New patients are the lifeblood for any medical practice… and niche practices in particular. A doctor who maintains a full patient load and the daily needs of a busy practice can lack the time required for effective marketing.
Another obstacle to successful medical marketing is navigating a highly competitive landscape. Niche marketing for a specialty practice such as neurology or oncology or for a practice that focuses on sub-specialties can be even more difficult, creating a problematic and frustrating situation.
Although some niche medical practices can rely on a certain number of new patients resulting from other physicians’ referrals and patient insurance company options, a steady stream of qualified new patient leads is required to maintain a thriving practice. The number of referrals will vary from month to month, and some medical procedures are deemed elective and therefore not covered by insurance.
So how can a doctor within a niche medical field effectively market themselves?
1. Start Small with Google My Business
Begin marketing your niche medical practice by claiming your Google My Business (GMB) page. Your GMB listing can enable potential new patients to find you based on the information that you provide. You can list office hours, images of your office, and provide regular updates so that you can establish your local presence.
Be sure to fill out the summary and include keywords relevant to your practice. Don’t just state that you’re a doctor or dentist. Mention your specialty, whether you are a cardiologist, oncologist, or veterinarian. Do you have a sub-specialty? Be sure to include it. If your niche specialty is cardiology, specify whether you are a cardio-thoracic surgeon, an electrophysiologist, or a general clinical cardiologist? If you are a veterinarian, do you specialize in exotic animals or surgery?
GMB pages serve other purposes, including local SEO and reputation management. Patients satisfied with your services can leave reviews that will help your local SEO results.
Ever wonder why a competitor shows up on the map results while you don’t? Odds are they have more positive reviews than you do. Good reviews directly influence the map pack results, so it’s important to build those up with genuine patient reviews. Receive a bad review? You can also respond directly to the patient on your GMB page, showing other potential patients that you care about your patients and their experiences at your practice.
The importance of GMB listings became starkly apparent when the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantines took effect in 2020. GMB pages became the primary way many businesses interacted with their customers, and medical practices were no different. As part of Google’s efforts to help patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, new features were added to GMB medical profiles, including:
- A list of health insurance payers and networks that they accept,
- A link for users to check insurance information,
- A link to the practice’s COVID-19 policy,
- Links to book appointments or for virtual care, and
- Enhanced location listing, i.e., when within an office complex
One under-utilized section of GMB pages is the Services segment. You can use this section to provide a list of keywords that are relevant to your niche practice. For example, if you own a cosmetic surgery practice that offers dozens of services geared toward men or women specifically, this is the place to list them. Select from a pre-populated list or create a custom service. You can organize services into groups for easier browsing, such as Men, Women, Non-Surgical Options, Surgical Options, etc.
Savvy doctors and medical practices utilized the new features on GMB plus already existing ones to reach new patients despite quarantine conditions. As people continue to be cautious amidst the ongoing pandemic, the importance of Google’s free marketing platform cannot be understated.
2. Avoid Marketing Schemes
While some doctors may feel pressure to do something dramatic to increase their patient leads, this could prove to be a costly mistake. We have seen many instances of early, inexperienced marketing efforts that have required considerable time and energy to rectify. Some examples include:
- Buying into directory/linking schemes that promised fast, high-ranking results.
- Running paid campaigns with no experience or guidance.
- Paying for cheap marketing services.
Some clients have even had to abandon domains and websites that were delisted and otherwise heavily penalized for illicit links, requiring them to pay for new websites before they could begin legitimate marketing campaigns.
Starting a paid campaign is easy enough; all you need is a credit card. Maintaining a successful paid ad campaign without knowing the ins and outs of an ad platform is very difficult. Learning the intricacies of optimization takes time and effort, something our paid ad specialists have done and continue to do.
Ads that promise first-page rankings for $100 a month are too good to be true. More often than not, these services engage in highly questionable practices that put the client’s website and online reputation at risk if they do anything at all.
3. Hire a Marketing Agency
For medical practices that can afford it, hiring a marketing agency might be the easiest solution. A full-service agency has the experience and resources to effectively evaluate the competitive landscape, create custom strategies and campaigns designed to meet a doctor or practice’s needs, and leverage assets to position the doctor or practice for success. Just hiring a marketing company isn’t enough, though.
➢ Other Requirements for Successful Niche Medical Marketing
There are two key components necessary for an effective niche marketing campaign.
- The most effective marketing partnerships need open, sustained communication by both parties so that their relationship can grow, and they have a sense of trust established. Efficient two-way communication can help increase overall campaign success immeasurably.
- The second requirement is a knowledgeable, experienced marketing team. Not all agencies are willing to expend the effort to learn the intrinsic, unique methods needed for marketing doctors and niche medical practices. Efferent Media specializes in these methods and leverage their knowledge and experience for medical marketing success.
4. Be Selective
While a marketing agency is an obvious easy answer, not all medical practices can afford full-time services due to a lack of resources. However, this doesn’t mean that an agency’s service options are automatically out of the question.
Some agencies offer a la carte services that might be more reasonable and affordable for a smaller medical practice. Focusing on one or two core marketing services such as web design, search engine optimization, or social media can slowly grow a practice while increasing revenue to fund future marketing efforts.
Which service is best to choose when your options are limited? That depends on your current situation and state of your assets.
- Is your website painfully out of date, especially when compared to your competitors?
- Does your website lack content?
- Do you need traffic and leads immediately?
Then that may be your focus for now. Quality content and a good user experience can generate leads for your practice.
Then perhaps SEO should be your first choice. By establishing your website as a source of trustworthy information and you as the authority in your particular medical niche, your site can generate limitless organic leads for your practice.
Pay-per-click campaigns may be the solution. An effective paid campaign can start generating qualified leads from the day it launches. A Google Ads campaign can focus on bringing in patients, raise awareness about your practice, and put your name in front of countless potential patients.
Let Efferent Media Market Your Medical Practice
The team at Efferent Media has years of medical marketing experience and has had great success promoting niche medical practices, including hair restoration, dental services, and chiropractic services. By leveraging our full range of services, including SEO, PPC, social media, and lead generation, we have generated thousands of qualified patient leads for our clients. Call or contact us today to discuss your medical marketing goals.