- On 29/03/2017
“Sale! Sale! Sale! All medical procedures must go!”
Ok, so obviously not all marketing techniques work for medical practitioners. And before we get into any further discussion, it’s important to note that there are restrictions on advertising.
What not to do
The Medical Board of Australia dictates what is marketing and advertising is acceptable and legal for medical practitioners. You can find complete guidelines here.
In a nutshell, the law prohibits advertising that is:
- false, misleading or deceptive;
- offers a gift, discount or other inducement without stating terms and conditions;
- uses testimonials;
- creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment;
- or encourages indiscriminate or unnecessary use of health services.
If you fail to abide by the guidelines, you will get stung – penalties includes deregistration, as well as fines of up to $500,000 for individual doctors, and $10m for companies.
Marketing via social media also deserves special attention, and the Medical Board’s advertising guidelines also apply here, as does its policy, which you can find here
With those restrictions in mind, what is the best way for you to stand out from the crowd?
Focus on service delivery
For many doctors, word of mouth is still one of the most effective ways to reach new patients. Satisfied patients will refer other patients. Your skill and expertise are not the only things that impress patients. A caring attitude from doctors and practice staff are equally important. A little thanks goes a long way as well. If your patient has referred other friends and family, let them know with a thank you card. Sometimes the little touches make the biggest impressions.
Your practice should appear highly on web search results for your area. Make sure you’ve entered all your business information in Google My Business, so customers know as much as possible when they visit you. Also ensure information is updated if your business changes. It’s also a good idea to verify your locations to appear across Google products like Maps and Search. Another way to reach customers is through prominence, which is based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (links, articles and directories). SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization.
Put your best foot forward with a well-designed website. In addition to having your contact information and location details, it’s a good idea to include hours of operation. Some practices choose to include whether they bulk bill and if not, their rates. Photos of the practice and doctors are also welcome touches, as are short biographies of the medical practitioners. Also include other services that you may offer, such as skin checks, immunisations, home visits, antenatal shared care, dietary advice, etc. An ‘About Us’ section that outlines’ your practice’s philosophy or mission statement is also a good way to reach patients’ looking for similar values.
Don’t be left behind
Stand out from the crowd. Future Practice and the AMA (NSW) are offering free consultations to improve your practice’s marketing and processes.