Dermatologists are looking at increasing demand for skin cancer screenings as well as for cosmetic procedures as Baby Boomers get older and discretionary spending increases. At the same time, board-certified dermatologists are facing competition from discount injection bundles, Botox parties, and laser hair removal as a commodity. Patient education is key to dermatologists’ online marketing success.
Why online marketing?
Growing your practice should rely on digital marketing, simply because modern consumers will now go online to find a new doctor, regardless of the specific health problems they’re facing. Patients also expect health care providers to be up to date in their use of technology. A recent Harris poll found, for example, that 59% of all patients in the survey and 70% of millennials would rather go to a doctor whose practice allows them to make appointments and refill prescriptions online. “Patients today are choosing their providers, in part, based on how well they use technology to communicate with them and manage their health,” researchers concluded.
Since your patients value your use of digital technology, your digital marketing is a chance to show that you’re on the same virtual page.
Fortunately, online marketing also offers a better return on investment than legacy marketing. Consumers trust website content more than advertising of any kind, according to marketing research giant Nielsen. And — while Nielsen also tells us that fewer than half of TV ad campaigns have positive ROI — online marketing is consistently more cost-effective than traditional marketing spend.
Dermatologists need to build trust.
A number of basic services dermatologists offer are on their way to becoming commoditized. We did a series of quick searches for laser hair removal and Botox injections, and found just one physician on the first page of search results for laser hair removal and just two for Botox. We’re not opposed to medical spas, but there is a difference between a physician’s office and a spa. Prospective patients may not realize that, and they may need quite a bit of information to understand when an aesthetician is their best choice and when a dermatologist is a better option.
A website with strong content can present trust-building information explaining why a board-certified dermatologist is different from a spa. A focus on consumer education is good for patients and physicians alike. Click To Tweet
Patients usually begin their path to purchase with basic research about a problem they face, moving on to more specific searches for procedures and products. Google tells us that they typically visit 10 or more sources of information before making contact with any provider. When your website and social media accounts show up repeatedly in their research, you have begun to develop a virtual relationship with those prospective patients. By the time they are ready to make an appointment, you have already shown your practice to be knowledgeable, helpful, and generous. Naturally, you’ll have the inside track.
Think SEO first.
Before your great content can do that excellent job of connecting with patients and prospective patients, they have to be able to find you.
Search Engine Optimization helps your website communicate well with search engines. That means that Google understands what you have to offer and can show you to the people who are looking for just what you have to offer. If your home page is strongly focused on skin cancer, Google probably won’t show it to people who want a tattoo removed — and vice versa.
That doesn’t mean that you have to put everything on your homepage. You can often get better results by building your content over time through the use of a blog or patient information center, developing landing pages for all the concerns your patients have.
Read more about how to plan a successful content marketing strategy for your practice.
Don’t miss social media.
Dermatologists often rely on word of mouth to keep their practices growing, and social media is the new word of mouth. Dermatology Times confirms the importance of social media for dermatologists, and Cosmetic Surgery Times reminds us that people who’ve received a referral from a friend typically check out the doctor’s website and social media profiles before deciding to make an appointment.
Develop HIPAA-compliant, engaging social media on highly visual platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. Keep them lively with regular posting and make sure they send visitors back to your website.
You need a strategy.
You probably have just one or two people handling everything related to marketing. Or maybe you’re doing it yourself in your copious free time. Resources are probably limited — or you want to make sure that you’re making the best possible use of those resources. Suffice it to say that we’re pretty sure that you want to make the most effective use of your resources for your online marketing.
A good starting point is a Haden Interactive SEO Strategy Document. This gives you the benefit of data-based recommendations in a detailed document — plus a practical step by step checklist.