03 Sep Four Beginner-Friendly Tips for Marketing Your Practice
Marketing your Practice can feel overwhelming at times, especially when you’re not sure where to begin. However, it’s a task that remains crucial to the success of any business – GP clinics included. All the positive aspects of your Practice would all be for naught if no-one knew you existed.
So where do you start?
Google My Business
When it comes to making sure people know your Practice exists, Google My Business is a great place to start. Have you ever searched for a service or product, and had local businesses appear in your results? These are Google My Business listings.
A recent study into Google My Business (GBM) insights found that on average, businesses were discovered by their Google listing 1,009 times each month, so it’s a no brainer when it comes to an easy-to-implement, but essential, marketing measure.
GMB listings aren’t only to let potential clients and patients know that you exist, but also the services you offer, your address, what your business looks like, reviews, and even how much a visit might cost them. When you go through the setup process, you’ll be asked all of these questions (except for the reviews which will come from your patients/clients), and it’s important you answer as many as possible.
When it comes to deciding which businesses to display in search results, Google operates on three primary metrics: proximity, relevance and prominence.
Proximity is self-explanatory – Google will prioritise listings for a business 5km away over one that is 30km away. For this reason, it’s important that you accurately list your Practice’s address.
Relevance is Google determining how relevant your business is to the searcher’s needs, and this comes into play with the descriptions and services you have included in your GMB listing. For example, if someone searches for ‘medical practice skin check’, but you haven’t included the terms ‘skin check’ in your services or business description, your relevance to the search term wouldn’t be as high, so it’s important to mention all relevant services that your Practice offers. Try to be thorough with your keywords and include as many relevant variations as you can think of.
Prominence is the third, and trickiest metric to get correct. Prominence relates to things like the number of reviews your Practice has, whether other websites refer to your website or business name, and how well-known your brand is in the local community. The easiest way to boost your prominence is to consistently ask patients and clients for feedback via Google Reviews. This will also help combat any negative reviews you may receive with a more balanced view of all the happy patients and clients you serve.
If Google can see your Practice is an active business that is generating positive feedback from patients and clients, it more confidently displays your GMB listing in search results as it will recognise you as a local business that communicates trust and authority.
We’ve only just scratched the surface of Google My Business here, and if you are interested in finding out more, there are no shortage of resources online. If you haven’t yet set up a Google My Business listing for your Practice, you can get started here https://www.google.com/business/. In addition, it’d be worthwhile to list your Practice on Maps Connect, Apple’s version of Google My Business. You can get started here https://mapsconnect.apple.com/.
Social media encompasses a range of platforms, but the easiest to use and market on, is Facebook. Many businesses still write Facebook off as unnecessary – but the reality is far from it. According to a social media statistics report from January 2020, there are approximately 15 million active Australians on Facebook, which is 60% of the country’s total population!
Setting up a business page on Facebook is very similar to setting up a personal profile. Remember to be thorough with your Practice’s services, opening hours and location, and use well-lit photos that show your Practice or clinic off in its best light.
One avenue unique to Facebook is the ability to post content to engage with your patients, clients and local community. Brainstorm some ideas with your team for fun and engaging posts that will get people commenting, liking or sharing your content.
The secret here is varying and personalising content. Many successful Practices and clinics share feel-good stories, staff stories, health awareness days and healthcare news. You also don’t need to worry about your content being too polished – spontaneous content often performs better and gives an air of authenticity.
Social media marketing can take time. You need to work at building your online community and be patient – display a poster in the reception area asking patients to follow your page or offer a small one-time discount for becoming a follower. Use the functionality within Facebook to invite those who like your posts to also like your page!
Your Practice Management System
A seldom used feature that can really set your Practice apart from your competition, is utilising the communication functionality within your Practice Management System, that is either inbuilt or integrated. This could include SMS and/or mobile phone apps and can often be automated. What better way to provide exceptional customer service and strengthen your patient-practice relationship, than with proactive health awareness messages, helpful health summaries or factsheets, and health reminders?
If you’re not sure whether your current system supports this, it may be worthwhile speaking to your software provider, as you may be missing out on great inbuilt marketing tools!
Your Own Website
Google and Facebook are free and easy to use marketing channels, but your website’s performance is also critically important. If your website has online booking functionality but is slow, has broken links or doesn’t work properly on mobile, you’re going to lose a lot of visitors before they’ve had a chance to book an appointment.
Tools like GTMetrix help assess how well your site is optimised, giving you an easy to understand performance score from A to E. If your website receives a poor score, it’s worth the time and money to improve it.
Do I Need to Learn More Advanced Marketing Techniques?
Marketing is a complex beast, but for most people getting the basics right is all you need.
The best advice for marketing your Practice to your potential patients and clients is to put yourself in their shoes:
- If you were looking for a Practice, what information would you want to see in a Google My Business or Safari Maps Connect listing?
- If you were to follow your local Practice’s Facebook page, what type of content would keep you engaged with them?
- Visit your own Practice’s website. Be honest and objectively assess whether it offers a pleasant user experience.
- If your Practice uses a Practice Management System that supports SMS, app messaging or email integration, what kind of notifications would keep you engaged with them?
A golden rule of marketing is to relate to your audience. This is true no matter what industry or discipline you’re trying to promote.
So, before you make any change, post or update – stop and think ‘is this something my audience needs or wants to see?’
Marketing Specialist at Best Practice Software