The growing demand for dermatological treatments and procedures has actually caused something of a shortage in the industry. So one might think that the new patients will just line up outside any practice’s door, waiting for their chance to see a doctor.
Unfortunately, that just isn’t the reality of the situation. People may be looking for a cosmetic or medical dermatologist, but that doesn’t mean they’ll automatically find you. At least, not without a little help.
A lot of the increased demand for these professional skin care solutions comes from the huge increases in skin cancer cases as well as the recovery from the recent recession. People have a little more money to spend, and they’re taking the opportunity to get a cosmetic procedure or two.
Standing Out in the Industry
The industry has changed as patient expectations continue to evolve. Now, it’s not enough to build a reputation in the local community as a reliable dermatologist. Patients are looking for a lot more, which is why many young doctors 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.
While this kind of consolidation in the industry is certainly an established trend, that isn’t always the most appealing option for many doctors. There are plenty of dermatologists who prefer to have their own practices and control the direction of the office.
So how do you compete with the other dermatology practices? How do you stay ahead of the game in your city?
Your marketing strategy needs to target the local audience who are ready to take the next step and make an appointment. Whether they’re looking for a cosmetic procedure or need immediate access to a medical professional, you can use these marketing strategies to get your practice in front of your potential patients.
When it’s done right, marketing for dermatologists can help attract new patients, retain established patients, increase awareness of your office location and help generate higher revenues.
Determine Your Direction
Start your marketing process by clearly assessing your current needs, capabilities, and goals. The best way to start is to establish your value proposition – a simple summary (in as few words as possible) that shows why a new patient would chose you over the competition.
Do you handle medical dermatological situations or do you focus strictly on cosmetic and elective treatments? Are you open to more insurance companies than anyone else in the community? Do you have extensive experience or do you perform certain surgeries that many other practices don’t?
Whatever it is that makes your practice unique, this will be the cornerstone of the rest of the marketing process.
Reaching Potential Patients Online
While there are several effective offline methods of marketing your dermatology practice, the online options and strategies can provide faster and greater returns on your investment. On top of that, the number of people using their mobile devices to find local businesses and services continues to grow at an extremely high rate, and these methods can impact that avenue as well.
When we want to know something, we have immediate access to the answer through our mobile devices. Developing your online marketing strategies will help ensure that your practice is the one they find when they search for the closest or best dermatologist.
Start Building Your Reputation Online
Your reputation is an asset you can build through your marketing efforts. No matter where your potential patients first hear about you, chances are they’re going to delve a little deeper online and see what others are saying about your practice on social media and other websites.
Social media isn’t a platform that you use to shout at the masses from behind a virtual podium. Instead it’s a place where you can interact with patients and show the world what your practice is really like. It’s all about being more open and becoming part of the community. So you need to make sure you are using these channels to build your reputation.
Start by optimizing your social networks with properly branded images, regular posts, and quick replies to comments.
If you find that someone has left a poor review their experience, it’s important that you always maintain your calm and take the high road. Don’t get into a comment war and accuse them of lying or exaggerating. It’s far more important (and effective) to use this as an opportunity to build your reputation as someone who cares about every patient and is willing to work with people – even angry people – to make sure they’re getting the results they expect.
Update Your Local Listings
Google My Business is a tool, provided by the search engine, so small businesses can get their information properly listed. This is the platform that gets you on Google Maps and can help you start to rank for local searches.
It is literally a way to guide potential patients right to your door.
You also need to make sure you’ve properly implement schema markup on your website. This will make sure that Google can see important contact information and then display it in the search results. Schema markup can include things like your address and phone number so people don’t even have to click on your listing to get your contact information.
Start Using Online Promotions
There are several effective ways to promote your business and begin generating interest in your practice.
Social promotions – These types of promotions are fairly common and well known. A company simply offers some kind of prize in exchange for liking a post or following them on a social platform. While this can be a good first step to building awareness of your office, it really isn’t enough anymore.
You can do more with social promotions for your dermatology office to start getting some real traction. Instead of asking for a simple like, try asking them to opt into your email list. Maybe have them share a link to a specific landing page that’s promoting a new or discounted skin treatment. This level of participation can be far more effective for your long-term growth.
Press releases – There are several online services that will help distribute a press release. This is a simple way to highlight changes and developments in your practice. Share this information with the world and get a little more attention from the local community.
Local involvement – You can promote your practice by getting involved with local events and activities, especially if they have anything to do with personal health, hygiene, and skin care. You can get your name out there and give people a reason to think of you first.
Make It Easy to Review Their Great Experience
It’s sad but true that if someone has a horrible experience with a medical provider, they’re likely to head straight to every social platform where they’ve ever registered an account and explain in terrible detail exactly why they didn’t care for their experience.
Then again, if they had a good experience, they’re all too likely to just go home and enjoy the results of the procedure.
You need to make it easy for them to share their great experiences in your office. Give them some suggestions on where they could leave a positive review and be sure it’s clear how much you appreciate their effort on your behalf. Don’t ask them to make anything up, just to share the kind of experience they had.
Make the Experience Part of the Brand
From the moment a patient walks into your office, they’re going to notice every nuance (whether they realize it or not). You need to make sure that they get the best experience possible. This means everyone in the office has to understand how the experience is part of the brand, and how their individual actions can contribute to those important reviews and face-to-face interactions with others
Can You Handle This In-house or Should You Hire a Marketing Company?
Once you’ve settled on your goals and expectations, it’s time to decide how, exactly, you’re going to get it done. Many of the elements discussed above can be done by anyone without any extra skills necessary, but that’s not always the case.
Taking care of every element of a dermatology marketing strategy requires a lot of different skills – from writing and tracking data to planning events and keeping up with your social media. While you may have someone in the office who can run your Facebook account, you may not have anyone who can set an SEO strategy or monitor your online reputation.
Outsourcing your marketing needs will require you to work with others, but an agency is more likely to have access to the tools and talent necessary to build your online presence and start growing your practice.
The demand for quality dermatologists continues to grow, and you can take advantage of that increased interest by getting your website and social profiles in front of your potential patients. Start small, be consistent, and consult the pros when you need to, and soon your efforts will start to see some real results.