Practical Digital Marketing For Doctors

Attract more patients and grow your health clinic with tailored digital marketing strategies.

Anita T is an award-winning marketing consultant with 15+ years of experience.

Marketing your medical clinic, or yourself as a doctor, doesn't need to be daunting. You don't have to be a social influencer, (or maybe you want to be?), and you don't have to spend a million dollars either. Here are some practical digital marketing approaches for doctors.

Cater to your Target Patient Population

Even if you're a GP, you have a target patient population such as your service locality. What's yours? 

Desk research as well as independent interviews can help you understand your target patient demographics and cater specifically to them. Gather information on patients' needs, preferences, health concerns and decision-making process and use this to inform your market positioning.

A doctor who absolutely nails his targeting, is Dr Vein in Victoria. For one, he's made what he does super obvious - he's a vein specialist. Often medical clinics or health professionals adopt vague business names, like a last name, but instead, he's really homed in on what it is he does.

Doctor Vein's messaging, 'Free Your Legs' is perfect for his target market.

Having a name that explains what you do is easier than building a reputation for something around a vague name when you are first starting out. His website, pictured above, is one of the best examples of website positioning for a medical specialist. Not only that, but he's located opposite a hospital making his market position highly targeted both on and offline.

Have An Alive Online Presence

We know that the public are on the hunt for medical info online, yet many medical centers or medical specialists neglect their online presence.

Is that you? 

Your website sits there, fairly stagnant, and so might your social media.  

I understand, you're a doctor/business owner, not a marketing specialist. But, like an orange in a grocery store, if it's left there, it simply starts to deteriorate. If a customer rolls past, they may pick the fresher looking option, and, so do search engines. Yep, your online activity impacts the likes of Google search, and Bing. These search engines want to make sure they are showing customers businesses that are still in business still, after all. Makes sense, right?

There are many ways to keep your business alive and growing online. Some doctors do use social media, like Dr. Leslie who shares all kinda of health tips on TikTok - even health tips for music festivals. Others use YouTube like Dr Howard Luks who answers questions that come through his website. Others simply keep their blog updated with medical news specific to their specialty.

You may be relieved to know that you don't have to be a social influencer to keep your online presence growing. One of the most effective methods, is SEO which (huge plus) can be managed for you so that you can get back to what you studied for: patient care.

SEO Tips for Doctors

Grow your visibility online by growing your online content.

  • Provide useful, relevant content for your ideal patient - people are looking for health answers online! Help make sure they are directed to your services.
  • Provide useful content. I know, I'm repeating myself but this must be reiterated. Often SEO'd content is useless. MAKE SURE IT'S USEFUL or you'll end up with low quality, unengaged website traffic.
  • You can outsource the content writing, but make sure your content writers are briefed with accurate medical info.
  • Create content that is more likely to result in what you need - like an appointment booking.
  • Don't try to be an SEO expert, get an SEO expert's advice.

By delivering relevant content, optimising your website set-up, and leveraging an expert's knowledge, you'll reach your desired clientele.

Use Your Online Presence To Amplify Referrals

Traditionally, doctors relied heavily on word-of-mouth referrals to grow their medical practice or health clinic. In 2023, while similar, it has been taken to a new level. Social media channels can amplify referrals, as can Google Business Listing reviews and dedicated referral websites like TrustPilot.

Referral Tips:

  • Set-up your Google Business Listing, properly. Are you a 'doctor' or 'medical center' for example? You'd be surprised how many people categorise their business wrong on Google and this will impact how people find you online.
  • Incentivize both current and new patients to leave your practice reviews via SMS/email. This can be personalised, appropriately timed and automated. NOTE: Some countries discourage this under law, so check your regulations.
  • Prioritise channels that have a longer life span - like Google. Social media posts only last so long, content on Google hangs around.

The public are likely to expect to be able to read about you online, so own that.

Advertising For Doctors & Medical Clinics

The best online marketing for doctors is often reported to be paid search (PPC). That's when you pay for being popped right at the top of search results when somebody is looking for a service like yours. This is usually done via Google Ads (Adwords), since they dominate the space, and the cost depends on the keywords you are targeting. Competitive phrases cost more, but can also offer higher quality traffic.

Paying to be present at the top of search can be easier than earning your spot through the likes of content marketing. Don't try and DIY or you'll risk wasting your money. Work with a PPC expert who will help you navigate goal set-up, local advertising regulations for your health service, as well as the latest developments in AI targeting.

Maximise Tools Available: Like CRM Systems

Many consider the healthcare industry to be lagging behind other industries in digital marketing know-how, but that neglect offers opportunity to the savvy. You don't necessarily need aggressive self promotion or to be like Doctor Oz in order to build your profile. Rather, focus on your customer. A customer centric marketing model that caters to the customer's journey offers appointment reminders and encourages reviews. You can create this by using a Customer Relationship Management System. There are many available, and which is most appropriate for you will depend on what you do, where you are, and your budget!

What about e-Newsletters?

It does depend, but generally, my professional opinion as a marketer is that newsletters, particularly email newsletters, are so 2000. Rather than considering a newsletter per se, consider creating an email conversation - a steady flow of automated, but personalized emails that create a professional connection between your health service and your clientele.

Crafting an email campaign? You may be interested in this best practice email marketing checklist.

Looking for a healthcare marketing specialist

When you're looking for a marketing specialist for doctors, look for someone familiar with your service locality. Imagine how marketing to a New York demographic will contrast to a UK demographic. Rules around marketing for health care differ from country to country or sometimes state to state, too. Ads will be different - for example, Australians tend to hate the use of caps as it can feel like a 'scream' when read. These kinds of nuances are important for campaign and website performance.

Do you want to attract more patients and grow your practice, faster?

I help doctors and surgeons generate new patients online.


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