A pain management clinic’s guide to marketing and advertising in a modern world

Americans spend more on managing chronic pain than nearly any other medical condition. That’s why prospective patients looking for a pain management specialist are more discerning when choosing a provider. This means those who need medical help managing their pain are willing to put in the research to find the right provider who can meet their needs. Since we know that three-quarters of patients search online for information about doctors and medical care, pain management clinics that think digital first will be those best positioned for long-term growth.

Attracting new pain management patients requires the right blend of marketing and advertising strategies. Among the top tactics you’ll need to make your mark in today’s digital world include: an exceptional website design, a strong online presence, an ongoing focus on search engine optimization (SEO), a comprehensive social media and content marketing plan, and a powerful reputation management program. Together, these elements will help your pain management clinic first connect with prospective patients, and then assure them that your practice is the right fit for their complex needs. This drives more new patients and supports a healthy, long-term growth trajectory.

In this guide, you will find the proven tools and ideas to help grow your pain management clinic.

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Top marketing and advertising tactics for today’s pain management clinics

Before developing a marketing and advertising strategy for your pain management clinic, you’ll need a keen understanding of your competition — as well as what makes your practice unique. Identify your local competitors, get to know them, and use that information to help differentiate your practice and pain management specialists.

For example, what popular or innovative pain management techniques or procedures are hard to find in your local market? What advanced training, certifications or fellowships do your pain management specialists have that are sought after? What is the online reputation of your local competitors? All of these questions can help you identify your practice’s value proposition — which will help guide your marketing, branding and advertising efforts.

Next up, you’ll need to decide which marketing strategies to implement to help attract new pain management patients. This decision will often be based on budget, internal resources, and your comfort level with marketing and advertising.

To get you started, here are some of the tried and true marketing strategies proven to help healthcare practices of all specialties and sizes grow their practice. While most practices don’t have the resources to start with all of these tactics, getting familiar with your options and how they work is a great place to start. In the modern digital world of advertising and marketing, the top strategies for pain management specialists include:

  • An easy-to-use website design that loads quickly, provides all the relevant information a prospective patient needs, is mobile optimized, is findable by top search engines, and makes scheduling an appointment fast and easy any time, day or night.
  • A powerful online reputation management program that enhances the patient experience and encourages online patient reviews to convert prospective pain management visitors into new patients
  • A search engine optimization (SEO) and local search marketing strategy that connects prospective new patients to your practice at the start of their online research.
  • A timely content marketing plan that will keep your practice top of mind with new and current patients.
  • An online reputation management program designed to highlight the exceptional pain management care and services you provide to prospective patients.
  • A local search strategy that targets potential new patients within a designated geographic area to drive awareness and new patient acquisition.
  • A continued focus on the patient-provider relationship that will keep patients coming back.
  • Paid cost-per-click and/or digital display advertising campaigns that can connect directly with patients searching online for pain management services.

Painless digital marketing and its many benefits

Traditional marketing strategies for pain management specialists, such as focusing on referral source outreach can be time-consuming and it’s often difficult to measure its effectiveness — particularly when we know that patients are no longer taking recommendations from their referring doctor as the final word.

Instead, like most consumers — prospective pain management patients are doing their own research in a digital world, where they’ll make most of their purchasing and healthcare decisions. Pain management specialists who meet patients where they are (online) can drive patient acquisition and long-term practice growth.

If your pain management clinic is new to digital marketing and advertising, the benefits of transitioning from traditional tactics to digital strategies are many. Here are just a few reasons to consider making the shift.

  • Data-driven: Every digital advertising placement, post and/or campaign will offer detailed analytics and insights that let you know whether or not it’s performing well. This information allows pain management specialists to make better marketing decisions that will drive practice growth.
  • Affordable: Digital marketing can be far more cost-effective than traditional advertising tools like direct mail, print and broadcast. It also allows you to determine how much you want to spend per day, week or campaign — and you can scale up or down with the click of a button.
  • Nimble: When it comes to digital marketing, flexibility is the name of the game. Unlike traditional tactics, digital marketing allows you to easily try something new at a minimal cost. If it works, you can keep at it; or if it flops, you can try something else.
  • Greater return on investment: Digital marketing is highly targeted, which allows you to deliver your marketing content and/or advertising campaigns to precisely those consumers who match the demographics of your pain management patient population. Doing so means you’re more likely to reach prospective patients who could benefit from your services, making your advertising impressions and conversions more powerful than you’ll get with traditional channels.

Pain management practice growth begins with your online presence

If you want to be found in a digital world, your online presence is the key to practice growth. A strong online presence signals to the search engines that your organization is credible, and worth serving up to patients searching for a pain management specialist. And since we know that three quarters of patients begin their search for a new provider with an online query, affirming to Google and its competitors that your practice is relevant and trustworthy is the first step toward acquiring more new patients.

But, what is actually included in your online presence? While many practice operators think their online presence can be accomplished solely with an exceptional website design, the truth is that your website is just one of many integral components of your web presence.

If you’re looking to strengthen your online presence and focus on long-term practice growth, here are 3 tips to get you started.

  • Optimize your website. When it comes to your web presence, your website is the first and most important place to start. With patients, this is your opportunity to make a great first impression, promote your providers and services, and to convey what differentiates your practice from the competition. Even more importantly, though, your website must be found and indexed by search engines. To accomplish this, you’ll need a website design that features a steady stream of relevant content (e.g., dedicated pages for each service you provide, blog content, FAQs, etc.) — which will help search engines better understand what you do and affirm your continued relevance. Lastly, your website needs to load quickly and be optimized for mobile devices.
  • Ensure accuracy and consistency. Across the web, there are numerous online directories and websites (such as Google, Yelp, Bing, Vitals) that include information about your pain management clinic — some of which you may not even be aware of. Ensuring your practice information and key details are complete, correct and consistent across all of these sites is critical. Doing so gives the search engines confidence that the information is accurate, making it more likely that they’ll serve your pain management clinic information when prospective patients are searching. To get started, do a simple internet search of your practice and see what comes up. Claim your profiles (which confirms you own or manage the practice) and start updating your information, making changes as needed on an ongoing basis.
  • Focus on your Google business profile. Also known as your Google My Business page, this is the directory to focus on first. Not only do you need to claim and update your profile, it’s important to optimize the content. This means adding photos and videos and a detailed overview of the services you provide and taking advantage of advanced features such as Google Q&A and Google posts. Since Google has more than 85 percent of the search engine market share, their power as a search engine is worth the extra time and investment. In fact, a recent analysis of search factors from an expert panel found that this profile is the #1 factor affecting the Google “local pack,” which refers to the top local search results displayed between the paid and organic search results.

Why a pain management specialist’s online reputation matters

Patients looking for a pain management specialist are digitally savvy and they’re often committed to searching until they find a provider they believe will be able to meet their complex needs. While some prospective pain management patients will get a referral or recommendation from their primary care provider or specialist, they will often make a decision based on their own online research.

Patient reviews are the new word of mouth

While your website and online presence will factor into a prospective patient’s decision, they’ll also be looking for digital word of mouth recommendations — otherwise known as patient reviews. And since 71 percent of patients say their first step in finding a new doctor is checking online reviews, making sure your reviews are positive will help with new patient acquisition. Popular review sites such as Google, Yelp, Vitals and others can provide prospective patients with a third-party perspective on your practice, including specific feedback on your providers, office staff and cleanliness, wait times, outcomes, and much more.

This is a critical decision point for a prospective patient — if patients are saying mostly positive things about your pain management clinic, they’re more likely to move forward with booking an appointment. If they see negative or even neutral feedback, the odds decrease. For pain management specialists looking to grow their business, online reputation management is a top marketing strategy that can’t be overlooked.

Online reputation management is marketing

While you can’t fully control your patient reviews, you can greatly influence your online reputation with a comprehensive reputation management program. And, it’s not just a nice-to-have. While it’s often not thought of as a marketing strategy, online reputation management should be considered an integral part of your advertising and marketing plan. That’s because most patients (69 percent) will only consider those practices with at least a four-star average rating.

Achieving a five-star reputation

If you’re not familiar with Google’s five-star rating system, it’s time to get up to speed. Based on a five-star system, Google makes it easy for consumers to see how individual healthcare practices stack up to their competitors by asking patients to rate them on a scale of one to five stars, along with providing their specific feedback. All patient reviews are aggregated in real-time, delivering a star rating that allows prospective patients to get a sense of how well your practice is meeting patient expectations. This star rating continues to increase in importance as the frequency of ‘best’ searches continues to rise. That’s because Google will actually filter out any practices with less than four stars when delivering search results. This means if a prospective patient searches ‘best pain management specialist near me’ and your practice doesn’t have four or more stars, they’ll be directed to any competitors with a better online reputation.

To achieve five-star status, consider offering basic convenience services such as online scheduling, telehealth, automated appointment reminders and confirmations — to help save time and make it easier for patients to do business with you.

Also, remember that keeping wait times brief is important and signals to your patients that you respect their time. You can accomplish this by offering digital tools such as online registration and intake paperwork that patients can fill out prior to their appointment.

Lastly, consider implementing automated patient satisfaction surveys to help you keep a pulse on patient sentiment, open the lines of communication, and increase your patient review volume/frequency. PatientPop research shows that patients who are asked for feedback are 2.3 times more likely to proactively submit an online review. And, the more reviews you have, the less impact a few neutral or negative reviews will have. (Note: more reviews will also help support your search engine optimization strategy.) From here, it’s important to keep an eye on feedback and respond promptly when negative feedback arises, confirming your commitment to improving the patient experience.

Take it to the top: Local search marketing and SEO drive practice growth

Ensuring your pain management practice can be found in a digital world is a complex business. Google and other search engines are constantly updating their algorithm to better deliver the content that searchers are looking for, but the algorithm is a well-kept secret that prevents organizations from trying to game the system.

Complex algorithms aside, these proven tactics can help your pain management practice rise to the top of the search engine results page driving more new patients to your website to book an appointment.

  • Look beyond your URL. All over the web, there are online business directories such as Google My Business, Vitals, Yelp and Bing. They aggregate local business information to help consumers find the services they’re looking for quickly. As a practice operator, claiming these profiles allows you to ensure the accuracy of the information — and to add relevant details such as your phone number, address, providers, services offered and much more. When your information is accurate and consistent across these powerful sites, the search engines will feel more confident in sharing the information – making it easier for prospective patients to connect with you.
  • Generate content regularly. Google and other search engines love content as it helps them better understand what you do so they can connect the right searchers to your organization. When it comes to content, incorporating the right keywords that align with what your prospective patients are searching for is critical to bringing the right traffic to your website. Using a combination of your website copy, blog, and social media, generating a steady stream of relevant content is an important way to remind Google and its competitors that your organization is relevant, timely, and trustworthy.
  • Focus on reputation management. This one often comes as a surprise to practice marketers, but your online reputation also plays a key role in your performance in local search. That’s because a higher quantity and volume of online patient reviews signal to Google and other search engines that your practice is visited often and is therefore relevant in the community. To open the lines of communication, consider implementing automated patient satisfaction surveys to increase patients’ likelihood of submitting an online review.

A pain management specialist’s guide to content marketing

Today’s digital marketing strategies rely heavily on a steady stream of high-quality content. From videos to blogs and social media, delivering relevant and timely content allows you to highlight your pain management specialists’ expertise while connecting with both current and prospective patients. More importantly, content marketing is a primary element of a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

The great news is that content marketing doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. Start by thinking like a patient. What questions do your patients frequently ask? What unique services are pain management patients looking for that you offer? What symptoms do your patients complain of most often? Addressing these topics through the use of timely content is the first step in developing a content marketing plan.

If you’re still not sure about where to begin with content marketing, here are just a few specific examples for pain management practices to consider:

  • A blog post from one of your providers highlighting the many causes of back & neck pain.
  • A web page explaining what to expect from a trigger point injection procedure.
  • A physician Q&A about fibromyalgia, explaining what it is, what a diagnosis means, and what a patient can expect.
  • A Facebook post that highlights positive patient feedback or an online patient review.
  • An engaging YouTube video explaining how Botox injections work for chronic pain, who is a good candidate, etc.
  • A social media post highlighting the pros and cons of medical marijuana for chronic pain.
  • A Twitter post highlighting a recent study related to pain management.
  • An email campaign highlighting some complementary alternative therapies for pain management.

Topics to consider: To help you get started, here’s a list of common pain management topics to consider for your next content marketing campaign(s).

Common pain management symptoms and conditions

  • Chronic pain
  • Back pain/lower back pain/low back pain
  • Neck Pain/neck pain after surgery
  • Leg pain
  • Hip pain
  • Joint pain
  • Knee pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Spine pain
  • Nerve pain
  • Headache/migraines
  • Depression/anxiety/PTSD
  • Neuropathy
  • Herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
  • Sciatica
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis
  • Spinal stenosis

Common pain management procedures & treatments

  • Pain management/interventional pain management
  • Medication management
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Botox
  • Nerve block
  • Epidural injection/epidural steroid injections
  • Trigger point injections
  • Spinal injections
  • Stem cell therapy
  • Platelet rich plasma (PRP)
  • Radiculopathy
  • Nebulized ketamine/ketamine infusion therapy
  • Suboxone
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Kyphoplasty

Reminder: When it comes to content management, think like a patient — using the keywords and phrases they’re most likely to search for online (which may mean avoiding medical jargon).

For patient acquisition and retention, convenience is the true differentiator

72.2 percent of patients say they’ll consider switching doctors for a better or more convenient patient experience. 

For patients battling chronic pain, convenience can make a world of difference. As a pain management specialist, demonstrating to your patients that you recognize that even the smallest tasks don’t come easy can help differentiate you from the competition.

Pain management patients will appreciate modern conveniences that can make it easier for them to get the care they need. Here are a few tools you can implement to ease the burden for your current and prospective patients.

  • Online scheduling: for convenience and greater new patient conversion
  • Telehealth services: to allow patients to get routine care from the comfort of home
  • Automated appointment reminders and confirmations: to support pain management patients who are often balancing numerous medical appointments
  • Email campaigns with relevant and timely information: to help patients manage their health in between visits
  • Digital registration and intake forms: to save time and frustration
  • Text messaging: to make it easier for patients to communicate with your office
  • Online bill pay: to streamline payment and improve revenue cycle

In the end, delivering a modern patient experience and focusing on convenience can help differentiate your pain management clinic from other practices and keep patients coming back — leading to greater long-term practice growth.