digital creatives

Do you know what to ask your digital agency as a doctor?

Find out why digital creatives in the health industry need much more than graphic and web design skills. To help you develop a successful healthcare brand, they need editorial and strategic skills and here’s a roadmap of what to look for.

digital creatives

Do you know what to ask your digital agency as a doctor?

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

May 2, 2022

The role of a digital creative agency

creative agency for doctors

A creative agency for doctors looks at more than just your brand and your web design. When you consider or discuss medical marketing services, it’s easy to be blinded by the tech talk, don’t you think? 

Responsive design, Facebook pixels, PPC advertising…I have seen some of the smartest surgeons hide their urge to frown when marketing speak was presented to them.

So let’s unpack what is needed when you look at digital marketing through your eyes: the eyes of an ambitious doctor or surgeon running an independent practice.

Why it always starts with analysing the information

cheap websites for doctors

If the person in front of you mainly talks about how beautiful their web design portfolio looks, think again.

Do your patients choose you because you have a nice website? Partially, yes. 

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

"Patients can only choose you when you are visible for the very specific health-related Google searches they are doing. In other words, even the slickest and most innovative medical web design project will fail if it doesn’t generate patient leads for your practice."

That is why cheap websites for doctors have an expiry date. Quite often that’s around 3 months after launch. Why? Because that’s when the joy of launching the new website starts waning when you don’t see any ROI. Return on investment matters when you operate a medical website, because 60% of consumers/patients use Google before choosing a specialist doctor.

That is why we start with the information. The process we use is logical and data-driven:

  • What are your key income earners: the conditions you treat, the treatment types you offer or the surgical procedures that are the drivers of your private practice.
  • What do patients search for in the sub-specialty that you cover? What are the exact questions they type into Google and what type of information are they after at various stages of their health journey?
  • Who is currently dominating the digital landscape for your specialty in your catchment area and what type of ongoing effort is needed to publish more and better content to surpass your competitors in Google ranking?

Can you see that the digital creative who claims expertise in medical marketing, will need to be able to switch hats? From being creative to being analytical. That is why leading strategies for ambitious doctors use a different approach compared to the typical cheap websites for doctors that you may come across. 

From a quick Wix to a future-proof website back end

wix websites for doctors

I have to admit it: DIY websites seem to be quite popular among doctors. Your ability to analyse and learn is definitely a good starting point, as a surgeon or specialist doctor. 

In recent years, many doctors have flagged that this do-it-yourself solution on platforms such as Wix world for a while. This is the thing: Wix websites for doctors come with an expiry date because as soon as you start digging deeper into your online visibility and your ability to compete, you will soon run out of resources, features, time or all of the above.

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

"It won’t come as a surprise that our team lives and breathes digital marketing and has a pretty comprehensive overview of the tools doctors can use to generate more patient leads. With that broader perspective comes an opportunity to minimise the impact of poor choices."

The website back end is the actual software that makes up your website. It’s a dynamic environment with buttons that trigger actions, all providing a certain user experience to your prospective patient, under the critical eye of Google’s artificial intelligence. Why? Because the search engine wants to make sure it’s sending its customers (your potential next patients) to the right place to find the most relevant, palatable, organised, illustrated and fast-loading content that is available in the local area.

This is what I would consider a checklist to make future-proof choices when you decide about your website back end.

  • Avoid tech overload: expect your digital creatives and marketing consultants to clearly explain the tools that are involved and why your investment in them will create a positive ROI.
  • Aim for integration: you don’t want to deal with 10 technicians who all defend their own platforms and tools. Your medical marketing agency and digital creatives should maintain a clear focus on your business at all times, not on their tools.
  • Focus on results: you don’t necessarily need the latest hyped platform or new social media tool. What you want is the right number of patients for the right type of treatment and the focus should be on your digital creatives’ capacity to demonstrate results in areas similar to yours.

The X factor or… the DNA of your practice

brand strategy in healthcare

A brand strategy in healthcare is 50% facts, 50% emotive components. I know that is a bold statement so let me explain. 

Of course, it starts with your qualifications and experience. It starts with the simple verification that you are indeed a medical expert, a qualified doctor and a recognised service provider. Those are the facts. With this comes the information that may or may not be publicly available about your past, from awards and research you were part of, all the way through to press coverage of any kind. I qualify that as factual information that, in one way or another, will be part of your online profile.

But here’s the other component. Often forgotten. Often misunderstood. The DNA of your practice. The soul or the vibe. The culture. The X factor if you want. Pick the definition that causes the lowest level of discomfort – from experience I know this is not exactly a popular topic in scientific and medical environments.

This DNA of a practice is felt when we take a closer look at:

  • The purpose and ‘why’ of the founders-owners, or the sole practitioner. It shines through in the way recruitment, daily management, consultations and patient care are handled or delivered.
  • The team and the alignment of the team members with the main practitioner’s vision. If the jobs are transactional or not well aligned, this may become a self-sabotaging aspect of your practice as a medical brand, simply because the patient will happily share any disappointment in terms of customer service, also in Google reviews and on medical forums.
  • The creative energy the brand radiates: The quality and appeal of your rooms, the colour scheme of your logo and collateral and obviously your digital first impression, on your website or on social media.

What to expect from the digital creatives you work with?

I would say you should expect a balanced act between providing direction and listening to the direction you have in mind for your practice as a business. If your creative team does not ask the relevant questions, chances are they will deliver a templated off-the-shelf product. If you really want to stand out as a unique practice, your digital agency should be the facilitator on a journey of self-discovery, teasing out this uniqueness and organising your information so it pops when a patient lands on your website. It pops when a Brisbane patient finds neurosurgeon Dr Alex Koefman’s online profile. The DNA of the practice is also pretty clear when we land on a profile such as Melbourne Mothers, don’t you think?

digital creatives

The ideal process with a medical marketing agency

medical marketing agencies

Marketing has become a buzzword. Digital marketing even more. Processes are automated, tools are promoted and pay-per-click is often a buzzword. But it’s not always what your private practice needs to grow. 

The ideal process consists of:

  • Effective reconnaissance: Mapping your current business status, your goals and KPIs, the uniqueness of your services and the mid-long-term ambitions for your career and your brand.
  • Market research: Analysing the specific local market mechanics for your specialty. What patients google for defines what we need to use in your content. We have plenty of articles on the topic of medical SEO, by the way.
  • Creative design and development: Producing your digital presence using the latest best practices with a total focus on lead generation and conversion.

This is why medical marketing agencies offer a different take on the concept of marketing for doctors. It is exactly what makes us tick as medical content experts, medical journalists, experts in audiovisual and digital content and social media advisors for doctors. So yes, I dare way we’re getting pretty close to that ideal process here at Digital Practice and just like you, we keep evolving and learning every single day.

Let's meet

Need digital creatives?

digital marketing team

If you feel your online presence could do with an upgrade, book your free 1:1. We will go over the potential we can see as a senior digital marketing team, so you can make well-informed decisions and avoid all the pitfalls. Business growth for doctors in private practice is our passion, and we look forward to discussing your passion in your free strategy session.

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