The massive world of the web is becoming more competitive every day, no matter what business you’re in. This is especially true for the healthcare industry, where the web has become the first place people look when they have a question. To rise above the noise, practices need to invest in healthcare marketing strategies. Here are eight proven healthcare marketing strategies for 2019.
The digital marketing strategies you should employ in your healthcare practice: content marketing, make content around patients’ well-being, video marketing, email marketing, website design (patient portal), local SEO, social media marketing, and investing in patient reviews.
Before we dive into the specifics, let’s get a better understanding of user intent when they make healthcare-related queries.
It’s pretty simple:
89% of users turn to a search engine to answer their healthcare concerns. That means before they even make an appointment, they’re looking for their answer online. That’s where you come in. Be the first one to greet them on their user journey. Give them answers to their questions and you’ll build brand trust, increase website traffic, and get more people walking through your doors. Even if you’re able to answer a patient’s question, they still might be hesitant on coming into the office.
Why? People don’t like going to the doctor.
It’s a phenomenon known as white-coat syndrome, and roughly 30% of the population has it.
As a healthcare practitioner, it’s important now more than ever to leverage your digital presence to build trust. It’s what people look for and it’s what matters.
Now, let’s move on to these healthcare marketing techniques.
Content marketing is your best friend
I know, I know. It seems like everyone nowadays is hailing content marketing as the secret sauce to getting more traffic. But there is some truth to it, especially within the healthcare realm. 1% of all searches on Google are symptom-related. One percent might seem like a small number until you realize that Google gets 3.5 billion searches daily. That’s 35 million queries you can capitalize on. Every. Single. Day.
So, what types of things should you write about as a healthcare marketer? Luckily, there is no shortage of topics, so your boundaries are endless. In general, it’s a good idea to focus on answers to common questions, treatments, or remedies to symptoms, and causes of certain symptoms. Sometimes, blog posts that answer questions might seem counter-intuitive. I mean, why write a post if it’s actually saving patients a trip to your office?
Short-term it may look like a bad thing, but brand trust and asserting yourself as an authority figure goes a long way. They might not visit you now, but they will probably look for you next time they have a concern. It’s worth noting that although some common questions can be answered easily, they still need a medical professional to be treated. That’s where you can instill the value of your practice.
Another useful healthcare marketing strategy is to utilize patient testimonials. Just like any other industry, they are powerful marketing tools, but more importantly, they allow potential (or current) patients to see the value in your treatment.
Put your patients’ well-being first
One of the latest healthcare marketing strategies in 2019 is to create content around patient well-being.
Here’s the deal:
People want to live a healthier life, plain and simple. So, they may not have a particular symptom or problem, but they may want some guidance on how to live a better life, whether it’s eating healthier, improving posture, or anything in between. You can help them with that. The main takeaway with content about well-being is that it shows that you genuinely care about your patients – and not just when they’re in your office.
Start creating pages or posts that focus on patient well-being, and sprinkle them with tidbits on how your practice can help them achieve it.
Best of all?
It will cast your practice in a positive light and even provide for some useful PR opportunities.
Video – a necessity in 2019
Promotional and informational video used to be a luxury. Not anymore.
According to WordStream, one-third of internet time is spent watching video.
So, ignoring video is ignoring a huge chunk of your potential patients. Much like blogging, there are countless videos you could make that would provide value to your patients and contribute to your healthcare marketing strategy. Some ideas:
A video that introduces your staff and gives a quick tour of your facility and practice. Makes your business personable and trustworthy. Most importantly, shows what sets you apart from other practices. Here’s a great example of a “meet the staff” video from Boston Medical Center:
A testimonial from a satisfied patient, explaining why they were happy with the treatment they received. Perhaps the best outlet for communicating brand trust.
In the age of information, people are increasingly curious to see how things are done. If possible, try to demonstrate a treatment one of the doctors has performed.
This does a few things: for one, it shows the doctors interacting with patients. Secondly, it gives patients an idea of what to expect, which will ease their anxieties of coming in.
Answer commonly asked questions or even better, make content around patient well-being (much like blogs).
If this isn’t enough to convince you, there’s one thing that people tend to forget:
YouTube is a search engine too.
Videos are going to penetrate more search results, and for healthcare marketing professionals, it’s crucial to tap into that potential. Finally, videos portray a certain degree of personability that just can’t be achieved through text and images. Simple things like a doctor’s mannerisms, body language, and even hearing their voice will build trust. Simply put, video marketing goes a long way in making your brand more approachable.
Starting to notice a theme here yet?
Timely and relevant email marketing
Email marketing is one of the oldest digital marketing techniques, but it still works like a charm.
No one wants spam emails, but a large percent of adults agree that they’d like more email communication from their doctor. But like any marketing strategy, it should be timely and relevant.
For instance, you could send an email at the beginning of the spring season with information on how to combat allergies. And if you have a blog post that you can link to, even better. Another useful healthcare marketing tip is to keep patients informed on nationwide or global health issues. For example, if there was a recall on a popular food item, let your patients know. This will prove to them that they’re your #1 priority. Remember how earlier in this post I mentioned that 1% of all searches are healthcare-related?
What if you could answer patients’ questions before they asked them? Instead of relying on Google to show your answer, have your answer delivered right to their inbox. Craft a succinct email answering a common question your patients have. The next time they have a question, they may just go straight to your website instead of using Google search. Now you have a more engaged patient and more website traffic.
Healthcare marketing tip #5 – website design
Ok, so we happen to be a web design firm ourselves so you might have seen that coming. But we speak the truth.
Website user experience is equally as important in healthcare as it is in any other industry.
If your website has been neglected or ignored, I have some bad news for you…
48% of people cite website design as the #1 factor in determining business credibility. That’s right – a poor website will deter potential patients almost immediately.
It’s not enough to just have a good-looking website. It needs to be responsive too. Google’s mobile-first index is favoring pages with a great mobile experience and penalizing those without it.
It also goes without saying that your website should be fast, accessible, ADA compliant, and secure (SSL installed). These factors make for good user experience and also have SEO benefits.
Chances are you’re going to need to do a serious and honest website audit – and that’s ok. After looking at the overall design and experience, you’ll need to think about the actual content on your website.
Well, what do patients like to see on their healthcare provider’s website? First and foremost, they want a patient portal where they can easily access their health records and summaries from previous visits. Most healthcare practices use a third party to integrate their patient portal, but if you have the in-house resources, go for it!
Next, you want to give patients the ability to schedule online or call a phone number that’s visible site-wide. With busy schedules and commitments, you want to make it as stress-free as possible for patients to come into your office.
At a basic level, you also want to list your specific services and areas that your practice specializes in. You probably already have this content, but make sure it’s up to date and optimized.
Lastly, instant messaging is a great way to interact with patients and help them with whatever they may need. Still need pointers on website design? Feel free to contact us.
You want to target people near you, right?
Of course you do, because the number of “near me” searches has increased by 500% in the last two years. Local SEO is one of the most effective healthcare marketing strategies. It should be part of your SEO strategy as a whole, but it’s even more important for businesses with physical locations.
When people search “near me,” they’ll see what’s called a local pack. This information is typically pulled from your Google My Business profile, so you want to make sure that information is updated.
However, there are many other ways that people search for businesses, including but not limited to: Yelp, Facebook, Superpages, and Hotfrog. Check your listings on each of these platforms to ensure they’re accurate and consistent.
If you think it might be a bother to comb through each of the various listing platforms, check out Moz’s free listing checker tool.
Aside from business listings, you will need to update your content and metadata as well. You should try to incorporate different keyword strings in your meta titles, meta descriptions, or within the content itself.
Here are a few example strings:
- Elder services + your city/town
- Elder services + your county
- Elder services + adjacent city/town
- Elder meal delivery + your city/town
- Elder meal delivery + your county
- Elder meal delivery + adjacent city/town
You want to also target long-tail keywords tagged with your location to give you the best chance of dominating the search results page. The more targeted searches you appear on, the more qualified leads you’ll get.
Social media also goes hand-in-hand with local SEO. If you’re active on Instagram or Facebook, tag your location when necessary. Also, use hashtags that pertain to your location. This will get your brand name out there in places it matters most.
It’s no secret: everyone is on social media these days. So, it comes as no surprise that your business’s social media activity has a big impact on a consumer’s decision to receive treatment. How exactly would you quantify the impact of social media?
According to Infographics Archive, 60% of users are more likely to trust a post from a doctor as opposed to other sources in the industry.
Another case study from eVariant showed that 57% of patients are strongly influenced by their healthcare provider’s social media activity.
The bottom line? Social media activity = trust. Trust = more patients. It’s easy to see why this is. Healthcare providers aren’t trying to push a product onto you – they represent a basic human right. So if you trust an entity representing a human right, you’re more inclined to go to them.
As far as what to post, there’s a slew of information you can share on social media like blog posts, upcoming events, videos, photos, and more. It’s a good idea to make your posts either educational or inspirational. Educational posts pertain to the latest buzz in the community, and inspirational posts pertain to patient success stories. These stories get the most engagement and they’re what users care about. Along with confidence, you want your posts to carry a consistent voice that your audience will recognize and remember. Like search marketing, social media also has a paid avenue where healthcare practices can pay for exposure.
The caveat is that there are certain limitations on healthcare paid targeting, and that, of course, the industry itself is very competitive. But, if you have the resources, paid social media advertising (especially Facebook) can pay dividends for healthcare marketers. For practices in a particularly competitive area with a little extra budget, it might even be worth considering influencer marketing. This will take your practice to the next level in terms of brand trust and awareness, giving you a much-needed edge.
Invest in your reputation and patient reviews
Literally every business is affected by their online reviews and reputation. Almost ¾ of patients use online reviews as their first step in choosing a new doctor.
People are looking for reviews when choosing a healthcare provider – everything from your check-in at the reception desk until you walk out the door. Make sure they look good. The first step is to actually get the reviews. This means either making reviews part of your internal process or using an automation program to gather and distribute reviews.
Responding to reviews is equally as important to show patients that you care. Quick thank yous are easy, but negative reviews deserve a response too. Handle them with care and address legitimate concerns in a respectful fashion. If you garner enough positive reviews, integrate them with your whole digital presence. Make a dedicated page on your website for satisfied patient reviews, or make a social media post on your 100th 5-star review. Remember that testimonials play a large role in lead generation.
Well, it’s clear to see that there’s a lot that goes into healthcare marketing strategies. From blogs to videos and reviews, each and every piece of information you leave online will ultimately drive your user’s perception of your practice. However, dedicated work on each outlet will undoubtedly build brand awareness, raise trust, and get you more patients.
Still have some questions on these healthcare marketing strategies? Contact us and we’d love to help out.