A modern guide to attracting and retaining more patients in today’s digital world
Today’s women are busier than ever — balancing careers, families and a myriad of other responsibilities. The resulting need for convenience coupled with the proliferation of technology has changed the way OB/GYN providers need to connect with prospective patients. Patients have new expectations for appointment scheduling, communication, telehealth and their overall online experience.
As such, marketing plans have evolved from outdated ad placements to a comprehensive, multi-channel outreach and engagement strategy that touches every aspect of the patient journey. By thinking digital first, OB/GYN practices can differentiate themselves from the competition, connecting with women wherever they are to drive new patient acquisition and practice growth.
Why a modern approach to OB/GYN marketing matters
Today’s patient journey is far different today than it was a decade ago, and has even evolved dramatically since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prospective patients live in a digital world, and OB/GYN practices need to meet them where they are. A modern approach to both OB/GYN practice marketing and operations can help today’s practices remain successful in an increasingly competitive market.
Patients have options, and they’ve grown accustomed to a certain level of digital savvy that makes accessing healthcare easier than ever with an elevated patient experience. Those practices that utilize a modern practice growth platform not only attract more patients, they are better able to maintain patient volumes during challenging times.
Likewise, in the world of OB/GYN where busy women are the customers, convenience is no longer a ‘nice-to-have.’ 80 percent of patients indicate they will consider switching providers for greater convenience.
With the use of a comprehensive platform that offers tools like website design and search engine optimization, online scheduling, automated reminders, text messaging, digital registration and more, practices can attract more patients, strengthen their business, and improve overall revenue.
The basics of OB/GYN marketing
Specialty provider marketing delivers ROI
Marketing for unique medical specialties such as obstetrics & gynecology (OB/GYN) in today’s competitive landscape requires a strategic approach targeted at women of all ages. Your website design, online presence, search engine optimization, social media strategy, and online reputation all play a key role in attracting patients who are actively seeking a new OB/GYN provider. Ensuring your practice makes a strong impression and rises to the top of online search rankings with a comprehensive marketing plan can help you attract new patients, retain existing patients, and support your long-term practice growth strategy – resulting in a strong return on investment for your OB/GYN practice, no matter the size of your business.
Attracting new patients begins with your website
OB/GYN practice growth starts with attracting new patients. At the same time, attracting new patients often begins with your website and online presence. A strong web presence allows you to connect and engage with prospective patients while they’re doing their research, but putting your best foot forward in an online world requires both the right tools and a comprehensive strategy.
Research shows that three out of four patients go online when searching for a new provider, making your website design and search engine optimization (SEO) key elements of your marketing strategy. But it doesn’t end there. To close the deal, tools such as online scheduling and telehealth can convert website visitors into patients more quickly — while also further differentiating your practice from your competitors.
Elements of a successful OB/GYN marketing strategy
Finding the right marketing mix for OB/GYN practices will always include an analysis of certain local or practice-specific factors such as the competitive landscape, services offered, and patient preferences (which can vary by market). From there, identifying the right marketing mix to help practices attract and retain the right patients is critical for long-term practice growth.
Today’s top marketing and advertising strategies for OB/GYN practices include:
- A top-notch website design that’s user-friendly, intuitive, mobile-optimized and connects with women of all ages.
- A comprehensive search engine optimization strategy to ensure patients looking for an OB/GYN in your area find your practice first.
- A robust online presence that goes beyond your website and into online directories like Google My Business, Healthgrades, Vitals to drive site traffic and conversion.
- A social media plan that reaches women wherever they are with meaningful and engaging content from your practice and providers.
- A focus on reputation management to reassure savvy OB/GYN patients that your practice puts patients first and delivers exceptional patient care.
- A patient retention strategy that keeps your practice connected with existing patients in between appointments through regular outreach, routine appointment reminders, and more.
The value of OB/GYN marketing and advertising
Marketing for OB/GYN practices isn’t just about attracting new patients — it’s about facilitating long-term practice growth. Aside from new patient acquisition, marketing and advertising campaigns can support patient retention, help strengthen the patient/provider relationship, and improve patient and provider communications. Combined, all of these elements can help OB/GYN practices grow over time.
Grow your OB/GYN practice with an impactful website design and a strong online presence
Patients today spend more time online than ever before. From the widespread use of mobile technology and the proliferation of social media into nearly every household in the US, establishing and maintaining a strong and visually-appealing online brand and web presence is a must-have for OB/GYN practices. Likewise, a search engine optimization strategy that helps drive patients directly to your website is just as critical, if not moreso.
Elements of a powerful online brand include: an easy-to-navigate website that connects with prospective patients, engaging blog and social media content, and exceptional patient reviews and testimonials, to name a few. Creating a memorable brand also involves a strategic approach to website development and website design. This means being consistent in your use of colors, imagery and tone — all of which should be designed to connect with your patients.
Finally, establishing a powerful online presence requires an ongoing commitment to showing up wherever your patients might be spending time. This could include a combination of your patients’ email or text inboxes, Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more.
Reaching women where they are
Like most healthcare consumers, women often turn to their internet browser’s search bar when looking for an OB/GYN provider. With approximately 88 percent of the market share, Google ranks at the top — making it critical to optimize your website and directory listings to ensure the search engine giant serves up your OB/GYN practice near the top of the search results. These are critical elements of your SEO strategy.
Your reputation management strategy helps reaffirm direct referrals
Some OB/GYN practices get a lot of new patients from direct referrals. In these cases, reputation management still plays an important role. That’s because in most cases, even women with a direct referral will conduct online research before selecting a provider. These prospective patients will be reading your online reviews and looking for your star rating on Google, which uses a five-star rating system.
And, since most patients (59%) only give consideration to those practices with an average star rating of four or higher, the importance of stellar patient reviews and a positive online reputation can’t be underestimated.
Convenience is queen (not king) for OB/GYN patient experience
In 2019, 68 percent of patients revealed that they prefer providers that offer the ability to book, change and cancel appointments online. (Source: Accenture 2019 Digital Health Consumer Survey)
Women who are juggling many priorities frequently overlook their own healthcare needs. Oftentimes, if it’s not easy to do, OB/GYN patients will go years without scheduling a well woman exam, pap smear, or other routine screenings.
That’s why from first website visit to appointment booking, making the experience seamless and convenient is critical for both attracting and retaining more patients. Tools like online scheduling, telehealth services, automated appointment reminders, and email campaigns with relevant and timely health information can make it easier for busy women to book (and keep!) more OB/GYN appointments and take better care of themselves. This leads to greater long-term practice growth for you and better health management for your patients, so it’s a win-win.
And, for patient retention, continuing to offer simple conveniences like digital registration and text messaging, will make it that much easier for patients to keep coming back.
Winning search engine optimization (SEO) starts with local search
Even if you have an exceptional website design and offer all the digital conveniences OB/GYN patients want, if your website doesn’t rise to the top of internet search results, you’ll lose out on new patient volume every time. Fortunately, by implementing an effective SEO strategy using a proven approach to local search, you’ll keep the new patients rolling in.
Optimizing for local search is critical, yet it requires expertise and a commitment to following a proven formula that’s always changing. Best practices today include a comprehensive search engine optimization strategy that includes enhancing your website for search performance, as well as the use of online profiles and listings such as Google My Business, Healthgrades, Vitals and more. Each of these SEO tactics will enhance your online presence, thereby building your practice’s credibility with the search engine giants.
Supporting strategies include the use of blogs and social media that incorporate keywords your patients are looking for to drive site traffic and relevancy ranking with search engine giants like Google. Finally, increasing the frequency and volume of local online reviews on sites like Yelp, Google, Citysearch and others signals to search engines that your practice is relevant and worth serving up in search results. These proven SEO and reputation management tactics will deliver prospective patients who need an OB/GYN provider straight to you.
Reputation management and online reviews for OB/GYN practices
When it comes to healthcare, online reviews are the new word of mouth. Even when prospective OB/GYN patients ask around for provider recommendations, their next step will always be to check out the practice’s website, providers, and online reviews before booking an appointment. In fact, 72 percent of patients say their first step in finding a new doctor is checking online reviews.
The bottom line? Your online reputation and patient reviews drive decision-making and patient volume. In fact, research shows that nearly six out of ten patients won’t consider a provider with anything less than an average 4-star rating. If your OB/GYN practice doesn’t have a reputation management strategy and a plan in place to increase online reviews, you may be missing out on new patients.
Enhancing your online reputation with a reputation management strategy
While most OB/GYN practices believe their online reputation is out of their control, that’s actually not true. There are a number of reliable (and respectable) strategies that can help OB/GYN providers improve their online reputation and reviews to help attract new patients.
- Ask patients for regular feedback. Online patient satisfaction surveys are a strategic way to start the two-way feedback loop between patient and practice. PatientPop survey data tells us patients who have been asked for feedback are 50 percent more likely to proactively submit an online review.
- Monitor your reviews and respond. Keeping a pulse on your online reputation and responding to reviews (both positive and negative) not only demonstrates your commitment to listening, it can help diffuse negative feedback if handled properly.
The link between online reputation management, patient reviews and SEO
OB/GYN Marketing strategies for patient retention
OB/GYN practice marketing isn’t all about acquiring new patients, it’s about developing a long-term practice growth plan. And, no growth strategy can be successful without a plan to nurture, strengthen and maintain relationships with existing patients. For OB/GYN practice owners, this is just good business sense. After all, driving patient loyalty can help you strengthen your business and improve revenue. That’s because acquiring a new patient costs about five times more than it does to retain one.
Top tactics for patient retention include:
- Patient satisfaction surveys. Listening to your patients signals that you care about their experience, and patient satisfaction surveys affirm that you want their feedback. Asking patients to share their thoughts and opinions can strengthen the patient/provider relationship and improve your online reputation — both of which are good for business.
- A modern patient experience. Patients, and especially women, put a premium on convenience. This makes introducing technologies designed to streamline the patient experience a solid investment. From online scheduling, digital registration and intake to automated reminders and text messaging — offering digital tools for convenience shows your patients you value their time. It also makes it easier for them to schedule and maintain their appointments.
- Ongoing outreach. Enhancing relationships with your patients is a sound strategy for patient retention. Tactics such as targeted email campaigns allow you to maintain contact with your patients in between appointments. You can share practice updates and events, promotions, seasonal messages, and education that’s targeted specifically to their needs based on their demographics.
Growing your OB/GYN practice
Contrary to popular belief, practice growth doesn’t “just happen over time”. It requires a strategy, effort and a constant focus.
While marketing and advertising play a critical role in practice growth, many other strategies and tools are needed to sustain the growth initially fueled by your marketing efforts. OB/GYN practice operators should set reasonable goals for growth on a quarterly or annual basis, and measure performance regularly.
Keeping an eye on key performance indicators (KPIs) such as the number of newly scheduled appointments, search engine results rankings, and reputation insights (such as number of online reviews) can help you determine if you’re on track to meet your growth goals. Similarly, optimizing a patient’s potential lifetime value (LTV), which is the potential revenue of all visits for a patient through their lifetime as a “customer” of the practice, is important for OB/GYN practices with an eye on growth. Doing so requires earning repeat visits through various marketing strategies.
Online basics: Must-haves in a website for OB/GYN practices
Remember that your website is where OB/GYN practices will make their first impression on both current and prospective patients. Consider this when developing your website design.
It’s important to think about colors, imagery, fonts, tone, and the words you use — choose those that will resonate with your patients. Original photography is ideal to use when possible, but tasteful stock imagery can also work well.
Make the website design and navigation simple and clean so visitors know where to find key information such as the services you provide, your location, providers and other key information. Lastly, be sure every page has a clear call to action and make it easy for visitors to book an appointment — ideally with a link to online scheduling.
OB/GYN email campaigns
When it comes to email marketing, healthcare practitioners such as OB/GYN providers are in a rare position because your patients actually appreciate hearing from you in between visits. Whether it’s a quick email sharing your new practice hours, notifications about flu vaccine availability, the introduction of new services or procedures, a reminder to schedule a routine screening, or relevant and/or timely health information, targeted OB/GYN email campaigns can drive appointment volume and strengthen the patient/provider relationship.
If you’re not sure where to start with an email campaign, consider the list of symptoms or conditions you treat most often, and/or the procedures or treatments you most often deliver to your patients. Also, consider segmenting your audience by age or health history to ensure you’re delivering content that’s relevant. (You wouldn’t want to send an email campaign about what to expect during pregnancy to patients dealing with infertility, for example.)
Still stumped? Here’s a list of common OB/GYN topics to consider for your next blog post, social media and/or email campaign.
Common OB/GYN Symptoms & Conditions
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Pelvic Pain
- Ovarian Cysts
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Urinary Incontinence/Incontinence
- Abnormal Bleeding
- Vaginal Dryness
- Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
- Painful Intercourse
Common OB/GYN Procedures & Treatments
- Prenatal Care
- High Risk Pregnancy
- Birth Control/Contraception/Family Planning
- STD Testing
- Pap Smear
- Well Woman Exam/Annual Exam
- Minimally Invasive Surgery
- Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Intrauterine Device Placement
- Vaginal Rejuvenation/MonaLisa Touch
- Endometrial Ablation
- Tubal Ligation
- Aesthetics (Laser Hair Removal, SculpSure)
Reminder: Using those keywords and phrases your patients are likely to use when searching online is an important element of your SEO strategy.
Blogging and social media for OB/GYN practices
With dozens of OB/GYN marketing and advertising tactics to consider, blogging and social media often rise to the top as high-performing strategies that can drive both patient acquisition and retention.
Both tools allow OB/GYN practices to connect with patients, deliver valuable and relevant health information, and keep your practice top of mind. Additionally, because both blogging and social media can drive website traffic and search engine optimization, they’re well-aimed to help position your practice for long-term growth.
Highlight niche specialties and services for SEO
Promoting key services you provide on your blog and/or social media is a top SEO strategy for OB/GYN practices, particularly if you offer niche services such as urogynecology, unique contraceptive offerings, high-risk pregnancy support, or highly complex procedures not offered by your competitors (ie. VBAC or robotic hysterectomy). Highlighting these offerings will help your practice rise to the top of prospective patients’ search results, connecting you with the very patients who are seeking the unique services your practice can provide.
The OB/GYN marketer’s guidebook
The best marketing and advertising strategies for OB/GYN practices
An effective marketing strategy for OB/GYN practices requires finding the right marketing mix to include a wide variety of digital tactics such as local search engine optimization, social media marketing and/or advertising, reputation management, as well as efforts to nurture and retain existing patients (such as email campaigns and patient satisfaction surveys). You’ll also need an impressive website design and navigation with a clear call to action that will make it easy for website visitors to quickly convert to patients.
It’s best to use one platform to manage all of your practice growth strategies, rather than multiple processes, agencies and technologies. Doing so will save time and money, while eliminating inefficiencies that could actually hinder practice growth. Likewise, the all-in-one platform model uses business intelligence to help you measure how all of your efforts are working together as it relates to patient acquisition and retention.
A blend of digital and traditional marketing and advertising tactics
Thankfully for OB/GYN practices with limited budgets, the days of relying solely on newspaper, radio ads and direct mail to drive new business are over. While traditional advertising can and do still drive business, it’s often cost-prohibitive and difficult to measure.
Fortunately, digital marketing offers OB/GYN practices the flexibility to start small and scale as you realize a return on your investment (which is easily trackable using the right platform). Digital marketing tactics can also be extremely cost-effective and you can typically track their performance down to dollars spent and new patients acquired.
However, a blend of digital and traditional advertising can drive even greater success as you’ll reach a broader audience that spans the generations. Tools such as direct mail, magazine advertising and radio campaigns can be highly effective for driving brand awareness within your community, whereas your digital tactics can help transition website visitors into new patients.
Components of a comprehensive OB/GYN marketing and advertising plan
Developing a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes both digital and traditional tactics can support significant long-term growth for OB/GYN practices. Implementing the right marketing mix, starting with your website design and SEO strategy, and ending with tools designed to enhance the patient-provider relationship can strengthen your business and improve revenue.
Local search marketing and search engine optimization
Being found via search engines is the first step to acquiring new patients in a digital world. From claiming and optimizing your business profiles such as Google My Business, to implementing a blogging and social media strategy, to focusing on your online reputation — those efforts that drive website traffic and search engine ranking are a critical element of your overall marketing strategy.
Best practices in website for OB/GYN practices
A strong web presence is critical to the success of any OB/GYN practice. A well-designed and optimized website will help you attract more patients, and increase appointment conversion for site visitors. The must-have elements of any website design include:
- Provider bios with professional photos (and/or videos) that engage prospective patients. A good provider bio is about more than cataloguing your doctors’ many years of medical education and listing their professional affiliations, it’s about highlighting who they really are and how they work with patients to improve their overall health and well-being.
- The services and procedures you offer, highlighting those that differentiate you from your competition.
- Patient testimonials or online reviews that feature the exceptional OB/GYN care you provide.
- Practice information, including hours of operation, patient policies, links to your patient portal, and anything else a prospective patient needs to know about your practice.
Social media for OB/GYN practices
Social media can not only help you connect with current patients, it can help drive website traffic and support new patient acquisition. A comprehensive social media strategy that utilizes numerous channels gives OB/GYN practices the opportunity to highlight providers, services, changes in operations, and valuable health information in creative and engaging ways.
- Facebook is the most popular social media network, drawing nearly two-thirds of all US adults. Both organic and paid Facebook campaigns are effective for helping OB/GYN practices reach local prospective patients through their highly-localized targeting.
- Instagram is an effective channel for OB/GYN practices that want to showcase their physicians, facilities and services in a visually appealing way to a younger audience.
- YouTube gives OB/GYN practices another marketing channel to connect with current and prospective patients using video, which opens a whole new realm of opportunities for more in-depth information and education. From “meet the provider” video bios to patient stories, FAQ videos, and much more, YouTube can help OB/GYN practices engage with patients in a very personal way.
- LinkedIn is an effective tool for OB/GYN practices to build their brand, and a great place to connect with local referring providers and prospective patients. As a professional network, it can also be effective for recruiting qualified staff members, and promoting the work culture at your practice.
Content marketing for OB/GYN practices
Marketing these days relies heavily on a steady stream of quality multimedia content. High-quality content allows OB/GYN practices to share relevant and timely information with prospective patients, while also highlighting your providers and practice as experts in their field.
Even more importantly, the volume of content your practice publishes plays a key role in your search engine ranking, and therefore, website traffic. Working together, the use of blogging, social media and email outreach campaigns can help with patient acquisition, appointment volume, and long-term patient retention.
- Blogging: Businesses that blog have 55 percent more website visitors, with a 5x increase in the number of pages indexed by search engines. At the same time, consistently publishing information on your blog provides plenty of content that can be repurposed via social media and/or email campaigns.
- Social media: Nearly 75 percent of marketers agree that social media has been effective for their business. From Facebook and Instagram to YouTube and LinkedIn, social media can help OB/GYN practices drive practice awareness and new patient acquisition.
- Email campaigns: Nine out of ten marketers use email marketing to communicate with current and prospective customers. Using audience segmenting and personalization, email campaigns can be highly effective for strengthening the OB/GYN patient-provider relationship and driving appointment volume.
Best practices for OB/GYN practice advertising
Paid advertising can complement organic marketing strategies, allowing OB/GYN practices to get the most out of their marketing and advertising budget. With digital strategies such as paid search and/or sponsored social media campaigns, OB/GYN practices can broaden their reach to attract more new patients. These efforts can be easily scaled based on budget and return on investment (ROI).
- Paid search, otherwise known as pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-click (CPC) advertising allows marketers to place ads on search engine results pages. You only pay for the ads that result in clicks, which means every ad you pay for drives a prospective patient to your website. With Google as the market leader, Google AdWords is the most effective channel for paid search.
- Facebook ads/sponsored content allow OB/GYN practices to target more Facebook users than you can reach with organic content alone. From boosted posts to full-scale advertising campaigns, you can provide a combination of educational and promotional content to drive awareness, website traffic and new patient acquisition.
- Digital display advertising, otherwise known as online banner ads, can help OB/GYN practices reach prospective patients virtually anywhere they may be online. Retargeting efforts can enhance the performance of display advertising by increasing your ad impressions to those who have already visited your website, which leads to higher conversion rates.
For those OB/GYN practices with the budgets to support it, complementing your digital efforts with traditional marketing tactics such as direct mail, print advertising and/or broadcast media campaigns, can drive even greater practice awareness and new patient volume.