communication expertise for doctors

Communication expertise for doctors: a must-have!

Find out why some doctors in private practice turn their clinic into a strong brand. The secret ingredient to private practice success? Communication skills and expertise. Let’s unpack what that means in the digital era! 

communication expertise for doctors

Communication expertise for doctors: a must-have!

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

September 14, 2022

Why digital communication is a must now

digital communication

Here’s the most dismissive comment I sometimes hear about digital communication: “I am not tech savvy as a doctor”. 

Medical School did not – and still does not – include chapters about communicating with your current and future patients who are spending time on their smartphone.

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

"At Digital Practice we are filling the digital communication gap for dozens of leading specialist doctors by giving them a clear framework for ongoing conversations with their community. In today’s world, that includes conversations on a smartphone when patients are googling for information"

We need three big key points in communication expertise for doctors:

  • Hook: To hook the attention, your brand story needs consistency, on all screen sizes, and a balanced combination of photos, graphics, fonts and content to make a powerful first impression.
  • Engage: To engage, you need more than medical information. Patients want to get to know you as a human being, before they follow up on that referral or change it to come and see you, not your competitor.
  • Convert: To guide patients to the next step, the interface of your website needs to meet contemporary standards for medical websites and offer an experience that is seamless, professional and compelling.

Let’s unpack the importance of digital communication expertise for doctors a little bit further, with some live demos of medical websites to inspire you.

Being vulnerable as an art

vulnerability in marketing

There is a case to make for more vulnerability in medical communication. We have only just left behind us a time where doctors and surgeons were living their lives on a permanent pedestal. 

Consumers expect authenticity. Vulnerability is not a given as a surgeon. You are expected to lead, excel, reassure, rationalise and disconnect at the right time.

So what is the type of vulnerability that works in healthcare marketing?

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

"Doctors who share authentic stories get more clicks. Specialists who share parts of their personal journey get more referrals. Authenticity and vulnerability have become part of the DNA of the contemporary private practice and patients want that."

Why do we know that vulnerability in marketing works for doctors and surgeons?

Because we can measure it.

Since 2016, Digital Practice have been mapping, analysing and monitoring patient search behaviour across dozens of medical speciality areas. Assessing this data, what we see validates the general trends in marketing. People want real content.

  • About Pages with a personal angle create more impact and conversions
  • Videos with a personal vision make patients choose one doctor over another one
  • Authentic stories about a doctor’s personal take keep patients on medical websites for longer

Vulnerability does not mean filming yourself while crying and publishing it on social media. As you can see, it can be used in a contained, effective and professional way to make your profile stand out.

Leading doctors manage to position their vision, their practice and their service offering so the patient and the potential referrer feel comfortable with the information, the tone and the way it is presented to them on a medical website.

communication expertise for doctors

Tone, colours, image and copy… and even video!

video training for doctors

Communication expertise for doctors has become a multi-facetted beast: It’s about mastering the tone of voice in your medical copy, the colours you choose for your brand and your logo, the lifestyle images you select and… your videos. 

Video has rapidly become a pillar of online communication and has the potential to boost your private practice in spectacular ways.

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

"Video converts 3 times more than copy. Video keeps consumers hooked to your content until they know and trust you. It has massive benefits for your Google visibility as well."

Video training for doctors is available at Digital Practice and focuses on getting you ready to engage with both referrers and patients. 

Get in touch if you want to start implementing short, compellling and authentic videos in your medical marketing mix.

The power of education

patient education

I often decide to address the elephant in the room when we do marketing workshops for surgeons. Compliance with advertising regulations is the name of that elephant. 

It’s often believed that doctors can not communicate at all. Communication expertise then seems to focus on being as invisible as possible.

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

"The advertising guidelines for Australian doctors are clear: patient education is a valid reason to communicate about conditions, treatments, surgery types or your practice. The opportunity is there to build a strong and effective online presence based on patient education content."

Communication expertise for doctors is all about embracing new storytelling formats. In the past, writing a paper used to be a key activity. Now it could be about writing a blog or a social media post. 

Patient education content can be presented to the referring GP, so they can use your medical marketing content in their consultations. It can be repurposed on social media, positioning you as a KOL. Strategies such as Dr Mark Hurworth’s are educating patients about their choices, and these may include not having surgery. Other medical marketing strategies focus on building rapport and connection, offering a safe haven to discuss women’s health, such as The Woom.

Whatever your speciality, whatever your consultation style, there is always a way to use communication expertise and build a stronger private practice. As you put yourself in your patient’s shoes and imagine what information they are looking for, you will start communicating in a new and more effective way with patients and referrers.

The magic of genuine care

communication about care

If you check out 10 doctor reviews on Google, the majority of them will talk about the human experience. It is quite possible that the reception team gets as many mentions in Google reviews as the surgeon herself.

Care is the keyword. Do patients really feel that you care about them? It starts with your online communication about care and support.

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

"Is your website just showing medical graphics? Describing what goes wrong in the body when someone has a condition? Or is it adding a layer of genuine compassion and care? That is the essence of communication expertise in this digital era."

Communication about care requires a process. This is where the communication expertise of a medical marketing agency comes in. 

Book your strategy session below if you want to amplify your key messages and your online profile as a doctor.

Let's meet

Communication starts with research

medical marketing advice

Medical marketing advice is not a one-size-fits-all service. Here at Digital Practice, we love hearing about your practice. You can book a free 1:1 Strategy Session, as a surgeon, specialist doctor, GP or Practice Manager. We can look at your current online profile or discuss your future strategy if you are starting out in private practice. It will give you the foundational communication expertise tailored to the reality of the private practice. 

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