Doctors and nurses spend years of medical schooling to learn how to treat patients and provide the best value-based care possible. Unfortunately, despite the academic rigors and intensive training, there’s one area where some leave school unprepared: the business aspect of the job.
Understanding how to maintain and then build your healthcare practice is an often-overlooked aspect of healthcare provision. Yet, it’s essential if you want to continue making a difference in people’s lives.
Want to know how to grow your practice and improve patient acquisition? This guide has you covered.
Growing Your Independent Medical Practice Starts with an Internal Review
Business success in the medical field is all about retaining your current patients while acquiring new ones. And whether you’re a fledgling business or an already established clinic, there are some universal marketing practices that you could employ to prevent stagnation and instigate business growth.
But before you begin, your first task is to complete a thorough self-analysis of your independent practice. An internal audit will help you understand your strengths, weaknesses, and potential areas for growth.
During this process, take the time to review your current patients and then build a profile of your target persona. These profiles will represent a segment of your market, providing a deeper understanding of who they are and what makes them tick.
To create these personas, consider the following categories:
- Their demographics
- Socioeconomic status
- Health condition
- What services are they seeing you for?
- What conditions do you prefer treating?
- What conditions or services are the most profitable for your practice?
By leveraging this information, you can familiarize yourself with your target patient’s chief values and concerns. From there, you can tailor your marketing efforts to target the people most likely in need of your services.
Once you’ve handled this prep work, you’re ready for optimizing your practice for growth.
Double-Down on Your Website
Your website is the digital storefront for your independent practice. It’s your opportunity to make a positive first impression and convey your medical expertise.
The vast majority of modern consumers will visit a website before purchasing a good or service. It’s a screening method they use to verify that the business is legitimate. According to Forbes1:
“One of the main reasons you should have a website for your business is to increase your organization’s credibility. Chances are there are several providers offering a similar service to yours. One way you can stand out is by having a website that looks good and clearly communicates quality information to your consumers. Without a website, people may question your legitimacy as a business.”
Beyond this, a website is integral to all of your digital marketing efforts. The quality of the site doesn’t just convince potential clients of your trustworthiness; it also can have a massive impact on your search results rankings and marketing efforts.
For starters, your website should include the bare minimum features:
- Basic business information, such as your location and contact information
- Detailed information on your services provided
- High-quality photos of your staff and practice
- Patient testimonials
Optimize Your Website for Growth
Digital growth revolves around search engine optimization (SEO). Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Yahoo all seek to provide searchers with the most relevant answers to their questions. If you want new patients to discover your clinic, these search engines need to be capable of easily reading your site, understanding what it contains, and then indexing it accordingly.
SEO and search ranking results reward independent practices that design a site for the best patient and user experience. There are dozens of SEO best practices, but you should first focus on the following:
- Make it mobile responsive – Nearly 60% of all organic web searches take palace on mobile devices.2 So, your website should be designed to accommodate mobile searchers.
- Educate your audience – Your website isn’t solely focused on revenue generation. Rather, it should also be about informing and educating patients with informative blog content and web copy.
- Add SEO elements to each page – Every page on your site should include targeted keywords, title pages, meta descriptions, image alt-text, and page headers.
- Call-to-actions – Include prominent CTAs throughout your website that encourage potential patients to take some sort of action after they’ve finished reading—whether it’s signing up for a newsletter, booking an appointment, or asking them to contact you.
- Make it fast – Your website should be fast and responsive. Having a website with slow-loading pages is one of the quickest ways you could turn off a potential client.
Embrace a Holistic Digital Marketing Strategy
You require a comprehensive marketing strategy if you want to reach the most high-quality patients. Certain avenues will better target specific people. Therefore, it’s smart to cast as wide of a digital net as possible by investing in several channels, including:
- Content marketing – Your blog is one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal. By writing articles about your profession and questions that your customers are likely to search, you will rank higher on search engine result pages, especially if they’re dwelling on your content and pages. Your blog is an opportunity to:
- Establish your brand
- Build your authority
- Create an audience
- Inform, engage, and educate your audience
- Answer common medical questions
- Highlight aspects of your practice
- Social media marketing – Social media is yet another way to build your digital presence, find new patients, and offer engaging content. According to the Spark Report, 41% of respondents said that social media affected their choice of doctor, hospital, or medical facility.3 So, it’s important to leverage these platforms and regularly post engaging content on the following sites:
- Paid advertising – If you have room in your marketing budget, paid ads with Google Adwords and PPC campaigns can be a worthwhile investment. These ads will show up at the very top of search results, listed as an ad.
Create an Open Line of Communication with Patients
As a general practice, the more informed patients are about your clinic, the more likely they’ll positively respond to you.
Your content efforts are an effective first touchpoint where you can begin building a community and fostering a dialogue. Additionally, social media presents an opportunity for your PR efforts. You can leverage these channels to promote a new service or respond directly and immediately to patients. You can answer questions, settle disputes, or add to the conversation.
Establishing an open line of dialogue humanizes your independent practice. It makes your current and potential clients feel heard, seen, and valued. They’re far more likely to turn to you if they know that they’ll receive an immediate response from a real person.
Technology is constantly changing. You must embrace that change to optimize your independent practice. While this sounds vague, there are dozens of technologies that can improve the way that you conduct your business.
Sometimes, it makes financial and operational sense to outsource aspects of your practice to specialists.
For instance, consider contract management. As a healthcare provider, your goal is to provide the best care possible while reducing operating costs, maintaining regulatory compliance, and mitigating your risk profile. Managing and negotiating hundreds of contracts with various vendors, individuals, and organizations can be a significant drain on your limited time and resources. PayrHealth leverages healthcare data to help you negotiate better contracts in payer-provider relationships.
By utilizing a contract management specialist like PayrHealth—one that utilizes an automated contract management system—you can:
- Standardize processes across all your contracts
- Optimize your security
- Better organize your system
- Sign better contracts
- Negotiate higher rates and get medical billing tips
- Expand your team
Growing Your Practice
Growing your independent practice won’t happen overnight. It requires a long-term approach and an organizational commitment from the top down.
As you prepare to pursue this steady growth, remember the following:
- Understand your patients’ needs
- Build a professional, mobile responsive website
- Optimize the content on your website
- Leverage your various marketing channels
- Embrace an ethos of communication
- Utilize technology to create competitive advantages
Need help with that last part, particularly when it comes to contract management? PayrHealth is the managed care contracting solution you need to drive growth. We strategize with you, advocate for you, and then work alongside you to get better rates and contract values.
Whether you need support or an entire contracting team, our flexible solutions are what you need to keep growing.
- Forbes. Why Every Business Needs a Website. https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2020/02/03/why-every-business-needs-a-website/?sh=618dda356e75
- Statista. Mobile share of organic search engine visits in the United States from 4th quarter 2013 to 4th quarter 2019, by platform. https://www.statista.com/statistics/275814/mobile-share-of-organic-search-engine-visits/
- Spark Report. Rising Use of Social and Mobile in Healthcare. https://thesparkreport.com/infographic-social-mobile-healthcare/