Stark Law Compliant 3-Part Marketing Plan For Medical Businesses to Aquire More Patients

Medical businesses are potentially missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by not investing in their online presence.

The medical business world is highly regulated to ensure that there is no undue financial burden placed upon the American taxpayers. This makes it difficult for smaller medical practices to take advantages of marketing to grow their practice. It also places a burden on medical businesses that are trying to brand without risking the heavy fines due to violating Stark Law.

In today’s economy, medical practices have to keep up with their websites, social media, and online presence just to play on the same field as their competition. Needless to say, it’s difficult for medical businesses to market and attract new patients, all the while staying compliant.

The safest approach to market your medical practice and prevent Stark Law violations is to focus on your website and avoid making any offers include a monetary healthcare related incentive. That is a mouth full, but the idea is to make your online reputation and content so compelling that people will pick you 9 times out of 10.

The following is a three-part marketing plan that is Stark Law friendly and results in making your medical practice stand out from the crowd and get more patients. (As a bonus I included the estimated costs and RIO for each stage.

Step 1 – Create Conversion Driving Website

Websites are an absolute requirement for any medical practice that wants to acquire new patients. People who are looking for a new medical practice take the time to review the reputation of both the doctors and office where they practice. Over 83% of patients review a medical business’s website before booking an appointment. Of those, 61% check out more than one medical website before making a decision.

The content and design of your website play a role in reaching potential patients and getting them to convert into actual patients. Making a concerted effort to get people to choose your office after looking at your website is known as conversion-driven website design.

Your website is more than a source for information and pictures. A website represents you and your organization to the world.  Websites provide essential information and access to help potential patients feel confident that you can care for their health needs. Ensuring that visitors to your website can take action by setting up an appointment, requesting an appointment, calling, or filling out a contact form is just as important as having a website.

Cost Analysis:

Conversion Driving Website Design: $1500 – $5000
Ongoing Updates of Website (Monthly): $150


Step 2 – Direct Traffic to Your Website

A conversion driving website, to be blunt, is useless if no one can find and explore the site. SEO, or search engine optimization, is a long-term game plan with the goal of moving up on organic search engines, such as google, bing, and Yahoo but can take up to a year or more to start seeing results. The quickest ways to drive traffic to your website is through digital marketing that includes Google Adwords, pay-per-click (PPC) ads, and third-party website referrals such as social media, Yelp, and WebMD.

If you are willing to dedicate time a lot of time upfront to get started and then about 20-40 hours every month to keep the content and information up-to-date, you’ll see some big returns. Alternatively, working with dedicated digital marketing companies, who have tools to research and present a marketing strategy based on data-driven decisions, is one of the best low-cost marketing investments you can make to grow your practice.

Cost Analysis:

DIY: 20-40+ hours (depending on experience) multiplied by your hourly worth: ~$4000
Digital Marketing Manager (monthly):  $300 – $1500+
PPC & Google Adwords (monthly: $500+


Step 3 – Video Marketing

One of the most effective ways that you can acquire more patients and improve the satisfaction of your current patients is through video marketing. It’s a little cliche, but if a picture says a 1000 words, then a 60-second video says 1.5 million words. Videos are quickly rising to the be the most searched for thing on the internet. Videos influence online decisions more than images, copywriting, or designed user experience. To illustrate, a website that has a quality video on it’s landing page can increase conversion rates anywhere between 80%-600% depending on the industry.

A video done right is the gift that keeps on giving. In other words, invest in a quality video and use it everywhere without any additional expenses. A quality video should be timeless and just as valuable today as it was 5 years ago. There is a science to influential videos that increase both RIO and SEO. Additionally, taking advantage of data analysis and feedback from patients on the effectiveness of your video gives you some leverage for improving and growing your practice.

Cost Analysis:

DIY: Equipment + Video Editing Software ($50/month) + Personal Hours: $1000 – $10,000+
Professional Video Production Company: $3000 – $10,000


Overview: Cost & RIO

Let’s assume that you get 15 new patients a month from your conversion driven website that includes efforts to direct traffic to your site, all without a video. Now imagine what the value of your new patient’s first visit. For simplicity sake, let’s say a new patient’s first visit is worth $500, including co-pays and insurance. That’s an extra $7500 a month just for having a website with steady traffic.

Now, let’s take the first month of additional revenue and invest it in a video. Assuming that your video is high quality but still comes in on the lower end of increasing conversions rates by 100%, you’ll go from 15 new patients a month to 30 or more. That’s 15 additional new patients with an added value of $7500 per month. The total added revenue is $15,000+ monthly. This isn’t taking into account any follow up visits from patients with ongoing health care needs.

Just the Numbers:

Here is a rough timeline and cost for implementing the plan:

Month 1 – Create Conversion Driving Website: $5000
Month 2 – Digital Marketing & PPC/Adwords (ongoing): $2500
Month 3 – Professional Marketing Video: $7500

 Cost & RIO Months 1-5 & 12

Month Cost Profit Net RIO
1st Month $5o00 $0 -$5000
2nd Month $2500 $7500 $0
3rd Month $7500 $7500 $0
4th Month $1500 $15,000 $13,500
5th Month $1500 $15,000 $27,000
12th Month $1500 $15,000 $123,000

Wrap Up

In this post, I presented a three-part Stark Law compliant marketing plan that medical business can implement to get new patients. The first part is to have a conversion driven website that provides patients with both the information that they need to feel confident in your ability to resolve their health concerns and that makes it easy for them to take the desired action. The Second part is to drive traffic to the website through PPC, Google Adwords, and Third Party Website referrals. The third part is to integrate high-quality video marketing into the website to increase, by 80%-600%, new patient acquisition.

Finally, I broke down the estimated costs of the three marketing parts and provided an overview of the cost and the estimated return on investment. In conclusion, a medical business can potentially increase their revenue by hundreds of thousands of dollars with low-cost investments into their online presence.



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