get more clicks

How to get more clicks as a specialist doctor?

Your private practice is influenced by digital behaviour, whether you like it or not. The digital attention is a cornerstone of your private practice business plan. So let’s explore how you can get more clicks and…more patients.

get more clicks

How to get more clicks as a doctor?

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

December 11, 2023

More clicks, more patients, or both?

Content strategy: planning to be visible, relevant and available when patients are searching for your expertise online.

more clicks for more patients

Spoiler alert: when you finish reading this article you will understand that medical marketing is not just about clicks. But you will also understand that you need patients to click on your content, if you want your private practice to thrive. 

What happens to doctors who ignore clicks

making patients click

Your focus is probably elsewhere. Helping patients. Following up. Managing staff. Filling your theatre list. Attending a conference. Speaking to reps. I get that.

But here’s the thing. In today’s private healthcare universe, patient movement in the digital space makes a difference. We call it Patient Search Behaviour and we have huge sets of data on it, but more about that later.

Ignoring the patient’s digital behaviour is like ignoring the entire business aspect of your private practice. It defines whether you will create practice growth or struggle to build a business.

Ignoring the importance of getting relevant, quality traffic to your profile comes at a cost:

  • Others will show up when patients do their research using Google.
  • Others will acquire star status and you will always hear about them.
  • The bulk of the online enquiries will end up in someone else’s inbox.
  • Looking back, you might see that others made more progress in the last 5 years.

It’s very simple. If you are serious about your private practice, why not get serious about the patient’s very tangible behaviour before they choose a specialist. The sooner you become an expert in your patient’s online behaviour, the sooner you will be in a position to build the private practice that you have in mind.

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

"It's perfectly normal to ignore the underlying mechanics of digital medical marketing for a while. Until you notice that far less experienced surgeons or specialists get all the clicks, referrals and patients. That's when it's time to act."

Let’s dig deeper now in what you can do to turn the tide. To get those clicks, referrals, direct enquiries and patient numbers that you have in mind.

The GP-referral paradox

working with GP referrals

I love to call it the GP-referral paradox. There seems to be an almost sacred obsession among specialists to believe in the power of GP referrals only.

Yes, for certain specialty areas, the majority of work that reaches a specialist in private practice will come from a GP referral. But who knows, you might not even be in one of those ‘certain specialty areas’. Working with GP referrals will never be the same, once you integrate the logic of the example I use below.


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

"Obstetrics. Women’s Health. Bariatric Surgery. Orthopaedic Surgery. Plastic Surgery. Gastroenterology. Ophthalmology. Urology. Those are only a few of the areas where we can observe, measure and understand the digital activity that precedes the patient’s first consultation with a specialist.."

Why do I call it a paradox? Because the digital space is now also impacting the GP-referral pathway.

Patient X experiences a symptom. They do an online search. The GP orders tests, the patient now learns about the likelihood of condition Y and surgery type Z potentially becoming relevant. More online searching happens and in between the GP consultations, the tests and the referral to a specialist, the patient has googled for new keywors, terms and for specialists.

As the day approaches to make decisions, the patient is almost in a digital relationship with certain specialists because of all the time spent on those profiles. The name on the GP referral is no longer set in stone and Patient X books an appointment with the specialist they liked most after all the googling.

So if you have mainly been working with GP referrals as the primary business development avenue for your practice, consider adding a second layer to amplify the impact of those referrals: influencing the patient’s choice with a personal profile that stands out.

That is why your content has to deserve those clicks

quality content

When you explore your options and wonder what it means to produce and publish quality content, consider this simple exercise.

Imagine being a patient conducting online research. What would they type into Google to find your services? This is where you start. Your goal is to make your page stand out as the most informative and relevant choice. If not, refine and enhance your page until it becomes the obvious choice in your speciality.

To make your content ‘clickworthy’, the Top 3 Best Practices are:

Education first: As a doctor, you can not be seen ‘advertising’ your profile and the safe avenue to keep your communication AHPRA-compliant is education. Informing your potential future patient with up-to-date, accurate and well-presented information is your focus.
As you put on your educator’s hat, go in the patient’s mind at various stages of their journey. The first time a person hears about the link between a symptom and a condition, or even about the name of a certain condition, is crucial for the things they will type into Google. We didn’t all grow up studying concepts such as Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome or Surgical Ventricular Restoration and it’s good to remain aware of that.

Keyword research: Unlike medical research, keyword research is performed by experienced medical marketing experts and consists of mapping the patient journey. Not in terms of the medical tests they undergo, but rather in terms of their digital behaviour. What do they search for, when and why? What makes them stay with a particular piece of information and what are their main information needs at each stage of their healhcare journey. It takes more than a junior marketing certificate to accurately interpret this data, and to bring it into the niche universe of your private practice, the hospital system, the Australian private healthcare landscape and the reality of your career. It takes a holistic view and empathy to understand what you are currently doing and where you want to be 12 or 24 months down the track.

Competition Research: Before you produce random content, look around. Who is in your local market? What are they doing? What makes them stand out? Then use the educational content you can produce, weaving in the right keywords and build a consistent profile that gradually pushes down your competitors. Lifting you to the much desired top positions in online search that generate more clicks, traffic, enquiries an eventually…more GP-referrals because you are now top of mind.

How many web pages are needed to build my practice?

how many pages

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to that questions. How many individual optimised content pages you will need to build a successful private practice will depend on a few factors, but we can help you narrow it down to an action plan with exact numbers. Here’s what’s at play:

The lifecyle stage of your practice: Starting up solo, 1 day per week or several days or full-time. Or an existing practice, small or bigger.
The competition: Within your niche, how big is the (digital) competition for the patient’s attention. Your main competitor may thrive because they have been around forever and you are starting out but…if you are the first to put in place a proper digital content plan, your practice might be overtaking them in no time.
The uniqueness: Positioning yourself and finding that unique hook is a co-production. You bring your uniqueness, we help you see it. And then we use it to make you stand out in the patient’s awareness.

You will need anything between 4 and 40 individual optimised pages to cover the content that will make you visual. I should add two more factors to the mix.

How fast do you want to grow? How big do you want to grow?

Next step

Let's meet and clarify this more

getting more clicks

If you are clear about that intention and your conclusion is still “I want to get more clicks and more patients”, then let’s talk. This is what we do in an obligation-free Zoom session:
I want to find out more about the phase and stage your practice is in. That is always the starting point. Next, we will go over your current understanding of, and expenditure in digital marketing. Starting from scratch or revisiting some of the assets you have in place, we will always aim for clarity so you are in a better position to build a marketing system that works for your practice.


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