How does someone in need find a doctor they’re looking for? Chances are they search online, ask their friends for recommendations or visit a hospital and ask to be put in touch with the expert. But what if they searched and your name never came up?
In the ideal world, setting up your practice and delivering excellent care would’ve been enough to get the word about your services and patients would find you automatically. But in the real world, you need to promote your practice if you want to be visible. This is where marketing comes in.
And as daunting as that word seems, don’t worry, we’ve done the legwork and prepared an extensive guide on how you can start marketing your medical practice so that you can grow your business while providing the best patient care.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
As a doctor, with several things on your plate, marketing may not be your top-most priority. But in today’s world, the first interaction someone has with your practice is most likely a result of what they see in the media—online or offline.
So, it becomes imperative for you as a medical professional to wear an entrepreneurial hat and market your services because that’s what can help you stand out among the 700K+ healthcare companies in this highly competitive field.
The only thing to keep in mind is that marketing for doctors isn’t about reckless promotion and cha-ching. Instead, ethics, transparency, and providing honest and valuable information to patients should be at the center of your marketing efforts. The goal is to help your potential and current patients get to know, like, and trust you.
Pro Tip: One of the best ways to build trust and an instant connection with someone who has not personally interacted with you before is to speak to them through a video. A short clip introducing yourself (on your website or social channels) can go a long way in helping you build a connect with people. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend hours on making videos—you can do that easily using a tool like InVideo that allows you to create videos quickly and easily even if you’ve never done it before.
While videos are one way to market your services and one that we’ll explore in greater detail through the course of the blog, let’s start with some other effective ways to market your medical practice to attract new patients and strengthen relations with your current ones.
When it comes to marketing for doctors, there’s a variety of strategies you can use to reach existing and new patients and build awareness for your practice. We’ve grouped them into sections based on the primary purpose they help solve. Let’s dive in!
Section 1: Optimizing your web presence
When the Internet is the most frequently used source of health information and more than 70% of people search for health information online, having a strong online presence is a must as a healthcare professional.
Of course, the internet is vast, and you cannot be everywhere! Which is why you need to focus on the essentials – creating a web presence in a way that it allows for patients and people in your area to find you easily and quickly if they were to do a google search. Here’s everything you need to do to ensure that:
1. Complete your Google my business page
One of the best ways to put the word out about your medical practice is to set up a business profile on Google. If you already have one, we’d still suggest reading through this entire point so you know how to optimize your page and reap its benefits fully.
A Google business profile is the first result that shows up when someone searches for your name on Google. So, it’s a great way to give anyone interested all the necessary information about your practice like where you’re located, what you specialize in, what are your work hours, how people have reviewed your services, and more. You can even share your contact information and any important links you want to lead people to here.
This helps put your practice in front of people in the area looking for a service or type of treatment you offer. And if you optimize your profile completely, you also stand a chance to show up in the first three search results on Google (Google 3-pack), helping you spread the word farther and wider.
Google currently shows three listings (the 3-Pack) on the first page of search results.
You can get started with Google My Business by following this guide and getting your account verified. Setting up an account isn’t difficult—it’s the optimization bit that requires time and attention. Make sure to complete your profile and add all the relevant information including:
- Your name, address, phone (NAP)
- A short description with relevant keywords
- The categories that describe your business
- Business hours
- Clean, professional-looking photos of your clinic.
- Also, respond to any questions people leave on your page.
Additionally, you can even add videos up to 30-sec long to your Google Business profile. You can use this as an opportunity to showcase videos of your clinic, talk to your patients directly, and even share testimonials from existing patients. All you need to do is sign up for a free account on InVideo and use the thousands of templates there to create your short videos within minutes even if you’ve never edited a video before.
Here’s a template you can use to showcase your patients’ testimonials. Simply ask some of them you have a rapport with, if they can share either a written or video review and turn that into a compelling video for anyone who comes to your profile.
2. Create and optimize your medical practice website
Whether patients find out about you from their friends, family, your socials, or Google Business profile, they’re still likely to go to your website to assess if you’re the right fit for them.
A professional-looking medical practice website can help you create an excellent first impression and build credibility. But simply creating a website isn’t enough—you also need to look into aspects like search engine optimization (SEO) and improving the user experience so that you actually show up on the first page when someone is searching for you.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
- Make sure your website clearly conveys who you are, what you do and offer, what you specialize in, your qualifications and experience, and contact details. Remember, transparency is critical when it comes to marketing for doctors.
- Add content around your practice and patients on your website. We’ll explore starting a blog later (Point 8), but even if not a blog, your website should still contain content around your procedures, treatments, and answers to patient FAQs.
This will help potential patients understand your process and your practice better while giving you a chance to showcase your expertise and use the keywords you want to rank for.
For instance, Dr. Kelly Morales here has a separate page for each of her services where she addresses common patient questions.
- To ensure your website stands a chance of appearing in search results, make sure to use keywords you want to show up for in your content —but without stuffing.
Watch this short video to understand how you can use SEO better for your healthcare business:
Taking Kelly’s example again, she’s used “gynecology” and “San Antonio” in her title, meta description, and other sections of her website. This helps Google understand what she does and who her audience is, thus showing her website in relevant searches.
- Remember to not just use keywords related to your profession and specialization but also those related to your locality.
“Near me” searches have increased by a massive volume over the years. And boosting your local SEO—by using your city/area/locality name or its name + a medical keyword—can help the search engine present your website when people in or around your area search for the services you offer.
- Use testimonials from your past or current patients to build trust, credibility, and highlight your strengths to your website visitors.
While written testimonials work well, engaging video testimonials can make people stay on your website for longer, which can help boost your website’s ranking. So, you’ll kill two birds with one stone! You can ask your patients to record a video testimonial and then edit it to your taste on InVideo. Or, simply turn your written testimonials into videos by customizing one of its many eye-catching templates.
- Besides these points, making your website mobile-friendly and up-to-speed can also help enhance its ranking in Google, improving your practice’s discoverability and helping you reach more potential patients.
Once you’ve got these basics right, you can also add appointment-booking features to your website. Even a simple form like this suffices:
When your website is up and running and optimized, make sure to add it to your Google Business profile and the online directories where you sign up (next point) to optimize your profiles further.
3. Hop on online directories
When you run a Google search for doctors—whether for specialized professionals or those near you—you’d notice that many online medical directories also show up in the results.
Creating accounts on these websites, like Zocdoc, Healthgrades, Vitals, RateMDs, or Yelp, is a solid way to market your practice, increase your visibility online, and help the right patients find you.
To understand where to create accounts, you can check which sites your competitors are on or ask your patients which ones they commonly use to find doctors.
When creating profiles on these directories and review sites, make sure to keep details like your name, phone, address (down to where you place the hyphen in your address), qualifications, and display picture uniform across all platforms.
This will help prevent confusion and make the process of reaching out to you smoother. Moreover, consistent information across platforms can also assure Google that the details you mentioned are accurate and your business legit, increasing the chances of your Google Business profile ranking higher.
Here too, solid reviews and ratings can help bolster your online reputation and convince patients about your expertise and work.
Lastly, don’t follow a “set-it-and-forget-it” strategy with these websites. Keep a tab on them—check the reviews you’re getting, respond to both the negative and positive ones courteously, and update your profiles if you make a switch, so your patients get only the latest information.
4. Leverage customer testimonials & reviews
The above points highlight the importance of another strategy that can help you build credibility and grow your business - soliciting reviews and testimonials.
90% of patients use online reviews to evaluate physicians, while 71% say online reviews are their very first step in finding a doctor. The message is clear - success stories or testimonials highlighting your expertise and how you took care of patients can give new patients the assurance and confidence they need to come to you.
And having little to no reviews (or having only negative ones) could be costing you clients and business. So, it’s time to change that—and the process is fairly simple.
Simply ask your current or former clients to leave reviews for you on sites like Vitals and RateMDs—wherever you have a profile. Apart from these third-party sites, you can also collect testimonials yourself by asking your happy clients for written testimonials. You can then feature them on your social media, website, or newsletters to build credibility.
Make sure to seek a patient’s permission before using their testimonial and stay HIPAA-compliant—so, don’t reveal their personal information, including their name, without consent.
While written testimonials are superb, there’s nothing better than a satisfied patient coming in front of the camera and talking about their story and the care they received under you to build a personal connection. This testimonial proves the same:
Even if it’s not possible to get your patients on camera, you can still leverage video testimonials to market your practice. Just turn your written testimonials into compelling videos using one of InVideo’s templates. Pick the template you like, customize it by adding your text and branding, and you’ll be done.
Section 2: Enhancing patient communication
Marketing isn’t just about having a website or optimized Google Business page. Communicating with, educating, and staying in touch with your existing and potential patients is also a way to promote your services subtly and stay top-of-mind. Here’s how you can do that:
5. Use the power of social media
Social media marketing for doctors is an excellent way to connect with and educate your audience and can help build trust, and recall value.
Your social media handles also appear in search results when someone looks up your name. This can further help establish credibility, as seeing quality content on your feeds can enhance patients’ confidence in your work.
To implement this strategy, you can start with platforms like Facebook (create a Business Page), Twitter, and Instagram to share health tips with your audience, the latest medical news or updates, and your opinions on them.
Doing live streams on Facebook or Instagram to interact with your audience, address their questions, and give advice are also great ideas. You can even get some colleagues or other doctors on board and host interviews to provide helpful information to viewers like Mona did here:
You can take a similar approach for your field of expertise and share patient care and tips. You could also create playlists if you find one video doesn’t cover all the information. Take inspiration from Dr. Omar Danoun here. He’s a neurologist and has created a series of crisp and informative videos on epilepsy, its causes, symptoms, and more.
Pro tip: Still unsure of what kind of videos you can post? Read our guide on 212 YouTube video ideas.
6. Reminders & WhatsApp communication
Using emails, SMS, or WhatsApp to send appointment reminders or even birthday messages is a great practice to stay in touch with your patients and add a personal touch to your patient experience.
Besides, appointment reminders can also help prevent no-shows and show patients you care about them. And improving their experience with your clinic can build faith and loyalty, or better still, encourage them to refer you to people they know.
The best part is, this strategy is pretty simple to implement but can still help create a good impression among patients.
You can simply use HIPAA-compliant appointment booking or reminder software like Acuity Scheduling to automate emails or messages. Many Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems also include this feature.
Or, if you have a smaller practice or the availability, you can even personally call your patients (or ask your staff to do it) to remind them about appointments. You can also reach out to patients after an appointment or procedure to see how they’re doing—another great way to build a lasting impression and relationship.
7. The good ol’ email marketing
Your email communication doesn’t have to be limited to appointment reminders. You can use email to further market your business and grow your clientele—by starting a newsletter or regularly emailing tips and information to patients.
This is an excellent way to keep your patients informed, build trust with new ones, and most importantly, stay relevant in their minds.
To build an email list and gain subscribers for your newsletter, you can start with your existing client base—just make sure to ask for their permission before sending them marketing emails.
Better yet, add an opt-in form on your website where those who are willing can sign up to receive email communications from you.
As for what you can talk about in your newsletter, here are some ideas:
- Health tips—you can even start a “Weekly Health Tip” series and send out your emails once a week.
- Industry updates or the latest practice news.
- Information on how you carry out procedures.
- Interesting or informative reads related to the conditions you treat.
- Highlights of your work or your work wins (like a patient walking again after getting a knee replacement surgery from you.)
- A patient testimonial—without revealing personal details.
- Latest pieces from your blog
So, for instance, you can record a short, quick video giving out tips instead of writing them down in the email. Or, you can create an educational video using a template like this—just add your text to it and attach it to your newsletter to engage patients and make them look forward to your emails.
Once you’ve created a website, starting a blog to share tips, advice, and helpful information is a great way to build credibility and showcase your knowledge and expertise.
Putting out relevant content on your website regularly can also improve its ranking on Google as it’ll help the search engine better understand what your website is about and whom to show it to, and when.
You can use the questions your patients frequently ask you as the starting points to brainstorm blog topics. You can also create articles around the treatments you offer, your procedures, typical medical issues, injury prevention tips, industry news or trends, or innovations in the field.
The next step would be to research keywords related to the topic you want to write about. You can use tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush for this, or just type in your topic on Google, look at the suggestions that come up, and take inspiration from them to write your content.
Watch this video to understand how you can find the right keywords for your blogs:
You can also tie in your value proposition into your blogs. Say you’re a physiotherapist writing a blog on how to cure sprains. Wherever relevant contextually, you can mention how you pay home visits or briefly talk about your unique process to identify a patient’s problem and what solutions work best.
Create informative blogs that position you as an expert while keeping in mind your patients and the kind of content they’d want to see. You can also incorporate videos within your blogs – as YouTube embeds or by directly uploading to your site — to supplement the information you’re sharing. And you can create these videos quickly and easily using healthcare templates from InVideo.
9. Communicate through direct mail
Direct mail marketing might seem like a thing of the past but in reality it is still a very effective channel. 42.2% of direct mail recipients either scan or read the mail they get. And that’s because it requires less cognitive effort to read than email. This is probably the reason that direct mail has a 29% ROI for businesses.
As medical professional, direct mail is a great tip when it comes to marketing for doctors because it can act as a great tool to build a connection with your patients and also give them information they can keep readily available. For instance if you send across pamphlets with information about your services, people are likely to keep them in an accessible drawer to use when the need arises.
Besides pamphlets, there are several other options you can utilize for sending direct mail to your patients/potential clients, such as:
- Birthday cards to patients
- Brochures highlighting a new treatment you’ve introduced
- Pamphlets to people in your locality to build brand awareness
- Welcome letters to new patients to familiarize them with your practice
- Your newsletter
- Appointment reminders
An effective strategy to ensure you also get data on how many people read and act on your direct mail information, you can place CTAs within this communication as well as QR codes that they can use to sign into your website or connect with you on social media. This simple strategy can help remind patients of your services, impress new ones, and stay top-of-mind for when a medical need arises.
10. Keep in-office pamphlets & brochures
Do you remember going to your doctor’s as a kid and seeing a bunch of brochures at their reception? They’d provide an interesting read while patients were waiting—but they also helped educate patients and enhance their faith in the doctor’s expertise.
You can implement the same strategy by having pamphlets and brochures at your office, informing patients about your practice, the conditions you treat, and your services. Brochures are also a great way to explain to patients (especially nervous ones) how you go about treatments using clear language and illustrations. You can even use them to educate patients about common illnesses or the different treatment options available for a particular condition so that they can make an informed choice.
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, for instance, once created brochures educating new parents on which illnesses demand emergency department care—so they could prevent overcrowding at their emergency facility.
Not just in-office, you can even send the brochures you print via mail to patients, include them in your care packages or hand them out at events and fairs. Or, you can turn your newsletter into a brochure and keep it in-office—there are many ways you can use the same piece of information for marketing your practice.
11. Invest in branded items (pens, mugs, notepads, etc. that customers can take away)
Marketing for doctors isn’t just about reaching new clients but also nurturing those who have already come in contact with you. A great way to do this, add a personal touch to your practice, and create a positive impression on patients is to give away goodies and branded items.
You don’t have to spend a lot of dollars on them—pens, notepads, mugs, or watches customized with your practice’s name and contact details are relatively cheap to produce but work equally well.
Pro tip: You can even send these branded goodies to your colleagues or fellow doctors to build goodwill and encourage them to send referrals your way.
Another related strategy to make your business stand out is to send care packages to patients—you can add your branded items to them too. You can give care packages to new patients and introduce them to your practice, to patients who were recently diagnosed with an illness while informing them what it’s about and what they should do. Or, you can even send them to patients who recently underwent surgery or treatment at your clinic.
These small gestures can reflect positively on your business, strengthen your relationship with patients, and even encourage them to pass the word around about you.
Section 3: Advertising your practice
Once you’ve built an online presence for your practice, you can try paid advertising to bring it in front of more people and grow your business.
There’s a reason why we recommend building a presence first and then going for paid advertising. That’s because whether you run online or offline ads, people will still likely look you up online, check out your website, socials, or even your Google reviews before deciding whether you’re the right fit for them. It’s when you tick those strategies off first, your ad campaigns are more likely to be successful.
That said, here’s how to get started with advertising and scale your marketing efforts:
12. Run paid offline ads
Although online marketing is picking up, traditional paid ads are far from dead. Newspaper ads, flyers, radio or TV commercials, and billboards are all great ways to reach new people, especially your local audience or those who don’t use the Internet.
Here’s a billboard ad from Doctors That Do that immediately grabs attention and gives you exactly the information you need.
A study even suggests that physical ads are processed more quickly and are more effective in creating an impression on people than even digital ads. Plus, if you’re a new practice and just started, traditional marketing can be extremely helpful in getting the word out and earning your first few clients.
Now, there are many traditional marketing materials you can use to grab the attention of potential patients and propel them to check out your practice. You can send out leaflets or flyers—filled with engaging visuals, copy, and describing what you do and offer—to people in your locality or display them at public places. You can also use them to promote your events, like a free health check-up you’re organizing, to increase footfall.
Or, you can go for print ads in local newspapers or magazines to build brand awareness. The key here is to research your audience and advertise in publications they’re likely to read. Although they offer immense reach, billboards and radio and TV ads are comparatively more expensive. So, we’d suggest starting with the above strategies first.
13. Run paid online ads
Although offline ads can work great, what makes online advertising effective and a top choice is that it allows you to target a specific audience and within a stipulated budget. So, you don’t run online ads for everyone, but only those who are likely to need your services.
When it comes to online ads, you can start with search-based ads on Google. They allow you to target specific keywords related to your practice that people might be looking up and show your website as a potential solution to them. For instance, these are the websites that appear at the top in the search result when you look up “Cardiologists San Antonio.”
So, paid search ads allow you to attract relevant patients looking for the services or procedures you offer. You can also decide to run these ads only locally, so you attract patients from your area and increase chances of them actually coming to you.
When running a paid search campaign, make sure that the page you take visitors to addresses what they searched for—instead of just taking them to your homepage.
For instance, the Baptist Health System from the example above takes visitors to this dedicated page on cardiology:
Besides this, running ads on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram is also a super effective strategy to enhance your practice’s exposure to your practice. Facebook also lets you create highly-specific ads—you can target people based on their age, gender, interests, and location to reach the right audience for your practice.
Watch this detailed guide to get started with Facebook Ads:
Pro tip: Facebook video ads receive 10-30% more views than other formats. So, if you’re trying your hands at paid advertising, incorporating video can help you achieve better results.
And creating videos doesn’t have to be time-consuming or challenging. With a simple and easy-to-understand tool like InVideo, you can create compelling video ads filled with text, music, and exciting visuals within minutes. Or if you don’t want to create a video from scratch, you can simply customize a template like this, and you’ll have a scroll-stopping video ready.
14. Give out press releases
They may not be the first thing to come to mind, but press releases are a powerful way to create a buzz around your practice, build a strong reputation for yourself, and establish your expertise. All of this can ultimately help you bring in new patients and strengthen your image in the sector.
You might be wondering, “what can doctors possibly create press releases around?” But there are many ideas and announcements you can leverage to run a press release and give your practice a boost:
- Milestones—like celebrating your 10th year in practice or having treated 5,000 patients.
- New locations—if you’re opening a new clinic or expanding your current one.
- New treatments introduced
- Awards and honors—sharing your latest achievements can help build credibility and people’s trust in your services and expertise.
- A study you were involved in that was published.
- Community involvements—like a speaking engagement you’re participating in or vaccination drives, health check-ups you’re organizing.
All these make for newsworthy stories, but remember, the key to crafting a good press release is not to sound too promotional. Press releases are about sharing updates about your practice with your audience; they showcase your expertise, help build trust, and attract patients in the process.
After writing a press release detailing your announcement, create a list of local journalists or outlets to send them to get your message across. Or, you can use paid press release distribution services like PR Newswire to disseminate your release to a wider audience.
15. Authored articles in other blogs and media publications
If writing blogs is your strong suit, don’t restrict yourself to your website—you can also write for other blogs and media publications to spread the word about your practice and expertise to a larger audience.
What’s more, writing for high-authority websites can provide you with valuable backlinks to your own website, which can help boost its ranking in the search engine.
Now, there are many ways you can go about this. You can choose to guest post on blogs—generic medical websites like KevinMD.com or those specific to your specialization. Journalists in print and online are also constantly looking for medical professionals to vet their information and provide new insights. You can try partnering with a local newspaper or magazine for a health column or just contribute to their pieces regularly.
Whether online or offline, being quoted in the media can help establish your expertise and create a solid image in the minds of your colleagues and potential and current patients. To this effect you can also give video bytes for videos on topics where your expertise is required. Simply shoot a short clip, edit it using an easy-to-use tool such as InVideo and send it across.
16. Speak at interviews and podcasts
Joining hands with fellow doctors, medical experts, journalists, or even your patients for interviews and podcasts is another excellent way to get your name out there and highlight your expertise—all while providing immense value to your audience.
You can take part in your local news station’s interviews or even use HARO to learn about interview opportunities. Meanwhile, doing Facebook and Instagram lives with fellow practitioners is also a great idea to educate your audience while increasing both of yours’ reach.
While interviews and lives have always been in the picture, podcasts are an up-and-coming format. There’s lesser competition in the podcast space, which can help your practice stand out and attract new patients.
Moreover, podcasts are super helpful to educate and inform patients who might not be comfortable reading content. You can use them to share information on the conditions you treat, host chats with other physicians, and even bring on your patients as guests to discuss their experiences with you.
And, since podcasts are not overly promotional and are centered around providing value, they can also help you build a loyal audience, ultimately helping you grow your practice. What’s more, you can even repurpose your podcasts into YouTube videos, like Dr. Josh Axe does.
Section 4: Local outreach
Networking with fellow practitioners and publicizing your services in your locality can help put your name out there and boost brand awareness like nothing else. If you create a good impression, these people are likely to remember and turn to you when they need your services.
The only caveat here is that these strategies can take time and effort to show results. However, they can be extremely powerful in not only getting you patients but also helping you build a positive reputation for your practice.
17. Network with fellow physicians to build a referral system
Connecting with doctors in different specialities is an excellent way to increase your knowledge of the field and stay up-to-date on the latest happenings.
But that’s not it—since you all serve different types of patients, you can also build a strong referral system and pass on patients to one another based on one’s specialties. You can connect with doctors at networking events, conferences, seminars, or even hire a physician liaison who can reach out to different physicians and hospitals on your behalf.
Websites like Sermo and Doximity are also great options here. They allow you to connect with other physicians, contribute to challenging patient cases, showcase your specialty, and can even help build a referral network.
This review on Doximity exemplifies our point:
18. Participate in community events & outreach programs
Participating in fundraisers, health fairs, seminars, and speaking engagements can prove to be very effective in putting your practice out there and attracting new patients.
You can look up events happening in your locality on sites like Eventbrite or 10Times. You can even organize events like open houses, lunch-and-learns, and mental wellness camps yourselves—to educate and inform local residents and build awareness for your practice.
Pro tip: Instead of generic events, think of organizing events relevant to your area. For instance, if obesity is a problem in your neighborhood, you can organize a short marathon followed by a session on healthy living habits.
Either way, make sure to promote your involvement in events diligently, through your newsletter, flyers, word of mouth, and by posting on social media. Ideally use videos on your social media channels to spread the word since videos have better recall. And you can easily create these videos using a tool such as InVideo even if you’ve never made one before.
19. Set up free health check-ups
Organizing free health camps—like blood pressure screenings, basic medical checkups, BMI checkups, flu shots, or informative workshops—can be a great way to reach people in your locality who are probably unaware of your practice.
You can keep these camps open to all, giving potential patients a chance to try out your services and understand if you’ll be a good fit for them. Or, you can organize them for people who can’t afford medical facilities—a way for you to do social good and improve your area’s health while still promoting your practice.
Even when you’re organizing community events or participating in health fairs, you can use free screenings or checkups to tempt people to visit you or check out your booth.
Fitting marketing into your hectic daily routine can be difficult, but it’s a must to put your name out there and reach the patients who deserve your care and expertise. These strategies are some of the most effective ways to market your practice. But don’t worry about getting started with all of them at once—take baby steps, start with one strategy and one platform at a time, and you’ll see what works for you and doesn’t.
To know more about healthcare marketing and explore the different strategies you can use, read this blog post. Since videos formed a significant part of all the above strategies, you’d also want to brush up your knowledge on video-making, which is where our YouTube channel can help.
And if you're looking to make gold standard videos, sign up for InVideo today!