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Online Marketing by Doctors

December 1, 2020 | Small Business Marketing

What is online marketing by doctors?

Online marketing by doctors is putting your content where your  patient will see and respond to it.

Online Content for Doctors

Let’s start with online content created by doctors.

The example I’m going to post here is Dr. Miami’s 30-minute interview of his patient, the rapper Kodak Black:

This is a good example of online marketing by doctors and it has proven to be very popular; garnering Dr. Miami many new patients and much expose to the Miami community.

Further, Dr. Miami uses 10 Interviewing Tips that every doctor should employ to connect with patients.

Also, check out these six preferences, identified by Google, people need from online marketing in order to make their shopping decisions.

Design your marketing to support these six common, human preferences and you will win out over the competition.

Here are the six preferences this blogpost will discuss:

  1. People want your marketing to simplify their decision making
  2. People want to know if other people respond to your marketing
  3. People want to know that people with superior knowledge support your claims
  4. People want their needs and desires fulfilled right NOW!
  5. People want free stuff
  6. People fear missing out on a genuine opportunity

People want your marketing to simplify their decision making

The world is a complicated place – the internet has probably made marketing online even more complicated.

The Google study below calls this ‘the messy middle’.

Patients move back-and-forth from ‘exploration’ to ‘evaluation’ – just like consumers.

Google's - The Messy Middle
Google’s – The Messy Middle describes shoppers’ online behavior

Doctors should create online content that stands out from the messiness as their potential customers move back and forth – exploring and evaluating.

Advertising is Helpful

Some doctors think advertising is bad, unnecessary or beneath their professional station.

Marketing and advertising can serve the informational needs of the consumer based on research from the Chicago School of Economics…

…Advertising is informative. This view emerged in forcein the 1960s, under the leadership of the Chicago School.

According to this approach, many markets are characterized by imperfect consumer information, since search costs may deter a consumer from learning of each product’s existence, price and quality.

This imperfection can lead to market inefficiencies, but advertising is not the cause of the problem.

Instead, advertising is the endogenous response that the market offers as a solution.

When a firm advertises, consumers receive at low cost additional direct (prices, location) and/or indirect (the firm is willing to spend on advertising) information…

As well, advertising can facilitate entry, as it provides a means though which a new entrant can publicize its existence, prices and products.

The suggestion here, then, is that advertising can have important pro-competitive effects.

The Economic Analysis of Advertising, Bagwell, 2005

More than just prices and locations, however, doctors’ marketing needs to help put your business in the correct category.

Why do patients need help categorizing their doctors? Because there are GOOD doctors and BAD doctors.

Once they have decided they need a doctor and figured out which kind of doctor, which doctor should they choose? What is the risk of a poor decision? They get a BAD DOCTOR.

Online marketing, especially videos on social media, can help consumers and patients figure out which doctors are highly rated, which have good (or bad) bedside manners and what the clinics/hospital looks like before they schedule an appointment.

So, marketing for doctors actually HELPS consumers put you in the GOOD DOCTOR category so your patient can make their purchasing decision.

Here is an example of GOOD social media video by a GOOD DOCTOR, ZDoggMD:

People want to know if other people respond to your marketing

Social proof is a term that is much in use today. Social proof is third party validation of your marketing claims. The old saying goes, “If you say it, it’s marketing. If another person says it, it’s social proof.”

In the science community, there are two forms of social proof:

Informational Social Proof – this is what web marketers talk about because it is so helpful for website conversions online. Video and text testimonials, celebrity and authority endorsements, number of shares, Likes, Followers, etc. Place the social proof adjacent to the ‘Click to Call’ or ‘Buy Now!’ button. This is the most common use of the word today.

Normative social proof – this is very much like ‘high school peer pressure’ where people may say one thing in front of the group but may secretly keep their thoughts to themselves. This type of social proof is ONLY used for group decision making.

The term ‘social proof’ was coined in 1984 by Dr. Daniel Cialdini in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. The book has become something of a cult classic among marketers since then.

Social Proof Helps People Do Hard Things

But, social proof existed long before Dr. Cialdini’s appropriation of the term – it came from research in the 1950s and 1960s in the development of Social Learning Theory.

The people studied in the development of Social Learning Theory were people with problems:

  • people with alcoholism
  • soldiers traumatized by war
  • people with an irrational fear of dogs or snakes
  • people with depression or anxiety

Social proof was used to help these people do things they could not do alone – like quit drinking alcohol or touch a snake.

Interestingly, the first use of the term we discussed above – informational social proof – is largely driven by Online Influencers today.

The use of physician and professional credentials has declined dramatically online. We can see the decline in the use of physician credentials here:

Relative use of Professional Credentials as a form of Social Proof
Relative use of Professional Credentials as a form of Social Proof Online

This chart is purely descriptive, however.

We can’t say exactly WHY credentialed professionals influence has declined online but, don’t worry! People still want doctors to take care of us and we still listen to lawyers, engineers and scientists as this next preference will show.

We want to know people with superior knowledge support your claims

Google calls this the ‘Authority Bias’.

These day, the ‘authorities’ are online influencers rather than credentialed professionals – doctors, lawyers and other professionals.

But, customers still seek some sort of rational, 3rd party validation to support our emotional buying decisions.  Today, that 3rd party validation is coming from Online Influencers.  

The WOW Promoter video testimonial app seeks to streamline your video content creation process so busy doctors, lawyers, accountants and other professionals can promote their businesses on social media. 

Online authorities tend to rely on their Authenticity to persuade and motivate online consumers to act.  When the Online Authority also has the proper Credentials then this is a powerful combination. 

When the Online Authority ONLY has one, but not the other, this is when consumers may be at risk.  

We want our needs and desires fulfilled right NOW!

The best example might be’s popular immediate delivery options, UberEats, DoorDash and the plethora of instant gratification apps that have sprung up in the last several years.

We want free stuff


We fear missing out on a genuine opportunity

The 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics went to Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky for their work that, in summary, showed that people fear the loss of something MORE than they prize the gain of an equal amount of that thing.

Doctors marketing online are probably ONLY distinguished from their competition by their personality and their bedside manner – I just want to see that my doctor is a nice guy, not a jerk.

Dr. Miami trains doctors from all over the United States in social media. He charges $15,000 and $2,500 per month to mention their names and feature their videos in his social media feed.

Why is Dr. Miami STILL so popular?

The reason Dr. Miami is so popular is that he’s fun to watch, he laughs, smiles and dances at work.

Seems pretty cool to me.

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