1. Build a website. The first step of an online marketing strategy is creating or updating the practice website. Independent spine surgeons and groups must have a website regularly updated with relevant information to appear in patient searches.
"You need a place where potential patients can go to become educated about your treatment offerings," says Ms. Cienkosz. "Your website will have a huge role to play in practice marketing."
The website should include information about the surgeon or surgeons in the group, services provided, conditions treated and the practice location. Once the website is in place, you can move ahead with additional social media initiatives.
2. Make your approach patient-centered. Online marketing efforts should have a patient focus. Make sure the patient's wants and needs are at the forefront of all advertisements and material you put online.
"The most important thing is making your approach patient-centered," says Ms. Cienkosz. "Your communication touch points should describe the services you provide. It's important not to mislead the patient about what you do or how you do it; be very forthright."
Patients want to know what the surgeon has to offer and how they would benefit from treatment. "The content doesn't always have to be created from scratch," she says. "If you have marketing content from somewhere else within the organization, repurpose it for online space."
3. Engage with social media. Create a social media page that allows patients to dialogue with one another about past or upcoming surgeries or general health topics. Social media channels you may consider using to start the conversation include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube.
"Patients communicate in a forum and ask each other questions," says Ms. Cienkosz. "The conversation happens naturally. It's a great marketing effort and it takes very little internal resources to keep up."
Laser Spine Institute doesn't moderate the discussions; they flow organically. However, posts will be removed if they are threatening or violate HIPAA.
4. Educate patients with marketing efforts. Educate patients about surgeons in your group and their services online. You can go a step further by educating patients with substantive articles and videos about common conditions and treatment options.
"We have condition-specific information about our procedures on our group website," says Ms. Cienkosz. "We also want to educate patients about our surgeons because that's what is really important to them. We have bios on our website for each surgeon where they are featured in an introductory video about their backgrounds to make patients as comfortable as possible."
The marketing manager can also post relevant articles and other resources on the social media and website outlets to stay current and start conversations about hot topics for the day. "We post updates on a daily basis about different health-related topics to continue engagement with potential patients," she says. "They are thought-starters for people who visit our page."
5. Upload more video content. Video content will become increasingly important heading into the future. Patients will be looking for videos about different procedures for education as well as surgeon profiles to become more familiar with their providers.
"We have procedure animations, condition animations and surgeon biographies where they describe what the procedures are like," says Ms. Cienkosz. "Video content will be very important from a marketing perspective as well as for patient education. Our surgeon biographies aren't scripted; they communicate who they are and connect with potential patients. You want that to be very natural and allow them to really show who they are and what they've accomplished."
More Articles on Spine Surgery:
22 Spine Surgeon Leaders on the Most Fulfilling Aspects of Their Careers
6 Ongoing Challenges for Spine Surgeons & Innovators
50 Spine Surgeons on the Move
5 Steps to Optimize Online Marketing for Spine Surgeons FeaturedWritten by Laura Dyrda | Monday, 31 December 2012 13:29
Briley Cienkosz, senior marketing director of Laser Spine Institute, discusses five steps for spine surgeons and groups to optimize online marketing efforts.Last modified on Monday, 31 December 2012 13:41
© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2016. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies here.
Most Read - Spine
- Spinal fusion for lumbar stenosis: 11 takeaways from 2 studies
- Do spine surgery outcomes meet patient expectations? 5 things to know
- 10 hospitals expanding spine programs — April 17, 2016
- 10 spine, neurosurgeons on the move in March 2016
- 8 things for spine surgeons to know for Thursday — April 7, 2016
Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months
- 336 spine surgeons to know — 2016
- Rumors of a Stryker acquisition of Smith & Nephew swirl once again: 6 key notes
- Google and Johnson & Johnson to form new surgical company — 4 highlights
- Transparency in healthcare can work today — Hoag Orthopedic Institute proves it
- Stryker director sells 18k shares, following Smith & Nephew acquisition rumors: 7 points
- Did Loma Linda's orthopedic device rep-less strategy work? 5 things to know
- 5 huge reputation management mistakes for surgeons
- Medtronic, Stryker, Zimmer Biomet, DePuy Synthes, Smith & Nephew: Who had the best 2015? 32 things to know
- Smith & Nephew acquires Blue Belt Technologies — Will Stryker make its move soon? 5 key notes
- The theory behind Geisinger's spine surgery refund
- Physician receives second-degree murder sentence for overprescribing pain medication: 6 key points
- Is the Johnson & Johnson job cut an ominous sign for the medical device industry? 5 key thoughts
- Population health on a budget: How one orthopedic surgeon succeeded in Chicago's most impoverished neighborhoods
- Justice Department investigates pain compounding cream for $500M potential fraud: 5 things to know
- 10 Things to know about the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Model
- 32 hospitals to pay $28M in spine surgery false claims settlement: 5 things to know
- Looking ahead to 2016: What excites spine surgeons most?
- ProDisc-C vs. spinal fusion: Which has better results? 5 key notes
- Dr. R.J. Meagher joins Laser Spine Institute: 5 things to know
- 5 most common reasons orthopedic surgeons are sued
- 10 spine, neurosurgeons on the move in January 2016
- Reducing the cost of spine care: Key thoughts from 4 spine surgeons
- Dr. James Andrews #5 among richest doctors in the world: 6 points
- Dr. Robert Blok joins Laser Spine Institute — 4 key points
- 5 ways big data will affect healthcare providers in 2016 & beyond
- North Carolina physician group creates orthopedic bundled payment system — 5 takeaways
- 5 things to know about wearable technology in medicine
- Zimmer Biomet, Stryker, J&J & more: 26 key notes — AAOS edition
- Surgical tech sues Yale-New Haven Hospital surgeon after OR altercation — 5 key notes
- 15 statistics on orthopedic surgeon starting salaries
- Does universal healthcare in Massachusetts equalize treatment between races in cervical spinal trauma? 5 key notes
- Stryker, Titan Spine, ConforMIS & more: 16 key notes
- The best way to prepare for the future in spine: Dr. Hyun Bae
- CJR bundles to pay $25k per episode: 8 statistics on cost breakdown
- Bundled payments, consolidation & more: How OrthoVirginia is building a future-facing empire
- Top 10 highest-earning physician specialties — Orthopedics leads for 6th consecutive year
- Orthopedic surgeons generate $2.7M for affiliated hospitals; 5.5 times what they make — 5 survey findings
- From cost to patient care — The many ways orthopedic bundled payments help hospitals
- 13 statistics on neurosurgeon salary in 2016
- 6 statistics on orthopedic surgeon compensation — Which practice setting pays most?