As a medical practitioner, your reputation really matters. Most medical business owners market their businesses through referrals and professional connections. In South Africa, you can't promote a doctor's office like you would a regular business service. You must follow the HPCSA's ethical guidelines when informing people about your professional services. These rules are strict and make it hard for a medical business to advertise. But there are things you can and should do to market your medical business on an ongoing basis.

Invest in your website

Build a strong website so that all the information about your business can be found in one place. A good website will give you the most control over how your patients view you online. It's also a centralised place to send people for more information, no matter what marketing you do. Even though a well-built, professional, and responsive website costs more upfront, it will pay off in the long run. Make sure your website works well on mobile devices to get people who use them.

Update your website often 

If your website has out-of-date information and potential patients can't find what they're looking for, they may give up and go somewhere else. To avoid this, it's important to check for changes occasionally. If your website has a content management system, making changes to your content should be pretty straightforward. If your website is very old, it might not meet all of the latest standards for protection and functionality. This can make your customers more angry or suspicious, and it could hurt your search engine ranking in the long run. 

Use the best SEO techniques to improve your search engine ranking

Search engines are constantly changing, so if you want to get a good spot in search results, you need to use search engine optimisation (SEO) best practices. Get rid of things like duplicate or low-quality content, and don't use spammy methods like keyword stuffing and link schemes. A good SEO plan should rely on good content, local listings, and other optimisations that are more technical. 

Claim your local listings to make it easier for people to find you

Once a patient has chosen to make an appointment with your practice, they will need to know where you are. Local neighbourhood listings help with this. If you claim and prove your local listings on Google, Bing, and Yahoo, these search engines will show this information when patients in your area look for you. Getting all of your listings registered and up-to-date takes a little bit of work at the beginning, but after that, managing your listing is pretty easy. You'll only need to check in if you need to change something or if you get a message about a change someone else made. Add pictures of your practice, fill in your hours and specialities, and write a short description of your practice. If you can give more information, that's better. Google My Business is also continuously adding new features, like the ability for users to post questions and answers. Make sure you know about the latest online business features so you can be ready for them.

Get reviews from patients to back up your marketing plans

Having patient comments on your website is a great idea. Testimonials show how patients you've helped did well, which can be comforting to new patients. Through a form on your website, you can make it easy for customers to send you testimonials. It's also a good idea to put relevant quotes from your testimonials on your website and in your marketing collateral to boost your marketing. Before you do this, though, make sure you have permission from your patients.

Connect with your customers through social media

Facebook and Twitter are great ways to connect with your patients, and share health tips, articles from your blog, and news and events connected to your practice. You don't have to be on every platform out there. Just ensure you can keep up with the networks you join and post regularly. If you need to, make a plan to help you stay on track. You can also contribute to affiliated websites to spread the word about your doctors to more people. If you like writing blog posts, you could think about writing for other outlets. That could mean writing a health piece for a local newspaper or magazine or helping out on another blog. Try to find something bigger than your own blog. You might have to start with smaller blogs at first, but if things go well, you could work your way up to bigger ones.

The bottom line

As a medical practitioner, you need to approach your practice like a business and be proactive in finding new customers and staying in touch with existing ones. These simple strategies require a bit of legwork in the beginning, but when done well, they stack together and help you build a strong marketing strategy that will see your practice grow from strength to strength. If you need some quick working capital to invest in any element of your marketing strategy, contact Merchant Capital. Our unique pay-as-you-practice model is tailored for medical practices, and if you contact us now, your could fund your practice in the next 48 hours. 

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