December is the perfect time to turn toward your physician marketing for 2021.
If this month has you wondering where your new patients or new business leads all went, you’re in good company. With the exception of retail, December can be a really slow month for new business for health providers. All your regulars have already set their appointment dates for the month. If you accept insurance, appointments are already set among the rush of those patients trying to use up the rest of their flex spending.
New patients and inquiries slow to a trickle this month.
Instead of panicking about the state of your practice, use this month to reflect on this past year in business and plan ahead for 2021.
Here are 5 ways physician marketing can help you finish strong for 2020
Take stock of what worked in your physician content marketing
This year of 2020 feels like a disaster because it was.
But not everything in your business bombed. If you’re still standing in December, seriously pat yourself on the back just for that accomplishment. Physicians and healthcare workers were on the frontlines of a battle you never signed up for.
In spite of it all, there are some things that went right. Telehealth is now a reality.
Physicians and patients are using more ways to communicate simply by necessity.
No doubt you turned to your online spaces to reach current and potential patients now that all eyes are online. In a recent healthcare content marketing study from True North Custom, 100 percent of those surveyed are using social media to generate brand awareness and consumer engagement.
Of the online content marketing you did in 2020, identify what worked and what didn’t by looking at your 2020 social media insights, video views and website Google analytics. Look for patterns in content themes, topics, images and even social media channels to take stock of what went well.
Every channel has a section of insights. For Instagram, it’s right on your phone.
You’ll want to build on the content that went well in 2021 and even recycle it.
Notice what’s working for other physicians’ marketing
You’ll want to steel yourself for this one, but look at around at your competition and those in your industry to see what kind of marketing is working well for them. You can’t see their insights, but you can see by the comments and shares what people are responding to. Don’t get intimidated if your colleague or competition has thousands of followers compared to your hundreds. That just means they got started earlier and put in more work since then. Take note of what works and then put your blinders back on.
If your competition is creating ads on Facebook and Instagram, you can actually see those by searching the Facebook ads library. This is a great space to get content ideas.
Identify frequently asked questions
In that same True North Survey, 66 percent of those healthcare organizations surveyed said education content increased in 2020. This education is among the most important content marketing trends that happened this year because health education (or the lack of it) became life threatening in the U.S.
Patients expect immediate, accurate and actionable answers to healthcare questions, and providers are positioned to respond with educational content. On issues big and small, clients and patients are no longer calling the office during business hours.
This demand for 24-hour access can be challenging for small healthcare teams (or when you have no team at all). But it doesn’t mean you have to be tied to your phone to respond immediately to every inquiry. Instead, identify the frequently asked questions. Set up automatic responses to them in your social media messages. Answer them with content you create for your social media posts, website, emails and videos.
Continuing to position yourself as the right provider to solve your patients’ problems will serve you in 2021, even if they’re too busy to make an appointment in December.
Complete a content marketing project for your medical practice
December can pass you by with little more than time wasted worrying if you don’t make a productive plan for some of your down time. Of course, use some of the down time to relax and do what you enjoy, but you should also make a plan.
Why is it that we have so many projects we relent to set aside during busy seasons and then during slow seasons, we can’t seem to remember them? Get intentional about content marketing goals that can set you up for more success in 2021.
- Schedule a photoshoot of your office, your team or yourself for your website and social media posts.
- Update your website content. Click here for a guide for writing website copy.
- Create a pdf checklist or chart you know would help potential clients and help you build your email list.
Start planning your 2021 social media physician marketing
Once you’re clear on what worked in 2020, you can start planning for 2021. Most of it will likely like the 2.0 version of 2020, so you’ll still want to have the same approach to supporting your audience during a pandemic that you’ve had up until now. You’ll have to be nimble about when things change, but if this year taught us anything, it’s how to adapt.
December is a great time to plan your content calendar for next year.
- Start with the calendar holidays and social media holidays that make sense for your business.
- Add content that relates to your business cycle and projects.
- Add content to promote your services and sales cycle.
- Determine content themes that will appeal to your audience: memes, education and “edutainment,” responding to FAQs and motivation.
Once you set your priorities for December and recognize that it’s okay to have slow and busy seasons, you’ll be motivated to finish this year up strong. And you’ll have a running start for 2021.