The United States population is 328.7 million, as of Sept. 27, 2018, according the U.S. Census Bureau — and each of these people need healthcare. The sheer volume of individuals at your fingertips is exciting, but not all patients are the right fit for your practice.
Digital marketing tactics can help you reach your target market, allowing you to connect with the right people. Read on to learn how to use online medical marketing strategies to build a base of quality patients.
3 steps to target quality patients with online medical marketing
Step 1: Define the audiences you want to reach through healthcare marketing
If you’re not sure what a quality patient is to your practice, don’t panic. Some deep thinking about your personal preferences and the goals you’ve set for your practice will help you define your target audience of potential quality patients.
One thing to consider is who you want to treat. Think about the healthcare issues you’re most passionate about, because this should match the type of patient you’re serving.
When it comes to your practice, consider the type of services you currently offer or even those you would like to perform more often — e.g. out-of-pocket procedures requiring patients with a higher income. Likewise, you might also be in the midst of a push to increase the longevity of your relationship with patients, which could mean using your medical marketing to target targeting younger people more likely to stay with your practice longer.
There’s no need to worry if you have trouble narrowing it down to just one target audience. It’s possible your definition of a quality patient is multifaceted, which is great, because it creates more business opportunities. For example, a dermatologist might want to target teenagers and college-aged students for acne services, while simultaneously marketing wrinkle reduction procedures to a more mature audience.
Chances are, your online medical marketing strategy will ultimately focus on patient factors like age, income bracket, geographical area, gender, and lifestyle habits — or a combination of these. When you’re able to narrow it down to the most important characteristics, you’re better equipped to attract quality patients who will turn your practice into the business you’ve always envisioned.
Step 2: Determine the medical topics that matter to targeted audiences
After deciding what a quality patient means to your medical practice, find out what’s important to them. When you know what interests your target market, you can craft an online medical marketing campaign designed to engage and inform.
Interviewing current patients is an effective way to determine what’s keeping your ideal audience up at night. Choose those who best fit the niche you’re trying to attract, then speak with them in person or ask them to complete a patient satisfaction survey. Gathering firsthand information will provide the telling insights needed to effectively serve your target patient base.
After your topics are defined, create a keyword strategy to reach potential quality patients. If you’re not familiar with keywords, they’re the words and phrases prospective patients type into search engines when looking for a doctor. Essentially, keywords sum up what your practice is about in a few targeted words and phrases.
Speaking with patients will give you a solid idea of the kind of healthcare keywords to use, but further refine your strategy by using a keyword research tool, such as Google AdWords. This will show you which words and phrases have the highest search volume, allowing you to maximize your reach.
Step 3: Research the best digital online medical marketing tactics to reach targeted audiences
After you’ve determined your target quality patient base and the topics most important to them, it’s time to focus on the best ways to connect with them with your healthcare marketing campaign. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to a successful online medical marketing campaign, so build yours from the ground up by focusing on the wants and needs of your audience.
Here are a few common digital marketing tactics to consider:
Generate new leads and increase traffic to your website with paid healthcare advertising. Purchase placements on a third-party site or app to highlight your practice. Strategies can be customized to fit your budget, and if you’re willing to invest the time, you can even manage your paid search medical marketing campaign on your own.
Roughly 2.8 billion people have a social media presence, making popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram a great place to connect with potential patients. Choose the sites that best align with your business goals, share relevant content on a regular basis, and engage with your target audience.
Adding a blog to your practice website can effectively promote your services, boost search rankings, and attract new patients. For best results, craft posts around specific services offered at your practice, answer patients’ frequently asked questions, and consistently share new content to keep readers coming back for more.
Over the past couple of years, the majority of Google searches have been conducted on mobile devices — including patients looking for a new doctor. If your practice doesn’t have a mobile-friendly website, Google’s mobile-first strategy will likely push it down in the rankings. Not only that, reading the content will be a struggle for patients searching on a mobile device, so it’s possible they’ll give up and move on to another provider.
Are your current healthcare marketing efforts effective? Read the blog post “How to tell whether your practice marketing is working” to see if your hard work is paying off.