Communication for doctors: the role of digital
You would be surprised how many colleagues still underestimate the importance of digital. The doctors I speak with have one thing in common: they feel they are very time-poor. And this is a paradox.
The role of digital
Doctors are very smart, and often the CEO of a very successful small business: their private practice. Yet, the one thing many doctors don’t have time for, is being there as a leader, simply because their role as “the talent” consumes 90 to 150% of their time as an employee.
This is why digital communication, having up-to-date content in place, communicating well with website visitors and social media followers, is either the least of their concerns…or it’s outsourced to a scattered array of providers or to the IT-guys.
Being of service
Successful doctors I work with have extended their mission, to be of service to patients, to the digital realm. They can see that, before patients show up in the waiting room, they are already interacting with your universe (the practice) on their smartphone.
They are reading up on a condition. They are educating themselves on treatments. Would you agree that, in that space, they are very sensitive to anyone reaching out to them with a helping hand? The transfer of reliable, accurate and succinct information, in plain English, is probably your first great opportunity to be of service to your future patient.
Do more of that, and you will create momentum in that space of “future patients”. Can you see how this is a direct bridge to the future, when you start influencing how many patients you will be seeing in the next business year?
Communication, as a specialist doctor, is your way to create reciprocity. If you give me reliable information, you’re taking away concern. So I will feel grateful. The next time I’m in a situation where I need to make a choice, whether it is to attend your clinic or to mention your name to a friend, I will still have that feeling.
Advertising interrupts. Content Marketing brings help.
Some doctors believe that anything digital sits under “Advertising”. And in a way, your website, your Google performance through organic search, and the use of social media, could be used for plain advertising.
Advertising means you push content towards the receiver. Similar to the TV ads in the middle of a movie. You interrupt and benefit from the receiver’s willingness to digest your message.
Content Marketing is a whole different creature. It’s the creation of content with the intention to position yourself as the provider of free, unbiased, educational content. Website pages, Blogs and Videos are now used to give, rather than push.
As a “prospect” I don’t see this content in a compressed 30 second TV ad, whilst watching my favourite show on TV. I find it when doing a search for a specific condition that has relevance to my personal life. So when I find your short video and an article about this particular condition, I’m in a far more receptive state compared to when I undergo the TV commercials.
So would you rather invest in tens of thousands of dollars, to reach a large group of people that have no guaranteed interest in your very specialised service? This dollar amount allows you to rent space and time, and to interrupt people a couple of times on the radio, on TV, or in the newspaper.
The alternative to advertising is Content Marketing: it means you put in place pages and videos that remain your property. They keep working for you as long as the medical information you provide is still accurate and as long as you don’t decide to have a radically new haircut. And did we tell you that this content (produced in a Content Marketing Strategy) only reaches pre-qualified leads: people who have told you they are really ready for your message, simply because they just found your content through a Google search.
Here’s my mini-summary on communication for doctors: Sharpen your awareness of digital, because it’s here to stay and ever-expanding. Apply purpose to it and inspect how you can be of service in the digital space. And be really aware of the mechanics of Content Marketing versus Advertising.
If you have further questions on this topic, please get in touch through the webform. I look forward to helping you grow your practice and be the absolute local leader in your speciality.