marketing with integrity

The quick guide to medical marketing with integrity

If you are in the US, your practice might have an ad on local TV stating that you are the best, offering discounts on surgical procedures. If you are in Australia, you may have been very conservative even thinking about promoting your practice. Wherever you are, this article gives you a pretty powerful framework to market yourself as a doctor…with integrity.b

marketing with integrity

The quick guide to medical marketing with integrity

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

June 10, 2022

The ultimate tactic for GP marketing with integrity

value marketing as a doctor

Let’s pick one example of marketing as a doctor: the effort you make to generate referrals from family physicians or general practitioners. You will be familiar with GP-education events that all have these elements in common:

  • The hospital puts you in front of GPs
  • The talks are given by you as a specialist, and by your colleagues
  • There is food involved
  • CPD points are part of the transaction too

There is nothing wrong with this excellent framework. But let’s zoom in on what it is that you are trying to do here.

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

"As a specialist, you want to optimise your GP referrals and make sure as many GPs as possible are well informed about what you offer. This is where leading surgeons and specialists use LinkedIn to build personal connections with their potential referrers. Value marketing as a doctor means you focus on creating value."

Offering value to the GP is often misunderstood. It’s not about just demonstrating your expertise or pumping specialist expertise into an overloaded Powerpoint presentation. 

As I explain in this video, it’s mastering the balance between delivering content, engaging in conversations and learning from what works and what doesn’t. I like to call it the research-content publishing- conversation cycle. It’s the little-known success recipe for value marketing as a doctor, specialist or surgeon.

Data-driven compliant content that drives patients

AHPRA compliance

Integrity ties in with AHPRA compliance because the Australian healthcare advertising guidelines are all based on that one value: doing the right thing. 

When we integrate the AHPRA guidelines across any medical website or medical marketing strategy we create for our customers, we can summarise them as providing the patient with accurate and trustworthy information.

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

"You may think that you only have a limited number of options to promote your private practice as a doctor. But AHPRA compliance is not supposed to stop you from growing a successful business. It’s possible to use marketing with integrity, in full compliance, using smart content."

Patient education is the key to a strategy that uses smart content to grow your online presence. We have a complete set of articles to help you understand medical content marketing and Google visibility before you make any decisions about your profile as a doctor.

These are some of the most read articles in our Grow magazine:

The best thing you can do for your practice is booking one of our live demos via Zoom. I will then guide you through our live strategies, demonstrating the power of compliant, smart marketing in action. AHPRA-compliance is always the starting point, and the goal of our strategies is to help our customers build a resilient, future-proof private practice.

Why social media may not work for you

doctors on social media

Doctors on social media have had varying levels of success with their strategies. Some will tell me they gave up after a few months because being on Facebook or Instagram did not bring them extra patients. 

Other surgeons or specialists tell me they did not want to go on social media in the first time because they don’t like it.

Here’s the thing.

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

"Social media will not work if you have not prepared a place to go to, after your potential new patient finds you on social media. If you can not drive them off the platform, all you are doing is paying money to get followers and likes."

Some more social-media minded participants in my workshop or webinar will frown when I make this statement. That’s fine, and I totally respect the excitement that comes with a climbing counter displaying your subscribers, followers, likers and commenters. 

But here’s the reality check. How many new patient bookings do you actually get straight off Instagram or Facebook? Twitter? TikTok? I put it to you that it simply won’t work without content.

What do you mean, Kris? I am producing this amazing content for my socials! Well, you may be doing that and do it in an excellent way but…The only content that can bring patients closer to changing their GP referral or booking that first consultation with you is your medical website content.

We simply see it in our traffic data and across strategies in bariatrics, obstetrics, and women’s health, plastic surgery, orthopaedics, gastroenterology and dentistry.

Social media will not work by itself.

Social media is an additional layer you add when you have made sure you are capturing the low-hanging fruit, which is the number of direct new patient leads you can generate from being very visible when a patient expresses their desire to find you… in a Google search.

Spot that we still talk about Google Search. Not Facebook or Instagram Search.

The forgotten medical marketing miracle tool

youtube for doctors

I know I painted a grim picture there and if you love your socials, by all means enjoy them.

The one that helps you get more referrals would be LinkedIn and my second favourite is… YouTube! 

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

"YouTube is to be seen as a fully functional social media platform because it has the potential to bring your content in front of thousands of interested buyers. It’s Google-owned and that in itself would be enough to take a closer look at what you can use it for to grow your practice."

So why am I such a fan of YouTube for doctors? This is the short list of things you can do using YouTube, to build your practice and grow your online lead generation: 

  • Add short videos to your most important pages: Google owns YouTube, and a video enhances the visibility of your medical web page. Moreover, once patients land on a page such as this one about weight loss surgery, they will often spend more time there because they choose to watch the video and Google sees this as a sign that your page is worth ranking high in Google Search.
  • Classify and organise your videos on your YouTube channel. When patients are doing their research, imagine their relative joy when they find a doctor who has answered their FAQs on a clean, crisp YouTube channel such as this one. It allows you to stay in one place and – let’s face it, why would you go anywhere else if your goal was to gain a better understanding of bariatric surgery.
  • Make a list of short videos that can be embedded in emails: Your Practice Manager and receptionist can use the videos to send your FAQ-answers to patients so they feel as if it’s really you explaining the matter. In other words, you are now saving time because receptionists can send out answers in your name, including the power of video which means patients feel they have spoken to you. Use short videos when the rules are changing, or when new treatment avenues become available. In no time, you will move your medical marketing presence from a passive state into the space where thought leaders are creating amazing results.

The ‘regular exercise’ metaphor applied to marketing

website updates

Depending on your own medical specialty, you may hear yourself discussing the benefit of regular exercise with your patients almost on a daily basis.
With marketing, there is a similarity. Regular content updates on your website are essential. 

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

"Remind yourself that Google is in the business of displaying fresh search results, not archived materials. They want to help users find relevant, accurate and reliable information and one of the ways to check that is detecting if a website has had updates in the last couple of weeks or months. If you haven’t touched it in years, Google knows."

marketing with integrity

I know. Maybe nothing has changed in the way knee replacements are being performed. Your scientific brain may use that as an excuse not to write new articles about orthopaedic surgery every month. 

For Google though, it’s a more organic process, defining if your website is really the knowledge hub it should rank high in Google Search every time a patient in a 40 km radius around your clinic is looking for information.

Looking for doctors who apply marketing with integrity? Check out orthopaedic surgeon Dr Howard Luks in New York. He is one of my favourites when it comes to demonstrating thought leadership way beyond the surgeries that he performs. His section about knee injuries and treatment info will inspire you if you were stuck with a 5-year-old paragraph about knee replacements on your ‘services’ page.

Dr Luks’ approach is gold because:

  1. The key pages about knee surgery are grouped on the Knee Injuries page and from there you can drill down to a series of content pages. Google sees the entire section and the educational value of all these pages together.
  2. The website breathes thought leadership because there is a podcast that covers general health and longevity topics, not just practical info for when you need knee surgery.
  3. There is a strong prevention angle throughout the content. People love doctors more when they help you avoid surgery. Patients love their doctor more when there is no push to get treatment (and we all know that AHPRA advertising guidelines in Australia include strict policies about not promoting unnecessary treatment).

Howard Luks demonstrates regular marketing exercise as a healthy habit.

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