A comprehensive guide for long-term practice growth
Healthcare consumers looking for the best in dermatology aren’t just asking around for a recommendation anymore. Instead, they’re doing their own research and turning to digital solutions to find providers and treatments for their skin care needs. More than ever, it’s imperative that dermatologists meet patients online and make it easy and convenient to find care.
For your dermatology practice to grow and succeed, you can no longer rely solely on physician referrals, word of mouth, or traditional advertising and marketing tactics. Thriving practices embrace digital marketing and advertising, use specific strategies for patient acquisition and retention, work to boost their online performance, and focus on comprehensive reputation management to ensure success.
Think digital first: The benefits of modern marketing and advertising for dermatologists
The days of limited advertising options in print, radio and television are gone. You don’t need to rely solely on pricey newspaper ads, radio spots, or direct mail to attract new patients, grow your dermatology practice, and increase revenue. Healthcare consumers have more options in the digital marketplace, and so do dermatology providers. Modern marketing and advertising tactics offer huge benefits over their print and broadcast counterparts, including greater flexibility and control, lower costs, advanced analytics to measure success, and the ability to reach more people where they already spend time – online.
Traditional marketing and advertising techniques are costly, but they do play a role in reaching older generations and promoting brand awareness in your community. However, their impact in patient conversion is difficult to track, so it’s hard to know what’s working or when to refine strategies.
Digital marketing is a gamechanger for attracting new patients and growing your dermatology practice in a competitive marketplace. Digital tools and tactics can be customized and adapted to meet the specific needs and goals of your business and offer immediate feedback about what’s working (and what’s not). Taking your marketing online can seem daunting, but it offers benefits that traditional marketing and advertising lack.
Here are just a few of them:
Branding basics for dermatology practices
Effective dermatology practice marketing requires an updated branding strategy. Your brand can attract new patients, enhance your reputation, increase loyalty among existing patients, and differentiate you from your competition.
Research shows the average U.S. consumer spends nearly four hours per day on their mobile devices, so one of the best ways to ensure your brand resonates is to take it online. You have to meet patients where they are, and a smart branding strategy will help you put your best foot forward.
Successful brands know that search engine optimization, compelling content creation, and a stellar online reputation are all must-haves for effective digital marketing. So, how do you build a powerful online brand?
The first step is to create and maintain an attractive website to make a great first impression and bring in more patients. Savvy prospective dermatology patients research their options online, and a first-class website is a reflection of the quality of care they can expect to receive at your practice.
Here’s a quick guide to refreshing your website design:
Your online presence should extend beyond your website. Targeted search engine optimization, an active social media presence, and smart reputation management also build your brand, fostering connection with prospective and existing patients.
Consistent branding does not require the services of a costly marketing firm. You can build a strong brand for your dermatology practice by following these top tips:
Google My Business listing
Rise to the top of search results with local search marketing and SEO
Prospective patients have lots of options at their fingertips when selecting a dermatologist, so your practice has to stand out in an online search query. Mastering local search marketing and search engine optimization has the power to elevate your business well above your competition.
There are several steps you can take to enhance your online presence and ensure your dermatology practice rises to the top of search results for prospective patients.
First, review the scope of your web presence. Search for your practice name online to audit all the places a prospective patient might see your business. Check to make sure your practice name, address, and phone number are up-to-date and accurate. This ensures new patients can find you and strengthens your searchability. Search engines including Google may skip your practice listing in results if your online profiles contain conflicting or inaccurate information.
Improving Google My Business profile can also boost your online performance. The more details you provide, the greater your chances of showing up in an online search for your practice specialty.
Google My Business is also the biggest factor that impacts which businesses are featured in the Google “local pack” map feature that appears at the top of organic search results.
Details to include on your Google My Business profile include photos of your practice and providers, links to your website, patient reviews from other websites, and specific keywords that can help drive patients to you.
Also, your website should be optimized, which means it is mobile-friendly and quick to load. According to Google, if page load time increases from one to five seconds, people are 90 percent more likely to leave the site3. It goes without saying that your website must be indexed by search engines and findable in a local search. Patients also need plenty of opportunities to connect with your practice and take action on your website. Two convenient options for actions include the option to schedule an appointment online, or dial the office automatically. When your website includes detailed information about specific skin conditions and treatment options, you can also improve your online performance. Unique subpages for each of your specialties can also boost your authority and communicate your expertise. Unique subpages also allow you to use more keywords and specific phrases that a potential patient might search for online, which gives Google more information to index and amplify your ranking in search results.
Finally, effective reputation management can help improve your standing online. Your online reputation helps drive patient acquisition and influences your search ranking. Businesses with more and better reviews typically outperform their peers in organic search rankings. Reviews are also the fourth most important factor that determines where your business shows up in an online search. Research shows that nearly 69 percent of patients will only consider a practice with a 4.0 rating or higher.
Start an intentional review strategy to gain more reviews from patients, and use the feedback to cater to requests or suggestions. You can send automated patient satisfaction surveys after recent appointments, which make patients 2.3 times more likely to proactively review your practice on sites such as Google, Yelp, or Vitals.
A guide to content marketing for dermatologists
Providing unique website content associated with your dermatology practice allows you to strengthen connections with prospective patients, which is critical to your overall marketing strategy. This also gives search engines including Google more keywords and information to index, which boosts your search ranking status.
In a recent survey, almost 90 percent of healthcare practitioners said they’re working in a competitive market, with more than one-third describing their market as “highly competitive.” A content marketing strategy helps your practice stand out.
Sharing valuable content can help you attract new patients and deepen relationships with existing patients. Your dermatology practice marketing and content creation strategy should include a compelling blog, savvy social media presence, and smart email campaigns.
Blogging boosts search ranking and conversion.
A blog that lives permanently on your website improves your search engine ranking when you add topical, quality content that includes relevant keywords. Blogging is a great way to delve deep into your dermatology expertise and to cater to the needs of people who are researching their specific skin care concerns online.
An effective blogging strategy includes:
Social media is all about connection and consistency.
Email campaigns can amplify convenience and expertise
Email campaigns can also help your practice stay in regular communication with patients. For instance, when summer hits, you can send an informative email about the importance of sunscreen with a link to book an appointment. Or during the holidays, you can highlight skin rejuvenation treatments to try in the New Year. However, don’t overuse email marketing or your emails may be marked as spam.
Need inspiration? Here’s a list of common dermatology-related topics for your next blog, social media post, or email campaign.
Common Dermatology Symptoms & Conditions
Common Dermatology Procedures & Treatments
The dermatologist toolbox for patient retention
Strategies for dermatology practice growth
Growing a successful dermatology practice doesn’t just happen. Smart, focused strategies for patient acquisition and retention are essential. No matter how advanced your dermatology care is, your practice won’t thrive if no one knows about you. And you have to make it easy for existing patients to stick with you, despite the competition.
Marketing and advertising strategies are crucial to any practice growth strategy, but growth requires intentional management over the long term. When your marketing tactics bring in new patients, how will you ensure you continue to provide the level of exceptional care your dermatology practice is known for?
You need a plan. Reasonable, sustainable goals set annually or quarterly are a good starting point, followed by regular check-ins to measure progress.
A comprehensive practice growth platform will help you monitor key performance indicators and help you achieve your goals. Here are some things to watch as your practice grows: