Marketing a medical practice: Go for #2!

Posted by Mike Coombs on March 2,2017

Cute dog jumping - isolated over a white backgorund.jpegMarketing an Ophthalmology, or any medical practice is a competitive business.

Often, local geographic areas have a dominant “big dog” ophthalmology practice. The “big dog” dominates the advertising and marketing efforts. They are number one!

They are #1 because they are usually affiliated with a large (expensive) national marketing group, or a large hospital, that supplies smart, one size fit’s all, online marketing, or a level of web gravity, links and content, that puts them at number one in Google search engine.

When someone needs an Ophthalmologist, or Optometrist, or Optician, or Optical Shop, where do they look today? Online first and foremost.

The big practices win on the web, in SEO, in PPC, and in social media. And Ophthalmology practices must “win” online.

Other practices in the local area compete half heartedly, from an online marketing perspective, with a hodge podge of web and old school marketing, because well…they simply can’t be #1 in their area, and maybe they just don’t know how to do it. Usually, after #1, it’s a muddle that Dr’s. and COO Office Managers reluctantly accept.

That is a very big mistake. Go for number two! Go hard.

(And sometimes number 1!)

Because number two beats the hell out of three, four, five….

Number two grows their business, grows their revenue, grows their customer satisfaction and referrals… and in turn gets a chance to “go after” number one!

Why separate from the "also" pack? If you have a full service practice, what is the lifetime value of a new customer (and their family/friends)? It’s a big number, right?

That “big number” makes smart online marketing, targeted to contacts and leads, very profitable. That’s why the big guys spend big, right? They are not stupid. They spend for smart online strategies to achieve high visibility in search rankings, and to get potential customers to come to their websites, find what they want and need there, self identify as “contacts”, and become patients.

Fortunately those strategies are available now to anyone. The technology, the knowledge, and the barrier to entry are much lower now. And even if you are a smaller practice, you can benefit enormously from improved search engine rankings, targeted pay per click advertising, and a more engaging website.

Hey, you are as good or better than the big guys, right? Your customers love you, right?

Some marketing thoughts about being number two.

In their seminal marketing book about branding called Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, Trout and Ries, make abundantly clear that “buyers” create mental hiarchies to sort out where to buy. And ALL the buying goes to Number one, or two… or maybe three… in their mental hierarchy.

Often, number two can (subtly) “re-position” number one as a less attractive choice! (Too big, too busy, too impersonal, too far away, too “national”)

And consider this about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and “Click Through Rates” on Google search engine results pages:

  • The number one ranking gets a 32% click through rate.
  • Number two gets a little more than half of that
  • Numbers three and four continue that “by half” decline.

Where do you want to be for your practice business?

1st is great. 2nd is good and gives you a good competitive “fighting chance” to convert lots of visitors to profitable customers. Number three is…eh. Don’t be four, or worse.

But if you ARE four or worse…you CAN move up. Move up rankings. Move up revenue.

If you can get to number two in local search engine rankings, against the big dog at number one, and if your web content is compelling, and your offers competitive, then you CAN be number one on a customers mental hierarchy, and they will become your customer. Lots of people distrust the big dog.

They will become your customer if you look smarter than the big dog. Or friendlier. Or more local. Or more specialized. Or better price. There’s lots of opportunity to win big, and get to number one in customers minds, even when you are number two in marketing expense. You can be David to Goliath, but you do need a very good sling shot. 

Buy some number one positions in local online keyword pay per click advertising.

When people click, have a compelling offer, content, and website. Get them to “sign up”. And then follow up. 

It’s doable. Go for number two! It leads to number one level profit.

Visit our Marketing for Ophthalmology page.

For more information on generating quality leads for your practice download our FREE ebook, The 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks, & Ideas.

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Topics: SEO