Digital marketing is no longer the way of the future; it’s here. Digital marketing in all industries is typically more effective than traditional marketing if for no other reason than that people are spending more time consuming information digitally than they are in print, radio, and other mediums.
This rings true in the healthcare industry as well. Digital marketers are affecting the way we perceive of the healthcare industry through both the advertising and marketing techniques they employ as well as the services the industry is now providing by digital means. Here we’ll break down digital marketing trends and services for the healthcare industry that you don’t want to miss.
Search Engine Optimization
If you’ve done any amount of reading on digital marketing, you know that SEO is one of the—if not the—most important focuses of your marketing strategy. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) brings searchers to your site. This is done by building your site in a specific way that focuses on keywords users are searching for, creating content that speaks to users’ needs, and providing an exceptional user experience.
Having an online presence isn’t enough. You’ve got to focus on SEO in order to target potential patients and bring them to your site. Only by having people enter into your site will you be able to present yourself and your practice to them.
With Siri, Alexa, Google Home, and other voice-search tools in our homes and our palms, hands-free internet searches are commonplace. Many if not most people are using voice-activated and voice-to-text technology for their searches—including their searches for healthcare.
When tailoring your SEO for voice-activated search, you need a different approach than for searches input via text. One way to do this is to rank for long-tail keywords. These keywords are more specific and—you guessed it—longer than typical keywords. Many times, long-tail keywords are more like phrases. This is helpful for voice searches because long-tail keywords are more natural and similar to the way people speak. For the same reason, you should include conjunctions and “filler words” in the phrases you want to rank for.
Additionally, most voice searches include a “near me” request. And when people are looking for healthcare, they want something close and convenient. The more you can optimize for voice search, the more patients you’ll be able to draw to your site and to your practice.
Social media channels are not just for keeping up with old friends. Every reputable business, including healthcare practices and systems, makes use of their socials to reach patients on more channels than merely an in-person consultation or website. Social media allows healthcare providers to showcase a more intimate side of the practice, offer healthcare advice and tips—like how to manage flu symptoms, and allows patients to hear directly from doctors, nurses, and support staff.
Unlike traditional marketing methods, social media marketing is free. When you’ve got a digital marketing agency managing your social medias, they can streamline your channels and post regularly to maintain engagement with patients.
People are visual. This is a helpful trait when you’re considering your digital marketing strategies. Patients looking for healthcare services are captured by engaging video content that answers their questions about your practice and shows them that you’re their best choice for care.
Apart from an in-person interaction, video is the best way to connect patients and providers in an intimate way. People are more likely to remember a video than an article they read, which is why video marketing is a brilliant opportunity to endear customers to your clinic. And the numbers show that video captivates and reaches more potential patients than other means. Viewers typically retain about 95 percent of a video message as opposed to just 10 percent if they read text about your hospital.
You want patients to have a sense of familiarity with your practice. When they see your socials or your website, there should be certain components that strike a chord with them. Your logo, your colors, and the focus of your services should be consistent across all of your platforms. For example, if you’re a hospital focusing on women’s health, you should include content—pictures, video, and written content—that answers questions that your patients might be asking.
Emphasize your practice’s strengths and show patients why you should be their top choice for care. Can your site visitors or followers on social media recognize your assets? By driving home what you do best and why you are the authority in your field, you build brand awareness and increase patient retention—as well as boosting your new patient numbers.
In all areas of business, but especially in those that deal with the health of the client, your reputation is everything. Now more than ever, it’s easy for a disgruntled patient to leave a scathing review, and just like that, it’s out there for the world to see. Your online reputation and review management is a huge part of your digital marketing strategy.
Anytime a customer has an issue with your services and posts about it online, you need to address it. This can be done by replying to reviews on places like Yelp or other places where your practice might get reviews. But if it’s a serious issue, other steps need to take place. This can look like a suspension or a staff-wide training. Regardless of what is causing you to get negative reviews or press online, the way you proceed will have a big effect on your reputation and digital presence.
At this point, mobile optimization is a must. The vast majority of search for any item or service is now done on mobile, hospitals and healthcare services included. Having a mobile-friendly site means prospective patients can read up on you at anytime and anywhere.
According to Google, 44 percent of patients who found a hospital from their phone scheduled an appointment. That means from search to scheduling, everything is done on their device. The easier it is to access your information—and appointment scheduling forms—the higher the likelihood that you’ll be seeing new patients in your office.