Medical Practice Marketing Ideas for Doctors with Multiple Locations – Pros & Cons
Medical Practice Marketing Ideas & Strategies Used by the Top Clinics in USA & Canada
Many medical practices as well as doctors have multiple locations. They often are looking for the best way to setup the website(s) and online strategy for their company. When trying to apply a strategy to your office, please understand that there is no one best answer. It depends on many factors, including your desired results and your financial resources. For some clinics, their driving factor is to achieve 20% to 34% operating margins of profitability from each location. For other clinics, the front door of their clinics have been moved “Online” and they must dominate the new patient acquisition and patient acquisition strategy in a virtual space.
One key aspect in developing a marketing strategy is geography; each medical clinic should target a specific location. For instance, a medical clinic in San Francisco, CA (a densely populated area) which offers a certain type of medical services and treatments, may have an effective target area (ETA) of only a 2 mile radius. A similar clinic in Chattanooga, TN could have an effective target area of 10 miles or larger. Alternatively, a diabetic clinic in Florida would likely have a 60 mile ETA. Identifying an ETA is a necessity for your medical clinic. Typically, each medical clinic or doctor acquires 80 percent of their patients from ETA. There are only so many people who live in this area. So as a medical services provider, your strategy should be to be the provider of choice when patients need your services. Over 72 percent of the time, your patients will be visiting your website or browsing the internet to look for your services. Even more interesting is that over 60 percent of the time, they will do this from a mobile device. So “locality” & “mobility” of the user (prospective patient) becomes a MAJOR factor in their decision making. Google understands these metrics, which is why they created the “local” search tool. For the following examples, we will use companies with 2 to 200 locations in USA.
Option A: 1 Main/Master site
This is the most common approach as it is cost effective and easy to implement. The method is typically implemented using a content management system, like Joomla, WordPress, etc.
Main site is setup with your company’s mission and other company information and then ability to go to each location’s page, within the same website.
- Initially, the practice’s Main site is setup with your company’s mission and other overall company information. Patients then have the ability to go to each location’s page, within the same website.
- Each location page has information about each specific location – Each location has a Child-URL
- Less fixed cost – so simple and easy to launch
- Easy to maintain
- Good results with organic SEO – as the main anchor domain will eventually get higher in “value”, you cannot be focused on Organic SEO only. There are too many additional factors that will help your clinic to be successful online.
- Paid ad campaigns like PPC are less effective because patients can land on one page and then are redirected to unwanted, non conversion based pages – In short, paid advertising campaigns consistently produce less.
- Data captured from the entire site is typically connected to one CRM for the office – this is highly inefficient.
- HIPAA compliance and breach notification requirements – This is very important part of your online strategy, but is often over looked by “medical marketing experts.” If there is a breach with patient information (PHI or PII) and it is traced to a website/URL, you then have to provide breach notifications to ALL patients that originated from the “Main” site. This can be a nightmare and negatively impact your business. Now, imagine if this occurred to a website that was linked to 10 clinics. This can be managed seamlessly if, during your HIPAA audit, you can prove that a Child-URL has been secured & managed independently of the Main website. Additionally, you will also be asked to provide BAA (Business Associate Agreement) if the patient information is traced to your website. Please ask your website provider to give you a BAA for the hosting and running your medical website – it is an insurance policy that you must have.
- Each lead/capture needs to be managed very carefully as each potential patient is interested in services from one local area
- Lead leakage is very high – The bigger the master website is, the more likely you will experience lead leakage. Every click adds a percentage to the leakage for your site.
- Messaging is hard to control for each location’s Child-URL – for example, if location A is trying to promote a service such as “liposuction for $1000” and you want location B to promote “liposuction for $1500,” it will likely result in an unpleasant patient experience and eventually bad reviews on Google, Yelp, etc.
- Branding is better as the user (prospective patient) sees the same logo, message etc. throughout the master site.
- Auto-Responders and other CRM and Marketing related software must be intelligent enough to manage the context based auto-responses based on each Child-URL
- Segmentation for SMS & Email campaigns is very hard and time intensive and difficult to automate as data is coming from visitors from multiple locations for each Child-URL
- Typically, Google allows only one account level campaign on one URL/site. So target segmentation is very hard. Google does allow multiple campaigns to be run one main URL but it’s a special case and you will need to speak to and work with Google to allow multiple PPC campaigns per Child-URL. Working with other search engines is a nightmare – as many of them will don’t even understand your scenario. Social media sites like Facebook have provisions but its complex and requires you to setup campaigns on Facebook very carefully.
- GEO Targeting is done at the top level so entire area has to be added to main campaign. Each sub-campaign must have carefully architected negative keywords to avoid wasted cost of paid campaigns.
- Social Media strategy is very simple – One Business Page on Facebook for the entire company. However this has less control and each location may want to promote differently.
- Allocating cost to each center is a nightmare. If you manage each location based on separate P+L (Profit & Loss ) center.
- This all leads to less control and much less optimization – EXCEPT Organic Search results.
- Google+ and other social media can get confused with Child-URL
- Local Search with focus on “Location” based businesses is less friendly in this approach – as they are looking to the unique address and a local business name with a specific page (Child-URL) for each clinic location.
- SEO rankings are better in this case but its offset but many other issues.
Option B: 1 Main/Master site + Local Sites
Few years ago, Google launched “local search” and focus on mobile users. With this launch, it became clear that if you are small medical business, with let’s say 5 locations and your competitor has 100 locations, you must be able to compete effectively online with a much bigger company. Hence “local” content does impact search results and you are able to compete at a local level with a much bigger company who has a very powerful URL and has been in business for a long time.
This setup is not for every medical clinic company. It has pros and cons. More precise control over PPC (paid advertising in general), patient engagement, and patient loyalty can be measured much more effectively.
Typically, there is one CRM per location and one corresponding website; Each location has local content & promotions targeing specific ETA. Each location targets specific area (ETA), let’s say 10 mile radius around the clinic, and there is one Google Listing for each location, One Yelp page for each location, One localized SMS & Email campaign focused on specific needs of a community.
HIPAA compliance & breach notification liability is limited to one location.
Cost of multiple CRMs is higher than option A but its offset by higher engagement and more precise targeting for PPC, and other online advertising. SEO rankings can be tricky and care must be taken to avoid duplicate content.
- Main site has links to child domains.
- Each location has its own domain and rich local focused information.
- Higher fixed costs
- Paid ad campaigns like PPC is very effective as patients can land specific local site only.
- Data capture from the local site is typically connected to one CRM so messaging is targeted and ability convert prospect patients to actual paying patients is much higher.
- Social media pages are linked to the local website for better conversion.
- Lead leakage is low.
- Messaging is easier and hard to control on content for each location is very targeted.
- Branding must be done with care and should mimic master site.
- Auto-Responders and other CRM and Marketing related software are produce better results.
- Segmentation for Email campaigns is easy.
- PPC and remarketing produces much better results – We have seen a typically 11% to 18% better results .
- Mobile user & GEO Targeting is much more concise – hence better conversion.
- Negative keywords are localized to get better results from local user preferences.
- Social Media strategy can be complex. So care must be taken to launch multiple business pages – One for each location.
- Allocating cost to each center is a snap. If you manage each location based on separate P+L (Profit & Loss ) center. Then you can allocate budget and results accurately. This all leads to more control.
- Google+ and other social media is precise and very simple to manage.
- Local Search with focus on “Location” based businesses is friendly in this approach – as your patients are looking for local services to the unique address and a local business name.
- Over 60% of your patients are visiting your site from mobile devices – They will convert much better on local focused site and content.
Each one of the options have pros and cons – and associated costs. Please contact us so we could help you.