The Squid: The Art Behind Planning Your Digital Marketing Strategy for a Medical Practice

September 20th, 2016

The Squid: The Art Behind Planning Your Digital Marketing Strategy for a Medical Practice

We’ll get to The Squid in a bit, but first, consider this question. How does digital marketing fit into the overall marketing strategy for your medical practice? Perhaps you have no idea and that’s why you are reading this blog.

When considering the marketing of your practice, you must first determine why you want to market at all. Secondly, you’ll want to figure out who your target market is. The last step will be how you want to reach them.


At the initial level of this plan, you must understand why you want to market your practice.  While the most common (and obvious) reasons for marketing are to develop more business, you may have more specific reasons for developing an overall plan. What are they? Are they static or fluid? Consider how you would measure these efforts. How would you respond to a need for changing and altering your plans? Later, we will dive a little deeper on goal setting for your digital marketing tactics.


In this digital age of marketing, your practice’s online presence is there whether you have built it or not. Your prospective patients may be trying to find you. Who are you trying to reach? Is your reach general or very specific? By developing the profile of the type of patient you want, and the type of referral source you prefer, your marketing efforts will begin to take some shape.

Your business’s online presence exists. Did you help build it? #takecontrol Click To Tweet


Now, how do you want to reach the ideal patient? How about the ideal referral source? This is where The Squid comes in. The Squid, as represented below, is my format to outline the relationships between my intended marketing tactics and the main practice website. And while I have been teased by my colleagues because of my superior drawing skills, this exercise has helped me decide where to focus my practice’s efforts to reach our ideal patients. In this example, 100% of the effort is digital. In your exercise, this may not be the case.

The practical application for The Squid in this blog is for deciding how digital marketing fits into your overall strategy. So, consider the many options you may have, and then how they relate to your company’s overall marketing plan, as well as how they may interrelate with each other.  Some, but not all, of these options are:

  • Print advertising
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Direct mail
  • Website
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest)
  • Online directories
  • Online healthcare provider rating websites (,
  • Online consumer rating websites (

The Catalysts at Cobalt Digital Marketing have industry specific expertise to guide you through these exercises.  We understand the business, and the delivery of digital marketing strategies, and have proven success in helping medical practices build their clientele.


The healthcare consumer of today is largely a digital consumer.  75% of Americans between the ages 57-65 are online. 80% of patients between the ages 47-56 are online. 1 in 20 Google searches is healthcare related and more than 62% of smartphone users have looked up health related conditions in the past year (Pew Research Center). Furthermore, 66% of Americans are willing to use an app to manage their health and lifestyle (Pew Research Center). Lastly – and most significantly in my mind – 41% of potential patients have said that social media would affect their choice of physician, hospital, or medical facility (Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group). The reality is that consumers are now turning online for information and to find services. I’d say it’s time to take control of your digital presence.

80% of patients between the ages of 47-56 are online. #patients #online Click To Tweet 41% of patients say #socialmedia affects #doctor & facility choices. #healthcare #marketing Click To Tweet


Digital marketing is not only an important element of your marketing strategy – it’s vital in today’s marketplace. What’s next is to decide what goals you want to accomplish and what digital media you want to incorporate.


Consider the following when developing your digital plan and goals.  Do you want:

  • To manage your online reputation
  • To build a greater following (referrals, new patients) for your business
  • To provide education to current and potential patients
  • To take on your competition and their digital presence
  • Letter E – All of the above
  • Letter F – Something entirely different

There is no right answer. Take some time to consider what your desired outcomes will be if you decide to use digital marketing. Remember, this goal setting must be in line with the type of patient profile and referral source profile that you want to develop. I find this step to be critically important. If you understand your business well, and you know the type of patient you want to bring into the business, you will achieve the goals you set through the proper selection of digital tactics and strategies.


A solid digital marketing strategy is going to incorporate several tactics; from SEO usage on your website, to blogs, as well as the use of social media and online directories. The development of a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, or postings on Pinterest or Instagram may all have a place in the delivery of your message. One broadly used strategy is to utilize social media platforms to drive users (your potential patient) back to your website for more detailed information. Your digital tactics should interact with each other, and not be isolated from one another, in order to put you in the best position to achieve your goals.

#website+#SEO+#content+#SMM=Digital Success Click To Tweet


We’ve offered you a lot to think about in this blog.  There is both an investment and a reward in developing and deploying a successful digital marketing strategy. Cobalt Digital Marketing is here to help you walk through this entire process, from inception to implementation, and beyond. We will continuously work with you to stay current, fluid, and relevant in your digital strategy. Because ultimately. Our goal is the achievement of your goals.

Have a #DigitalMarketing plan. Stay current. Stay relevant. #digitalstrategy Click To Tweet