GP-referral space. Making efforts to generate, attract, deserve and get GP referrals to your clinic. And that is obviously still an important backbone of any type of private practice strategy.

The importance of building your digital marketing assets in healthcare is on an upward trend. Why? Because more time is spent on smartphones.

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

"When our health is concerned, we do what we do for so many other things. We grab our phones and we do our research. Research is the layman’s word for typing things into Google and that is a unique opportunity to shine with an online profile that is visible and compelling."

It’s easy to read over these lines and believe you have built just that by adding some content to your DIY website or ordering a website developer’s services a few years back. Before we dig deeper into the requirements for these marketing assets in healthcare, let’s look at some examples of online profiles in action.

Tip #2 Identify your natural resistance to digital marketing

resistance to marketing

I often come across doctors who openly or subconsciously resist the idea of doing a lot of marketing. Doctors are trained to aim for accuracy, excellence and a total focus on clinical, surgical or scientifically backed outcomes.

Marketing is a term that comes from a whole different industry. So it makes sense that you don’t want to be seen as a car salesman.

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

"You can see that the generation under 40 - fellow surgeons or new allied healthcare professionals - do not feel this resistance to marketing. If you are between 40 and 60, it is important to identify any resistance you may feel toward digital marketing and look at the competition that is gradually introducing new online habits in your niche."

Let’s take one step closer to – well – the elephant in the room.

What is this resistance by surgeons and doctors to marketing based on?

Focus: Your focus has been elsewhere, maybe even for a few decades. That is perfectly normal. I totally missed out on soccer, Australian football, rugby, cricket and most other competitive sports on TV because I started out as a radio journalist and specialised in communication, not in sports.

Technophobia: If you hear yourself saying that you are not that technical, think about the tremendous advantage you have in your niche, knowing how to perform surgery on the human body where I would need to read the instruction booklet in my first-aid kit if anything were to happen. Most doctors have the brain capacity to catch up with a few things about Google, SEO, website development and social media tools.

Time: In a time-poor environment, you will want to make sure that your online profile becomes a self-sustaining engine, one that does not need your daily attention. Bear with me. That’s what good online profiles for doctors are doing: they work for you in the background while you are doing more important things!

Tip #3 Focus on the low-hanging fruit first

online visibility as a doctor

Let me unpack how online visibility as a doctor can amplify the business growth of your practice.

Name visibility: The absolute minimum performance is for you to have something show up when patients remember your name and type it into Google Search. If the first 2 or 3 search results are made up of content that someone else has written: Yellow Alert!
It means that you are at the mercy of hospital teams, private database owners or someone running a forum, or even worse, at the mercy of a journalist who wrote something about you.
Name visibility means that you control the first pages on Google Search simply because you have optimised your website for your own name. As silly as this may sound if you are more advanced at all this – it happens all the time.

Commodity search: Online visibility as a doctor is often discussed only in the context of what we call the ‘commodity search’. In our medical marketing agency, we use that little bit of jargon to talk about things like gynaecologist Sydney. Other commodity searches would be bariatric surgeon Canberra. It’s a general broad search, most marketing people focus on that and…most doctors honestly believe that is the only battle to focus on. Bear with me. Low-hanging fruit is waiting for you…

Search intent: Building a profile that caters for different layers of search intent is the next level up. You now become aware of the different things that patients type into Google at different stages of their journey.

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

"Patients who have just started experiencing symptoms do a lot of Googling. Next, they may have spoken to a GP and started searching for different terms. As soon as they have spoken to a specialist or attended a consultation, their medical vocabulary has increased and their next Google searches will be defining when they are choosing a surgeon or a specialist."

Can you see that this becomes a far more sophisticated exercise than asking a junior web developer to throw in a bunch of keywords?

Focusing on the low-hanging fruit means building online visibility as a doctor, for the most common list of search terms that patients type into Google.

If you are interested to hear about our Australian Patient Search Behaviour Program, book a free 1:1 Strategy Session to explore how we can use this data to co-produce better marketing content for your website or to build your new online profile based on the latest live market data for your capital city or area.

Tip #4 The mini-guide to positioning yourself as a doctor

unique profile

Visibility is one thing. Once you get the traffic, the visitors, the clicks. What can you do to convert visitors into leads?

Brand positioning is the technique/skill or art to build a unique profile as a doctor. You will not cut it with a simple list of qualifications and experiences.

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

"Patients are human beings and beyond the obvious checks that relate to your qualifications and experience, their intuition is at play too. Your capacity to build rapport through your online profile is a key element of your private practice growth."

In our ongoing patient search behaviour data, we can see that more time is spent on pages or content that has a personal touch. It does not mean you have to share the details of your family dynamics, your hobbies or your financial situation. All it takes is a personal touch that adds a layer to the factual content of your profile.

Here’s our mini-guide to pick from. These are typical success elements in online profiles for doctors:

Purpose: What triggered your desire to become a doctor? What nurtured your interest in this particular niche area? Your purpose is a powerful element to underpin a unique profile.

Satisfaction vs Challenge: Which moments in your career provide satisfaction? What are the types of challenges you thrive on, the situations when you are totally in the zone and giving it your best to aim for excellence, even when a situation is complex?

Quality of life: Which aspect of your work as a doctor creates gratitude in patients when they look back at the impact your work had on their quality of life?

Outside work: Which aspects of your life outside work make you more human? As a psychologist, you may have a therapy dog. As a surgeon, you may transfer some of your technical/mechanical passion onto hobbies such as sailing. As a doctor, you might be nurturing that entirely different side of yourself in your creative space, making beautiful paintings or playing the piano. Human traits make you more personable and your online profile can build rapport with patients as well as referrers in surprising ways.

Tip #5 The salt-and-pepper tactics for medical marketing

tactics for medical marketing

If you have dealt with that initial marketing resistance – or you never had it in the first place – let’s take it to the next level.

Here are some of the salt-and-pepper tactics for medical marketing that work extremely well.

Video is like a steroid when we build online profiles for doctors: It builds rapport, conveys an emotional aspect of your personality and it’s a great tool to increase your visibility.

LinkedIn is becoming more popular with doctors, specialists, general practitioners and allied health professionals. It has rapidly become an active and more serious social media platform, away from the overwhelming and unprofessional content most doctors would associate with Facebook and Instagram. You can use LinkedIn to generate more active conversations with potential referrers in your local community and also to take your profile outside your local area, which is very relevant when you are doing academic work as well,

Podcasts are the next big thing because the format has matured and podcast content can overcome the biggest obstacle in marketing: time. Podcasts can be consumed in combination with other activities and they are a good way to repurpose some of your educational content for GPs.

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Need help with your profile?

reputation and profile management

Online profiles for doctors have become a new type of asset for anyone in private practice. Reputation and profile management for doctors is at the core of everything we do here at Digital Practice. If you are ready to leverage the power of your online presence, book a free 1:1 Strategy Session with me to discuss the goals for your private practice.

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