When your practice has a new procedure to offer to patients, it can be a great way to differentiate yourself from other local orthopedic practices. However, you have to get the word out about the procedure so patients and referring practices know about it and its benefits.
When other types of businesses have a new product or service to introduce, they usually develop a marketing campaign to introduce the product and increase public awareness to sell it. Likewise, your practice should plan out a marketing strategy to increase awareness about your new procedure.
We’ve helped orthopedic practices with marketing plans to roll out new procedures. Based on our experience, these are our recommendations for developing and implementing a marketing plan for your new procedure.
1. Understand the Current Demand
Before you develop your marketing plan, it’s important to learn how much patients already know about the procedure. Since the procedure is new, it’s very likely that patients will not have heard of it before, and therefore are unlikely to ask about it or know that they need it. If the procedure has been around for awhile and is simply new to your practice, it’s possible there may be some awareness, but it’s helpful to get a good understanding of what patients know before you develop your marketing plan.
One way to address this is to survey your patients about the procedure. You can ask about the procedure name and whether or not they’ve heard of it. That will give you an idea of the level of awareness you’re working with.
To get more solid numbers about awareness of the procedure, we also recommend that you have your marketing company perform keyword research. Keyword research will show you the search volumes surrounding a particular procedure, which can give you an idea of whether or not patients are aware. For example, not all patients are aware of the brand-name Mako for robotic joint replacements, so there may not be a high search volume surrounding that name. However, they may have heard of the more generic term “robotic joint replacement.” Consider which phrases have the highest search volumes, as those are the ones you should use the most in your marketing. Meet patients at their current level of understanding, then you can educate them on your specific procedure.
2. Develop Resources to Explain Your Procedure
Once you understand the average patient’s knowledge of your new procedure, you can start developing educational resources and marketing materials to let patients know that you offer the procedure.
When you’re developing your marketing content, there are a few points to keep in mind.
- Consider patients’ understanding of the procedure and medical terminology, in general. You need to write content that patients can easily understand. If patients don’t know what you’re talking about, then they are unlikely to understand why they need this new procedure. Try to avoid really technical phrases if possible, and provide thorough explanations of medical terminology when you do need to include it.
- Create content that is easy to read. In addition to making sure the content isn’t too technical or difficult to understand, you also have to structure it in a way that makes it easy to read through. Use smaller paragraphs and headings to break the content up into easily-scannable sections so that patients can read through it more quickly. We also recommend adding in imagery and videos (if you have any available), as they can help explain more complicated concepts and add visual appeal to the page.
- Focus on the problem that the procedure solves. For example, if your new procedure is a type of injection that helps with arthritis pain to help delay surgery, make sure you convey that point in your content. Patients may not have heard of the injection before, but are well aware of arthritis and would be interested in new treatment options. You can also draw more attention to the new procedure by looking for other places on your website where you discuss treating that condition. Add a link over to the page about your new procedure to let patients know that there are other options.
- Make sure you answer common questions about the procedure. We recommend consulting keyword research when writing your comment. Often, keyword research can identify common questions patients have about the procedure. If you can provide answers to those questions, you have a better chance of having that content rank in online searches.
- Add a clear call to action. At the end of the page, add a prompt for patients to contact your office, request an appointment, or download more information. This gives patients a clear direction on next steps if they are interested in the procedure. Your marketing company should also be able to help you track patient responses so that you can determine whether or not your marketing materials have been effective in driving patient interest.
3. Start an Advertising Campaign
If your content is well-written, easy to understand, and answers patients’ questions, there is a good chance that your content will eventually rank in relevant searches for local patients. However, it can take several months to build up ranking in search results. If you want to be proactive and start building awareness right away, we recommend advertising the procedure.
These are a few advertising methods that have provided successful solutions for our clients:
- Video Marketing – Creating a YouTube video is a great way to get the word out about your new procedure. You can add it to your website to help enhance your marketing content and better explain the procedure. You can also share it on social media, if you are active there.
- Online Advertising – Online advertising campaigns on platforms like Facebook and Google Display can help you build awareness of the new procedure. These platforms can help you target patient demographics that are relevant to the procedure so that you get in front of the right people. If you created a video for your procedure, you can also advertise on YouTube. While it takes awhile to build up traffic from search engines, online advertising can start driving traffic right away.
- Local Publications – Work with local magazines and newspapers to run ads in their health and wellness sections. This will help you target local patients who are already interested in improving their health.
There are a number of procedures in orthopedics that patients know of, and they know what processes to follow to get the help they need. The average patient knows when to seek out a sports medicine or joint replacement specialist, because these are common procedures and services that have been offered for many years.
However, medicine is constantly advancing and improving. When you introduce a new procedure, patients don’t have that level of awareness yet. They don’t know when they need the procedure or how to seek it out. In these cases, it’s important to be proactive and guide them in the right direction, starting with building awareness.