What is Included in Healthcare Marketing?
Common question asked by doctors: what is included in healthcare marketing?
First, divide your plan in 2 areas. 1) online strategies 2) offline strategies. Below are some of the significant areas of healthcare marketing.
First, Divide Your Plan in 2 Areas. 1) Online Strategies 2) Offline Strategies
1. Medical Website
Your website is going to be the first touchpoint a potential patient has with your medical practice. Your website needs to be designed well to obtain good organic rankings, and it needs to make an excellent first impression. These two critical traits can occasionally butt heads with each other, but a properly put together website can incorporate both with ease. A website also is not a “one and done” arrangement, new ideas, and the latest trends in healthcare website design should be incorporated to stay with or ahead of the competition.
Organic rankings are significant to a medical practice’s website. Organic rankings are free, but they must be earned. Your website needs to be relevant, authoritative, and unique to your community if you hope to break into the top list of results when people search for services you practice offers. To accomplish this task, you must have unique content on it. Copying and pasting information from other sites is a big red flag to search engines, and you may even find your website suppressed. If site content is provided to you by a vendor for a service or a product, it is in your best interest to rewrite it. Chances are a competitor also uses that vendor and will be too lazy to rewrite a blurb. Do not be that person. Rewrite, expand, and tell patients how a service or product can benefit them.
2. Online Listings
If you avoid using online listings, you are cutting yourself out of many places where potential patients can find you. Online listings feed into many map websites and map apps on phones. Google Maps, Bing Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze all list businesses on their maps based on online business listings. Bing and Google, after their paid results but before their organic results, will often list “map results” of the nearby relevant business. You will not be on that map without an online listing.
The online listings you should create, or claim include:
Even after you create or claim these listings, be on the lookout for duplicate listings. These listings are generally created by patients who want to promote you but do not realize you have an official business listing. Occasionally these websites will generate phantom listings off of old data they’ve received and decided to upload. The more listings, the better right? Wrong. These listings will compete with each other, and the one you have not claimed usually has outdated, incorrect, or missing data.
Even if you have claimed your listings, wrong information can be suggested, and if done enough times without you addressing it, it can cause your listing to be updated. With that in mind, you should periodically check your listings to ensure the following areas are accurate and up to date:
• Business Name
• Phone Number
• Hours of Operations
• Website Address
• Map Pin
3. Content Marketing
The phrase “Content is King” was not created as a joke; it is absolutely true for online marketing. The more unique, useful, and authoritative content you have on your website, the more valuable you will look to search engines. If someone spends 5 minutes on your website reading about “Flu Vaccines” as opposed to 45 seconds on a competitor’s website, a search engine is going to give your site the advantage in organic rankings. With that said, this content needs to be useful, not just fluff. It also needs to be presented in a way that engages with the reader, which is generally accomplished using graphics and pictures.
A mistake many medical websites make when it comes to content marketing is thinking that if you update your content all at once, that should be enough. Unfortunately, content marketing does not work that way. For best results, content should be regularly be added, updated, and expanded on your site. This will tell search engines that your website is always updating and, therefore, more relevant than a website that was updated 12+ months ago. Does this mean you need to rewrite your service pages every month? No, completely rewriting pages frequently is not only time consuming but may not give you the results you want. A better approach would be reviewing service pages once a year, updating the information, or adding some additional content that clarifies some questions patients have been asking.
If you have come to a point where you have updated the last service page, and there are no more services to be added, you can continue to update your website. Adding blog posts and keeping a page of the latest patient reviews can help grow your organic rankings by showing search engines that the site continues to stay current. Be sure to include your essential target keywords in this new content as well!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is another proven way to improve your overall organic rankings. It often works hand in hand with content marketing, although it focuses on a different part than content as a whole. SEO instead organizes and inserts the target keywords your target audience uses when searching for healthcare solutions. If your content does not have the words people are using to find your services, then search engines will have a hard time figuring out if your site is relevant to a potential patient’s search.
First, you need to determine who your target audience is and how they go about searching for their healthcare solutions. Once you’ve identified those keywords and phrases (and related words), you will begin to sprinkle them throughout your content. Not every single keyword needs to be on every single page or paragraph of your website. Known as “keyword stuffing,” search engines are now smart enough to detect this technique and suppress any advantages. Keywords need to be appropriate for the pages they are on. For example, if you offer x-rays, physical therapy, and pediatric care, those service pages should have the keywords that apply to them. There will be some that will appear on all three pages, but there should be others unique to those topics.
Finally, keep in mind the language your target audience uses. They may not know the medical term for conditions but rather a laymen term or just a list of symptoms. They may even start their search engine journey with a question. If you can match that question, laymen term, or list of symptoms on your website, you will have a significant competitive advantage. Successful SEO work often produces results in months, not days, so keep at it, and you will reap in the long term benefits.
5. PPC Ads
When you can not quite achieve the organic results you are looking for, or if you are launching a new service, PPC (Pay Per Click) ads are often the right choice for your medical practice. These search engine results are the first that are displayed when potential patients do their healthcare searches. A medical practice will set a budget and keywords for an ad platform (either Google AdWords or Bing Ads) to bid on, and if they are the highest bidder, their ad will display. The CPC (cost per click) for each search depends on many things, the competition bidding on that word, the value of that word, and how relevant your website is to that target word are just a few. You may not always win the bid, and you may also run out of money during the day. It may not be financially feasible to purse the total dominance of paid search ads in your area for every keyword, so pick your battles carefully.
Paid ads are also useful if you already have a dominant organic spot. You can send a powerful message to a search engine user if your business appears in the paid ads, map results, and organic results. Taking that spot denies it to a possible competitor, which may be worth spending the money. Your budget, keywords, and campaigns should be reviewed periodically to ensure they meet your goals, achieve acceptable results, and are focused on your current business goals.
6. Social Media Ads
Using social media is a tremendously powerful way to connect with your current and potential patients. However, it should not be seen as a channel where you are continually advertising. If you come across as too “selly” people will mute, unfollow, or (even worse) block your social media channels. This communication media is meant for engagement and the sharing of information. Yes, if someone new begins to work at your medical practice, you are offering a unique service, or have special hours for the holidays, announce it. But that should only be sprinkled in with other posts sharing current local or national health stories and local news. Your social media channels should be a resource for information and allow people to engage with your medical practice.
However, you can not engage with others if you ignore your social media channels and are not posting regularly. If you only post to your social media channel once a week or once a month, you should not be surprised to find there is little to no engagement. Aim to post something one to two times a day on your social media channels to get the most organic reach. As mentioned, it should be a healthy mix of stories, pictures, and links to your services. These channels need to be monitored for engagement from your patients. Messages to your channels or comments on posts should be replied to, and any negative comments addressed.
Many medical practices also take advantage of the advertising platform available on social media channels. While you will likely not reach as many people as you would with PPC ads, you can significantly refine your target audience, so your ad show to the most likely demographic that could use your services. Advertising on social media needs to have a compelling message as well as engaging graphics to be effective.
1. Print, Radio, TV
Getting a story about your medical practice in print, radio, or on TV is extremely difficult. Unless your medical practice were involved in some sensational news stories, they would not be interested in your new holiday hours. However, if your medical practice is holding a blood drive, offering free testing for a community health concern, or is celebrating a milestone, you may be able to get their attention and a story written about it. Unfortunately, you’ll have to suffer through many people, turning you down or not responding to your press release before one will randomly be picked up. While it should not be ignored entirely, this should not be the main focus of your advertising efforts.
A medical practice can get their foot in the door by offering up their doctors as medical experts to be used when needed. Having a reporter interview a “local expert” about a health concern is not uncommon. If you can build a good relationship with the media outlet, they may come to you regularly. Some doctors approach print media offering to write “guest columns” or “guest blogs” about a health concern. In any of the previously mentioned situations, you or your doctor will not promote your business. However, if they wear a branded shirt or lab coat, it is an excellent way to get some free publicity.
2. Direct Mail Marketing
Direct mail marketing is making a comeback! Mail volume is much less now than it has been in the past, meaning whatever you mail out will have to compete with less. With direct mail marketing, you can target specific households you know are within driving distance of your medical clinic. You’ll avoid a problem that mobile ads often run into, displaying to people who are just driving through the area. With direct mail, you know how many advertising pieces you are being sent out and where. Ensure you get the household’s attention by designing something that stands out, has value, and is on-brand. Avoid something that is only relative from a limited amount of time or something that can be easily thrown away.
A big thing many medical practices do is send swag through the mail. These things can include magnets, mini-calendars, or even pens. These items get the attention of the household getting the letter, as they tend to feel different from other envelopes. These promotional items should never leave your business without having the following printed somewhere on them:
• Name of medical practice
• Phone numbers
You may not be able to fit everything on there, so the name and phone number are must-haves!
The sign you have outside of your medical practice is very much dependent on what your situation is where you operate. If you are working from a stand-alone building that you own, you probably have a lot of choices that are only limited by zoning regulations. If you are inside a small part of a large building, you may be more limited. You may have to negotiate with a landlord to see what the rules are and what you can do, or you may have to change your marketing strategy to highlight the name of the complex you operate out of.
If you can put up a sign, make sure it is within whatever rules you have to follow. A landlord or a municipal authority may enforce these rules. Many times, you can not put up whatever you want and light it; however, you desire. If you have a temporary sign, like a sandwich board placed outside every day, make sure someone is responsible for bringing it in every night. Finally, inclement weather can wreak havoc with any outdoor signs, be it permanent or temporary. Make sure signs are pulled down or designed to handle a day of high winds.
Healthcare marketing can be a very overwhelming concept to tackle. The experts at PatientGain.com can help you put together a top-notch medical marketing plan for your business. Call today and let us start to work for you!
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Email Marketing Benefits for Doctors and Medical Practices
What are the benefits of email marketing for healthcare businesses like doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals?
Despite the changes in technology in recent years, email marketing remains a powerful tool to reach more patients and grow your business. Although you may have heard that some marketing gurus frown upon this marketing channel, studies show that your patient love useful information and are you are more likely to acquire new patients through email marketing than through social media channels. SEO and online advertising is still the no channel for medical professionals, Email marketing included with other channels. Another important data point – 68 percent of your Emails are read on mobile devices, iphones and other smartphones, in USA and Canada.
“Let Me Check My Emails” is overwhelmingly at least one of the reasons why people log online and in some cases, it is the only reason why people log on. Email marketing does not solely need to be about plugging your services or products. Instead, connect with your patients by sharing information about your practice and promote good health practices. Email marketing is a cost-effective way to build relationships with your patients, allowing you to highlight your medical practice and what you can do for them. You’ll reach more patients but with less time, effort, and money.
Why should I be using email marketing in my medical practice?
Email marketing will generate more leads for your practice. If patients take the step to sign up for your email list, they’ve shown they want to know more information about your business. Emails are also very easily shared among the patient’s friends and family, exposing more people to your practice and the services you offer.
Email marketing often leads to increase patient conversions to your business. Unlike some other marketing channels, you can follow a patient’s journey from the email through your website to where they eventually make an appointment. This information can show you what areas are popular among possible patients during that time of year, and you can improve your website’s overall flow by identifying any areas where people abruptly leave your site.
Compared to traditional marketing channels like print or direct mail, email marketing is cost-effective. Compare the month to month costs of email marketing with the month to month costs of traditional marketing. In many cases, you will get much more bang for your buck. Unlike sending out postcards or newsletters, you’ll be able to see how many people actually open your emails.
Studies show that for every $1 you spend on email marketing; it repays itself many times over. You’ll be able to determine the ROI (Return On Investment) on every single email campaign you send. This allows you to know how effective your money is being spent and gives you a chance to improve future campaigns to make them even more effective.
Finally, email marketing will lead to more patients. You can send patients coupons, news about sales, discounts and new services you are offering. Patients will appreciate getting a “sneak peek” on any new sales or services before the general public does. This will only increase their loyalty to your medical practice and have them recommend it to friends and family.
What are some good tips for email marketing for healthcare practices?
- Patient security and permission is your number 1 priority. Make sure you receive a patient’s explicit authorization to add them to your email list before you start to market to them. It is rude and in many cases, illegal to email people unsolicited without their permission. Too many “spam” reports, and you’ll be blacklisted from most email providers. Also, asking for permission from a patient gives them peace of mind that you are respecting their information and privacy.
- Grab their attention with the subject line. Do you know how many emails a person gets a day? On average, it is over 100. Stand out from the crowd and make sure your subject line is unique and eye-catching. The more compelling it is, the more likely it is to be read!
- Consider the frequency of your email blasts. Nearly 50% of customers say they get too many marketing emails and unsubscribe from a mailing list. For you to keep a stable list of patients to email, don’t email them too often, regardless of how many offers you may have. Avoid being label as a spammer and pick your spots to send out an email to the masses. Find a happy middle ground of not emailing them too much they mark you as spam and so little that they forget who you are.
- Try segmentation to target specific customers. The segmentation of your email list, or putting them in groups where people share similar qualities, is an effective way to get more clicks and emails opened. It allows you to customize an email campaign to patients, making it more relevant to them. This increases their engagement, and therefore makes it more likely for them to engage your business.
- Use automation to save time and energy! One of the most powerful features of email marketing is the ability to set up schedules to send out emails, allowing you to focus your attention on other things with your business. Establish triggers or thresholds to send out customized emails to patients. For example, appointment reminders and post-appointment survey emails are effective ways to connect to your patients.
Email marketing gives you a direct line of communication to current and new patients. This engagement on a personal level improves the patient-doctor relationships and helps cement them to be long term patients of a practice. You can present your medical practice as a trusted brand and keep patients up to date with the services you offer.
What can PatientGain.com Email Marketing do for me?
One of our most popular email marketing packages can provide your practice with 12 newsletters per year and six more seasonal newsletters. We will target your new and existing patients with interesting, topical information about your practice and other healthcare news. This vital marketing tool will promote your brand and engage with your patients and reactivates old ones who have not been to your location in a while.
Our emails are also optimized to appear on any device. Over 2/3’s of people read their emails on a mobile device. We’ll ensure your email campaigns look great on any phone, tablet, or desktop computer.
How does PatientGain.com make my email marketing more effective?
Your email campaigns are only going to work as well as your email lists allow them to be. If your contact file is inaccurate or hasn’t been updated, you will likely not have a beneficial email marketing channel. You can easily be labeled as a spammer if your emails bounce back, contain invalid or inaccurate contacts, or if you get complaints from patients. Once blacklisted, your emails may not even show up in a patient’s mailbox, being relegated to the “Spam Folder” of any email provider.
Our automated tools in our software allow you to focus on the patients in your clinic while we take care of your email marketing strategy. We can easily add new contacts to your email list with our Auto Loader app. New contacts are uploaded securely and in full HIPAA compliance.
What are some results you’ve seen with your customers?
We have a customer who has 7 locations in the rural and suburbs of a major city. On average, they get 54 patients per clinic. After implementing our Email Marketing Program, they saw average patient engagement increased by 11% over five months. We saw increased engagement in surveys, patient feedback, newsletters, and promotional emails. New patient acquisitions increased by about 3% and repeat patient visits increased by about 8% compared to the previous year.
How does PatientGain.com keep my email lists fresh?
Our software will automatically scrub your email lists to ensure your contact lists are accurate, improving your sender reputation. This frees up your time, instead of having management or clinic staff manually go through your contact list. When new contacts come into your CRM, our system will check them against your database pulling out: any invalid contacts, those who have asked not to be emailed in the past or have a habit of marking an email as “spam.” Each contact is graded, and those with poor grades are automatically purged from your email lists. When you send out your campaigns, we’ll check for any unsubscribe notices or bounced emails and remove them as well. You can send out emails without worrying about being flagged as a spammer.
Want to learn more about what PateitnGaint.com can do for your clinic and improve your email marketing, patient acquisition, and patient engagement. Contact us and request a demo today!
PatientGain highly recommends medical websites on WordPress. WordPress powers 35% of the internet in 2020 – Worldwide. Fast loading medical sites. GOLD service includes website.
What makes fast loading websites?
11 Steps to make your medical website fast.
- Network: Extremely fast network, Example: Google Premium Network
- Protocol: HTTP/2, QUIC, HTTP/3
- Server: Very fast servers, Litespeed Enterprise
- PHP: Fast PHP processing, PHP LSAPI ProcessGroup
- CDN: Fast CDN, Example: Google Cloud CDN
- DNS: Fast DNS providers, Example: Google Cloud DNS
- Scalability: As you receive more traffic, the system should scale
- Disk: SSD – A solid-state drive (SSD) is a newer, faster type of device that stores data on instantly-accessible memory chips
- CPU: Google Cloud N2 instances (Example)
- Template used for WordPress: This is also very important (Template should not make unnecessary round trips)
- Optimized Images: Use smaller images for mobile sites – WordPress offers this setting. Google also reads your mobile site first for SEO rankings. Google also measures how fast your mobile site loads.
Read more about HIPAA compliant WordPress websites for doctors.
Read more about examples of WordPress websites for doctors.
PatientGain.com is a proven medical marketing solution, includes apps, websites, SEO, HIPAA compliance and account management.
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