Healthcare marketing has gone primarily online, and although historical best practices of word-of-mouth marketing, referrals, and phone book listings are still applicable in their broadest senses, these medical marketing strategies — and medical marketing as a whole — look quite different than they did even five years ago.
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A practice website is a healthcare marketer’s stronghold, an ideal environment for fostering positive relationships, from first touchpoints to bookings to patient support. The most important part of any healthcare marketing strategy is to establish your place on the internet with an attractive and informative website and bolster your presence on various directories and social media channels.
With 72 percent of patients checking online reviews before booking with a practice, reputation management is more important for healthcare marketers than ever before. Learn how to use medical marketing to encourage patients to share their positive experiences online.
Healthcare marketers should pay attention to evolving digital marketing tactics and newly available tools. Being a marketer at the forefront of healthcare marketing trends will ensure your practice is ahead of the competition and capitalizing on any key medical marketing opportunities.
Social media is the best place for healthcare marketers to humanize their medical practices and connect with patients & community influencers. Modern healthcare digital marketing is about determining the best channels for your message and staying consistent with engagement.
Local search results are prime real estate for a good practice marketing strategy. In most cases, prospective patients will be searching locally for a doctor. Ensure your medical practice is in the top local search results by keeping contact information consistent across the web, submitting to directories, and encouraging online reviews.
For healthcare providers, the internet can amplify everything. Reach is broadened with local search results, networks are expanded on social media, and patient experiences are shared not only with friends and family, but with any internet user worldwide who has taken an interest in your practice.
The competition has changed, too. Today, practitioners are competing with a larger radius of practices and oftentimes, in the case of self-diagnosers, physicians are also in competition with informational medical and health sites.
We know that today 80 percent of people search online for healthcare providers and health-related information before consulting a physician. So how do practitioners and healthcare marketers ensure their healthcare marketing strategy will guarantee their practices are visible and attractive online?
There are a number of winning healthcare marketing strategies, which we’ve highlighted below. But it’s important to remember that a sound marketing plan is a holistic endeavor, and that the healthcare marketing tactics listed here work best when they work together.
With 80 percent of people searching for information online first, having a strong web presence is essential to the success of any physician’s healthcare marketing plan. A practice or physician’s web presence has several main components:
A practice website: A proper website for your practice is key to being found by potential patients. With your website you can establish your practice’s brand, messaging, service offerings, and allow your physicians to showcase their backgrounds. A website is also the perfect place to have a blog, giving you an outlet to show your expertise and draw in more patients.
Social media pages: Established Facebook and Twitter pages can play a huge role in your online presence. Facebook, especially, will allow patients to share their experience, contact you regarding any questions they have, and give you the chance to humanize your practice. Social media pages also give people a way to quickly connect your practice with their friends and family that are in need of a healthcare provider.
Directory listings: Healthcare directories offer patients a quick way to find providers in their areas, much like a phone book. Submitting your practice and partnering your website to a healthcare directory is a quick way to increase visibility and boost web presence.
It might seem like word-of-mouth marketing was replaced by the internet, but a better way of looking at it might be that word-of-mouth marketing was amplified by the internet. Every patient experience is a potential online review, which encourages practices to improve patient interactions and provide incentive for satisfied patients to submit reviews.
Some strategies for managing reputation online are:
More on reputation management:
Manage online reputation with a patient feedback system that works
5 online reputation mistakes that are killing your patient acquisition
Like any other form of digital marketing, healthcare marketing is constantly evolving. As the digital world continues to change and new technologies are introduced, it’s important to update your healthcare marketing arsenal.
Have a look at some of the best modern healthcare marketing trends below.
Advanced patient portals: The last several years have seen major changes to patient portal offerings. Many standard patient portals offer the ability to schedule appointments or view medical documents. Much of this was in response to the HIPAA Omnibus rules, requiring proper e-filing.
Experts predict that more advanced patient portals are the next step, with online prescription refills, live chats with specialists, and more becoming standard as time goes on. Having a more advanced patient portal than your competition will help you stand out to new patients and retain current patients.
Healthcare and medical content marketing: Content marketing has been an essential tool for years in the digital marketing campaigns of other industries, including healthcare marketing campaigns. It is a highly effective way to organically drive traffic and reach new customers, so it’s only natural that it would catch on in the medical community.
In adopting content creation as a facet of their healthcare marketing plan, medical practices are launching their own blogs to help SEO strategy and connect with potential patients seeking health-related information.
Content marketing can also help practices stand out as authorities in their healthcare niches. A regular stream of high quality, knowledgeable content can establish a provider as the go-to resource on any given topic, inspiring confidence in potential patients.
An emphasis on mobile first: There are currently more than 2.5 billion people using smartphones worldwide. Couple this with the number of people searching for health-related information online, and the need for a marketing plan with a mobile-first approach is clear.
The mobile-first approach entails having a site that’s optimized for a smaller screen. This means smaller chunks of copy, a responsive site, and overall mobile functionality.
Online tools: Useful tools are a great offering for patients and patient prospects.
Read more on modern healthcare marketing trends:
What Google's mobile-first index means for doctor websites
5 steps to content marketing success for healthcare practices
Why healthcare providers aren’t blogging — and why they should be
Social media has never been more integrated in society nor more integral to the success of brands online. In one study, 71 percent of respondents stated they’re more likely to recommend a brand if they have a great experience with them via social media.
With a proper Facebook page alone, you can connect with those who review your services or contact you with questions about your practice. Social media is also a great way to humanize your practice, allowing you to further the distinction between you and your competitors.
For example, you can share images of your team during the holidays, showcase any charity work your practice does, or even host contests that get your patients involved.
More on social media marketing:
The healthcare provider’s guide to getting started with social media
How to engage on social media with HIPAA in mind
How to reach new patients using social media
Local SEO and search marketing involve a number of things, from making sure your Google My Business page is set up to ensuring consistency in local citations to having online reviews for your business.
Each of the above components come together to create an image of your business that boosts its chances of showing up in local Google searches. In many ways this is more important than the broad digital marketing efforts, as those in your immediate vicinity are often more likely to become patients at your practice.
More on Local SEO:
Google Posts: engage prospects directly in search results and Google Maps
The healthcare provider's guide to local search optimization, part 3: the local stack
Healthcare marketing is always evolving, especially on the digital front. If becoming a healthcare marketer does not sound appealing or possible, hiring a healthcare marketing agency or utilizing a healthcare marketing solution like PatientPop can help you achieve your marketing goals. When evaluating your options, consider these five key questions:
1. Can you cover all of my healthcare marketing needs?
Your agency of record should be able to cover all of your marketing needs, synchronously, without any gaps in service. If healthcare marketing is only a subset of the agency’s larger scope of work, then the likelihood of there being gaps in service goes up significantly.
2. Can you share some of your success stories?
Success stories provide insight into your potential partner’s track record and help you determine if your agency partner can provide you with competent service that meets your needs. Check out the PatientPop case study library to see why we’re trusted by the industry’s best.
3. What is your implementation process?
Process gaps and poor communication cost you time and add additional administrative burdens on your practice. Make sure you clarify implementation processes so you don’t run into surprises down the line. With PatientPop you have a dedicated Implementation Manager who gets you ready and launched onto the PatientPop platform in about 30 days.
4. Do you provide customized strategies?
Medical marketing trends never stop shifting and neither will your patient’s needs. Medical marketing strategies need to shift to meet these new patient needs and to outpace the competition at the same time. Your agency and your tools should be on the forefront of healthcare marketing techniques so they can remain agile and adapt to your unique needs.
5. Why should we choose you?
Your agency partner should be able to tell you why they stand apart from their competitors, identify clear objectives, provide thoughtful expertise, identify areas of opportunity, and provide actionable recommendations to help grow your practice. If your prospective provider can’t articulate their unique service value, why should you choose them? The PatientPop provider promise outlines why you should choose us as your healthcare marketing provider.
What is healthcare marketing? It’s always changing and important for continued practice growth. If you’re exploring healthcare marketing options, then check out how PatientPop can help your practice grow.