personal branding for doctors

Personal branding for doctors: the ultimate how-to

If you have never thought of yourself as a brand, keep reading. This article will be life-changing. If you are constantly thinking of your private practice as a brand, keep reading. This article will give your personal branding strategy a solid boost based on live market data.  

personal branding for doctors

Personal branding for doctors: the ultimate how-to

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

June 1, 2022

The simple reason why you are a brand

doctors and personal branding

Even if you categorically stick to the perspective of only being a leading specialist doctor, you still are a brand. In modern marketing, anyone who has as much as their name out there (and by that I mean online), is sending out a signal.

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

"That basic signal, just letting the world know that you exist and that you are a qualified specialist doctor, is the essential form of personal branding. It could be minimalistic with only a line on a hospital website, but it’s still personal branding."

We obviously don’t promote such a restricted definition of personal branding. Most specialists end up somewhere in the middle between that minimalistic approach and a systemised, well-researched and self-sustaining personal branding solution.

Let’s make it a little bit more visual in a video.

Be visible to drive more patients

brand visibility

The impact of your brand positioning (basically another term we use when we discuss personal branding for doctors) is brand visibility. 

Because that’s what marketing does. It puts you (your brand) in front of the right people.
Big corporates do it by flashing watches and leather products at passengers in business class. Small mum-and-dad businesses do it by painting a big tap on their utility vehicle.

Leading doctors position themselves using two marketing tactics that – in themselves – are extremely powerful:

  1. Search-engine optimisation: The skill, science, art and craft of making sure that you rank well for exactly the type of relevant Google searches in your local area, so the patient who has this particular symptom, treatment need or imminent choice about an elective procedure or treatment, lands exactly where you want them to land: on your pages.
  2. Brand conversion: The potential to convert a click and a website visit, into a more meaningful conversation that becomes a lead. Attention: Leads are not necessarily the people who land on your website, read a page and decide to a) replace a hip b) order a c-section or c) book their tummy tuck surgery. Leads can also be people who move from not knowing you to landing on your website to then recommend or at least mention you to a friend who is less tech-savvy or a family member you are doing research for. Conversion is the power to shift awareness.

Personal branding for doctors should always start with quality questions. Who do I want to be visible to? If you are happy with just the commodity search for ‘bariatric surgery’ in your local area, you will attract low-quality traffic because your content is not prequalifying your patients. If you add more specific, data-driven content about the exact FAQs patients type into Google, and details about why and how you go about delivering this excellent service…then you will see your conversion rates go up in spectacular ways.

Brand visibility often leads to another great side-effect. It might turn you into a doctor-entrepreneur or a docpreneur.

The entrepreneurial side-effect of branding


Doctors often have very active minds. Chances are that – as a surgeon or specialist – you have two or more well-developed hobbies or passions. Even if they are not directly related to medicine, you will occasionally end up having business conversations rather than consultations and this is where personal branding makes a tremendous difference. 

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

"If you have any intention to leverage your status, position, achievements, expertise or network in anything else than seeing patients or performing surgery, personal branding is pivotal. It’s the digital version of your personality, supporting your business conversations and creating opportunities."

In the last five years, some of the leading doctors and docpreneurs I work with have demonstrated amazing entrepreneurial power, based on how they apply personal branding for doctors in the digital space. A quick overview: 

  • Shifting from a solo practice to a multidisciplinary clinic, hiring a team and leveraging the team’s work as a business.
  • Taking on roles in Colleges/Societies, simply based on enhanced online status and visibility.
  • Being asked as a partner at events, as an expert or co-host, in new partnerships with allied health professionals and large corporate stakeholders

Growth is not always about being busier. It often boils down to improving the quality of your private practice, improving the work-life balance and your business situation. That is why personal branding for doctors is such a fascinating area to be working in.

The innovation factor in personal branding

innovative doctors

There is another subtle side-effect of personal branding for doctors. You are in a knowledge-based profession and patients will assume that you are on top of your game. 

If your online profile uses standards that are 10-15 years behind, there is definitely a group of potential new patients who will completely ignore that your website is not responsive, that your LinkedIn profile has 5 connections, that your Facebook Page stopped being updated in 2015 or that your website is not secure. GPs will not stop referring to you. The world is not going to end and there will be food on the table.

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

"But what is the cost to your potential growth journey in private practice if 10 to 15% of your potential turnover is left on the table? Left to a competitor who uses the latest digital strategies to always be seen as more innovative, more in tune with the current market?"

Innovation is partly about reality when it comes to discussing the latest treatment options you provide. It is also very real when patients assess the overall reputation of the hospital you are associated with, or the appearance of your rooms and consultation suites. 

Innovative personal branding as a doctor can become slightly more virtual when it’s about your use of digital tools. I am not saying that you should start dancing like a 16yo school kid on TikTok after having read this article. (Yet, it is worth checking out this article about Tiktok for Doctors just to be in the know).

This is why a dedicated medical marketing agency such as Digital Practice first creates a custom strategy depending on your niche, the status of your practice and the market research we collect about your patient demographic. The data then serves as a guideline to design a content plan that helps you attract and convert the right patient leads and referrals.

personal branding for doctors

The ‘time in the market’ factor

branding and marketing

Some branding and marketing tactics require time to create sustainable impact. Google and YouTube visibility are great examples. 

These platforms will reward you with visibility once you manage to create consistency in the way your updates are published. Following best practices, building on a set of well-chosen keywords and key concepts to tell Google what your channels are about.

If you haven’t had a chance to update your team’s knowledge about medical SEO, and about the compound-interest effect of great Google-optimised content, book a free 1:1 Strategy Session so we can show you live case studies in action.

Let's meet

Let’s start your personal branding journey

brand consultation

Book your free 1:1 brand consultation today so we can look at the growth opportunities for your practice. Whatever the current situation of your practice, we will look at the potential to apply our proven strategy models to your unique business model as a surgeon or a specialist in private practice. I look forward to meeting you!

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