Fundamentals of Healthcare Marketing
Every medical practice owner understands the importance of a marketing strategy, but not every owner has the time or resources to build and implement an effective strategy. So, what are the fundamentals of building a winning healthcare marketing strategy?
Website: Your website is the first impression potential patients are going to have of your practice. Most of your digital marketing efforts will also point toward your website. The most effective way to generate a steady stream of patients is to build a professional website that has relevant content, is optimized for search engine optimization (SEO) and is mobile-friendly. Your website should reflect the personality of your medical practice.
Social networks: Social networks offer a host of advantages for medical practitioners because they allow potential patients to get to know you before seeing you in the exam room. In addition, social networks make great public forums for sharing health-related information and special events. As a healthcare provider, you can use social networks to ask insightful questions about your services, staff and procedures.
Blogging: If done right, blogging can take your healthcare marketing strategy to the next level. If you blog twice or three times a week, not only does Google rank you higher than competitors, but other relevant websites will publish snippets of your content and give you attribution. When you consistently write useful blog posts, it enhances your credibility and builds trust between you and patients.
Referrals: Most practices need a referral base in order to thrive. Getting a new patient referral from another doctor requires relationship building. The first step is to identify which doctors will recommend your practice to their patients. You then have to plan a strategy to build and maintain relationships with those doctors. Attend conferences and meetings to seek networking opportunities. You can also ask your existing patients to refer their friends and family to your practice.
Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO is all about searching specific keywords for your healthcare practice. To choose the most relevant keywords, you will need to get into the minds of your patients. The more relevant keywords you pick, the more patients you will attract. Other than keywords, a factor that can affect SEO is your website’s speed. A website that loads quickly can boost your SEO efforts, whereas a website that takes a longer time will fail to engage visitors. In addition, good-quality content should be at the core of your SEO strategy.
Patient review sites: According to a survey by Software Advice, more than 77 percent of patients use online reviews as the first approach to finding a healthcare practice. The survey also revealed that almost 47 percent of patients would go out-of-network for a doctor who has positive reviews. These review sites can open the door for you to grow your practice and engage with your patients. Your practice will have a better chance of serving your patients well if you can use the power of online reviews for marketing your healthcare practice.
Online local directories: With the majority of patients using search engines to find local healthcare facilities, being listed in local directories is critical for the growth of your practice. These directories can improve the visibility of your practice and take it to the next level. While some of these local directories are specific to the medical community, other directories such as Google+ Local and Yahoo! Local are not industry-specific.
Email marketing: Collecting your patients’ e-mail addresses is critical to a successful marketing campaign. This is one of the best ways to remind patients of their upcoming appointments. You can schedule follow-up emails for three to five months after each appointment to ensure your patients do not miss their annual checkups. Through emails and newsletters, you can also update existing patients with healthcare tips, seasonal offers and discounts and updates about your practice.