In today’s society, potential patients look to online resources for everything. Studies show that 80% of potential new patients search for health-related topics online before they reach out to any professional. This is why online marketing is key to growing your medical practice.
The State of Healthcare Marketing 2022 reported that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a top priority for those surveyed. 64% of respondents identified SEO as their top budgeted priority.
Is your practice positioned for online visibility to attract new patients? Read on as we dig into why and how to optimize marketing efforts for your medical practice.
Marketing for Medical Practices Defined
Healthcare marketing is a form of outreach/communication that prioritizes strategy and is intended to attract consumers, guide them through their healthcare journey, and keep them engaged. It is important to point out that marketing is NOT only advertising. Instead, advertising is a part of a comprehensive marketing strategy.
Field marketing, print materials, and cultivating a referral base used to be considered the gold standard for healthcare marketing. Current trends show that social media and online marketing are overshadowing those practices. However, traditional marketing tactics still have their place in the overall strategy.
Email marketing is another method of reaching the target audience, as are television or radio ads. While these were the preferred marketing methods in the past, their reach does not equal the expense in today’s ad markets. We will expand on email marketing further below.
Why Marketing for Medical Practices is Necessary
When handled correctly, the marketing strategy for your medical practice can be key to enhancing the patient experience. This should be a top priority when creating a strategy, as patient experience can impact overall satisfaction and, as a result, your bottom line.
Marketing in general, and particularly marketing for medical practices, is an ongoing process that needs to be adjusted over time and should be viewed as a long-term investment. Marketing strategy requires consistency and dedication to establish a healthy dialogue between you and your patients outside of the office.
8 Tips for Optimizing Marketing Efforts for Your Practice
As you are aware, your practice would be nothing without patients. Therefore, marketing strategy comes back to patients time after time. A marketing strategy and its measurable success are important to drive leads, generate revenue, and improve online engagement. A proper marketing strategy includes efforts to build your brand and control targeted engagement and growth metrics both online and offline. Here are seven tips to optimize a marketing strategy for your practice:
- Evaluate/Improve Online Experience for Patients
- Social Media Engagement
- Influencer Marketing
- Don’t Count Out Email
- Create Consistent Branding
- Get Listed in Online Directories
1. Evaluate/Optimize Patients’ Online Experience
The first step to optimizing your marketing efforts is to schedule a time to evaluate the online experience for your patients and include ways to optimize that experience in your future marketing efforts.
Remember that, in today’s culture, your practice’s website is the virtual front door to your office. Therefore, it is key to make sure it's optimized. Consider your website the same as the first time you meet a patient in person. It needs to provide accurate information in a way that is easily accessible. Otherwise, you will lose patients’ interest, and they may pursue help through another practice or hospital.
It is also a productive idea to include incentives for interacting with your practice online, such as timely appointments via online scheduling options and value-added services available through the website only. Content that provides solutions to pain points and is relevant to your patients is another important aspect of improving the online experience for patients. Addressing common questions through blog posts and promoting communication via contact forms are ways to engage with your audience through your website.
Another way to optimize patient experience is to provide patient reviews on your practice website. Reviews
allow visitors to expand their knowledge of your practice before deciding to schedule an appointment. Encouraging healthcare consumers to submit reviews not only provides this information for prospective patients but gives you insight into what to capitalize on and areas for improvement moving forward.
2. Social Media Engagement
Providing information via social media is not too challenging or time-consuming, even for those lacking digital prowess. In addition to health-related content, plan on posting updates on your practice, including new services, photos of staff, and event info. It is a good idea not to overextend when making the foray into social media marketing efforts. Focus on doing one platform well and engaging your audience there.
Once you’ve established a strong following, you can expand your audience. Paid advertising options on social media channels, such as Facebook ads, can reach larger numbers of the right people. Create a strategy and budget for that purpose as well, which will allow you to refine the audience you want to reach.
When it comes to social media, it’s easy to get lost in the metrics of views and engagement. However, while it is important to measure everything, it is also key to remember that social media is intended for health education and awareness purposes as well.
3. Influencer Marketing
Video marketing is another great way to reach and engage patients. Developing a relationship with an influencer is a good way to incorporate this. Remember to focus on trust over reach when it comes to influencer content, and make sure the influencer you work with follows all the relevant regulations.
If you have clear goals and choose influencers who will improve your online reputation, you will find this is a great way to create a positive relationship with your patients.
4. Don’t Count Out Email
Some marketing strategists are eager to move away from email marketing. However, 66% of people continue to check email each morning. This statistic shows that trending away from email may be a missed opportunity to reach your patients and that it should still have a valuable place in your marketing strategy.
Compared to other marketing strategies, email marketing can be cost-effective if you have a built-in system for capturing patient emails through new patient paperwork, an online portal, and contact form submissions through your practice website. Just remember to be consistent and keep messages relevant to your practice.
5. Create Consistent Branding
When creating a brand, remember that emphasizing what makes your practice unique is the best way to be memorable to patients. Creating a clear brand and promoting it across all marketing channels is critical for increasing awareness and overall marketing success. However, consistency is the key. Your message, logo, color scheme, and images should make your practice easily identifiable and stand out from your competitors.
6. Get Listed in Online Directories
As with any strategy, the goal is to create awareness and put your name out to potential patients. To have prospective patients consider your practice, they need to be aware it exists. Online directories of practicing medical professionals, practices accepting new patients, and practices by geographic location are good places to get your name included. It is recommended that accurate online listings exist for your medical practice, as well as each physician providing care at that location.
And remember, your practice may be listed without you knowing it. Take the time to search your practice name online and verify the accuracy of all listings you find. Having accurate and consistent information, along with keyword-rich business descriptions and bios, is an easy way to improve your medical practice’s online presence and rankings in search results.
There are specific techniques and strategies to search engine optimization (SEO), much like other forms of marketing. Using specific keywords related to your practice and services can result in your website ranking higher than competitor sites. You should also include your geographic location and the same relevant key phrases in all online listings, business descriptions, and bios.
Strategically utilizing SEO can improve organic search results and direct traffic to your website. And, assuming your website is positioned for optimal patient experience, you can see an increase in new patients at no additional cost.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads are a paid option for getting the word out about your practice and available services. This process involves setting a budget, crafting ads to reach the intended audience through keyword use, and targeting the audience in specific geographic areas. This process takes a certain level of commitment and continual monitoring, as refining keywords and other factors can take some time.
The benefits of PPC include a clear return on investment (ROI) and extended reach, as these ads appear on the sidebar or top of other websites. If your practice offers virtual visits, extending your reach beyond surrounding communities may be a low-cost option for increasing patient volume.
Discuss Marketing Strategy with The Experts
According to “The State of Healthcare Marketing 2022,” 87% of survey respondents consider increasing new patient volumes a high priority in 2022. Meanwhile, 42% of those same surveyed practitioners say patient sentiment and loyalty are among their top priorities. This means investing in not only attracting new patients but retaining current patients as well.
Top priorities for 2022, per the report, are increasing patient volume, increasing brand awareness, and improving patient loyalty. With those three targets in mind, the techniques practitioners plan to use should include equal parts digital advertising, SEO, and engaging content creation. This means an increase in allocation for the marketing side of the budget.
Two top impediments to these goals are insufficient staffing and technology savvy. The experts at 99MGMTcan provide off-site staffing to handle your medical practice’s marketing strategy and online campaign management. This will allow your in-office staff to focus on in-person interactions with patients and ensure the level of satisfaction that keeps them returning.
Reach out to 99MGMT to discuss a plan of action today.
If you are interested in reading more about Marketing for Medical Practices, check out these other blogs:
The Top 3 Benefits of Using Social Media in Healthcare Marketing
10 Social Media Guidelines & Tips for Online HIPAA Compliance
The Importance of Digital Marketing for Your Medical Practice (And Why You Need It)