ROI of digital marketing

How to get good ROI on digital marketing as a doctor?

What difference does my website make? It could be your rhetorical question and it’s one I often hear in business workshops for doctors. Time to unpack the data behind specific case studies, from bariatric surgery and gastroenterology to psychology, from women’s health to orthopaedic surgery. 

ROI of digital marketing

How to get good ROI on digital marketing as a doctor?

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

May 5, 2022

Double or triple your turnover? Think content

private practice turnover

What is your definition of making this year successful for your clinic? Your private practice turnover doubled? Or tripled? Or a shift in your leadership profile, new opportunities and partnerships? Access to research? Recognition from a leading hospital? 

Whatever your focus, growth is often related to having a constant flow of new patient enquiries and referrals. You build on that, and even if you start growing a team and are doing less of the consultations or procedures yourself, you may start building a group brand or a group practice.

In this video, we look at the direct connection between the ability to double or triple your income, and the specific digital marketing techniques that create more relevant quality traffic to your practice for your key income-earning treatments or procedures.

The myth about ‘zero ROI’ from digital medical marketing

digital medical marketing myths

Some of the recurring digital medical marketing myths will suggest that marketing doesn’t help

If you have invested in digital marketing in the past and you have not seen a significant change in your practice growth, it would feed into that belief.

Yet, it starts with doing things properly and quite often the work is just outsourced overseas to a junior who has no idea about:

  • Your practice
  • Your patient demographics
  • Your local market
  • Your competition
  • The latest Google algorithm updates about quality content

What is left is an attractive cheap offer to quickly build a medical website and an SEO service that is difficult to understand.

The myth about ‘zero ROI’ comes from these situations where poor service levels are applied in a setup with a lot of scattered responsibilities and zero ownership.

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

"In reality, online lead generation affects more than half the situations where a GP referral is used. In other words, even with a referral, patients still do their own online research and who they start trusting in that process, is far more likely to become the chosen specialist."

What we see is that there is a direct connection between capturing relevant traffic based on what patients actually google for…and generating more conversions from your website traffic as a doctor. 

The system needs to be built so it works like clockwork, making your content rank well in organic Google search in your catchment area, to then convert the visitors into new patient leads with quality patient information, not promotional content. Here in our ‘Grow!” magazine, we have a whole range of quality articles to help you master the principles of medical content marketing and stand out as a surgeon, specialist doctor or allied health professional.

The end of ‘GP referrals only’ as a business plan

GP referrals

The objection against choosing digital lead generation as a business avenue is an assumption that everything comes from general practitioner referrals. 

In reality, a lot of googling only starts after someone has seen the GP. In reality, many GP services are in high demand so patients end up seeing new and different GPs more often. The value of that GP’s suggestion is lower than back in the days when you would only see your own GP.

This is where the changes in the GP space blend together with changes in our behaviour as consumers. If you see a lot of people spending a lot of time on smartphones, think again. Why wouldn’t they google the specialists they need and do their research before trusting someone with their health concerns?

ROI of digital marketing

The market data we collect in obstetrics, fertility, orthopaedics, gastroenterology, bariatrics, chiropractic, dental, psychology, urology and many other specialties all tell us the same story. Patients spend a lot of time on educational pages about conditions and treatments. From there, they are only a tap or a click away from the specialist’s ‘About’ page and from making a booking. And when you get this right, GP referrals are still essential but a new layer has been added to your business development. 

If your ‘About Page’ still looks like it’s 1998 and you have never considered its deciding role in the process of gaining or losing a new patient lead, check out these fine examples of winning ‘About Pages’ for Dr Alex Koefman, Dr Vinay Rane and Dr Mark Hurworth. They are the second most visited page on any medical website for a reason. Patients assess, research and review doctors with a particular additional filter beyond surgical or clinical excellence: the doctor’s human qualities. 

Do you happily send patients to colleagues with better profiles?

doctor profiles

Online doctor profiles are not a commodity. They are a business tool to grow a successful private practice. 

Even if you are still working in the public system and plan to launch your private practice in the future, it pays to set up a personal profile. It’s like securing a valuable block of land for your future.

If you currently have a practice but your competitor has a better online profile, this could be the scenario. You are doing fine, but your practice experiences unpredictable fluctuations and when you look at your business results, they are stagnating.

As competition grows, Google keeps track of a doctor’s reputation in a slightly different way, compared to how local GPs remember you as a leading specialist. Google rewards the amount of fresh, credible quality content that you publish on a regular basis. Google rewards the technical health of your website and the best practices you apply on your web pages.

If you have been ignoring your outdated content (or the lack of it), there’s a good chance you are constantly missing out on certain patients who could be best served by your expertise. They could be the ones who would have referred a friend or a family member to your practice two or three years later.

In other words, not looking at the data behind your online lead generation is almost the same as not checking your bank account.

If you want to control this aspect of your business, you may want to look into a monthly or quarterly session with our business experts, who monitor the online behaviour of your patient cohort, their interests and most popular content and make suggestions to reinforce your visibility and profile even more.

Why leading doctors think their patients deserve better

web design for surgeons

Sometimes, discussing web design for surgeons is a little bit like discussing poetry with a rocket scientist. It’s not your focus, I get that. 

Many of the leading surgeons and specialists we work with, have been able to reverse the exercise. If my patient deserves the best theatre technology, the best surgical skills, a nice consultation room, why is it that I don’t offer them a great first impression?

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

"Your content, both the images, the interface of your medical website, the titles, the tone of voice and the content you write about on every single web page, are your first interaction with future patients. Leading doctors have understood that by optimising this first, they have built the foundation for an amazing practice."

The strategy always comes full circle when, one or two years down the track, we are able to pin down results like the ones I discussed in the video. Then, the investment in a solid, contemporary and immaculate digital strategy is no longer seen as a burden or a risky decision. It becomes the defining shift to become a true leading practice, not just in theatre but in the perception of the most important people: your current and future patients and referrers. 

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business advice for doctors

The slightly biased business advice for doctors you will always get from us is: become a brand. In the perception of the patient, we need more than your name and qualifications. In their mind, we want you to become a trusted healthcare provider and a person they really prefer over the alternatives they have identified. Personal branding, lead generation and business development will be our main topics when you decide to take that first step and book your free 1:1 Strategy Session, to discuss your practice growth.

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