One of the most challenging problems a doctor may face is the question of how to market yourself (as a doctor) to potential patients. You are a medical professional, not a marketing executive, and so there is every chance that you do not possess the skills, insight, or even interest necessary to effectively sell your practice to the general public.
After all, marketing is highly subjective whereas doctors work within a profoundly and proudly objective sphere. We like to imagine the world of medicine as being rooted in facts, figures, and a dedication to evidence-based reasoning and the timeless edict to “Do No Harm.”
You may not feel that marketing fits within the purview of that world and you would be right. What’s more, you may have moral compunctions about the prospect of marketing yourself as a doctor in the first place lest that interfere with your objectivity or patient-first focus.
Nevertheless, without marketing your practice, you won’t have any patients to treat. Here are the signs that your gastroenterology practice needs better marketing and what you can do about it.
You Aren’t Marketing at All
The first and most obvious sign that your gastroenterology practice needs better marketing is that you aren’t doing any marketing in the first place. We’ve already delved above into some of the reasons why this may be the case and, as stated, while those concerns are valid, so too is your need to tastefully advertise your practice.
Of course, the question then turns to how you should go about doing that.
One of the most common ways of doing this is by pressing your case on the Internet. This can have its own shortcomings and we’ll cover how to address those in a bit; for now, it’s worth noting that this method has several plusses, not the least of which being its comparatively unobtrusive nature.
First and foremost, you are a doctor, not a businessperson. You don’t want patients to feel as though you’re “pushing” your services onto them with a hard sell in person. One very clear example of how a doctor’s website should be laid out, is that of Brisbane gastroenterologist Dr Kavin Nanda. The website clearly seeks to inform its visitors, rather than sell a service or consultation.
By contrast, advertising online not only allows you to reach a wider audience but likewise makes that sell less direct. That said, not every form of online marketing can help you equally. Again, you’re a doctor and not an Youtube or Instagram Influencer, so Twitter posts or YouTube vlogs can come across as potentially too “pop” and unprofessional.
However, and as we mentioned previously, a professionally-designed website can do wonders for your exposure. Just make sure it’s not salesy. Just focus on delivering the required information to your visitors, and reassuring them by answering all the questions they may be asking themselves.
Your Patients Aren’t Sticking Around
Are your patients not sticking around? Is your patient retention low? Do you begin treatment with them only to see them leave for other doctors after a session or two? The problem may lie with your bedside manner or the way in which you are interacting with them. You can be the most insightful doctor in the area but if you come across as cold, distant, rude, or otherwise unpleasant, your patients may seek treatment elsewhere.
As such, an edict of face-to-face marketing that you can adapt is to always remain polite and (as far as is appropriate) to try and develop a personal connection with your patients. This will be a very important step to improve your patient retention, which is a key factor in a medical practice’s success.
In speaking with patients, as with all means of marketing yourself, a little goes a long way.