medical marketing best practices

The single most common medical marketing mistake

Let’s talk about the most spectacular and yet very common medical marketing mistake. Let’s also talk about medical marketing best practices so you can avoid that mistake. A hint? A metaphor would be that many doctors are seen painting their walls before anyone ever looked at the foundation of their building. We don’t want that in the brick-and-mortar world, so let’s avoid it when it’s about managing your reputation.

medical marketing best practices

The single most common medical marketing mistake

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

February 10, 2022

First we build a website. Then we do marketing.

marketing for the private practice

There you have it. It’s in the open. This is without a doubt the most common medical marketing mistake I have encountered in the last 5-10 years, causing thousands of dollars of wasted budget. 

Let’s unpack why this is such a simple yet often overseen reality. We are talking about a situation where you would order a website for your medical practice, talking to someone who does websites. And later down the track, you would talk to someone to fix your SEO and do your marketing so you get more patients.

I love the metaphor that changes the expression on many of my customers’ faces when we discuss their medical marketing best practices: It really is a situation where you are spending money on paint and curtains in your beautiful building, to then speak to someone about making the building more stable and ordering a foundation that they would somehow magically push underneath your building to make the structure safer…

I don’t think so. So what is the right order to look at our medical practice website, and a marketing strategy that brings in patients?

The mistake and the solution in a nutshell

marketing best practices for surgeons

If there’s a choice between first redoing your website or first looking into a solid strategy: don’t paint your walls before the foundation makes your building structurally safe!

Your website, your social media, your lead generation, your reputation management and your customer service all connect with this crucial backbone of your private practice: your marketing strategy.

I will repeat it one more time. In medical marketing best practices, you think strategy and content first, then you build your website.

So what exactly are we talking about when we discuss medical marketing best practices?

  • Research: Market research for a medical practice consists of detailed mapping of google search behaviour for your niche. Since 2016, our team in Perth and Tilburg (The Netherlands) has developed a unique methodology to track the most common Google searches per medical specialty area. This data helps you set up the right content to support your content marketing.
  • Content: Content marketing is the most effective medical marketing strategy because it’s sustainable and future-proof, with a focus on organic visibility. You can always top up your visibility with Google Ads, and an investment in content pays off for years after your optimised website goes live.
  • Integrated medical website design: The most successful marketing strategies for doctors will always be based on a strong process that incorporates the design & development, SEO, medical copywriting, video production and social media campaigns using a small expert team without outsourcing. As opposed to scattered, outsourced and uncoordinated, which is often the underlying cause of this biggest mistake: first launching a website to then look into marketing or SEO services.
  • Performance measurement: It is critical that your marketing strategy includes a setup to continuously monitor your visibility, your competitive position, and the effectiveness of your content when it comes to attracting and converting patient leads.

What if you have launched your website without a solid medical marketing strategy?

No need to panic.

Journalism: the hidden success ingredient for medical websites

improving medical seo

Once you are clear about the fact that in order to follow the latest medical marketing best practices, you don’t just need a cheap medical website template, you can move on to creating the online presence that you deserve. Yes, as we have discussed, premium design helps you convert more leads into patients, but let’s focus on the content for a moment.

The way to grow your visibility? We call it data-driven content marketing and it is a unique, SEO and journalism driven methodology that has transformed the lives of dozens of leading doctors in private practice. Visibility increases of up to 10x are no exception with this method.

Some of the techniques we use are derived from core journalism skills and techniques used in broadcast and print media. At Digital Practice, Els Van de Veire and I build on 10+ years in international media outlets, which has given us an invaluable set of skills and experience when it comes to organising information for an audience.

Game-changing data for doctors in private practice

marketing data for doctors

Data-driven content marketing for doctors is a new strategic niche, inspired by the ongoing updates in Google’s artificial intelligence. A decade ago, ranking high in Google could be achieved by putting in place lots of links that you would purchase from an SEO company. They would do their magic in the background and it would actually help you rank higher. 

Google has been updating its algorithms and its artificial intelligence year after year. What you now need to rank higher is quality content, and what Google sees as quality content is crystal clear.

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

"Google wants to serve users by displaying search results that are reliable. Not pages with artificially boosted visibility through a link package that was purchased. It wants to display quality content and is getting better at evaluating everything. Including medical website pages"

Building on that reality, research has become essential for medical content marketing and Digital Practice has launched an ambitious program to map the search volumes for the most common questions typed into Google by patients. 

We do this for a wide variety of specialties. And the results are mindblowing. Because now, as a customer, you know what needs its paragraph or its own page on your website. You know what to blog about. Your content marketing is now backed by research so you avoid the pitfall of random marketing efforts.

But someone told me I need to do Facebook?

google or facebook marketing for doctors

If you have just spent time to get up to speed with the latest features of Facebook Pages for doctors, or you have set up an Instagram profile because your competitor has one… That is fine. 

Just bear in mind that there is a logical order when you set marketing priorities as a doctor.

Social media is great to drive extra attention and traffic to powerful content on your website. If you are putting energy into social media and there is only a page called ‘Services’ on your website, then you may want to reshuffle your marketing priorities. The good news is: we can help you with social just like we can assist with your general medical marketing best practices.

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