Today's healthcare market demands more of healthcare professionals than ever. However, in the world of digital marketing, the healthcare industry still lags behind other industries. Because of compliance and FDA regulations, healthcare organizations are somewhat cautious to adopt new marketing technologies and strategies. Unfortunately, it is no longer an option for them. Consumers (patients) have become very tech-savvy and healthcare organizations need to catch up.
When used right, digital marketing for healthcare can bring in new patients and even turn a business around. It can be THE driving force of lead generation and increased revenue.
Ready to implement some changes? Read on to see how you can make some changes to use digital marketing effectively.
Digital marketing for healthcare matters because it is the most effective way to connect with consumers. People search via their computer or mobile device for pretty much everything these days. Healthcare is no different. According to a Pew Research report:
If consumers aren't finding your website when they search online, you're missing out on a lot of opportunities.
Digital marketing for healthcare needs to serve two distinct, yet equally important functions.
The first is to inform consumers. Be it about a product, new epidemic, or just some info on a disease or illness, consumers are going to come to you looking for information. It's important that relevant information is provided for them, otherwise, they'll look elsewhere. Establishing your business as an authority in your field will help bring in new direct business, as well as referrals.
Additionally, when browsing your website, the visitor experience needs to be a good one. The information needs to be easily found and not too technical or overwhelming. Visitors should be given different options to contact your organization, such as email, chat and phone. These options should be visible on each page of your site.
The second is to bring in new customers and clients. The crux of digital marketing is contingent upon generating traffic and converting that traffic into a sign-up or appointment.
So while it's easy to think that digital marketing for healthcare isn't a necessity, it'd be a huge mistake. Every practice, no matter how small or large needs a digital presence.
It's important to realize that the client has choices. And often, people choose to take the path of least resistance. Why not go from point A to B instead of A to B to C to D? Healthcare organizations need to make it easy for their prospective and current patients to find them and schedule appointments.
Examples for the e-commerce world can be a big help here.
In e-commerce, there's a common phenomenon of abandoning their shopping cart if they deem the purchasing process too cumbersome. The trick? Eliminating unnecessary parts of the sign-up process.
Therefore, making the sign-up process easier should become a priority. Evaluate the current process and see how it can be simplified. The less work new customers have to do, the more likely they'll be to sign up for a consultation or appointment.
Here are some of the key elements that should be part of your digital marketing strategy:
A responsive website is one that "responds" or resizes itself depending on the device it is being seen through. Responsive web design ensures that users have a good viewing experience no matter what type of device they are using. With the explosion of mobile device usage, it is imperative that healthcare organizations' websites are responsive.
Your organization needs to make sure that when people are searching for health-related information, your site can be found. As previously mentioned, consumers are searching online to find health-related information. There is, however, a lot of competition, so you need to have a highly targeted SEO strategy to increase your site's search engine ranking and web presence.
Keyword research and analysis should be done and used for your website pages, social media and blog posts. This is not a one time fix though. It's more of a moving target with requires continuous keyword performance analysis and adaptation. Both Google and your competition will be constantly updating, so you must also.
For an SEO strategy to work, you need good content. This content should be consumer focused and based on questions they are trying to answer online. This goes back to the SEO keyword research and what your research uncovered. Use your keywords to create blog posts, page content, social media updates, videos, ebooks and more in order to get you found online. For social media, it's important to posts your content on the channels where your target audience looks for health-related information. That's a topic for another discussion though.
Before you get the wrong idea, it's important to understand that we're not suggesting anyone break any rules. Under HIPPA guidelines, it's important that medical info remains confidential.
But believe it or not, your clients can be a great source of inspiration when it comes to content. Consider asking them if you can use their success stories as profiles on your website. You can make it completely anonymous and use a fictitious name to protect their identity.
It's a win-win. They'll get to be 'internet famous' (although anonymous), and you'll have more content for your site. People love a success story, and it's a great way to show your one-of-a-kind connection to your patients.
You can also field questions from clients. Participating in a once or twice a month Facebook Live Q&A is an easy way to diversify content and shows patients that you're listening.
People love to be heard, and social media is one of the biggest advantages you have in today's market.
Marketing automation helps healthcare organizations automate repetitive tasks, reduce human errors, streamline marketing activities and improve patient engagement. Automation tools are able to improve patient retention also. They can be used to send timely, personalized messages, relevant to each individual. Think about pre/post patient visits. One message could be reminding them of their appointment or special instructions. After the visit, a series of follow up messages could be sent to make sure everything went well. Additionally, a post visit survey request could be sent to gather information on the quality of their visit and care. Over time, marketing automation helps drive additional revenue and it should not be overlooked.
Digital marketing for healthcare isn't immediately everyone's forte. It takes a certain amount of time and practice to get the hang of, but the right strategy can make all the difference. Your strategy needs to be well though out and researched.
We here at Engaged Digital understand that you don't always have time to do your own marketing. That's why we want to partner with you.
Together, we can make your digital marketing efforts more successful. So what are you waiting for? Get in touch today and start bringing in new patients ASAP!