hospital marketing

Exclusive case study: Insider patient acquisition data for hospitals

This case study helps hospital teams understand the importance of individual business development per independent specialist practice. The use of data-backed content to make the surgeons and specialists more visible in local search, brings in hundreds of additional patient enquiries per year, on top of GP referrals and direct incoming patient leads.
hospital marketing

Exclusive case study: Insider patient acquisition data for hospitals

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

January 25, 2022

About marketing, acquisition and business development

patient acquisition

You will look at this topic through the filter of your own role and the setup of your hospital environment. When we use terms like marketing, acquisition and business development, we want to be really clear so… let’s start with a clarification of the definitions used in this case study:

  • Marketing: Marketing for doctors and specialists in private practice works alongside general hospital marketing campaigns. The case study covers digital marketing for the individual surgeons or their group practices (which you will sometimes refer to as a clinic, a group or an association depending on where you are). It contains no data about the marketing results for the hospital as a whole.
    Marketing the independent practice is most cost-effective when we build a system that no longer depends on monthly advertising budgets (pay-per-click) and still achieve excellent sustainable results.
  • Patient acquisition: In private health, and because of the fact that many clinics are managed like a small or medium-sized business, it is critical to not just put in place KPIs for patient numbers but to also implement techniques that create predictability, so your business doesn’t suffer from inexplicable market fluctuations or seasonal drops in patient numbers.
  • Business development: Often simply a synonym for growth, we love to look at business development in the private health practice as a big-picture process. Yes, ongoing growth is a component. But so are patient satisfaction, clinical outcomes, reputation management, team expansion, employer branding and team retention, general brand image, asset management and the legacy value of your practice. Developing a strategic view, an action plan and a systemised approach to business development is what turns average clinics into strong market leaders.

The case study encompasses a methodology that covers these three areas or definitions. We will now look at the outcomes in more detail.

Exclusive case study: 22 specialists, 200 lead magnets.

patient acquisition case study

This case study is the story of 22 specialist doctors and surgeons in the same catchment area, helping patients in one specific hospital. We are using 105 fully optimised content pages (mini-websites in their own right covering one topic) to achieve mind-blowing visibility, traffic, conversions and business growth.

The key? Putting in place a total of 200 lead magnets, or instances where a patient does a search for a condition or treatment and finds these doctors on Page 1 of Google. That is where the majority of the clicks go, and where visibility results in traffic. Provided the content sits on a professional website, conversions always follow and that is exactly why we created an integrated agency: strategy, content, medical website design, and SEO/analytics under one roof.

We will go over the components of the hospital marketing case study in more detail in the video.

Too often, we hear dramatic stories of doctors delegating this pillar of their business development to people with the wrong skillsets. (“I’ll ask the IT guys to do some SEO”).

Medical content marketing is part of your business strategy. It’s not a commodity you quickly order on the cheap. This business strategy helps you create wealth, so your clinic becomes a valuable asset rather than just the vehicle to do your work.

We can help you connect the dots even faster so you don’t waste precious years struggling to fill your waiting room.

Wouldn’t these doctors have had the traffic anyway?

seo for hospitals

It’s a fair question and worth exploring in a little more detail. What if we had not built those 105 fully Google-optimised content pages. Would these 22 surgeons and specialists not have had the same business volume, because patients would have come through different pathways? 

The answer is: they would only have had a maximum of 30% of the traffic. Between 70 and 90% of all traffic to these 22 doctors was generated by our content pages via organic search. Only 10 to 30% came from hospital websites and other external sources, including paid search and social media.

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

"Organic search is when a patient types in a condition, a symptom, or a treatment plus the location, and lands on one of your content pages that is exactly about this topic."

The spectacular traffic volumes are uniquely triggered by the content that we produced onto those 105 pages. 120 times the specific keyword would position that doctor in the Top 3 Google Search results where 73% of all clicks are going. 

hospital marketing

The key metric to achieve high quality leads for your medical practice is organic search. Quality content on a healthy optimised website maintains its potential high Google ranking. 

The remaining traffic sources (referrals from hospital websites, forums and other external sites as well as social media traffic) only play a minimal role in the marketing funnels of these specialists and surgeons and that is how online visibility and patient acquisition are connected. 

Does this really translate into more patients?

business development for hospitals

Within this catchment area, we did some additional confidential research with our customers. We wanted to know if the proven visibility and traffic boost also translated into higher patient numbers.

For starters, we were able to measure the amount of web form enquiries made by patients who found the doctors through organic search. Up to 500 additional patient conversions per year was an average number for a website with approximately 20 content pages.

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

"Our customers shared documented stories with us of increased turnovers and business growth. From +50% to +150% and one exceptional +200% growth journey. Additional clinics, team growth and a longer waiting list with more peace of mind were the outcomes for those specialists"

In all cases, the reported turnover increase, higher patient numbers and practice growth, were directly related to the performance for specific Google searches by patients. 

It makes sense, because the content we used to attract more visitors, was already backed by data: patient search behaviour analysis, which supports the choices for every title, every paragraph and every embedded image or video on any medical website we build.

An important aspect of this case study is that all content was produced by medical marketing specialists and medical journalists, presented on compelling and responsive web pages. Part two of the mission was to create conversions and because of the highest standards we apply, our customers can see spectacular changes in their overall patient acquisition.

How to implement the Digital Practice program?

marketing training for hospitals

As a hospital team, there are several ways to implement this proven content marketing methodology for your independent practices:

  • Webinars and masterclasses: We offer palatable webinars and masterclasses for small groups, to educate specialist doctors, GPs, surgeons and their practice managers about the basics of digital marketing and content marketing for the private practice. Clinics and surgeons can then work with Digital Practice individually.
  • Free 1:1 Strategy Sessions: At any time, doctors can contact us and book an obligation-free strategy session to look at their current visibility, audit their online presence, and explore options to improve their patient acquisition strategy. Let us know what works best for your hospital and we will work out the most effective way to spread the word. Doctors can decide to work with Digital Practice individually.
  • Joint funding models: In many cases, hospitals will co-fund a new online strategy for a doctor, together with the specialist (Visiting Medical Officer). Both parties benefit from the sustainable long-term outcomes of this approach.
  • Custom programs: Whatever the needs of your team, speak to us so we can work out a custom program. A hospital-wide application of this data-driven marketing program is also available. We think along with your team and bring our skill sets to the table: consultancy, content creation, video training, social media, Google Ads or email marketing.
Let's meet

Let’s discuss your growth

hospital marketing consultants

Are you a doctor, a practice manager, a business development manager or a hospital executive? Let’s simulate how the spectacular growth numbers in this case study can benefit your specialists or surgeons. Let’s explore what business growth and a boost in your hospital marketing would mean for you

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