With the rise in hospital acquisitions and practice mergers, independent orthopedic, spine and neurosurgery practices are beginning to see increased competition for patients. Developing and executing a targeted Direct to Patient Marketing Strategy is more important than ever to maintain a viable practice. Practices should no longer be relying on outdated marketing methods or refusing to accept the fact that they need to implement a marketing strategy to attract the more modern patient.
Whenever we discuss the “modern patient” most physicians imagine a Millennial with a cell phone welded to their hands taking selfies and texting. However, this is not the sole representation of the “modern patient”. What this term refers to is potential patients in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s who have become more reliant and adept at finding information on their mobile device, Google or social media. Orthopedic and spine specialists need to adapt their practice marketing strategy to not only be found online, but also to meet the expectations of this digital savvy audience.
Below are four effective marketing strategies that orthopedic, spine and neurosurgery practices should already be using.
1. Using Highly A Targeted Google Adwords Strategy
Why You Need It: A Google Adwords Strategy gives your practice the ability to target your message to patients in your area looking for your services at that very moment. Google Adwords allows your practice to “bid” on relevant search terms in your area and shows your results at the top of the page. Google Adwords is statistically the highest ROI digital marketing effort a practice can utilize
How It Works: If done correctly, Google Ads instantaneously match the Google search of a potential patient who is looking for an orthopedic or spine specialist or treatment for a specific condition. For instance, if a patient searches “knee specialist NJ”, this is what they will see before any other results:
The most important aspect of Google Adwords to remember is that these ads allow you to outrank your competitors for only the most relevant searches and keywords related to the services of your practice for those searching in your area. Also, these ads are shown above the organic search results, so even if a competitor’s website outranks yours, your ad can be shown above their website.
Here are some important things to remember about Google Adwords:
- Google Ads are up to 40% of the first page of Google
- Google Adwords allow you to outrank your competitors
- Google Adwords ROI is the highest of any paid digital marketing initiative
- You set the budget and Google will never spend more than your budget
- You decide the keywords and terms you want to bid on
2. Using Social Media Marketing to Target Potential Patients
Why You Need It: By now, most practices are aware that social media is an important asset in Direct to Patient Marketing. But, there is a significant difference between posting an update to your Facebook page once per week and using the over 15,000 data points Facebook allows advertisers to access.
Posting weekly to your page is important but the most significant drawback is that only a small percentage of the audience on your page sees these posts. Therefore, it does little to nothing to expose your practice to those who are in your area and match the behavior of a potential patient.
How It Works: In an effort to reach those in your area who may not know about your practice but may need your services, Facebook and Instagram allow practices to deploy ads to those their area that are cross-referenced with data about them including, web search history, purchase behaviors, income, interests and thousands of other data points.
Essentially, Social Media Ads are like having a billboard that is only shown to those who match the behaviors of a potential patient.
Here are some important things to know about Social Media Advertising:
- The average adult spends more than 1 hour per day using social media
- Allows ads to be shown to potential patients based on their behavior and location
- Highly targeted ad based on location
- Most effective brand awareness tool for orthopedic and spine practices
- Users are shown the ad multiple times per day
If executed correctly, these ads have shown to significantly and lead to new appointments.
3. Using Targeted Digital Video Advertising
Why You Need It: Video is now the king of content as many platforms such as Google and Facebook have stated that they are actively pushing video content over many forms of written or blog content. In fact, YouTube is now the second largest search engine (Google is still #1). The modern patient is now consuming TV and video content via a mobile device through sites like YouTube, Hulu and Netflix more often than traditional TV. With regard to healthcare, patients are now searching YouTube and other sites for information about treatments and conditions as opposed to visiting their Primary Care Physician.
How It Works: All of this time spent on YouTube and other video sites gives your practice a significant advantage as sites like YouTube and Facebook allow your practice to show video ads to users based on a potential patient’s search history, location, keywords and the websites they have recently visited. Also, the cost per view on many video platforms is less than $.05 per view, which makes it significantly more cost effective than print ads or billboards, which have historically been very low ROI efforts.
Digital Video Ads like having a TV commercial that is only shown to potential patients.
Here are some important things to know about Digital Video Advertising:
- Average adult spends more than 1 hour per day with video
- Video ads can be served based on Google search history, website visits and behaviors
- More cost effective than TV/Radio/Print Advertising
- Higher brand recall than TV (they remember you more)
- Ads can be shown several times per day
This video content can be anything from brand awareness ads to patient testimonials or informative videos with physicians in your practice. Obviously, the quality and messaging within these video ads is important so it is always best to first decide what the goal of your digital video marketing strategy should be and create videos and targeting based on those goals.
4. A Marketing ROI Measurement Strategy
Why You Need It: All of the strategies outlined above serve different functions, whether it be capturing new patient volume or simply exposing your practice to the right audience. But, it is almost impossible to determine if these strategies are effective unless there is some form of ROI measurement in place.
One of the biggest mistakes orthopedic and spine practices make when measuring ROI is relying on the patient. As an example, many practices will ask a patient during their first call, “how did you hear about us?” or have the same question on an intake form. Invariably, the patient will respond with “online” or “the internet”. But, if your practice has invested a budget into Organic SEO, Google PPC, Social Media Ads or Digital Video, all of these things qualify as “online”, so how do you know which of these efforts is actually working?
How It Works: The utilization of unique phone number tracking, unique landing pages and email forms are vital to measuring ROI. With our ROI tracking systems, we can measure new patient acquisitions down to the keyword level so that each marketing initiative can be tracked down to a microscopic level to see how effective they are. At the end of each month, we review with the practice which sources generated the most new patient consults and which effort is generating the largest ROI. This also helps marketing budget be reallocated into those efforts that are producing results.
Gold Medical Marketing prides itself on our ability to generate patients for our clients using the most effective Medical Marketing and Public Relations strategies. We use only the most advanced analytics and tracking to determine an ROI for your practice.
We specialize in Spine, Orthopedic, Neurosurgery and Multi-Specialty Practice marketing. CEO Daniel Goldberg has lectured extensively on the topic of Orthopedic and Spine Practice Marketing at some of the most esteemed medical conferences across the country.
Our clients across the country have seen their practices grow using our unique and time tested strategies. Unlike other companies, we are exclusively in the medical field and do not make the mistake of marketing your practice like a retail product.
Gold Medical Marketing also offers NO COST MARKETING AUDITS, wherein we will objectively evaluate your current marketing efforts. The goal of this is to highlight areas in need of improvement as well as areas where money is being spent on low ROI initiatives. Contact us today to learn more or set up an evaluation.