The Internet age has dramatically changed how people seek out and find medical information. According to a Think With Google Study, search engines drive three times as many visitors to medical facility websites than other sources. The study also found that 44 percent of patients who research medical facility on a mobile device end up scheduling an appointment.
If you’re looking to reach more patients online, then digital is an essential tool in your marketing strategy. The following list contains the essential elements you need to have in place to ensure your digital marketing is effective.
1. An Easy-To-Navigate Website
In the online world, your website is a virtual office location and the face of your practice. It acts as the initial “touchpoint” for potential patients. It showcases who you are and what you do.
A well-designed website can:
- Boost your online reputation
- Increase search engine visibility
- Attract new patients
When visitors land on your medical practice website, they’re typically looking for something specific. You may be surprised to learn that research has revealed that easy navigation and accessibility are more important to patients than reputability.
Users should be able to use your website intuitively. Put yourself in the shoes of your visitors and ask yourself how easy it is to find key information on your site. How many clicks does a visitor have to make to get to the information they are looking for?
Think about the information someone is searching for when they visit your site—and make it easy for them to find it. If your site contains a lot of information (as some hospital websites do) consider creating separate landing pages for specific conditions.
2. Include A Blog
Want to increase your influence among healthcare consumers? Start blogging.
Blogs written by physicians, nurses, researchers, patients, and allied healthcare professionals add much to the richness and diversity of the online healthcare conversation. Blogs are a super way to educate patients and keep content on your website fresh. Marketing to patients with a blog can be one of the most effective ways a new medical practice can reach more patients. Blogging regularly increases awareness of your practice, as well as help your website rank better in search engine result pages (SERPs) thereby increasing its organic traffic.
Further Reading: 3 Places To Find Interesting Ideas For Your Healthcare Blog
3. Content Marketing
If you’re serious about marketing your business online, you need a strategy and a plan to execute it. A content marketing strategy is a roadmap that not only tells you what you’re going to create but how you’re going to create it, when you’re going to publish it and how you’re going to promote it. It helps you create more meaningful, engaging and sustainable content.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, having a documented (i.e. written down) strategy means:
- You’ll feel significantly less challenged by every aspect of content marketing.
- You’ll generally consider yourself more effective in your use of all content marketing tactics and social media channels.
- You’ll be able to justify spending a higher percentage of your marketing budget on content marketing.
Further Reading: How To Create Your 2019 Content Marketing Plan
4. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is the process of earning traffic from search engines organically — meaning you aren’t paying for ads or sponsored content placement. If you want more people to find you online, you need to optimize your website through good search engine optimization practices. SEO (the ability to optimize your site for search engines), is a detailed and sometimes confusing process, and you may want to hire an SEO expert to do it for you. If you don’t want to hire someone, there are search engine optimization tools available to help you do your own SEO — and many of them are free. I’ve put together this list of the best free SEO tools out there to help you instantly improve your online marketing.
5. E-Mail Marketing
With the explosion of social media marketing in recent years, the traditional email format may appear outdated. But nothing could be further from the truth. Even with the pervasiveness of new technology, email still remains a persuasive digital marketing channel for building awareness, boosting acquisition, and increasing conversion.
Use email personalisation and segmentation based on a recipient’s interests and needs so they’re receiving information relevant to them. Send out a video, a current blog post or provide industry news that will give readers information on various topics. Be sure to plan these ahead of time so they are timely according to what’s going on at your organization or in the health industry.
6. Video Content
Video is booming. YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world with added SEO potential due to its Google connection. By 2020, Cisco predicts that video will make up 82% of the content we consume online.
Video has become the predominant way people want to consume information and this goes for patients too. Information delivered via video vs. print equates to a much higher retention rate. In addition, patients who watch videos featuring a physician feel a greater level of trust. The type of video content you can create includes Q&As with physicians, patient testimonials, explainer videos, and live streaming.
Further Reading: How To Create A YouTube Channel for Your Medical Practice
7. Social Media Marketing
In the past decade, social networks have evolved from “a nice to have” add-on to a necessity for healthcare marketers. With currently 2.8 billion social media users globally, expected to rise to almost 3 billion users by 2020, social media’s influence has still not reached its peak. It’s a dynamic environment in which new networks emerge, old networks evolve, and user bases continue to grow exponentially.
If you haven’t yet integrated social media into your marketing mix, it’s time to do so. Not only is social media marketing more affordable than traditional forms of marketing, but it’s also more accountable, with specific tracking and monitoring options at your disposal.
Further Reading: How To Develop A Social Media Strategy For Healthcare Marketing
Tying It All Together
Digital marketing in healthcare is dynamic and constantly evolving — there are many different elements to consider. If this list feels overwhelming to you, don’t feel you have to do everything all at once. The best place to start is with your website – prioritise it in your strategy and build out your digital marketing from there. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me.
Here’s to your digital marketing success!