In Part I of this list we covered content and patient reviews, now lets take a look at the top 3 online marketing mistakes that physicians make:
3) Not Building a Quality Email List
Plain old email is actually one of the most powerful tools available to online marketers today and here at RX we are often amazed at how many doctors have no idea about this. It is fairly common to see physicians who have been practicing medicine for more than a decade and yet have no email list to leverage all these years of relationship building. A quality email list of people who care about what you have to say is truly priceless and can be literally turned into on-demand cash flow with the right promotion. Just having a list is not enough either, by sending out regular promotional and informational emails, a business can refine the list to drop the uninterested and pick out the VIPs. Remember, don’t try to take shortcuts with email marketing, a good profit-generating list is a labor of love and dedication, while a buying a list from some third party is a sure way to get blocked from search engines or lose one’s hosting for spamming.
In short, GET THOSE EMAILS! Then provide subscribers with rewards and useful information as you prune your list into a beautiful money tree.
2) An Anti-Social Approach to Social Media
So, you have a Facebook page and a Twitter account to promote your practice, now what do you do with them? Too many doctors and other businesses seem to take the “Wall” aspect of Facebook far to literally and use these amazing platforms as little more than semi-automated bulletin boards. Social networks are full of such accounts, spouting links and declarations into empty space. Nobody cares to pay much attention to these profiles, no more than people will care for the ramblings of someone speaking to themselves.
Social media is all about interaction and engagement. Give people something they will want to comment on, a poll they may want to do, an exciting contest to join or even just a funny picture. Anything that requires and rewards action can work to turn casual fans or followers into friends and patients. Always reply to messages and comments, start conversations on twitter and join into trending topics in your area. Also, don’t be afraid to diversify and try out other existing and emerging social channels; social bookmarking giants like Reddit and StumbleUpon can drive huge traffic spikes if the community’s interest is tickled in the right way and new-kid-on-the-block Pinterest has been growing at breakneck pace and promises big rewards to those who learn to use it early on. Finally, when it comes to doctors and medical practices in particular, here’s one last piece of social media advice: Be who you are! Become a resource and help people out with tidbits of professional advice. Healthcare searches are the third most popular online activity across all groups, the demand is there, you just need to answer it. This will make you an authority and create the kind of trust and genuine appreciation that no money can buy.
1) Bad Website Design
And so we come to what is probably the biggest medical marketing mistake that we regularly encounter. Just think about it, nobody would go see you if your office building had broken windows, chipped paint, crumbling stairs and ugly 80’s rock posters stuck to every wall. In the same way, a website is the online version of a physician’s workspace and if it looks messy and uninviting, people will not want to go. Often, not having a website at all would be better than to have a total mess that turns off patients. Bad web development and design takes all sorts of shapes, but the most common issues that we see involve outdated platforms, terrible color schemes and layouts, no lead generation methods and poorly done copy. While colors, layouts, content and functions like proper social media integration and lead generation forms can be overcome with relative ease, poorly coded and outdated platforms can be a nightmare to wrestle with.
There are many systems out there that offer easy website creation with no code, but the vast majority of them have a lack of modern functionalities, are terribly restrictive in the back-end and are not very friendly to the search engines. The gold standard in content management systems (CMS) today is the WordPress platform, and for good reason. WordPress allows developers to create gorgeous, engaging, very scalable and SEO friendly websites that can also be easily managed and maintained without any knowledge of code or design.
Don’t let some well-intentioned friend or family member turn your virtual medical office into a dump, hiring medical website design experts like the RX Medical Web team to build your property will get you a top quality, modern medical site that drives traffic and converts visitors into leads and patients. If you are proud of your medical practice, your should have a website you can be equally proud of!