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Our cure for digital marketing-resistant physicians

Our cure for digital marketing-resistant physicians

The hardest part of digital marketing for medical practices is getting everyone involved on board. Unfamiliarity with both the process and the potential of digital advertising can make it hard to grasp for doctors, especially when your stakeholder’s idea of a healthcare marketing strategy is using traditional media to reach an audience containing only a few potential consumers. While getting the uninitiated to consider digital advertising may seem daunting, it can be done. As experienced healthcare marketers, we have found some key techniques that help get doctors excited about these modern — and highly effective — marketing tactics.

Speak their language: Data

When talking about digital marketing for doctors, speak a language these scientists can understand: data. In the frequently subjective advertising world, the digital marketer has far more analytics into campaign success than their traditional counterparts. Bring evidence to back up every suggestion you make (it’s hard to argue with numbers), and if all of that still doesn’t convince them, pull out case studies to show you have a track record of success.

It’s also helpful to speak to the healer inside each doctor. Let them know potential patients are looking for them online. Logically, if they have a strong digital presence, it will be easy for those patients to find them. You can lay out the medical digital marketing strategies that can help connect them to these patients, whether it’s through improving SEO, beefing up their physician profiles to boost their online listings, or improving their presence on social media.

Identify the key players

Find the most respected doctors in key service lines, and seek to get them on board first. When the top dogs start to see results from your campaign, they’ll share their successes with their colleagues and those who admire them. Suppose the hospital or health system sees an increase in revenue from your campaign. In that case, they’ll likely invest more money to market additional physicians and service lines where appropriate, and the physicians will already be on board.

Get your physicians and leaders involved

It’s much easier to get someone to agree with your plan when they feel you value their input. Not only does asking for physicians’ advice help them feel more comfortable with the process, but it can also help narrow down your targeting methods to those more relevant to your goals. Ask them about their typical patient, associated conditions (such as GERD or sleep apnea for a bariatric surgeon), and the types of medications they often prescribe to patients, then use this information to create an even more highly targeted audience.

Because digital marketing is moving towards becoming more of a personalized experience for audiences, getting physicians involved is essential. You can get started by having them be more active on social media to build loyalty, engage with bloggers and influencers, and participate in interviews and podcasts to build credibility. 

Customize their care

Physicians know that no two cancer treatments are the same. While they typically have the same basic elements (chemo, surgery, etc.), each patient experiences different doses and timelines. 

This concept rolls over to marketing. You wouldn’t market an oncologist like you would market a primary care physician. You wouldn’t market lung cancer care like you would market a breast cancer center. You’ll typically begin with the same basics (landing page, search, social ads, etc.), but your content and how you target people will vary widely.

For example, a bariatric surgeon’s audience targeting might use prescription codes for obesity-related conditions. At the same time, an oncologist who treats mesothelioma might benefit from targeting jobs with a history of asbestos exposure. And on the content side, a breast cancer center’s campaign may rely on emotional appeals to motivate your audience, while a gastroenterologist who treats GERD would focus on symptom relief.

In the same vein, not all patients are seeking the same things. Patients from different generations have different priorities. Let’s use primary care as an example: Older audiences may be seeking easy physician access or family-focused care, while younger audiences may be more concerned about price transparency and preventive care. This means that not all patients will respond ― much less take action ― to a singular, general ad about yearly wellness checks. Customizing communication tactics to address each audience demographic is crucial. It will help these patients get what they need and let physicians know their patients’ evolving needs.

Doctors want to share their successes and find new patients; you just need to show them how digital marketing can help them achieve their goals. This builds strong communication channels with those you’re working with, a necessity no matter your career. The techniques above rely on transparency and honesty, critical factors in earning your partners’ trust. By communicating openly about your goals and methods for achieving them, you can develop a lasting partnership with the doctors you serve.

And if you’re interested in a lasting marketing partnership, give our team at DECODE a call. We’re excited to share more about DECODE’s unique, strategic perspective and how these ideas could work for your organization. 

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