communicate as a doctor

How to communicate as a doctor - finally, a how-to guide!

With new digital tools emerging faster than miracle drugs, what is the best way to communicate as a doctor? Twitter? Facebook? LinkedIn? A blog? Let’s take a step back and build our how-to guide about online communication as a doctor in this digital era.

communicate as a doctor

How to communicate as a doctor – finally, a how-to guide!

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

August 26, 2022

The innovation in medical marketing

better medical websites

Doctors with better medical websites have better clinics. That’s right. We see it over and over again and when you publish content and communicate as a doctor, there is a smart way to stay fully compliant and yet attract more patients than your competitors down the road. 

This is the exciting – and relatively young – specialty area of content marketing.

Once your content is fine-tuned to the most common questions asked by patients, everything changes.

Medical marketing on the internet has long been seen as a static area. You have your medical website built, there is a short moment of euphoric joy (or not) and it sits there until somebody tells you that it’s either offline, broken or outdated.

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

"In the 2020s, your medical website is a live channel. It’s either working for you or it is not. When it generates new referral avenues and patient enquiries: Happy Days! If not, your practice is ready to innovate the way it communicates with the community."

The main innovation that drives a trend toward better medical websites is storytelling.
Consumers (patients or referring GPs) are all digesting information on various online platforms. There is a certain quality standard they are used to and I often refer to it as ‘magazine style’. In the video below, we take a closer look at Melbourne Eye Surgeon Dr Bryan Ang and the innovative communication style on his private practice website DrBrianAng.com.au

Are you hiding under a rock?

online visibility

You surely think you are not.

Let’s do a quick test to check your online visibility.

  • Step 1: What are your top 3 income earners?
    If you are in bariatrics you would jot down gastric sleeve, gastric bypass and/or revision surgery maybe. If you are a gynaecologist it would be endometriosis, PCOS and fibroids perhaps. You get the idea.
  • Step 2: Do 3 separate Google searches for each income earner, typing the word into Google Search and adding your town or city. For example ‘gastric sleeve sydney’.
  • Step 3: Check if you are on Google’s Page 1 of Search Results for each of your top 3 income earners.

The myth of relying on GP referrals only

GP referral

A GP referral is the Holy Grail whenever I speak to a surgeon or a specialist doctor. That is before we run a workshop or a webinar or before we do a Strategy Session

A GP referral is valuable, don’t get me wrong. To communicate as a doctor, nowadays, means much more than convincing GPs to refer to you. Let’s talk about the subtle game of influence, a tactic that allows dozens of top specialists around the country to build more successful practices and group clinics.

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

"It’s a myth that your practice only needs GP referrals. For starters, many patients take their GP’s referral to a different specialist than the one mentioned in the document. But there are other forces at play and I would qualify them as digital reputation management"

To communicate as a doctor and maximise your outreach in the local community, here’s a quick overview of the marketing dynamics you want to bear in mind when you market your private practice: 

  • Google visibility affects GP referrals: There is the direct impact when a patient decides to choose a different specialist than the one mentioned on the referral. But there is also the general effect of a strong reputation, bleeding into the referring habits of local general practitioners. In other words: If you become an online Key Opinion Leader, GPs will start referring to you more often. Or vice versa, if your online presence is boring, not up-to-date or technically broken, you will start seeing more referrals going to other clinics.
  • It’s about personality, not clicks: The dynamics of patient preferences are obviously connected to your clinical and surgical reputation. But check out 10 doctor reviews and notice how they are mostly about behaviour, support, care, empathy and human traits. In your online story, make sure patients get who you are, rather than overloading them with academic or clinical details. They do not want to be a case. They want you to see them as human beings.
  • Digital has changed the patient’s freedom: In their own time, patients can now do lots of research even before they see the GP. And after they saw the GP. And when they wait for their specialist appointment. In the past, there was no way a patient could get extra information, change their mind or weigh their options in those phases in between the diagnostic milestones or during a treatment pathway. Patients are no longer undergoing it all – they are actively researching their options and in that process, form online relationships of trust and rapport with doctors. When you communicate as a doctor, on your website or on social media, in videos or blogs, you are tapping directly into this potential area of lead generation.
communicate as a doctor

Why you won’t like what you read

best marketing techniques

The best marketing techniques for doctors in private practice are not the ones you outsource to a junior marketing intern overseas. 

I repeat. This type of service may look attractive because they are cheap, but they are not going to give you the best outcomes.

This is where most medical marketing campaigns are failing:

  • Narrow focus: Many providers focus on selling packages to then outsource the work to digital technicians: web designers, web developers, Google Ads experts, Instagram advertising experts… There is often no strategic vision behind the marketing approach and that is why many doctors get disappointed about ‘all things digital’.
  • Lack of data: If the focus is on using online tools such as Instagram or Facebook, not on current local market data for your niche in your area, then you may be missing out on the low-hanging fruit: the patients who are already doing an online search for information about your specialty area and services. Your investment in a content library is the gift that keeps on giving, compared to volatile posts on social media that no one will remember.
  • Lack of monitoring: Your online visibility varies. As soon as other providers publish more content to their website, adding news articles or blogs, the balance may shift and you may no longer be the leading (digital) authority for sleeve gastrectomy, fibroids treatment, ACL reconstruction or IVF. Leading doctors sit down with their content marketing teams every month, to look at the general performance of the practice, competitive visibility and an action plan for the upcoming content choices.

You may not have liked all of the above because quite often in life, we like to stick to a choice even if we know it wasn’t a good one. Just because we have committed to it, paid for it, or trusted our own judgement. The good news: almost any online reputation can be optimised and radically improved, and here at Digital Practice we thrive on making you thrive. So book that call and let’s plan your Strategy Session to improve your online presence.

The good news: we’ve got your back

doctor websites

The reason we don’t just build doctor websites is simple: you need more than a medical website. What really helps you build a sustainable private practice is a long-term strategy. 

We help dozens of leading doctors around Australia generate more meaningful conversations with their local community. Amplifying your reputation among referrers and making you stand out when patients do their research.

When we work together, we help you communicate as a doctor in ways that were not possible before. Based on research and market data, in line with the patient’s expectations, compliant with advertising guidelines, and fully focused on your business growth.

Let's meet

Let’s communicate

advertising tips for doctors

The best advertising tips for doctors are actually designed around abandoning advertising. Content marketing is the preferred lead generation method for dozens of leading clinics around Australia, and you can be one of them. To communicate as a doctor now means that we focus on the patients who are already searching for your content. Let’s work together and build that content so you can focus on what matters most. Book your appointment today!

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