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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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 healthcare marketers ensure 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 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 any physician’s success. A practice or physician’s web presence has several main components:
More on web presence:
5 tips to get the most out of your medical website design
How to encourage bookings using your healthcare practice website
4 important business listings every healthcare provider should claim
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 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:
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 marketing arsenal.
Have a look at some of the best modern healthcare marketing trends below.
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.
Content marketing has been an essential tool for years in the digital marketing campaigns of other industries. 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 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.
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 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.
Useful tools are a great offering for patients and patient prospects.
Read more on modern healthcare 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.
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.
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