online presence for surgeons

Let’s diagnose the doc’s digital performance!

Building an effective online presence for surgeons is best not left to amateurs. Just like you wouldn’t trust your theatre preparation to a primary school student. In this article, we explain how to assess your digital performance as you operate a private health practice. 

online presence for surgeons

Let’s diagnose the doc’s digital performance!

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

March 31, 2022

Let’s first make it visual

DIY marketing test for doctors

It’s like a little DIY marketing test for doctors. You can do it with your practice team and make an honest assessment of your online presence, as a surgeon or specialist or as a group practice. 

The method is simple. We will step in your patient’s shoes for a moment and assess what they find, see and feel as they go online before they choose you as their doctor.

A quality online presence for surgeons is as important as the qualifications, training and the quality of the reception area.

It defines the first impression patients get, and every aspect of your business depends on that. 

Assessing your medical website’s visibility

google for doctors

The first little-known secret of medical websites is visibility. Often misunderstood as ranking high in Google as a doctor when patients type your name, I feel we have to clarify what it means to be truly visible as a surgeon or specialist doctor. 

To put it simply: You want to show up throughout the patient’s journey, from the very first day they start doing online searches for symptoms and conditions, all the way through to when they look back at their treatment and assess their recovery progress.

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

"Google for doctors is a far more specialised area than most doctors think. It requires a deep insight into the medical content, the local market, patient demographics, online search behaviour and just human nature when it comes to building trust and rapport in digital communication."

When we do a free strategy session, we discuss the 5 main income earners of your private practice. We jot down the topics patients are actually typing into the search engine (because we have been running patient search behaviour research across Australia for over 5 years) and we then check how visible you are for each of those specific local searches by patients. 

Many doctors have a knee-jerk reaction when we do this exercise. The exciting news is that we can then help you build predictable and sustainable organic visibility so you no longer depend on advertising for your private health practice or clinic. Building an effective online presence for surgeons, specialists, allied health professionals and GPs is what we do every single day and we love creating growth and success stories with ambitious doctors like yourself.

Assessing the power of your healthcare brand

brand agency for doctors

Brand is a funny word. It reeks of wasted money in expensive boardrooms and lengthy presentations by extravagant creatives, don’t you think? 

But let’s take a deep breath. Brands are all around us. If your hospital had a shabby logo, chances are you would be sitting in an empty clinic all day.

If your favourite car brand produced cars without any brand, would you still be as excited about picking up the latest model at your local dealer?

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

"Brands are the expression of qualities that we expect in an institution, a business, a service provider or a media outlet. They help us recognise professionalism, accessibility and clarity."

When you assess the power of your healthcare or clinic brand without the help of a specialised brand agency for doctors, try looking out for these typical pitfalls: 

  • Logo focus: If your brand is limited to just having a logo, and nobody in your clinic can summarise what the brand actually stands for without mumbling or running off for another coffee, it probably means your brand creation was focused too much on just the logo. Values, brand story and unique-selling-proposition may have been forgotten or may be due for renewal.
  • Visual overdose: If your brand is all visuals and is not reflected in the tone-of-voice, the content, the story behind each paragraph or the content on your home and about pages, then the agency was probably just selling you web design as a service, not a medical marketing strategy.
  • Lack of content: If your brand has shiny packaging but lacks substance and pages that make you visible, then patients will also feel this and may spend more time on your competitor’s website to eventually make their booking at this other clinic.

The big ‘social media for doctors’ questions (+answers)

social media for doctors

Social media for doctors is a niche area because of two reasons:

  • We are talking about serious content: Most of us take our health quite seriously and the currency in these conversations is trust.
  • Regulations: Most jurisdictions have strict guidelines for medical advertising and content marketing that also apply to anything you publish online.
online presence for surgeons

That is why we often bump into the big social media questions when we work with doctors:

  1. Can I do social media?
    Yes, you can. There is often a legal framework about the type of conversations you may or may not engage in, such as the use of testimonials, making false promises, promoting unnecessary treatment or making unsubstantiated claims. But hey, if you work with integrity you don’t need checklists and guidelines to do the right thing, I would assume.
  2. Can I advertise on social media?
    Here in Australia, there is no specific reason to ban the use of paid advertising, sponsored content or ad campaigns. As long as you stick to those general principles listed above.
  3. Do I have to be on social media?
    As a rule of thumb, I always advise you to first catch the low hanging fruit…before climbing a steep ladder. Low hanging fruit is my simple description of those patients in your medical specialty who are currently doing an online search for anything between clarification of symptoms, and reasons to choose a particular doctor.
  4. Is it worth the effort or money?
    Reputation management is a holistic activity, and it pays to look at the overview. You want to be visible in Google search, present on LinkedIn to reach your GPs and other referrers, and have a minimal presence on the major platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, if you are serious about becoming or staying a leading specialist in your field, in your local catchment area. Why? Because if you don’t establish and maintain that presence, patients will detect that others seem to be more successful.

I know. The biggest question of all is that if you are not on social media, it must mean that you are busy. And if others have the time to go live on Instagram, blog every week or post every day, it probably means they are not as busy.

The paradox about private health is that this is all part of the natural fluctuations in private practice dynamics. Those who have been able to consolidate their practice, double their turnover or reduce their own workload with a digital strategy will now have a mysterious smile on their faces.

Don’t say we didn’t tell you (about the pitfalls)

doctor marketing pitfalls

The biggest pitfall is not doing it. Doctor marketing pitfalls also include wasting your money on too many Google Ads, hiring amateurs to manage your reputation, or hiring people who have no understanding of your local market. 

The biggest pitfall is procrastination.

avatar
One of many doctors postponing the implementation of a strategy

"I know we need a better website but I haven’t had the time to look into it. We have been so flat out with Covid and lockdowns and border closures and I simply didn’t get around to it."

We understand the mechanics of a medical practice really well. That is why we have made it easy and we have created integrated strategies that take care of it all, under one roof and are executed by a team of professionals who only work with specialist doctors. 

Let's meet

Make a change now. Book the call.

free marketing resources for doctors

Where do you find high-quality free marketing resources for doctors in private practice? Here at Digital Practice, the good news is: you can tap into our expertise straight away. Book a free Zoom call and in our strategy session we will discuss your business goals, the content your patients are searching for and ways to make your practice more visible in Google Search. 

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