Article by Arpit Srivastava.
Healthcare professionals, in India, are placed at a pedestal higher than any other profession and are worshipped as gods, for them being lifesavers.
However, the gravity that each healthcare professional held 50-60 years ago is not the same now.
India currently has a total of 840,130 registered medical practitioners and produces 50,000 new doctors every year. Hence too many doctors to be worshipped! And this is where the competition creeps in and then it’s all about who wins the Game of Branding!
A proper marketing and branding strategy is eminent to stay on par with your peers. For marketing, you should know your target crowd and devise out the strategy accordingly.
In India, the crowd is of 2 types and in 50-50 ratio; the ones who ‘have’ access to technology and the ones that ‘have not’. And hence a separate strategy is to be devised for both.
For the technology accessible crowd, digital marketing has to be flawless. All the channels of social media are to be utilized to reach out efficiently. Some of the steps to be taken are:
#1. Social media is a Powerful Tool to Reach out to a Major Mass
Amongst the web of social media, it’s best you try out any two of the following-
- Facebook page– This is a must, as for the Indian crowd, being on Facebook is the first step on being on social media. This will help you reach out to a big crowd. Moreover, Facebook Ads can be advantageous for you. Adopting this option would spread a word about your work and attract audience.
- Twitter– Keep tweeting about the recent medical trends and posting details related to your profession to appear authentic. Twitter is home to a large number of influential individuals, thus it might fetch you high-value patients which can boost up your marketing.
- LinkedIn– This is where you will find the professional and legitimate crowd that might help in your branding even more. Through LinkedIn, it’s all about the referral game. The more professional and authentic you appear, the more referrals you shall receive. Every professional is connected to LinkedIn and so should you.
A key point to be remembered at all times is that “Do not promote your clinic at all times“. This is a drawback as the crowd judges you to be more money-minded rather than being a healthcare professional.
- Related Read: How You Can Use Digital Marketing for Your Business
#2. Email Your Clients Frequently
See those websites which ask for your email? It is a classic marketing tactic to build their email list.
Ask your clients for their emails when they come to visit you.
Then, educate them about your practice, because the more that they know about your practice, the more they develop trust in you.
In India, the more the people come to know about you, your background, and your work, the more they develop a trusting image of you in their minds and hence get convinced to ‘try-you-out’.
#3. Your Website is Your Front Door
Hence it should appear as presentable as possible.
- The website should be strictly professional. It may include videos of your practice to create an understanding of what you do.
- You may include technical terms related to your practice to appear professional (But don’t overdo it). However, try to elucidate the meaning of the terms so that you appear more reachable.
- Include testimonials and feedbacks from your patients because good feedback motivates people to reach you and try your practice. This is to establish the patient’s trust in you and your practice.
- Learn SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools to increase the traffic on your website manifolds. Without SEO, Google won’t rank your site when people search for terms related to your service.
- MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE IS LISTED IN GOOGLE MY BUSINESS LISTINGS – I said this in caps because it is what highlights your website when someone searches for phrases like “doctors near me” or “Best dermatologist in North Delhi”.
#4. Pay-Per-Click Ads Can Be Used
PPC is an internet advertising tool used to drive traffic to your website. The advertiser pays the publisher every time the ad is clicked.
Adsense is a major PPC player run by Google. With ads extremely cheap, you can easily outsmart your competition.
- Related Read: 5 PPC Essentials That Will Skyrocket Your Ad Campaign
#5. Create a Brand For Yourself
The crowd of doctors is huge in India and so, if you’re associated with a brand, you appear distinguished from your peers. For branding, create a logo and put it up on your website and your marketing documents. As the brand image gets associated with your healthcare profession, the targeted high-value patients develop trust in you and your outreach increases several folds.
Investing in branded marketing is a sure-fire way to grow your medical business.
Creating a brand for yourself is eminent because people might not remember your name, but they’ll always remember your brand. In word of mouth advertising, it’s always the brand that gets shared and not the name.
For the technology ‘have nots’, the road is a little bumpy and hence requires more effort but easily accessible. The tricks to grab them are:
- Traditional media outlets should be used efficiently. No matter how outdated they might seem, they still cater to a large section of the Indian population.
- Ads should be previewed through Radio and television. These outlets cater to the middle-class chunk of the population.
- Newspapers ads and pamphlets are to be professionally printed. They must include a logo of your brand and appear professional yet consumer-friendly.
- Write informative articles for the local daily as a start. This will create a humanitarian image of yourself in the eyes of the public. Gradually offer to write for corporate newsletters to widen your expanse.
#6. Attend as many Healthcare conferences as Possible
In the world of marketing, networking is still key. Otherwise, the platform of LinkedIn wouldn’t exist.
If you want to connect with other medical professionals in your niche, you need to attend healthcare conferences so as to get in touch with others who hail from your profession.
This may even lead to them referring some patients to you or maybe refer you to a hospital with which you would like to work.
Further, these conferences are also attended by several lawyers who hail from a consumer forum background and defend medical professionals in cases of consumer negligence.
The sky is the limit if you network properly!
#7. Organise Healthcare Drives and Free Medical Check-Ups
Do you know that large companies have to conduct philanthropic activities as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility?
So, you may be asking how this is related to you – but, guess how brands like Pepsodent or Colegate do these?
Well toothpaste brands often provide free dentist checkups in schools and offices. The reason they do it is to promote their brand awareness.
These campaigns when done periodically, help attract a big crowd since money is a big issue for a major mass. Also, this depicts your principle and values and also develops empathy among people towards you and your practice.
#8. Educate your Patients about your Practice and Treatment
Word of mouth is a big way of advertisement tools in India. Explaining to the patients would allow them to carry the word forward and bring more and more patients to your practice.
For instance, if you’re a Chiropractor or an Osteopath, you have to deeply educate your target crowd, because, in India, the majority of the people are unaware of these streams of medical science and hence what they cannot understand, they find it harder getting convinced.
#9. Stay Connected with Your Peers to Get Benefited through the Referral Mode
When your peers refer patients, your market expands more and more. Instead of considering other medical professionals as your competition, consider them your network. This will help you tap into their field of network and may get them to refer the patients for the best of their interests to the right doctor, that is you.
And this tip #9 is not at all, a far-fetch.
Medical professionals who earn a lot in India have a wide-spread of referrals.
A Word of Caution
However, you must know what is the limit and how much you can push it before it pushes you down!
According to The Code Of Medical Ethics of MCI, Chapter 6 prohibits advertising stating it as an unethical act for the medical profession, but with certain provisos. These provisos are what you have to use for your benefit.
Hence, unless you want your medical license to get cancelled, the following are some of the things which are to be avoided at all costs:
- Do not print your photo on your brand’s letterhead or signboard of the consultation room. This shall be considered as self-advertisement and you might get penalized for it.
- Soliciting of patients is strictly forbidden. You cannot make them a mode for your advertisement. However, if they are readily convinced to come forward and work for it, for instance shooting a feedback video for your website, then it is within the legal regulations.
- Do not pay influential individuals to visit your clinic or to advertise for you in any way, for this is considered within the unethical acts and your license might get on the verge of getting cancelled.
These few ‘NOT-AT-ALLS’ are the limits that you must never push!
All healthcare professionals need to continuously make efforts to expand their business and attract more and more patients. The soul of your business would always be a true and effective practice, but properly planned marketing and branding strategies are what will increase your expanse and make you stand out in the big flock of medical professionals in India.
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Author Bio: Arpit Srivastava is pursuing a Bachelor degree in Osteopathy at Sri Sri University. He is currently pursuing an internship at WinSavvy where he helps write on business in the medical niche. Connect with him on LinkedIn.