The 3 Imperatives in 2021 for Doctor Digital Marketing

The 3 Imperatives in 2021 for Doctor Digital Marketing

What did you get when you Googled, “how to get more patients”?


Do you get as many as 750,000,000 results?


Overwhelming much?


When patients look for you, I’m sure you can guess what happens:


san francisco family doctor, 750 million search results.


It’s not any easier for them. When a prospective patient types, “[insert your specialty here] in [your city],” they’re likely getting hundreds of thousands of search results, if not millions or hundreds of millions.


Understatement: we’re not short on information in the information age.


And if there’s anything your prospective patients don’t have the patience for (pun intended), it’s spending time sifting through that information. 


People don’t have time. That’s why they’re spending (at very most) an average of 10 or 11 minutes per Google Search session. 


Your potential patients make their minds up quickly.


if they don't find you on the first page, they don't find you online


A huge chunk – more than 30% – of all clicks go to the very first organic search result.


And less than 1% of people even click on anything past the second search engine results page (SERP). 


If your patients don’t find you on the first page, then they don’t find you online.  


People don’t have time. That’s why they’re spending (at very most) an average of 10 or 11 minutes per Google Search session. #somedocs Click To Tweet




1. Make your site competitive

I’m sure you’ve heard a bit about why Google throws some to the front while shuffling other websites into obscurity. This is based on search engine optimization (SEO). 


The criteria for SEO changes frequently, but the shortlist of what you need as a private practice is right here:

  • Rich content on your website
  • An error-free, up-to-date, fast website
  • Links from other websites to your website (backlinks)
  • Getting reviews, monitoring your practice on Google My Business


There are a couple of great services with free trials that can help introduce you to SEO.  NeilPatel.com and SEMRush.com are my favorites, both of which can help you stack your own website against your competitors or contemporaries. 


Even if you already have a marketing team, they can give a few recommendations that you can bring to your team.


2. Update your marketing strategy


A quick reminder: 25 years ago, the phrase “digital marketing” was irrelevant.  


Since inbound web marketing is a fairly new concept, it might feel unnatural as a business practice. 


Doctor.com surveyed how people look for healthcare providers, and about two-thirds (63%) of people prefer to look for their doctors online. 


If you don’t fight to get found online, you’re likely using a more antiquated marketing strategy.


Do you remember how doctors used to market?


The phonebook. Mailers. Newspaper. Maybe a TV ad. Literal word of mouth. 


It worked great, but like always, things have changed.



3. Worry less about older demographics


Is your patient demographic a little on the older side?


In the past, it wasn’t common to find seniors depending on Google. 


But don’t think they’re not there and looking. 43% of people between ages 50 and 80 are analyzing your online presence before deciding to come or call in.


And the outlook is for that number to increase all the time. 


So get started now, especially if there are a lot of seniors among your patients.




  • Doctors and patients are online, so update your online presence
  • People typically spend 10-11 minutes per Google Search Session
  • Less than 1 percent of people click past the first search results page
  • Most people (63%) search for health care providers through online means
  • Almost half of people aged 50-80 use the web to find health care

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Sherita D. Gaskins-Tillett, MD

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