Healthcare Digital Marketing: How to bring more patients to your practice in the digital age
There is a general misconception amongst healthcare providers that digital healthcare marketing consists of social media posts and online ads. Although these are some of the pillars of a digital marketing strategy, there is so much more worth exploring that will benefit your medical practice from a growth, cost, and patient experience point of view.
In this article, you will learn the basics of healthcare digital marketing and how it can have a positive impact on the future growth potential of your practice.
- What is healthcare digital marketing?
- Why is healthcare digital marketing important in the digital age?
- What does healthcare digital marketing entail?
- How can healthcare digital marketing help your practice grow?
- Can I determine the ROI of my healthcare digital marketing investment?
- How can I improve healthcare digital marketing for my practice?
What is healthcare digital marketing?
Healthcare digital marketing consists of the strategies healthcare organizations use to reach patients, potential patients, members, etc., through digital channels in order to effectively attract and interact.
For healthcare providers, practices, and clinics, it is primarily focused on improving the patient experience, increasing visibility, and fostering growth.
The image below depicts the basic pillars of healthcare digital marketing.
Why is healthcare digital marketing important in the digital age?
The power of word of mouth has slowly been losing traction over time as access to information increased over the last decades. Even referrals are losing credibility as consumers (patients included) become more skeptical and go online to validate suggestions or professional referrals.
The latest research findings support the theory that patients and potential patients want to do their own online vetting process to validate the suggestions made by an acquaintance or a referral made by another provider.
The online reviews about your influence their decision-making process. But this is just one aspect of healthcare digital marketing.
What does healthcare digital marketing entail?
1. Practice Persona (Branding)
Creating a brand that resonates with people will help to both attract and keep patients coming returning to the same practice. This is called brand loyalty, and creating a brand that resonates with a specific target market is easier said than done
Healthcare digital marketing agencies (like Practice Tech Solutions) employ experts in the healthcare digital marketing field and, through years of accumulated experience, know how to create a brand that will stand out from the rest.
Ideally, you want to build a strong brand right from the start. But often, providers neglect this important facet of marketing because they are consumed by other short-term orientated activities to get the practice off the ground.
2. Website design and functionality
You might have the most visually appealing website but find that it’s struggling to reach page one of search results. Experts in the field of healthcare digital marketing know that an effective website at the center of digital marketing efforts must be a well-oiled machine, adhering to all the rules and requirements of search engine algorithms.
To see if your website is performing at its best, allow us to do a FREE website health check for you business
Read more about website design, functionality, and search engine optimization by clicking here.
So how do you get your website to appear higher on search engine results?
The answer is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which is an extremely complicated and technical field to master. With the everchanging algorithms of search engines, what works today, might not work tomorrow.
That is why it’s best to invest in a digital healthcare agency that can manage SEO for your practice’s website that can also monitor progress, and provide in-depth analysis to prove that what they are doing is working.
By optimizing your website and content you will improve the chances of potential patients stumbling upon your practice, and by looking at the figures below, rankings is certainly something that should not be taken for granted.
Read more about SEO for medical practices here.
4. Pay-per-click (PPC Advertising)
PPC ads, sometimes given the generic term Google Ads, are used to boost visibility and generate leads in the short term. Although leads generated through organic traffic (clicks obtained through search engine results) are more cost-effective and long-term orientated, PPC is an effective strategy to boost leads.
5. Content: Blogs/Articles
Blogs or articles have become powerful tools to improve SEO and the credibility of providers. You, as a provider, may write the most beautiful content, revealing your medical expertise, but without the finishing touches of experts, your article will remain in the dark on the back pages of search results.
Factors that influence the effectiveness of such articles include:
- keyword analysis and incorporation,
- image alt text,
- headline keywords,
- time of publishing the article
- supporting strategies to promote blogs, etc.
Recently, Google again changed its parameters of what it deems to be helpful content for consumers. Healthcare digital marketing agencies are constantly researching and ongoing training on best practices to ensure that the content of their clients does not gather dust in the back of search results.
Social Media Marketing
Simply having social media profiles and posting content simply for the sake of doing so will not generate leads. Instead, it should be integrated into the marketing funnel and used to support other initiatives as well.
For instance, create a curiosity-eliciting post with a link to the content (blog/article) on your website. Firstly, you will bring more traffic to your website, which the algorithms will recognize and keep in mind when considering search engine rankings. On the other hand, more traffic means more potential patients.
Digital Marketing Agencies can help you create and integrate social media marketing to support lead generation and help engagements with patients.
Given the fact that over 70% of patients now go online to view provider reviews to assist them in their decision-making process, online reputation management is becoming more important in assisting practice growth.
Does your practice actively encourage patients to leave online reviews and respond to these?
Healthcare digital marketing agencies include reputation management as one of the key pillars of patient growth. It is inevitable to get bad reviews from time to time, but these must be managed accordingly to play in favor of the provider or healthcare facility.
Responding to these types of reviews shows that the provider or practice is willing to listen to patients and improve their service. In addition, having a firm reputation management process in place will generate more positive reviews, which will, in turn, overshadow the few negative ones.
Can I determine the ROI of my healthcare digital marketing investment?
Any reputable healthcare digital marketing agency would present beforehand how they will accumulate and report on implemented strategies to determine the return on investment. If they are unable to do so, then you should strongly consider finding another agency.
Practice tech solutions establish the key metrics that will be monitored for every digital marketing plan that is customized to the individual practice. These metrics are discussed and agreed upon by both parties and reported on frequently or upon request of the client.
Adjustments are then made over time, depending on the performance of the strategies to ensure continuous growth.
How can I improve healthcare digital marketing for my practice?
If you are a more hands-on person that does not prefer delegating tasks that play a vital role in the growth of your business, you could obtain the skills to create your own digital marketing strategies.
There is one problem, though.
The opportunity cost of spending countless hours on upskilling yourself or your staff is high. And because of the nature of digital marketing, it requires continuous education to stay on top of trends and technological changes.
Practice Tech Solutions won The Best SEO Agency in Illinois 2022 by SocialAppsHQ. We have been focusing on medical practices exclusively for over ten years which makes us experts in the field of healthcare digital marketing.