As a private medical practice and expert in your community, using digital marketing and social media is essential to attract patients and keep them informed in 2022.
To grow your business, you need to spread the word about the patient services you’re providing. Creating a website and networking with other healthcare experts can go a long way to accomplish that.
But there’s more to digital marketing in 2022 than creating a website. It’s crucial to investigate different channels and styles of communication to develop a solid marketing strategy for your medical practice. In other words, try not to put all your eggs in one marketing basket.
What Draws Patients to a Practice?
Before we dive in to digital marketing tactics and the digital patient journey, keep in mind that there are three main points that often help patients decide whether to choose a practice.
- New physician at the practice
- New sub-specialty offering
- New treatment technology
Patients are consciously and subconsciously drawn to what’s new. Having a strong digital marketing plan for your medical practice can help you promote these new offerings. It’s also important to nurture your existing patients with new information about your business.
The Digital Patient Journey
In May and June 2012, Google partnered with a group of experts from Compete, Inc., and surveyed 533 hospital researchers to gain behavioral insights about patients’ hospital selection. They analyzed users’ online behavior from the moment they started looking for care to the point of conversion. This is what they found:
- Near the time of conversion, patients generally search for phrases related to symptoms and conditions
- 84% of patients research hospitals using both online and offline resources
- Search drives nearly three times as many people to hospital websites (compared to people who don’t use search)
- 44% of patients who looked up hospitals on their phones made an appointment
Although this research may be a decade old, the patient’s path hasn’t changed much. Patients remain active on digital platforms when finding and picking a provider. According to 2021 research from PatientPop:
- More than half of patients surveyed said the practice’s website is very or extremely important when choosing a provider.
- Two out of three patients search for online reviews of physicians.
- 92% of patients conduct online research after receiving a physician referral.
So, what does the patient’s digital journey look like?
- First, they start searching for general information about a disease. They always begin their research with non-branded terms. For example: do I suffer from…? do I have …?
- Then, their search narrows down to symptoms. They do very straightforward searches like: my hips are swollen, I have ankle pain.
- The third stage of the process is branded terms. After doing some research, they start getting familiar with some brands and searching for specific doctors’ names, specialties or particular brands.
- The final stage is searching for treatments. They use search terms related to medication, therapy or the name of a surgical procedure.
The problem is that some medical practices think of their prospective patients’ journey the other way around, and they think that the top-of-funnel strategy should be full of branded terms and branded banner ads so that patients get to know who they are.
In this article, we’ll walk you through five easy-to-implement marketing strategies that will lead your medical practice to success.
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5 Successful Marketing Strategies for Medical Practices
Create High-Quality Content
For patients, digital content is key to decision-making. According to the 2021 PatientPop survey, 75% of patients use online search before booking an appointment. When patients land on your site, they want to find relevant information aligned with their search intent.
The content on your site should serve as a central hub of information for prospective patients. You should not only focus on sharing information about what your practice does but also include content about relevant topics. For example, a cardiology practice may want to include information about common treatments for high blood pressure or ways to lower cholesterol.
Consider hiring a content creator or graphic designer. Making and distributing branded materials for your medical billing services is an excellent marketing approach. They can design eye-catching graphics and well-written content for blog posts, websites, brochures and business cards.
Focus on Video Content
Online video is a pivotal component of the patient’s digital journey. According to Google, one in eight patients watch a video online before booking a consultation. Video profiles allow patients to see if they can connect with a physician personally — a huge motivator for booking an appointment.
You may also want to consider creating patient testimonial videos for your practice. This kind of social proof is a powerful marketing tool for any business. Patients may also choose to share the video and talk to friends or family about your practice.
If you plan to create a patient testimonial video for your practice, follow these tips:
- Communicate who the patient is and what they do
- Communicate what the patient feels
- Use compelling calls to action (CTAs) throughout the video
- Promote your video on social networks
- Make use of social networks tactics like hashtags, comments and alt text
Use SEO Best Practices to Increase Your Search Visibility
Search remains a top digital marketing channel for almost any business today, medical practices included. And if you want patients to find you at the top of the search results, it’s crucial to follow SEO best practices.
Keep these tips in mind when crafting your search-optimized content:
- Avoid using spammy techniques like keyword stuffing and link scheming
- Weed out low-quality (short blog posts, for example) or duplicate material.
- Create high-quality content
- Develop local listings, such as Google Business Profiles
- Implement technical SEO best practices
Working with an SEO expert is a smart option if you want to improve your search approach significantly. These professionals will help boost your practice’s search visibility and create a strategy for maintaining website optimization as you add and update content.
Build a Strong Paid Media Strategy
If you recently built your website, advertising on search engines is an effective marketing approach for your medical business. When you target it correctly, paid search is a fantastic strategy to increase traffic to your website and can provide a high return on investment.
Before diving in to paid search, find out what your target market is searching for by performing keyword research. Then, spend money on a search engine pay-per-click (PPC) campaign to send potential customers to your page. For example, you might spend money on keywords like “pediatrician in Miami” if you’re based in Miami, Florida and have a practice specializing in pediatrics.
When a patient searches for a service or treatment specific to your practice, paid search will help you show. To evaluate the performance of your paid campaign, you can set criteria like the total number of calls received or the total number of online appointments made through the website.
Hiring a paid search or PPC expert is a great way to dive into this digital marketing channel. This individual can handle your campaigns and monitor your metrics to optimize spending.
But paid search is just one spoke to the marketing wheel. When your paid search campaign is active, make sure you intensify other marketing initiatives, such as website content. After the campaign is complete, your website will still need to perform well in organic search results for patients to find you.
Get Patient Testimonials to Support Your Marketing Strategy
Customer reviews are an excellent addition to your website. Testimonials highlight the successes of patients who have received your care, which can reassure new clients. Consider making it simple for patients to contribute testimonials by creating a self-serve form on the website.
To strengthen your marketing, you should also include pertinent quotes from your clients’ reviews throughout your website and promotional materials (make sure you have the correct permissions in place with your patients before doing so).