As 2018 quickly approaches, orthopedic, spine and neurosurgery practices have a lot on their plates and a lot to consider. In a world of bundled payments, EMR transitions, hospital partnerships, CMS and countless other issues to consider, many practices often overlook one of the most important elements to viability and profitability – marketing.
Below are 4 marketing mistakes your practice can’t afford to make in 2018.
1. Not Updating Your Website
It seems like this is something we discuss in every article but it certainly warrants repeating. Just as a recap, in April 2015 Google began penalizing sites that were not mobile optimized by lowering their position in search results. This was a direct result of the transition to mobile search and 60% of all internet traffic coming from a mobile device. If your website is not mobile optimized it becomes difficult to navigate from a phone or tablet and results in a bad user experience. As a result, Google will drop your page in mobile searches much further down in favor of competitor’s sites that are mobile responsive.
For instance, if someone searches “knee specialist Dallas”, and your site is not mobile optimized – Google is going to show a competitor’s page much higher than yours. This has a substantial impact on new patient acquisition and can hurt the profitability of your practice.
To see if your site is mobile responsive, use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test (https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly). If your site does not pass this test, redesigning your website should be your top priority for 2018.
2. Not Understanding Patient Behaviors
Most orthopedic and spine practices have traditionally relied on primary care physicians and other specialists for referrals. However, as hospital systems begin to acquire these practices, many orthopedic and spine practices are beginning to feel the effects of declining referrals (read full article on this topic here).
At the same time, with the advent of Google, WebMD and other online tools, patients are now self-diagnosing their conditions and then seeking out the best specialist in the area to treat their condition. If WebMD tells them that they may have patellar tendonitis, then they are going to search for a specialist near them to treat it. Because the modern patient also has far less time on their hands they would rather go directly to a specialist rather than see a PCP, get a referral and then set up an appointment with an orthopedic specialist.
Understanding these habits coupled with how patients look for health information is imperative in creating an effective Direct to Patient Marketing Strategy. Identifying the behaviors of a potential patient including search history, websites they recently visited, purchase history and thousands of other data points allow for the creation of highly targeted ads that reach potential patients in your area. It also allows for the creation of both transactional efforts and brand awareness efforts simultaneously.
Depending upon the patient behaviors and data different strategies can be used to put your practice in front of the right patient at the right time. These strategies include:
- Google Adwords
- Targeted Social Media Marketing
- YouTube Pre-Roll Ads
- Content Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Reputation Management
- TV and Radio Ads
3. Not Tracking Marketing ROI
This is usually one of the biggest hurdles for many orthopedic and spine practices who are utilizing some form of marketing. Marketing is an expense and any physician, CFO or board member is going to want to be able to justify that expense. Historically, many marketing employees or agencies reported nebulous statistics like “clicks” and “impressions” and “shares” to show that their efforts were paying off. This created a constant and frustrating disconnect between the marketing teams and physicians because the number of clicks could not be quantified into the number of new patients seen in the new practice.
But what if clicks could be translated into new patients? New website integrations and tracking can tell you exactly how many new patients were generated, what marketing initiatives brought them in and even the exact phrase the patient searched to find your practice. This data not only gives your practice a true ROI on their marketing efforts but also gives your practice a competitive insight into your market.
4. Thinking Anyone Can Market Your Practice
Last month we created a very in-depth article on this topic (read full article here) but, the main takeaway is don’t hire the company down the street to build your website or market your practice! Medical Marketing is a highly specialized field that takes an understanding of conditions, procedures, terminology, insurance networks, reimbursements, patient behaviors and countless other skills. Being able to market a local business is not the same as your practice.
How to Know If a Marketing Company is Right for Your Practice: Ask the marketing company to explain a partial thickness rotator cuff tear or to define the term “sciatica”. Ask them how a meniscal repair or ACDF is performed. If they can’t answer then they can’t market your practice.
The sad reality is that many practices waste thousands of dollars before they realize the company they hired has no idea how to properly market an orthopedic or spine practice. We have independently audited hundreds of practice’s marketing campaigns and seen things that were costing the practice tens of thousands of dollars and generating zero ROI.
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 are the only company in the country that specializes solely in Spine, Orthopedic, Neurosurgery and Multi-Specialty Practice marketing. Our clients across the country have seen their practices grow using our unique and proven 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. Our 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.
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 set up an evaluation or to learn more.