Like many healthcare providers, today’s dermatologists face a complicated challenge. They must balance caring for patients with operating their business. That makes finding time to do tasks like marketing difficult.
Now, it’s not enough to build a reputation in the local community as a reliable dermatologist. See if you’ve wrestled with any of the issues below:
If any of these concerns sound familiar, you may find it reassuring to know that you’re not the only one seeking solutions to these challenges. In fact, many dermatologists, as well as other health practitioners, also struggle with marketing their business.
Referrals have always been the primary method for dermatologists to grow their practice. And years ago, that was sufficient. Word-of-mouth from existing patients was enough to generate a reliable flow of new patients. Everyone in your area knew you were The Dermatologist. But now the dermatology industry is more competitive, and you’re not the only doctor with skin in the game.
In fact, it seems there are dermatologists in every shopping plaza and office park and all with snazzy new websites. And more are coming — fresh out of school, hungry, willing to work for lower rates and for longer hours to build their practice with patients who might otherwise go to yours.
As if you didn’t have enough of a battle on your hands with the ever-growing field of dermatologists, you now also have to contend with professional crossover. Practitioners in other industries have moved in to take a slice of your pie.
General practitioners, aestheticians, cosmetologists and massage therapists offering botox have all managed to persuade patients who might otherwise go to dermatologists that they are qualified to provide skin care treatments.
Additionally, some of the newer dermatologists are choosing multi-physician settings so they can be part of a complete solution. These practices offer a range of other cosmetic or medical procedures along with spa treatments and other amenities.
To increase revenue you can either attract new patients to your chiropractic practice or get more business from your existing clientele. Better yet, do both!
First you’ll need to turn up your marketing game to increase your visibility to prospects. These days, the best place to start is with a professional website. Your website is your most important marketing tool.
So, when is the last time you added to or significantly changed your website? One year? Two years? Five years or more? Gasp!
Just like fashions change, so do web designs. A snazzy look could breathe new life into your ailing site and help build your brand. After, all, if your website looks outdated and plain, visitors might assume your chiropractic business is as well.
But design isn’t everything. You need to have substance too if you’re to persuade visitors to contact you and schedule appointments. Your content must clearly explain who you are, what you offer and what you stand for.
The following pages are among the most important. If you don’t yet have them, add them or get help from a website copywriter for dermatologists.
If you already have these pages on your site, check to make sure they’re up to date, the descriptions are accurate and the wording effective in persuading visitors to call.
Service Pages– Have you changed or added any services? Those need to be spelled out on your site so that both existing and new customers know all you offer. Consider giving every service its own page complete with a detailed explanation, testimonials from grateful patients, and a call-to-action that links to your contact page.
FAQ Page – What do new patients most frequently ask your staff? Everything from your specialties and unique offerings to your hours of operation and payment terms should be explained on your FAQ page. Not only will that FAQ page save time for your staff, who now won’t have to answer those questions, but it can also help you attract the types of customers who would be the best fit for your services.
From an SEO (search engine optimization) perspective, FAQ pages are also a great place to write interesting, highly informative, keyword-filled copy, which can help your site’s ranking on Google and your online image as an authority in the dermatology field.
About Us Page– Is the copy on your About Us page current? Most patients see choosing a dermatologist as a highly personal decision. So tell your visitors about your impressive background and the philosophy upon which you’ve built your practice. Those are important facts that could help give a prospect the comfort level to pick up the phone and make that appointment.
Your About Us page is not the place to suddenly become modest. You don’t have to brag, but you can give an honest assessment of your professional experience and unique talents. Don’t forget to include your photo. Yes, I know, everyone hates the way they look in a photo. But people want to do business with someone they trust. A photo, preferably one showing you in your dermatology practice, will go a long ways toward helping them feel they know you and can trust you.
Testimonials– Third-party endorsements can be especially persuasive. Whether scattered throughout your website (i.e. on a page about a particular service, include testimonials from patients who’ve used that service) or posted in list form on a single web page, favorable comments about your practice can have a significant impact on your conversion rate, that is, visitors becoming prospective patients.
These comments should come from patients. But they can also come from other practitioners who refer patients to you. The more specific the comments, the more compelling they’ll be. Rather than quoting patients saying “She is a great dermatologist,” have them explain how you treated their chronic acne or skin cancer lesions, making sure to mention your talent and compassion.
Scott Public Relations suggests going beyond simple testimonials to “include anecdotal support in the form of patient stories in order to build interest.” Stories are interesting and relatable. They can bring the information to life.
“As long as a physician is conscious of patient privacy, these stories add color and help readers connect to the stories. Along these lines, physicians can also bring readers behind the scenes. Doctors might be used to it, but readers love hearing about what happens in the examination room.”
Ask yourself what types of cases you most enjoy handling. Do you have a dermatologic specialty? Do you treat any specific conditions or diseases? Do you offer any unique services.
Determine which cases are the most profitable. Even though your practice is dedicated to helping people, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out the best-paying types of patients.
The marketing firm, SEO.com, suggests that dermatologists consider questions such as: “Do you handle medical dermatological situations or do you focus strictly on cosmetic and elective treatments?” And, “Do you have extensive experience or do you perform certain surgeries that many other practices don’t?”
The answers to these types of questions can guide you in determining your direction. Then you can develop your marketing plan to target the patients you most want to attract.
Seeing is believing. Consider making a video of yourself explaining a common dermatologic issue (even better if you have a visual aid to demonstrate) or performing a treatment on someone. Explain what you’re doing. Use plastic models or graphics if you have them.
According to Practice Builders, video marketing can be especially effective for healthcare practices for the following reasons:
A video can be short and simple or long and involved. Not only will visitors see you in action, it will give them a glimpse of your personality, which can be important to patients selecting a dermatologist.
Another great marketing tool is a blog. It will give you added visibility on the internet. And it’s a great way to stay in touch with your patients, who are then more likely to contact you when they need dermatology services.
Write posts that talk about dermatologic issues, such as proper cleansing, moisturizing, sun protection, etc. The blog posts will position you as an authority.
eVisit, a marketing blog for physicians, recommends that doctors use their blog to “become a thought leader in their field by sharing smart, useful content.” They suggest posting your own tips or sharing articles from medical websites. “This builds trust and keeps you at the top of readers’ minds when it comes time for them to find a new doctor or make an appointment.”
An endless array of marketing tools exist, all designed to give you visibility and build your brand. But no dermatologist, or any business for that matter, has unlimited funds to advertise. So you’ll have to choose those marketing products that will give you the most bang for the buck.
You start with dermatology practice’s website, making sure it’s as professional, engaging and persuasive as you are. From there, you can consider promotional tools such as:
Make sure you give whatever method you choose enough time to work. As you probably know from watching TV, running a commercial once is never sufficient. That’s why you often see the same commercials over and over. Consumers must see your message frequently enough to have you in mind when they’re ready to seek your services.
Promoting your practice is critical to your success. The best dermatologist in the world can’t be successful if people aren’t aware of his services.
As a dermatologist, your time is best spent treating patients. Consider working with a marketing professional such as a copywriter for dermatologists to take on the responsibilities of promoting your practice. With a little help, you could create a steady stream of new patients, attract more high quality patients and increase your revenue.
Do you need help improving your website? Would you like to explore creating other marketing materials to promote your dermatology services? Contact Susan Greene today!