The healthcare industry is undergoing rapid changes and so are the ways in which people are trying to locate new healthcare providers and facilities. Attracting or inspiring patients to visit or reach your hospital is not an easy task. When it comes to attracting patients online, a hospital or healthcare practice is in constant competition with other similar players in their local area. Building a solid digital presence is a great opportunity for hospitals and independent practitioners to reach their target patient groups. Ensuring that your healthcare practice is listed everywhere your potential patients may be searching for your services online is the key to driving more web traffic. That is where the need of a comprehensive healthcare digital marketing strategy comes into the picture.
Why Do You Need Digital Marketing for Hospitals?
Hospital marketing is nowadays all about making a positive connection with your target patients. Nowadays, before choosing a healthcare practice or consulting a physician, it is quite common for people to go online to know more about the hospital, physicians and level of services. It is estimated that about 70 percent of people feel that feedback about a hospital and service they find online is the prime factor in deciding whether or not to avail services from that hospital/provider. There are multiple digital channels like social media, search engines, websites etc through which hospitals can build a solid online presence before their target audiences. Ensuring that your hospital is listed in the right places with the most updated information about your products and services is important for successful digital marketing.
Here are some top ways to effectively market your hospital or healthcare practice online –
- Build a Strategic, Responsive Website – A healthcare website is often your prospective patient’s first touch point with your brand, so it is important to create the right image from the very start. To maximize your online presence, start by designing a responsive, optimized website that is simple, user-friendly, intuitive, easy to navigate and visually appealing; and that acts as your main marketing hub for communicating with patients online. A website for your hospital should always include the location, phone number and directions. Clear display of contact information must be included in the page, along with multiple options for patients to get in touch. In addition, a patient FAQ page must also be included that addresses the most common questions and allows for self-service.
- Ensure Your Ranking on Search Engines – Now that you have set up a website, the next step is to ensure that your website is search engine friendly. Perform a basic level keyword research related to your field to figure out what your target audience is searching for. Conduct a competitor analysis to find out what your competitors are ranking for. Then, carefully devise a strong SEO plan by creating quality content that helps your website rank high on Google search results.
- Create Quality Content That Educates – Creating top-quality content that educates your target audience would drive more traffic to your website. Post quality content in the form of blog posts, eBooks, articles and white papers as this helps create value to readers and build trust between your patients and your hospital over time. The content should give answers to the common questions that patients are repeatedly asking about their health and your particular focus area. For instance, if a patient is planning to consult an orthodontist, then he/she may also search for information on braces or questions like “how much do braces cost?” or “how long do you need to wear braces?”
- Build Your Brand Visibility via Social Media – Currently, social media has become a very powerful tool in hospital marketing. According to reports, more than 2.65 billion people worldwide were actively using at least one social media platform in 2018. It is estimated that by 2021, social media will account for just fewer than 20 percent of the average marketing spend. Hospital marketing via social media platforms should rightly focus on building trust with your prospective patient groups. Try to deliver value with each post like posting valuable health-related content as this would enhance your brand reach and increase patient visits.
- Run PPC campaigns – While searching for a new hospital or medical facility, people will try to search for a practice near their location. Increasing your visibility on the search engines is one way to bring your potential patients into your facility. Including pay-per-click or PPC ad campaigns as part of your healthcare marketing strategy is one way to get immediate results on search engines. PPC ads appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) when people type in search terms (relevant to your practice). Unlike organic SEO, PPC ads generate instant results and allow you to target your ideal patients. This in turn helps in quality lead generation and high return on investment. For example, many patients search for hospitals near their home, work, or current location, and PPC ads can be a great tool to build local traffic. By correctly targeting keywords and phrases that include the city or region that your hospital is currently located in, you can attract more local patients to your website.
- Humanize Your Brand – Instill the human side into your hospital marketing. Try to build trust with your patients. According to a PwC study, one in three consumers feel that trust is the most important element that influences their decision, even more so than price. Hospitals should try to highlight their services, community partnerships, events and other elements that will instantly connect people to your brand. Social media can be a strong platform for humanizing your brand by allowing patients to see the level of services offered.
- Patient reviews – Medical SEO is a highly competitive field and often certain small but important details make the difference for the healthcare digital marketing efforts for your hospital. In the healthcare context, patient and healthcare consumer reviews matter and are important for building your reputation. Reports suggest that about 92 percent of people are influenced by what they read online. Reviews help patients decide which hospital to seek treatment from. In fact, people trust recommendations from family and friends more than any kind of advertising. It is important that you encourage your patients to post reviews. If your existing customers are satisfied with the services you offer, they will be happy to review your hospital brand on sites such as Yelp, Yahoo Local, Yellow Pages and Healthgrades.
- Allow Your Patients to Market Your Practice – Word-of-mouth marketing is an important technique for building your patient network. Provide your customers a platform to evaluate or rate their experiences with your hospital by sending online surveys to them after their visit or including a feedback form on your hospital website itself. Create video testimonials of your patient success stories to post on your website. Publishing patient experiences on your website is a more authentic approach than writing your own marketing messages. In addition, creating a customer referral program that offers incentives for your existing patients may inspire them to recommend your services to friends, family, and acquaintances.
- Get referrals from physicians – Try to build a good rapport with the local doctor community. As a number of physicians own private clinics, letting them know about your hospital amenities and treatment services that you offer would help these physicians recommend your hospital to their patients as well.
Digital marketing for hospitals can be challenging and requires careful consideration of several strategies. The above-mentioned points are some of the top ways to effectively market your hospital or healthcare practice online. Just as the healthcare industry changes over time, so do the strategies for finding and attracting new patients. Therefore, if you want to grow and maintain a successful healthcare practice, it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest digital marketing strategies in healthcare.