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To put it simply: Marketing to doctors is hard.
Everyone wants to market to them because they control a ton of money. The U.S. spends nearly $3.6 trillion on healthcare every year, and doctors control about 80% of that. Given this control, they are pretty popular when it comes to people wanting their attention. So, how can you get through to them? By implementing this 4-step marketing treatment.
Step 1: Determine Your Audience and Message
To successfully market to doctors you need to hit them with a brief, truthful, and relevant message. However, to do this effectively you need to develop impactful messaging based on your specific audience and what is important to them.
Realistically, marketing to “doctors” is way too broad of an audience. You need to filter down to a smaller, highly target group based on:
- Specialty: This is critical, as it is one of the main ways that physicians self-identify. Specialty also impacts a lot of your marketing messaging and placement. Selecting a target specialty or specialties will determine your market size and the demographics within it, such as income level and any gender bias.
- Setting: Where your target audience works is important, as it will significantly impact the decision-making power they have – or don’t have. For example, messages will resonate differently with a pediatrician in a giant urban hospital than a pediatrician working out of a small rural practice. Some settings to consider include university or large-scale health organizations and hospital- or clinic-based practices.
- Geography: Whether or not geography matters in messaging largely depends on your product or service. It can come into play for conditions that are primarily treated in certain areas, dealing with state or county regulations, or competitive pricing at the state or local level.
- Payment Model: How a physician is paid, unsurprisingly, impacts their behavior based on the incentives they receive. At the end of the day, how they are paid impacts how you get paid. Consider all the different models, such as the traditional fee for service, accountable care, concierge, HMOs, cash-only vs. private, insurance-only vs. Medicaid/Medicare, etc.
Once you have determined your target doctor group, you need to consider what role of theirs you’re appealing to, whether that is the doctor-as-a-physician, as a businessperson, or as a human, and modify your message accordingly.
Step 2: Create Content
To grab doctors’ attention, you must create content that resonates with them. Consider your offer (your call to action, or CTA), and use that to create compelling content to draw them in.
You could write about basically anything. The goal is to create content that is enticing enough that they will give up their contact information for it. It’s pretty simple – but can also feel overwhelming. If you don’t have much content, here are some ideas to get you started.
- What your industry does for a specific target segment
- Your secret sauce (that is, what makes your solution unique)
- Third-party validation
- Case studies or genericized use cases
- What’s in the news (particularly useful for writing time-sensitive content around regulatory changes)
- Answer the questions you get from prospects
There are many different types of formats you could use to generate leads:
- White papers
- Blog posts
- Interactive tools
We recommend starting with a hearty piece of content, like an eBook. It takes a lot of time and work, but when you’re done you can break it down into smaller types of content. Every format has its pros and cons and the format that works best for you will depend on your specific audience. Ultimately, picking the right format and topic combination will largely depend on your specific product or service.
Step 3: Promote Your Content for Lead Generation
Once you have something to promote it’s time to get it into the market. To inform your placement strategy, consider the content you created and your audience criteria. Then you’re going to want to buy an email list with everyone who matched your audience criteria (but do NOT email them) and develop landing pages and banners to promote your content across a range of platforms.
Here are some of the most effective platforms we have found for reaching doctors. We recommend testing a mixture of platforms, content, and CTAs to determine what works best for your product or service. Once you find something that works – replicate.
- Retargeting, including traditional, partner, list, and specific prospects
- Syndication directly through publications or with white-labeled intermediaries
- Search for paid ads and organic SEO
- Paid social on LinkedIn
- Medical publications and associations
- Direct mail
Step 4: Track, Measure, and Optimize
Not only is marketing to doctors is hard, it is also expensive (thanks, Big Pharma). That’s why it’s important that you track, measure, and optimize for success based on revenue. Notice I said “revenue,” not “leads.” While leads are what you are trying to generate, you can’t pay your staff or investors in leads. So, you want to try to dive into the metrics and modify your marketing strategy based on the revenue that was ultimately generated.
Tracking based on revenue isn’t easy (and it’s okay if you can’t do it yet). The fact is, many companies don’t have the ability to track inbound inquiries all the way to the final sale. Make this your goal for the year, and focus on getting accurate tracking and reporting. Start with whatever metric you have, and then go deeper. Work with sales for a smooth handoff, and that revenue generation number will continue to grow.
Like we said at the beginning – marketing to doctors is hard, and there is no one-size-fits-all formula. It requires a lot of moving parts to be successful, but with continual testing and optimization you can find a method that works best for your organization to drive revenue.
For more in-depth detail on how to market to doctors, download our comprehensive 40-page guide.