Over the past few years, digital marketing for healthcare has evolved significantly with healthcare entities utilizing innovative strategies to target specific customer groups. Healthcare patients have more options than ever before. With a wide range of information available online, patients no longer feel the need to visit a medical practice closest to their location or practice with multiple locations in the community. In fact, the competition is tough, particularly for healthcare practices like yours battling to attract patients in tight geographical areas in this constantly evolving high-tech era.
It is extremely important that healthcare organizations and medical offices find ways to meet their target patients where they are – online and through search engines. Incorporating the right digital marketing strategies can turn even a small healthcare practice into a booming business or to a number one choice within a specific geographical area. It can also help reach new as well as existing patients and keep your healthcare brand at the forefront of people’s minds.
Planning a Healthcare Marketing Strategy
In simple terms, healthcare marketing refers to the marketing strategies that healthcare providers, insurers, suppliers and advocacy groups use to attract new patients and increase awareness of their healthcare business. These strategies or techniques will provide a considerable competitive advantage. Your practice can start designing strategies by conducting an audit of their specific services and products – as this will help get a better sense of which groups of patients or customers you need to target first. In marketing terms, this is called developing a “patient persona” and this should be one of the focal points of the marketing efforts.
Just begin by taking a look at the current customer groups and their category. This knowledge will help you to craft a marketing strategy that truly resonates with the specific audience groups and gets the most return for the marketing budget. The success of healthcare digital marketing strategy, however, depends heavily on the quality of your healthcare website. Nothing will attract new patients through the door faster than a beautiful website that clearly indicates – what your practice is all about and what kind of services you offer. Reports suggest that 77 percent of patients use search engines prior to booking an appointment.
Here discussed are some top strategies that help build consumer engagement and build visibility to your local or online practice –
- Use Consistent Healthcare Branding – Figure out the unique features – whether it is the brand, family-friendly atmosphere of the practice, or the approach towards the patients that differentiate your healthcare practice from other counterparts. In fact, one single feature or aspect that makes you unique would help patients to remember your organization. It may take considerable time to figure out what works best for your brand. Eventually, the healthcare marketing strategy would come together smoothly.
- Optimize Your Website for Better Patient Experience – Nowadays, more than ever, prospective patients search online for local physicians and healthcare services. Google cares about user experience, and it will prioritize businesses that have an optimized website. In general, you need to focus on building a responsive website that works best for the mobile digital healthcare experience. This in turn will improve patients’ experience on the website, thereby increasing leads and retention. The website design should have customized features, must load fast, be mobile-friendly, and interactive.
- Design for Mobile Devices – As most searches are done via mobile or tablet devices, having a fully responsive medical website design is crucial. Make sure the website design includes flexible images and website structures.
- Website Speed Matters – Slow website speed can irritate online users and prevent them from staying on the website. Difficult-to-navigate websites with slow page speed may give visitors a negative experience and they are more likely to leave the website and go to a competitor’s site. Therefore, it is critical to evaluate and put a plan together to improve website page speed to lower bounce rates and increase lead conversion.
- Make Services Visible – Describe the treatments and services you provide on your home page. If you offer a wide variety of services, select the main procedures and services you want to feature. When deciding on what treatments to promote, consider the ideal audience, key differentiators, and high revenue procedures. Use lead forms to make it easy for patients to request appointments and to create a call to action for high revenue services. Make sure to use lead forms that are accessible and straightforward as patients never want to fill out long and unnecessary forms to schedule an appointment.
- Include Medical SEO keywords – A healthcare website needs to be built with proper medical SEO and keywords to stay competitive, and show up in search results. Search engine optimization will be performed page by page for all aspects of the website through image optimization, Meta descriptions, page structures, and other features. Professional medical SEO services can help build each page of the website and perform a competitive keyword research to make sure that the website stays on top of local search results.
- Invest in Social Media Marketing – Regarded as an essential medical marketing strategy, social media marketing contributes significantly to driving traffic and increasing search engine rankings. However, not all social media platforms are alike or a good fit. As each social media marketing platform is different and created for a specific audience, it is always best to take the time to evaluate the social media profiles that are the best suited, based on the target audience and the framework of the audience that each platform targets.
- Focus on Local SEO – Implementing an efficient local SEO strategy is an important medical marketing strategy as this helps boost online visibility in the long run. Hospitals and healthcare practices normally offer their service to a specific area or region. Invest time and energy in ranking a website in the 15-20 mile radius around each location for the practice.
To get it ranked locally, it is important to build a separate individual page for each location. For instance, if a healthcare practice is based in multiple locations, developing a landing page for each dedicated location is crucial. It is important to include Google My Business map, the City name (in the title tag and on the page several times), NAP (name, address, phone number, hours of that specific location), a short write-up about that location and healthcare providers that see patients at that location, on that specific page.
- Develop Unique Content – Posting unique and valuable content increases the overall website traffic, grows organic search, improves brand awareness, and positions the healthcare practice as a thought leader within their specific specialty. A well-structured blog can generate up to 50 percent of a website’s organic traffic. Use tools like Uber suggest to punch in keywords for topics for which content need to be written. When it comes to medical marketing and content, blog posts are not the only format. You can use videos or images to attract and engage patients. For instance, when it comes to a plastic surgery practice that provides aesthetic services, sharing high-quality before and after images of actual patients can be one of the single most important medical marketing strategies.
Develop a large before and after gallery showcasing before and after images for various cosmetic surgical procedures and patients’ age range.
Video content now receives substantially higher engagement rates than any other type of content, including images and blog posts. Including unique videos will help physicians promote their medical practice, discuss the medical treatments they specialize in, and their treatment approach, thereby creating a know, like and trust relationship with potential patients before they ever walk through the door.
Image source – https://intrepy.com/12-medical-marketing-strategies-practice/
- Create Healthcare Provider Profile Listings – Business listings are the business contact information that is displayed when patients search for a healthcare practice online. Verifying and optimizing business listings across all platforms inform Google that the information displayed about a specific medical practice is accurate. However, unlike other industries, in medical marketing, providers also have profiles, and patients search for these as well. Often, physicians move several times over their careers, which can cause errors and discrepancies in their listings. Therefore, it is essential to update and unify listings for the physicians as well.
- Google Ads and Social Ads – Digital advertising has revolutionized the medical marketing space with platforms like Facebook and Google Ads. Both PPC and Facebook advertising allows to customize advertisements to reach the target patient base and provide specific tracking and analytics to gain great insights into the ROI of the advertising program. Google analytics will help adjust the ads to improve results based on data received. Google Ads and Facebook advertising are considerable drivers in converting new patients, growing high revenue procedures, and increasing overall practice revenue. For instance, search-based ads help target specific keywords in search and present ads to only those people in a particular geographical area.
- Email Marketing – Email is another important medical marketing strategy that helps retarget patients or reach new patients that have expressed interest in a particular procedure or treatment. When potential patients enter their email address, it shows that they are mostly interested in the type of services provided. Utilize email marketing to create touchpoints with your visitors and share new promotions, specials, blog posts, and the latest practice news. Try to build your practice patient email list by encouraging website visitors to sign up for a newsletter.
The weekly or monthly newsletter can have information about the medical practice or general healthcare information that would keep the practice fresh in the mind of patients.
In today’s changing healthcare digital landscape, it is crucial for healthcare practices to come up with innovative ideas to stand out in their digital marketing endeavors. Medical SEO is key to reaching prospective patients. Following the above-mentioned tips or strategies and investing in the right resources could benefit the medical practice. Healthcare digital marketing services provided by a reputable SEO company with expertise in the field can help grow your healthcare business.