brand positioning

Brand Positioning & 3 great growth tips

Brand positioning might be a new concept for you. As a surgeon or specialist doctor, your career in private practice has many different business layers . From your practice setup to your accreditation and theatre lists, from your practice fit out to your business plan and arrangements for finance. Let’s unpack the ultimate success tool in private practice: your brand positioning strategy.

brand positioning

Planning your brand positioning as a doctor

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

July 11, 2023

3 Branding tips in a nutshell

branding tips

Let’s talk about brand positioning for doctors. Below, we have unpacked 3 essential brand positioning tips for your private practice in a short video and in more detail in the article. If you are eager to get started, you can start with the summary and live demo of these essential branding tips, tailored to your reality as a specialist doctor or surgeon in private practice. 

Tip1: Nurture your 'about' info

branding as a doctor

Branding as a doctor and medical brand positioning is often underestimated. The exponential growth of digital devices and content in our lives has made this a reality: you want to make your online brand a priority.

Successful specialists in private practice not only master their surgical and clinical universe. They also understand what their future patients are doing online, how this behaviour can be influenced in an AHPRA-compliant way, and how to grow an effective online presence.

Today’s patient checks out doctor profiles, reads up on conditions and treatments, and does research before choosing a specialist doctor. Your online profile, and your ‘About Page’ in particular, are the most effective tools to influence that process of choice in an AHPRA-compliant way without breaking the bank to cover your advertising expenses.

A successful ‘About Page’ does so much more than state facts. It’s tempting to ask your reception team to draw up a quick updated version of your resume and to have it published on your profile page. I vividly recommend taking a step back. Or even, to ask a few people to critique your ‘About Page’. You are not applying for a job, an academic position or a hospital accreditation. How do the story of your practice and your information come across? The patient is a human being who wants to find out about another human being. Yes, your qualifications, fellowships, hospital accreditations and credentials matter. But there is so much more to brand positioning and it is essential to be aware of the full picture.

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

"The consumer in front of you also wants to feel that they prefer you, trust you, value you and feel comfortable making that important choice about their healthcare. So bring in some ‘right brain’ story-telling and tell us why you are passionate about what you do."

I meet doctors who treat their online profiles like a cheap technical commodity. To them, it’s a technical service that consists of putting information online at the cheapest rate or it may mean that they look into cheap DIY websites. We all know where that cheap web design work gets subcontracted and what the consequences are. Patients are digital consumers like you and I, and their eyes are used to information that is presented in a compelling, professional and effective way. They read the news. They check out the online presence of the big brands they follow. Why would they ignore the fact that the information about their potential future specialist doctor was put together on the cheap by a junior marketing person somewhere far away?

This is where the interesting synergy between brand positioning and Content Marketing comes into play. We see that quality content hooks the patient, consumer and potential referrer and that medical information presented in a professional way converts visitors into new patients. For you, running a private practice, that information is a game-changer and you can now start treating every snippet of patient education with a different mindset, to grow your private practice with the right level of brand positioning. That is how branding as a doctor becomes part of your private practice business strategy.

Here’s a great way to do it. Describe the difference they make to your patient’s lives, in the way you deliver your care. In the way you see the patient during your consultations or the way you prepare for surgery as a surgeon. When you describe your patient-centric approach, illustrate your story with examples of real-life situations where you were really present with that patient and made a difference.

It’s okay to include personal stories, anecdotes about situations that have shaped the way you look at your career and experiences that have stayed with you. And please bear in mind that using quality photography on your About Page is pivotal to showing your genuine smile, care and personality.

Tip 2: Get more referrals through LinkedIn

Linkedin for doctors

If your intention is to grow your referral base, consider cranking up your LinkedIn activity. Like with many aspects of digital marketing, there are a few pitfalls.

A doctor once told me she didn’t get any referrals from being on LinkedIn. When we examined what she was doing on LinkedIn we found that:

  • She only had 43 connections, many of them colleagues, not GPs
  • She would normally never comment, share or like any content on LinkedIn
  • She was not using the LinkedIn built-in blog feature
  • She was not actively reaching out to new connections (GPs) on a regular basis

After changing the strategy and inserting a healthy dose of brand positioning, we managed to make this surgeon’s LinkedIn profile more engaging. Regular spinoffs of blog articles, and a solid campaign to connect with as many local GPs as possible, made the difference. She now gets referrals from at least 5 additional GPs just because of this renewed ‘LinkedIn for doctors’ strategy and as you can imagine, that makes a difference to her private practice turnover.

Tip 3: Position your practice in Google Search

positioning in Google Search

Positioning your practice in Google Search is another crucial aspect of a successful digital marketing plan. Here’s why this is important. Many of the important moments of your private practice growth are now linked to what patients are doing on their digital devices:

  • Searching for information about symptoms
  • Researching the availability of treatment options
  • Clarifying medical terms
  • Checking out doctor profiles
  • Making enquiries with specialist doctors
  • Making a booking/asking a referral to see a particular specialist

If you have held on to the belief that don’t need brand positioning because your practice mainly runs on word-of-mouth and the referrals you get from a handful of well-known general practitioners, it may need an update. Of course, those good old referral pathways are valid and valuable. But the data we have been extracting from our national Patient Search Behaviour program keep confirming it:

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

"Predictable content marketing means that you consistently position your practice in the eyes of Google, organising your patient education content so it makes you visible. When patients do their research, you either show up and build trust, or you remain invisible."

The key here is predictability. Linking your brand positioning as a doctor to the most frequently used search terms, used by patients, is the only effective way to build your digital presence. That’s exactly where Digital Practice comes in, helping you build and nurture content that grows your practice.


The first step to private practice superpower

dynamic marketing

When we do workshops around Australia with doctors in private practice, one of the spectacular shifts in the room happens when we unpack the power of dynamic marketing that includes brand positioning. It means that – as a doctor in private practice – you step away from a static approach to your online presence, with the intention to keep an eye on your metrics and create sustainable growth.

Dynamic marketing is a true superpower when it comes to building a successful practice. This is the way we turn your medical marketing system into a dynamic activity:

  • Plan ahead: Based on the most common Google search terms used by patients, we map what your practice wants to be visible for.
  • Organise: We structure your content so you cover the most essential search terms.
  • Measure: We measure your visibility, both in absolute terms with regards to your traffic and Google ranking and compared to your competitors.
  • Meet: We discuss your current performance and make choices for the next content updates
  • Publish: We consistently add more content (pages and blogs) so you keep growing. Always in line with your chosen brand positioning.

If you want to find out how we apply brand positioning across your About Page, your LinkedIn Profile and your Google-optimised website, book an obligation-free 1:1 Zoom meeting to talk about your private practice growth.


Keep it compliant!


Just like you wouldn’t just use any medical toolkit in surgery, you don’t want your online presence to be handled by people who have no clue about private healthcare. At Digital Practice, we use our Patient Search Behaviour Data to keep your marketing content in line with your patients’ online search behaviour. And we keep it AHPRA-compliant, respecting the AHPRA Advertising Guidelines for Healthcare Professionals.

Book your free 1:1 today, and start using brand positioning for your private practice. Growth and better business results are just around the corner.

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