Website/Blogging & Social Media
If you don’t already have a website set up, make it a priority. The Yellow Pages are dead and people turn to the internet to for their informational needs. The structure of the web not only allows potential patients to search for doctors, but it allows them to see ratings of those doctors from actual patients in real time.
Your website should be set up so that it combines the ability to educate your patients through blog posts and through an interconnected group of pages on various health topics that describe your office and the treatments that you offer.
Your Website should also have an “opt in” box so that people can sign up to receive newsletter information from you. After you watch the short video below, I would strongly encourage you to go to Dr. Peter Osborne and browse the site to get ideas on the above concepts.
Facebook has become an extremely powerful tool in the online marketing world. If you haven’t created a profile, do so immediately. Facebook is one of the most trusted sites in the world. People spend many hours a day on Facebook and use it as a search engine as well as a social haven. If you don’t want a personal profile, create one for your office. Once you have created a profile, it is imperative that you form a Fanpage.
A Fanpage for your office allows you to engage your fans in this social setting. You can post educational articles, videos, links to your blog, and announcements from your office, and more to your Fanpage for your fans to read/watch. The “like” button allows people to share the information that you post to all of their friends. This sharing has the potential to create a huge exposure of your information to the world. When I post to my Fanpage, I typically get exposure to 14,000 sets of eyes. You can view my Fanpage here.
Facebook also allows you to host webinars. For example, I created a video on Gluten Sensitivity last year. The video is about 40 minutes long. I use it as a free webinar to attract people to my office, website, services, etc. This allows me to leverage my time quite efficiently. I host webinars regularly through a video recording that does not require me to be present. Potential patients are then introduced to me and my services. As a result, I regularly do phone consultations with people from around the world.
The Facebook “like” button now counts in search engine rankings. The more “likes” your website pages have, the higher ranking your pages receive. Additionally, the more “likes” a page has, the more social proof is being provided to strangers visiting your website that your services are exemplary.
The best part of about everything above? It’s all free.
Facebook also has an advertising platform that allows you to target potential patients very specifically. Your ads can be targeted to age, gender, interest, geographical location, and more. If you know that your average patient is a 35 year old female living in or near Chicago, Illinois, you can create an ad that will show up only to your demographic. The cost is inexpensive.
Most doctors’ offices fail to implement video marketing strategy. It is important to capitalize on this. If you use video in your online marketing, it will accelerate your search engine rankings dramatically. It is easy to get a Youtube account. If you have a gmail account you can actually link them together because Google owns Youtube. The other bonus here is that Google is the most commonly used search engine. So as you can probably guess, Youtube videos are more apt to show up when patients are searching for functional medicine doctors on line.
If you are like me, you spend a lot of time teaching lifestyle, nutritional, and exercise concepts to your patients. The core concepts of what you teach are similar. Creating videos about these topics can help you consistently drive the message home on a repetitive basis. Additionally, once the video is created, it can be used over and over again in your office, as well as on the internet to help market your office. Do the work once and leverage it for years to educate existing patients and drive new patients to your office*.
*Search engines love video content. Having educational videos posted on youtube and embedded into your website helps drive your site rankings up so when people are searching for functional medicine doctors online, they will most likely find you instead of your competitors.
If you want to get ideas for video content information, format, etc., you can find my Youtube channel here.
Don’t worry about having a professional shoot your video. Market research shows that professional video comes across sterile and less human. Remember that people seeking functional medicine doctors are seeking a more personal touch relating to their health care. Most lap top computers can shoot simple video. I recommend that you start there.
Twitter is a social media network that allows you to communicate to people following your profile. It is a free service to sign up for. It is one of the most popular and powerful real time search engines on the web.
I use twitter regularly. Doing so has created many connections for me on the internet. It has allowed me to communicate with like minded individuals and has allowed my articles and videos to reach a larger audience.
Twitter is unique in that it allows you to perform real time searches on trending topics. For example, if I want to write a new article, but I don’t have a good topic selected, I can perform a search on twitter to see what is “hot”. This allows me to write an article that will have a greater chance of showing up in search engines.
I recently wrote an article about a tennis player who went gluten free. He claimed that his winning streak success was because of his gluten free diet. I wrote an article about it. Later that week, a reporter from Time magazine called me for an interview. How did he find me? Through my article.
Choosing the Right Keywords –
Keywords are terms that your ideal patient will use while performing internet searches for your services. Choosing keywords that people type into a search engine to find you is important. When you are creating a facebook fan page, a youtube video, writing an article, or writing a blog post, you will have the opportunity to select keywords that are relevant to the content being published. For example, if you are a functional medicine doctor in Houston, TX you will want to optimize your online marketing endeavors to incorporate terms that match this.
Keywords to optimize for in this example would be:
- Dr. (Your Name)
- (Your Clinic’s Name)
- Functional medicine clinic
- Functional medicine doctor
- Functional medicine practice
- Doctors who practice functional medicine
- Doctors who treat ________ (Your niche – i.e. gluten sensitivity)
- Holistic doctor
- Holistic health
- Complementary medicine treatment
- Integrative medicine
- Integrative medical doctor
- Nutrition clinic
- Nutrition doctor
- Alternative doctor
- Alternative medicine
- Alternative clinic
- Houston, Texas
- **Sugar Land, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosenberg, Stafford, Pearland, Alvin, Manvel, Pasadena, Clear Lake, The Woodlands, Conroe, Memorial (These are all names of suburb towns surrounding Houston)
**Keywords should be selected based on what people would type into a search engine to find you. Make sure that you include your city, town, state, and nearby areas. Most of your patients will come to from a 50 mile radius. If you only optimize your website for functional medicine, (not for functional medicine in your area) you will be competing with every clinic in the U.S.
On the other hand, if you are creating a Youtube video on the side effects of magnesium deficiency, you would want different keywords. Here are some examples:
- Dr. (your name)
- (Your clinic name)
- Magnesium deficiency
- Side effects of magnesium deficiency
- Magnesium supplements
- Magnesium supplementation
- Lab tests to check magnesium levels
- Magnesium and muscle spasms
- Magnesium and headaches
The majority of the 5000 + keywords used by people to find my website were terms on various diseases, my services, and other related health issues.
When you are preparing content to be published, consider focusing your keywords based on three main topics:
- The diseases you treat
- The services your offer
- Various health related topics
Functional Medicine Marketing Synergy –
By implementing the strategies in Section III of this book, you will begin to see a synergy like effect. Your newsletter will drive traffic to your website. Your videos will drive traffic to your website. Your articles writing will turn your website into an encyclopedia of health information. Working all three concepts together will build an online marketing presence that begins to take on a life of its own. As it grows, you will have built an empire of referring patient fans. By putting your knowledge into newsletters, videos, and articles, you will have leveraged your time by creating an internet presence that perpetually markets your office while you sleep. When this happens, your waiting list practice will emerge.