The Ultimate Guide to Orthopedic Marketing
This guide examines 14 unique orthopedic marketing channels. We’ve divided this guide into two sections: Digital Marketing Ideas and Traditional Marketing Ideas. The goal is simple — drive more patients to your orthopedic practice.
Orthopedic Internet Marketing Strategies
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- Orthopedic Website Design
- Orthopedic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Local Orthopedic Directory Listings
- Orthopedic Reputation Management
- Orthopedic Social Media
- Orthopedic Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Orthopedic Email Marketing
- Orthopedic Blogging
Orthopedic Traditional Marketing Strategies
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- Offline Orthopedic Advertisements (TV, Radio, Billboards, Newspaper, Direct Mail)
- Orthopedic Business Development
- Orthopedic Referral Program
- Orthopedic Offline Events (Open Houses, etc.)
- Orthopedic Community-Building Events
- Orthopedic Speaking Engagements
Orthopedic Practice Marketing
Today, if your orthopedic practice isn’t engaged in the digital marketing world, your competitors have a leg up on you, pardon the orthopedic pun. Digital marketing involves building a strong internet presence. This starts with your orthopedic website. From there your digital marketing extends through active social media pages, informative blogs, email campaigns, multimedia content, and accurate directory listings across the web. Making an impact online is sure to positively impact your practice bottom line.
Whether you’re just opening your orthopedic practice or whether you’ve been around for a long time, an effective marketing plan is critical to the success of your practice. With all of the new media that has evolved over the last 15 years or so, knowing which tools to use to get the word out can feel perplexing. For the best ROI, your orthopedic practice needs to incorporate a mix of both digital and traditional marketing strategies in your overall orthopedic practice marketing plan.
Read the following guide — it’s full of orthopedic practice marketing ideas, examples, and strategies and is a great first step to ensure you have a steady stream of returning and new patients coming through your front door.
Orthopedic Website Design
Your website is your most important marketing channel; it’s where new patients get their first impression of your orthopedic practice. You want to be sure to showcase your expertise, the breadth of your treatments, your skilled staff, and other areas of your orthopedic practice that separate you from your competitors. Your website needs to function seamlessly on all devices from phones to laptops, clearly convey your orthopedic brand in the digital world, and make it simple for a patient to instantly contact your office whether they have a question about a possible knee injury or to schedule an appointment. Of course, it goes without saying that your orthopedic website needs reliable, fast web hosting.
There’s no shortage of digital marketing firms out there, but you should trust your online marketing to a company with specific experience in orthopedic website design. You want an agency that understands different conversion strategies for the orthopedic sector of the medical world. And your orthopedic website should have certain design features — robust content, animations of procedures, orthopedic blogging, testimonials, and strong calls to action — to help patients move from peripheral interest to making an appointment.
Orthopedic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
For search, Google’s goals are simple — it wants searchers to receive the most relevant results to their query as quickly as possible. To achieve this aim, Google weighs various factors to determine if your website is relevant to the query, is trustworthy, and if it deserves a high ranking in organic search returns. SEO for orthopedics involves optimizing your website to rank highly for search terms that match the conditions and procedures you specialize in.
You can help your digital marketing firm know where to focus by providing original, engaging content on your key areas of specialization at your orthopedic practice. This enables the firm to optimize that content to push you up in organic search. To get this started take your five top procedures and the top five questions/concerns your patients have and provide those to your SEO marketing firm.
Local Orthopedic Directory Listings
All of us use Yelp when trying to find a new restaurant. Well, people also use the popular directory site to find an orthopedic surgeon. And Yelp is just one of over one hundred other directory sites. Of course, you want to be sure these directories have accurate information about your orthopedic practice, but having a staff member wade through the endless options is impractical. Yet, inconsistency across listings confuses search engines; they assume different listings (such as Street and ST or Office # and Suite #) are for different businesses. Having accurate NAP information — name, address, and phone — ensures that search engines and patients have correct information. This consistency across the web instills trust, helps bring patients to your orthopedic, and is crucial for search rankings.
Your orthopedic practice needs to work with a digital marketing firm that can handle your directory listings, making sure they are consistent and you don’t need to worry about them. Advice Media has a tool that verifies your information is identical across every single directory out there.
Orthopedic Practice Reputation Management
It’s easy to expect people to write reviews on movies or a new restaurant down the street. But what about their ACL surgery? Online reviews have become crucial for any business, orthopedic practices included. You need positive reviews to convert curious website users to new patients. Today, reviews are often the first impression point a potential patient has with your practice. Plus, you can respond to online reviews for free, which gives you a chance for engagement without a dollar spent. Generating and responding to reviews needs to be a standardized routine in your front office, but it’s hard to be keep up. How can you even know when a new review is posted?
Your digital marketing firm needs reputation management software that alerts you when a new review is posted. This software also needs to help you generate reviews from your satisfied patients. Advice Media has review management software that does all of that, allowing you to effectively keep up with your online reputation.
Orthopedic Practice Social Media Marketing
Despite its original goals of being simply a peer-to-peer network for sharing photos and such, social media has become quite a different animal. You may not think an orthopedic practice would have any reason to be on social media apps such as Facebook. But that would be a missed opportunity.
Today, patients and potential patients across the various medical specialties look to a practice’s social media for a different perspective. They want to see engagement and how patients talk about the practice. They want to see a more casual side of the practitioners and the practice. Social media can help build trust and allows patients to connect on a more personal level with your orthopedic doctors and your entire staff.
Effective use of social media requires regular posting, and it can be difficult for an orthopedic practice to keep up with. It’s worth considering having an agency handle your social media profiles and regular posting to take the burden off your staff and keep your social media visitors engaged.
Orthopedic Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
You’ve probably noticed that organic search results seem to slide lower and lower on the first page of search results. It’s true and it’s happening for a simple reason. Google and Bing want paid search and they’ve made it increasingly more prominent. Because of that focus, paid search needs to be a part of your digital marketing efforts. Paid search is also called pay-per-click (PPC) advertising because users only pay when their ad is clicked on and the user is directed to their website. That makes PPC advertising truly cost effective.
That’s why great website design and robust, engaging content are so important. Together they work to keep a curious PPC visitor on your site, encouraging that person to push deeper into the pages of your site. This increases your ROI. There are different SEM ad types, and they require different strategies to optimize your ads to generate leads. That’s why you need an orthopedic marketing firm to manage your SEM.
The two most common search engine advertisements for orthopedic practices are text ads (the paid returns atop the search engine results page) and display ads (ads on the right side or across the entire top of regular webpages). Unlike text ads atop search engine results pages, display ads show up on pages of websites that you set as parameters. For instance, a display ad for your orthopedic practice could show up on the side of a page when a person is on the Mayo Clinic website reading about shoulder dislocation.
Setting your SEM campaign and budget involves first setting your overall SEO strategy. This optimizes your website to ensure your budget is efficient and your ad quality scores are high.
Orthopedic Practice Email Marketing
Many orthopedic surgeons can’t see the point in using email marketing for their practices. Truth is, email marketing can be a great way for your practice to maintain a connection to existing patients (after all, one knee injury doesn’t mean a second knee or other joint injury can’t happen) and to push for referrals. If you handle your email marketing in house, you need to choose an email marketing platform based on two factors: ease of use and price. Prices are usually dictated by frequency of your emails and the size of your list.
For our orthopedic practices, we recommend sending out one email every month. These can have wide-ranging content — from tips on rehabbing a knee replacement to how to stretch properly before a tennis match. Each email should mention your referral program information. That referral program needs to offer something to a current patient who refers a new patient, something like a gift card for massage treatments or tickets to a local sporting event. Your staff needs to collect these email addresses and manage your practice email list. To do this you should have a connected form that directly links your website to your email marketing software.
The orthopedic realm has lots of educational potential, and blogs on your website are a great place to do this. Creating regular blog posts on your orthopedic practice website can pay many dividends. These blogs can drive traffic and potential patients to your site, provide regular content to share on your social media pages and through email marketing, and blogs are an important part of SEO. This is because search engines view blogs as new content, and new content is rewarded in organic search.
Blogs are a vehicle to create new content for both existing patients and potential patients. Consistent posting is a must. Each blog should also focus on a single orthopedic topic. It can be purely education, or it can combine how your practice addresses the condition/injury/problem. This ongoing information helps establish your orthopedic practice as an authority on the procedures you specialize in.
Writing a monthly blog post can be difficult — you’re an orthopedic surgeon, not a writer — and it can be challenging to produce on schedule. Many orthopedic practices farm out their blogging duties to a digital agency or a freelance writer. This ensures every blog has fresh content and the writing quality is high.
Traditional Orthopedic Marketing
In today’s digital world, it’s easy to overlook traditional marketing — radio and TV commercials, print ads, billboards, and direct mail. Unlike pay-per-click ads, where you know people interacted with your ad, traditional advertising has few guarantees. Usually you pay to get in front of your target audience for them to potentially interact with your ad. If you buy an ad in your local lifestyle magazine potential patients with chronic shoulder bursitis may see it, or they may not.
At Advice Media, we believe there is a place for traditional advertising coupled with digital marketing as described above. To make these traditional media cost effective, you need a process to track their effectiveness and ROI, which isn’t always easy. We have options for doing this by directing specific media to specific landing pages or to certain distinct phone numbers. Still, traditional media can be frustrating due to the unknowns and the cost of creative production.
Traditional marketing has been on the decline and will continue to decline for these reasons. That’s why your orthopedic practice needs to focus as much as possible on digital marketing options.
Orthopedic Business Development
While you’re probably not interested in bringing in new partners to your orthopedic practice, it’s a good idea to seek out new partnerships. As an expert in the human skeleton and connective tissues, you don’t remove pre-cancerous skin lesions, but you can surely recommend a dermatologist who does. Then when that dermatologist hears a patient complaining about their knee clicking, he or she can recommend your orthopedic practice to the patient.
And you can think beyond straight business referrals. You could offer to write occasional stories for the local newspaper on different orthopedic issues. Local TV stations in smaller markets usually need content to fill air time, and they could be interested in a new arthroscopic method used for shoulder repairs.
There are endless possibilities for these kinds of business development opportunities for your orthopedic practice. A great way to come up with possible associations is to first identify your typical patient. Then get your whole staff together, along with your orthopedic digital marketing firm, to brainstorm creative options for reaching this patient.
Orthopedic Referral Program
Referred patients are excellent patients because they’ve already heard great things about your orthopedic expertise. That’s why your practice needs to encourage referrals through a defined program. Through a referral program your current patients will receive something in exchange for a referred patient scheduling a treatment. Since you provide mainly treatments, you may have to look outside your practice for referral rewards, maybe to gift cards to a local spa (also good for cross referrals!). Referrals are great way to spread the word about your orthopedic practice and to reward your loyal current customers.
You will need to make this easy to implement (don’t make anyone jump through hoops to receive the rewards), and you need to have a clear process in place, both for your patients and for your staff.
Hosting an event can seem like too much work, but this is a great way to celebrate your current patients, introduce your orthopedic practice to new patients, and engage with the community. It could be simply an open house or a presentation themed event.
Again, you want to think of your ideal orthopedic patient. Maybe a “Winter Joint Survival” theme could be perfect on a fall evening in a snowy area where people ski. You’ll want to have catered food, promotional branded items with your logo and practice name on them, and office tours with staff members.
We recommend orthopedic practices hold an open house/event once each year. That way you’ll learn a bit each year about successfully hosting these events, and your patients will begin to look forward to them each year.
Orthopedic Community-Building Events
Patients like to see that your orthopedic practice is engaged with the community. Maybe you volunteer on the sideline for the local high school football team, or maybe your practice is the sponsor of a summer gymnastics camp for local teens. Community-building events show that you value being a part of the community and that you’re willing to give back.
Orthopedic Speaking Engagements
The orthopedic world is constantly evolving, and your team members are continually attending seminars and symposiums for continuing learning. These are great ways to show your patients you seek to stay on the cutting edge of orthopedic care. If you can present or speak at one of these events, that’s even better. All of these items make for great content for your website, social media platforms, and in a newsletter or monthly email.
Make an Instant Impact — Let’s Get Started Today
If you seek answers and help with those 14 items listed above, you’re in the right place and on the right website. We’re Advice Media, and we can help move your orthopedic practice to the next level with our digital marketing SEO and SEM services. For over 20 years, we’ve been building and optimizing the health care industry’s most beautiful websites. From tools to handle your orthopedic practice directory listings to helping you decide whether PPC text ads are better than paid display, we’ve been the trusted partner of thousands of practices over our two decades. Ask for our featured orthopedic case studies, or let’s get right to talking about improving your digital marketing. Please click here to fill out a contact form, or give us a call at 435.575.7470 .