by Juan Robin II
A Pew Research Study found that 77% of people now search for health information online. This has revolutionized how the medical industry reaches patients and customers online.
Understanding online medical marketing is understanding people. People today find and select a medical provider online. You’re meeting people where they are at the right time with the right message.
Here are 8 strategies you need to use to reach these patients.
1) It Starts with a Professional Website
In an increasingly digital age, your website is your face to the world.
You may want your clinic to appear professional, clean and welcoming. That’s important. But long before anyone steps into the business, talks to a receptionist or meets you in person, they see your website.
Your website is the home base for all of your online medical marketing efforts. If it’s not taken care of first, it will diminish your ability to get new patients through marketing.
Your website should be:
- Easy to navigate
- Visually appealing
- A wealth of helpful information
It should convey authority and show that you care about the online experience of potential patients.
2) Make it Mobile
Around 90% of 18-64-year-olds now own smartphones. Even among the 65+ crowd, around 50% own and use them. This contributes to almost half of website traffic now coming in through mobile devices.
Part of your online medical marketing efforts should be put toward designing a seamless mobile experience.
At a basic level this includes:
- Not requiring zooming
- Not requiring side to side scrolling
- Easy to read text
- Images and pages that automatically re-configure for easy viewing
- Finger-friendly links and buttons
- Clear call to action button like “Book an appointment”
Beyond the basics, show people that you understand the importance of an integrated mobile experience. This will benefit your medical practice and the people.
These may include helpful videos, podcasts, webinars, health apps and more.
Allow people to get reminders, updates, to-bring lists on mobile.
3) Be Local
If you’re a local medical service provider, which most are, you should also know this.
Google’s research division found that 76% of people who visit your site will visit a business within 24 hours. This will vary a little bit based upon how far out you schedule appointment. But the principle is solid.
People who visit local websites are high intention. They are most likely ready to buy or schedule now.
Understanding this will help you. Build an online medical marketing strategy that takes advantage of this high intention traffic.
Do this by:
- Making it really easy to schedule
- Having your phone/address very visible
- Having a map so they can easily get directions
- Offering a discount if they act now
You can do even more by making more special offers easy to find on mobile devices so as local visitors come in they can quickly access them on their phones.
4) Safe Access to Information
Giving existing patients easy yet secure access to their billing and personal health information online is the way to go. It’s an important part of your medical brand and therefore your online medical marketing strategy.
Through these online portals patients can easily:
- See past appointment dates
- Pay an outstanding balance
- Access lab results
- See Diagnoses and ICD-10s that have been billed
Patients no longer have to call an office or facility to get this information. That’s great for you and your patients.
Patients want to share when they have great patient experience. You get better reviews and more social sharing of your marketing content.
Making sure your portal is easily accessible and that existing patients know about it. That’s key to a strong online medical marketing strategy.
5) Create and Maintain a Blog
Blogs today aren’t endless ramblings. They’re strategic marketing content designed to increase brand awareness for your medical practice.
You do this by designing a blog around topics that your patients are searching for online.
We know you hate when patients self-diagnose. But here’s the bitter truth. They’re going to do it anyway. The best thing a medical service provider can do is be a source of truth.
There’s a ton of bad health advice out there.
Your blog is where you reach patients who are:
- Trying to get healthier
- Managing a chronic condition you treat
- Trying to figure out what a symptom indicates
- Looking for natural remedies that actually work
- Wondering about side effects
- Exploring treatment options
- Seeing how long they need to take off work
Produce resources that patients are looking for. As you do, build trust.
This trust makes you the one they schedule with when it’s time to schedule an appointment.
Integrate your blog into the patient experience. Refer people who have additional questions to the resources there. Most people prefer to be able to do some research online. That saves a doctor or nurse time as well.
But be careful not to seem so quick you refer them online that you seem unwilling to answer questions. It’s a balance.
This not only helps patients get healthier, it builds the authority of your blog. That’s important for the next online medical marketing tip.
6) Drive Organic Traffic Through Searches
As you build trust with your blog, your website will be seen as more authoritative by search engines. Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, use the authority of your website as a ranking factor.
This means that the higher your website’s authority, the higher you’ll appear in search results.
If you’re a local pediatrician and someone types, “reasons for child’s cough”, you want them to find your site. If you have a blog article or other resource that addresses it, you’ll appear high in the search.
Appearing high in organic searches is important because few people click past page one. The more quality articles you add to your blog, the more opportunities you’ll have to be at the top of search queries.
By building content that potential patients are looking for, you create a magnet that drives organic traffic to your website.
This is a large part of SEO, which we’ll talk about in number 7.
And you may think you’re competing with huge brands online that you could never outrank. But know that Google gives preferential treatment to local businesses in their local area.
In number 8, we’ll look at how to ensure that the search engine knows you’re local.
7) SEO Your Website
SEO (search engine optimization) is everything you do to optimize your website for searches.
Search engines use several ranking factors. These determine whether your website can provide the best answer to a searcher’s query.
No one knows the exact algorithm except the search engine company. But through trial and error, research and staying informed about updates, experts figure things out. They are able to get a pretty good idea about what makes a website rank high.
Here are some of the most important known ranking factors to integrate into your online medical marketing strategy:
- Age of your website (brand new sites take a while to rank)
- Speed (Google recommends
- Respecting the patient experience on the site
- No obnoxious pop-up ads
- Amount of Incoming traffic through organic, social and direct
- People clicking on your site when you appear in searches
- People staying on your site when they visit
- People clicking on other pages on your site when they visit
Search engines use their unknown algorithm to determine how well you’re meeting these criteria.
In addition, they look at another very important factor. They look to see if other websites respect you enough to link your website.
As part of your online medical marketing strategies, you’ll network with other industry sites. These sites will not be direct competitors but will relate to you in some way. Work with them to acquire links to your website.
You’ll even find that people will click these links to learn more about what you do.
8) Leverage Local
To help reduce online monopolies, Google has set up a system that gives local businesses greater visibility in their own area. The only problem with this is that sometimes Google can’t tell that your website is local.
Because of this, it’s important to take steps to demonstrate where you’re located.
Please note that you shouldn’t spam your site with local indicators. That would provide a poor user experience. Do, however, choose several of the following strategic locations to include your city and state in a reasonable fashion.
- H1 header
- Meta title
- Meta description
- Alt tag for images
- Header or footer
- Some of your blog articles
- Contact page
If you don’t know where some of these are, your webmaster will. Place your city, state in the locations that make more sense for your website.
Online Medical Marketing Demystified
When you apply these 8 online medical marketing strategies, you develop a comprehensive solution. Reach customers where they are. Reach them on mobile. You reach them when they’re searching for health information.
You even reach them when they need access to their own information.
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