Why do so many healthcare organizations seem to lag behind other industries when it comes to implementing effective digital marketing and social media strategies?
One of the most obvious reasons: medical providers are regulated by different rules than most other industries! When you’re governed by HIPAA and patient privacy, you have to be extra careful that your marketing strategy doesn’t violate any federal or state laws.
Patient privacy shouldn’t scare you away from developing a great marketing strategy, though.
At ThinkFuel, we work with medical practices all the time who are scrambling to catch up and develop effective marketing strategies after years of feeling overwhelmed by the process of finding and converting leads.
We get questions like this all the time:
- How do we direct traffic to our website?
- How do we make sure that we’re showing up on the first page of search results?
- How do we convert prospective patients?
- We have a lot of people’s contact information--now what?
- Should we be blogging?
- What social media platforms should we be using?
- When people Google my business, what do they see?
Let’s look at six trends that can change your gameplan when it comes to marketing.
Table of Contents
#1: Using a great content marketing strategy
#2: Websites MUST be responsive.
#3: Websites also need to be Google-friendly.
#4: Prioritize SEO across every page on your site.
#5: Be accessible online, not just on Google.
#6: Use multimedia effectively.
What if you’re not feeling tech-savvy enough to incorporate all of these trends?
Trend #1: Using a great content marketing strategy
Content marketing is all about providing high-quality content to potential customers without charging them a penny. Ideally, you will be collecting their information--their name, contact details, and perhaps some information about their unique interests and needs.
If you want to have a good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, you have to support it through great content. Content is what gets your website into those early Google results, whether that content is made up of blog posts, special downloadable offers, newsletters, engaging videos, or anything else that works for your specific industry.
Content also allows you to personalize your customers’ experiences and shape the buyer’s journey. It develops trust between yourself and each prospective patient, ensuring that they think of you as a reliable and trustworthy expert.
Trend #2: Websites MUST be responsive.
A responsive website is one that is fully functional, regardless of which device is used to access it. It adapts to whatever screen the user has in their hands. Instead of laptops, many patients use mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.
Today’s patients expect a phone-based experience. They don’t want to deal with clunky websites, slow-loading graphics, or scrolling around on a mobile page to find what they are looking for. Responsive web design eliminates these pain points and gives your website users a positive experience.
Responsive websites are cleaner, easier to navigate, and more effective at retaining customers. Effective inbound marketing directs users to your website, but a design that looks terrible on a phone will immediately send the visitor away to find something else.
Trend #3: Websites also need to be Google-friendly.
People trust Google to bring them accurate results. Think about how many people use Google search to check out their symptoms, give themselves peace of mind, or decide whether or not they need to seek medical care.
Google receives a billion healthcare-related search queries every day! Medical providers can be there to reassure people, provide them with good information, and help them determine when to see a doctor or medical professional.
Creating a Google-friendly website is about more than just putting great content on your site. It’s also about ensuring that you are using the right keyword and phrase combinations, especially for auto-complete searches related to medical conditions.
One of the easiest things to do is to make sure that you are set up on Google My Business, which you can think of as Google’s official phonebook. Providers that don’t have an official Google Business listing may be perceived as unprofessional or sketchy, which is the last thing you want.
When creating your listing, you can input the information about your medical practice that you think most people want to know: location, contact information, price points, provider names, services, and more.
The easier you are to find on Google via organic search terms, the more success your overall marketing plan will have.
Trend #4: Prioritize SEO across every page on your site.
SEO is not just something to consider when putting together a blog post! You should focus on driving traffic to your website by designing each page with SEO in mind.
Ask yourself this important question: how does this page increase our likelihood of showing up when a potential customer inputs their online search terms?
Competing for traffic is an integral part of your marketing strategy. If you are operating in a competitive market already, such as a large urban area or a region with lots of other providers in your field, it will be even more important for you to provide use great SEO strategies.
Here are some important elements to use as you develop an SEO plan:
- Research the best keywords to use for your industry, region, and community.
- Include a FAQ page on your website, as that can answer visitor questions as well as give you lots of ways to use your keywords.
- Use a variety of internal and external links, because internal links direct people to additional content that you’ve created, whereas external links show Google that you’re not just trying to spam people.
One other thing when it comes to SEO: consider working with a qualified digital marketing agency. They will know more about keyword research and integration, content creation, Google snippets, meta descriptions, and all of the ever-changing Google algorithm updates. If you don’t want to have to become an SEO expert on top of everything else that you do, inbound marketers are ready to help!
Trend #5: Be accessible online, not just on Google.
Some industries are out of luck because they pretty much have Google and that’s it. Healthcare providers have the benefit of so many great resources where they can reach customers in an organic and meaningful way!
For example, you could list all of your providers on your WebMD page. WebMD has routinely ranked as one of the very top healthcare-related websites on the internet, and you could use that popularity to your advantage. If WebMD shows up in the search results before you do, what if you could direct people from WebMD to your site?
The site even allows doctors and other medical professors to answer questions directly. This certainly contributes to your development as a trustworthy source of information!
Think about where else people go for the information they need when they aren’t just Googling their symptoms or looking for a doctor. Many people check Facebook! If you have an active and engaging Facebook Business profile, you can find new patients, build a community, and do some great reputation management to show potential patients who you are and what you care about.
Trend #6: Use multimedia effectively.
Today’s internet users expect to encounter videos in advertising, entertainment, and information. If you’re not using multimedia to promote your practice, you can be confident that your competitors are.
It’s not uncommon for people to have some anxieties and worries about seeking out a new medical provider, and great videos can help assuage those fears! Website visitors can get to know your company, learn about your values, and find out useful information about their health through video, all while developing a relationship with your practice.
Don’t forget to include a Call-to-Action (CTA) at the end of your video so that people have an actionable step to take next. This CTA can be something like:
- Contact us for an appointment
- Schedule a consultation
- Learn more by visiting our website
- Find out more by downloading our free information packet
What if you’re not feeling tech-savvy enough to incorporate all of these trends?
By their very nature, trends are new. It can be overwhelming to learn about all of this and try to figure out ways to incorporate these important new aspects of digital marketing.
However, you don’t want to end up left behind by your competitors who are nailing it when it comes to these trends! That’s where we come in.
We’re ready to get started! Are you?
Let us help you develop an inbound marketing plan that will work for you and your unique needs! Start seeing a better ROI and more growth in your region by giving us a call or contacting us at ThinkFuel today.
Disclaimer: This is a friendly reminder that because we are not attorneys, we cannot offer legal advice. This information should not be interpreted as legal advice, and you should consult your own legal counsel for compliance issues related to your industry, state, and municipality. Regulations change regularly, and it is important that you maintain HIPAA compliance, as well as compliance with all relevant data privacy and data protection regulations.