Ignoring online marketing is a common decision for many business owners. Unfortunately, it is also a big mistake. In this day and age, you cannot afford to have your business underrepresented online. As a dermatologist, you may feel a bit out of your comfort zone dealing with online marketing efforts, as this is not what you have been trained to do. You can set those worries aside, however, as there are many steps you can take – with a bit of help – to present your business to a whole new audience.
Online marketing for dermatologists is really no different than digital marketing for any other kind of local business. Your practice serves the local community, so you need to make sure that community is aware of your presence, and aware of the quality service you provide. Think of your website and the rest of your digital marketing efforts as your modern-day front door – if you give off a good image on the web, potential patients will be more likely to schedule an appointment.
It is important to understand, on a basic level, that online marketing can take on many different forms, shapes, and sizes. There is no one online marketing plan which is going to work for every business – you have to apply strategies which make sense for your operation, and which will reach your target market. For instance, some companies see a great return when they invest in social media marketing, while others see little benefit at all. Just as with any other kind of marketing venture, you need to focus on those channels which return the best results while dumping the rest.
As a dermatologist, it is likely that the vast majority of your patients are going to come from a relatively small geographical area. Your patients might not all live within the city where you practice, but they probably won’t be too far away, either. With that in mind, local search is one of the key elements you should be targeting in an online marketing campaign.
What is local search? Basically, this is an area of marketing which focuses on search engine optimization for local search keywords and terms. In other words, you want to make sure the keywords which are searched by people in your area who need a dermatologist are going to find your website. If there are a handful of dermatologists practicing in your city, you want to do everything you can do to make your site land at the top of the search results.
To make this concept a bit clearer, let’s work through a quick example. Imagine for a moment that you own a dermatology practice in Omaha, NE. Naturally, you would want to include the phrase ‘Omaha dermatologist’ in a few places on your site. That part is pretty obvious. However, you wouldn’t want to limit yourself to just those who happen to search for Omaha specifically. After all, those who live in Council Bluffs, IA which is across the Missouri River from Omaha, could easily drive over for care. So, it may be smart to include ‘Council Bluffs dermatologist’ in a few locations on your site as well.
In the end, the idea with local search is to cast a wide net for prospective patients. By thinking about what potential search terms could be used to find your business, and then including those on your site, you will improve your chances of drawing organic search traffic. As long as some of those searchers turn into actual patients, you will have benefitted your business through the power of local search.
Local search optimization is all about trying to attract free traffic. However, local search results can be somewhat slow to come, depending on the amount of competition in your market. As an alternative, you can choose to run paid search ads. When someone searches for ‘Omaha dermatologist’ (to continue our example), your ad would display on the side of the page. If a searcher decided to click on your ad, they would be taken to your site and you would pay a fee.
The advantage of opting for paid search is the fact that you can see immediate results. It is possible to drive new traffic to your site the same day that you set up a new campaign. On the downside, of course, is the cost. This is not a free method of traffic, and you will have to run a well-optimized campaign if you are going to see positive results in the end.
It is often the simple steps which can be the most effective with any kind of marketing initiative. One of the simplest things you can do online is to make sure your office is added to as many directories as possible. There are countless free directories around the web, and making sure that your office – with accurate information – is included is a simple thing you can do. That way, when someone stumbles on one of these directories while looking for a qualified dermatologist, they will have the chance to see your name. Should your information change at any point along the way, such as when you move locations or get a new phone number, be sure to update the directories appropriately.
Some online marketers swear by social media. Others, not so much. The key with social media is to use it in a way which makes sense for your business. Often, it is useful not so much as a recruitment tool, but as a way to stay in touch with past patients. If you ask patients to follow you on social media – perhaps in exchange for some form of reward – you can build a following and keep in touch with that following moving forward. This plan may be all you need to increase your number of return visits and boost your bottom line in the long run.
We know what you are thinking at this point – when am I supposed to do all of this work? A practicing dermatologist doesn’t exactly have a bunch of free time available to work on online marketing projects. That is why Market Igniter would be happy to help! We can help with any kind of online marketing methods you would like to explore, and we will do so for a fair rate. Thank you for learning more about the importance of online marketing for dermatologists, and we look forward to working with you!