Gone are the days when world-class doctors, reputation and referrals alone are enough for medical practices to have a steady flow of patients walking through the door.

To attract and retain patients, reduce attrition and drive revenue, medical practices must focus their efforts on elevating the patient experience—both online and in-person.

Here, read on for 6 proven marketing strategies medical practices can use to grow.

1. Create content


According to a report by Healthcare Insight, approximately 73 percent of health care marketers use content marketing to attract and retain their target audiences.

Posting timely, relevant and engaging content at least two to three times a week is one of the best ways to market to both new and existing patients.

Blogging is an ideal way to drive traffic to your site and keep readers engaged, but also think about creating free content like an e-book, a cheat sheet or a series of videos as opt-ins to grow your email list.

2. Strategically use social media


You might think that Facebook is the best place to share content and advertise, but it might not be the best channel to market your practice.

Before creating a marketing strategy, it’s important to find out where your patients hang out. If you’re trying to market to Medicare patients for example, Facebook is probably the way to go, while Instagram and Snapchat are better for targeting millennials.

3. Show off


When patients look for new doctors, they want authenticity, transparency and trust.

Before they make an appointment however, they’re reading reviews and feedback about your practice on social media so encourage or incentivize patients to leave reviews and always respond to negative comments.

Another way to build trust and credibility is to write case studies about your patients. Tell the stories that new patients want to know, such as how your doctors helped a patient find the right diagnosis or overcome a chronic health condition.

4. Host an event


When patients have the opportunity to meet their physicians, they’ll feel more comfortable with receiving their care.

In fact, 85 percent of people say it’s important to have a doctor who listens to them and 71 percent say they want a doctor who is caring and compassionate, a study in the Journal of Participatory Medicine found.

Aim to have an event at least once a month at your practice, at the local chamber of commerce office or the local library.

Or host special events and present a timely and relevant topic that your patients want to know. Cater the food and wine, have a raffle and ask everyone to bring a friend to increase your referrals.

5. Send direct mail


It might seem like an antiquated marketing strategy, but direct mail can still be an effective way to market your medical practice. In fact, in 2015, direct mail volume was down but data spend saw an increase.

Take advantage of newcomers’ clubs or purchase lists and send a letter and a brochure about your practice. Although you may not see an immediate flood of calls, people keep paper and will call when they need a doctor. Include information about your doctors, their services and what patients can expect.

6. Keep patients engaged

Medical practices need to think like brands and make patient loyalty a priority. Patients want to feel that their physicians actually care so think about special opportunities throughout the year to keep patients engaged.

For example, send cards for birthdays and anniversaries, SMS or direct mail reminders for annual wellness visits, mammograms and prostate screenings or a monthly newsletter with targeted health tips.