Search Engine Optimization
Marketing Strategy for Doctors, Clinics and Healthcare Services: Interview with Dr Shaan
9 April 2020
Marketing and growing a practice is not easy, especially in the competitive healthcare space like dentistry, chiropractic, TCM and medical. However, with the right strategy, growth is not difficult either, as we are about to see with Dr Shaan.
Dr Shaan (UK) is the founder of Vitality Chiropractic, Singapore’s premier nerve centre. Vitality is the only Upper Cervical Specialist clinic in Singapore, being the first to bring this technique to South East Asia. They utilise the best technology to scientifically analyse their patients’ nerve systems at every appointment. Their goal is to help people ‘Take Their Lives Back’
Caleb: Many Doctors – including Medical, Chiropractors, TCMs and Dentists treat patients with all kinds of problems, and try to help a wide range of conditions. You specialise in treating people with only a specific condition, would that not limit you to seeing fewer patients than your competitors?
Dr Shaan: That’s a great question, I understand how it may seem that way. However, with over 5 million people in Singapore, would it make sense to try and be the Dentist or Chiropractor for every single person? Instead, to do our best work, we should all pick a focus and do our best to help that group of people.
I understand the practitioners’ burning desire to help everyone as much as you can, as I have done it myself, but by trying to reach everyone, you may end up helping few. This is because it is confusing to patients. If they see you as a generalist that tries to help everything it brings up two thoughts. Either: 1. They do a bit of everything but nothing particularly well, or 2. You’re crazy since you’re claiming to help everything!
I experienced this first-hand for myself. I attended a meditation class where they talked about helping everything from sleep, to stress, to stomach problems to cancer! Can meditation (combined with other things) help all those problems? Absolutely. But to someone who doesn’t know you or what you do, it looks outlandish.
By specialising, it helps people to understand when they should or shouldn’t see you, saving yours and their time. When you do, you usually will be better at dealing with that problem, raising you up as an expert in your field, as long as you back it up with clinical skills. At a personal level, you will also be happier by focusing on the clients/patients which you enjoy working with the most and perform best. If you stay happy and perform well, you work longer, therefore helping more people!
The particular condition I specialise in is known as Subluxation. This is a misalignment of the bones in the top of the neck. These bones surround and protect the brain stem, the control centre connecting the brain to the nerves in the body. My goal is to analyse and correct this problem. When present, Subluxation will misalign the bones, compress the nerves and interfere with their normal function. Think of it like a garden hose being kinked, the water doesn’t flow and it affects all the places the water is supposed to go to, leading to health problems. I commonly help migraines, headaches and vertigo.
“By specialising, it helps people to understand when they should or shouldn’t see you, saving yours and their time.”
Caleb: You’re in a field that is quite competitive with other big players that have larger marketing budgets and have been around for a longer time. How do you still have many patients booked consistently?
Dr Shaan: Specialisation is a big factor. By being the first to offer a unique analysis, nerve scans and technique in South East Asia, it gives us an edge. We take bio mechanical x-rays for more accurate diagnosis and work with a centre that sends us the images in under an hour. We are the first in Singapore to use recovery suites, helping our patients achieve faster, long term results. All of this combines to make a unique experience and service. That being said, you must have results, if you can’t do that for your practice members, they won’t stay and refer.
Marketing continually is something that helps to shape our success, with implemented advertising. I was lucky enough to learn years ago from a mentor, that marketing and adverts should always be a part of the budget. Even if you have a full schedule, you must stay top of mind and exposed to your clients. This exposure is a duty you have to the public if you really want to help. For example, if you are busy with referrals you may think you should cut your budget. However, this means you are only exposed to a select group of people, but others who may really need your expertise don’t know about you. Especially in healthcare, this is bordering on negligent. If you have a service that can truly impact and improve lives, marketing is a moral obligation.
“If you have a service that can truly impact and improve lives, marketing is a moral obligation.”
Caleb: What are the marketing channels that you are currently using?
Dr Shaan: Organic and paid Google search, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, directory sites, associations, chambers, networking groups, professional referrals, email list and in the clinic (brochures, posters etc)
Caleb: What would work better for businesses in the healthcare industry: organic marketing or paid media?
Dr Shaan: It depends on the stage of the business. Organic will always be a better, more trusted avenue, but in the beginning you have no reason to be trusted by search engines. Paid media should be utilised more in the beginning and for times of harvest (sales times, promotions etc), however organic marketing should be a perpetual part of the business. This is not just more trustworthy to the search engines, but more importantly to your patients.
Caleb: How has SEO benefited you and how does SEO fit into the long term growth strategy of your clinic?
Dr Shaan: Our website (a mix of SEO and SEM) brings the majority of clients to us and allows them to be aware we can help. This provides them with hope, which is priceless. SEO plays a big part in our long term plan. While taking effort, it is a means to produce results and revenue passively. Once more established its returns are cumulative. It is a permanent source of awareness for how you can help and the value you want to provide.
This is also a character trait of our ideal client (IC) and target market (TM). Our TM/IC are people who go online and do their research. They seek specialists for long term results, instead of ‘human panadols’ for short term relief.
“Our website brings the majority of clients to us and allows them to be aware we can help. This provides them with hope, which is priceless. SEO plays a big part in our long term plan.”
Caleb: Some people believe word of mouth referrals are sufficient to grow a business, do you believe so?
Dr Shaan: Word of mouth is valuable, it provides trustworthy referrals who are already warm to your care and approach. But word of mouth can also have a darker side. This can become a game of Telephone/Chinese Whispers, the message gets distorted until people aren’t sure what you do and stand for; they only understand the interpretation they are told, possibly by someone who has never met you.
Word of mouth is also limited, it requires information to reach people instead of being readily available when they are seeking exactly the solution you offer.
“Word of mouth is also limited, it requires information to reach people instead of being readily available when they are seeking exactly the solution you offer.”
Caleb: What advice would you give to businesses in the healthcare industry who are looking to grow their practice?
Dr Shaan: Figure out first who you are, what you offer and who you want to serve. Determine your target market and then hone that down to an ideal client (aka an avatar).
An example: a 38 year old woman working at a desk job with 2 kids, a husband, elderly parents living close by, she enjoys yoga classes and meditation, but finds it hard to find time between commitments. She’s confident, intelligent and hardworking, but needs some guidance to get things moving in the right direction
Once you have this ideal person, make all decisions based on this possibly fictitious person. Choose your branding based on them: how you decorate your space, the magazines you have, the music, the smell, even the way you dress. You aren’t trying to make your practice a second living room for you to enjoy, you are there to serve them. By appealing to them in this way, without reducing your moral and ethical obligations (such as treatment choice), you are helping guide them to the best decision for them.
Once all this is in place, market in all aspects of life and consult some fellow specialists, such as for SEO, SEM and web development.
Caleb: In this period where businesses are forced to shut, what do you think business owners should do to continue to stay afloat and maybe even come back stronger?
Dr Shaan: First, cut costs where you can, minimise any risks you may have. Second, ensure you have established your TM and IC. Third, build a routine to improve yourself and skills with the available time (such as professional knowledge, clinical technique, yoga, meditation, exercise, nutrition).
Then spend ALL remaining time searching for ways to bring value to these people. Make them your people; if you are struggling, so are they. This period won’t last forever, but those who brought value in hard times will be remembered and sought out once we return to normal life. Give, give, give. Think about them every day and how to make their lives better. Even when things are going badly and resources are scarce, keep serving. True abundance does not come when we have much, but when we have little. People will not forget that.
“This period won’t last forever, but those who brought value in hard times will be remembered and sought out once we return to normal life.”
For many small business owners, getting started on social media can be a little daunting, especially when you are boot-strapped or face lack of manpower and time. However, it does not have to cost very much to grow your business on social media such as LinkedIn.
Here are 15 ways on how small businesses can grow their connections organically on LinkedIn.
- Define your purpose.
Identify at which stage of your marketing funnel you want your business to focus on and set goals to reach them. Is it to build awareness of your business, garner more engagement or convert people to transact with you? Knowing your business goal will help you work on a strategic social media strategy that will produce successful outcomes at every stage of the funnel.
- Build a LinkedIn business page.
According to Forbes, only 57% of companies have business pages. The remaining 43% are missing out on a free opportunity to generate leads, talent, and, ultimately, revenue. A business page allows you to post content, advertise your solutions and how it can alleviate your target audience’s pain points. While building your own LinkedIn personal page is important, a business page allows you to focus on providing value-added information that your customers can relate to.
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