What Is Included in Healthcare Marketing Plan?
6 Specific strategies should be included in your medical practices’s marketing plan.
Owning a medical practice is more than just treating patients who come into your office during business hours. It would be great if you got those patients without doing more than turning on your “open sign.” However, you should always be looking for new patients. The current crop of patients you have today will not be the same next year or even next month. If you do not actively try to grow your patient count, you’ll see smaller and smaller numbers of patients. This will not only make it difficult to grow your business but to keep it afloat.
To continue growth in your patient count and business, you need to engage in healthcare marketing. Marketing today in the healthcare industry is different from twenty, ten, or even five years ago. A successful medical practice will have a healthy combination of online and offline marketing. The experts at PatientGain.com can help guide you through these areas of marketing to grow your business. We have helped hundreds of health care clients all over the country successfully market their business using tried and true marketing strategies. Let us help you rise above your competition and meet your business goals. Below are some online and offline marketing areas you should be engaged with as a medical practice owner.
Online Marketing For Medical Practices
Also known as digital marketing, it has quickly become a dominant force in medical marketing. There are many different ways to promote your medical practice. Some are more effective than others, but all often work with other strategies to be most effective. Below are some significant areas of online marketing our experts at PatientGain.com can assist you with.
1. Medical Website
Your website is the keystone of any good online marketing plan. If you do not have a website promoting your medical practice, you are either a: time traveler from the 1950’s or working for a crime syndicate. There is no good reason for you not to have a website promoting your medical business. In today’s digital world, if you do not have a presence on the internet, you are practically invisible.
An excellent medical website will be unique, authoritative, and informative for anyone who visits it. It also needs to be easy to use, load quickly, and be just as useful on a desktop computer as it is on a mobile device. Websites that fail to meet these basic requirements will often fail to obtain any meaningful organic rankings. Cutting and pasting parts from other medical websites and slapping it on the cheapest website platform you can find with little or no planning is a recipe for disaster. Put time into your website regarding how it looks, the journey of a patient, and the content you have on there. The time you spend now will return massive dividends down the road as your well-designed website begins to get organic rankings.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a crucial part of any well designed medical website. Good SEO will ensure that the right keywords and phrases are placed throughout your website to help search engines understand the services you are offering. For example, suppose your location specializes in treating lateral epicondylitis. In that case, you will want those words throughout the content and the name that everyone else knows this condition by: tennis elbow. While it may seem obvious, you would be surprised how many medical practices do not take time to research the most likely keywords potential patients use when looking for the services they provide. Chances are you will probably have most of them. However, you could be missing a few critical keywords or phrases or do not have them placed properly in your content.
In addition to having the right keywords on your website, SEO will also focus on Technical SEO and Off-Page SEO. Technical SEO is all the parts and elements of your website that keep it running correctly and quickly. They might not be things someone sees when they visit your website, but it dramatically impacts their user experience. Ease of use, structure, and optimization of load speed are all things that are examined and improved when implementing a technical SEO plan. Good Off-Page SEO includes building backlinks to your medical website. Having useful, reputable links to your site will help your overall organic rankings. Look to get linked by other businesses, blogs, newspaper articles, and, if possible, nonprofits, educational institutions, and government websites. Every useful, authoritative link you can get to your website, the better!
3. Content Marketing
Content marketing often goes hand in hand with SEO improvements. The content you write is where the SEO keywords and phrases are placed. Those keywords and phrases will not help if you do not have high quality, unique, and authoritative content to go along with it. You want your content to be informative, useful, and engaging. Failing to provide this kind of content often results in potential patients leaving your website to explore other websites.
Content marketing, however, is a continuous process. The best, highest-ranking websites are continually adding new content to their sites. You should continuously be adding, refining, and updating pages on your website throughout the year. Avoid doing this all at once and instead update your content in pieces. Search engines view websites that are continually updating as being the most up to date and authoritative. That does not mean you update the same page every day, but different parts of your website every month. Please keep a record of the last time a service page was reviewed to ensure it was updated. Take time to reread your content and make any minor changes to have it read easier or clarify individual sections. If you can not find any sections to improve, update, or any new pages to add, consider adding a blog to your site to add additional content.
4. Search Engine Advertising
Pay per click (PPC) ads are generally how you will engage in advertising in search engines. Here, you will select some of your most important keywords and phrases, set a budget, and bid on them. Ad results always appear above organic results and are often the first thing people see when they enter a search query. Your ad appearing in the ad results often depends on any number of factors, including: distance from the user to your business, the amount of money you’ve bid, if your budget is exhausted, the relevancy of the query to your website, if your competitors have bid on that word, and other local competitive factors. Generally, if your website is built well, with rich, unique content, and has good SEO, you improve your chances of having your website’s ad appearing in ad results.
For the best results and the most bang for your buck, you should organize your PPC efforts into campaigns. Instead of having one big campaign with all of your keywords being bid on, organize them into separate campaigns. For example, you could have all of your ads promoting services in one campaign, bidding against your competitors in another campaign, and another campaign that promotes your brand. Organizing your keywords into separate campaigns makes them more efficient, makes your campaigns more relevant, and you will see better overall results. Finally, your PPC efforts should be monitored. While you do not want to make changes every day or even every week, check to make sure ads are performing as they should. Increase and decrease bids as needed and add additional keywords if they become popular.
5. Social Media For Medical Practices
All medical practices should have a presence on social media. Social media is a great way to connect to current and potential patients in the community. It can be very overwhelming to try to do all social media channels at once. Subscribe to a service that allows you to post to multiple channels at once. It will save you time and will enable you to schedule future posts. You can also make it easier on yourself or the employee you put in charge by creating a posting schedule to plan out the theme of your posts week to week.
The social media channels you should seriously consider creating accounts on include:
• Google Business Profile
Some medical practices have found these social media channels to be useful:
6. Offline Marketing For Medical Practices
Do not let someone talk you into believing that offline marketing, also known as traditional marketing, is dead. True, it is not as effective as it once was, but it can be beneficial if used correctly. For the best results, integrate your offline marketing plans with some online marketing efforts.
Direct Mail Marketing
You probably remember the days where you got pounds and pounds of junk mail. Thankfully for mailboxes, those days are long gone. Advertisements via mail have plummeted in recent years. While this has put increased budgetary pressure on local post offices, this could be an opportunity for your medical practice. Since there is less volume in medical advertising, anything you send will have far less to compete with than in the past. Medical practices are finding direct mail advertising to be an effective way to reach local, nearby communities. The US Post Office has several tools that make it relatively easy to mark out what households get your direct mail campaign. Often, you can send out these advertising pieces at a lower, bulk rate as well.
To avoid your mailer being thrown into the trash, it needs to stand out amongst the other items that arrive every day. The color, thickness, and size of what you send all play a role in catching the attention of the person who checks the mail. Your direct mail piece should have clear messages, good graphics, contact information, and a call to action. Ideally, you want this to be pinned to a bulletin board or put on a fridge to be seen every day. Some medical practices send promotional items through the mail to potential patients. The most popular and practical items are often things people would use every day, like pens, bottle openers, or fridge magnets. Be mindful of your budget if you decide to send these promotional items through the mail. It costs money to make them and usually extra postage to mail nonstandard sized things.
Local Media Publications
Getting your business in a local newspaper or on TV is a gold mine for good publicity. However, unless you are paying to be featured on TV or in a newspaper, it can be challenging to convince someone to do a story about your medical practice. Generally, the bigger the publication, the harder it is to get the attention of a reporter or editor there to do a story about your medical practice. Often, the best way to get their attention is to pitch a story to them about something new to the community. Some of the most common pitches include grand openings, new services being offered, and free screenings to the community.
Another way to get your name into publications is to offer your doctors as “local health experts” to comment on health stories. While you will not showcase your medical practice and spend a lot of time talking about it, quotes from your doctor, who will be wearing branded items like a lab coat, will often identify where they work. Offering their thoughts and opinions on health stories will raise your profile and trust with the community. You can also offer writing a guest column for a newspaper. Again, you will not be able to showcase your business, but giving the community good health advice is a great way to connect with them. Columns will always identify who the author works for and often include the URL to the medical practice. As a bonus, many newspapers and other media publications have online properties where stories are published and kept online for years. Here, they often provide hyperlinks to websites, boosting organic rankings.
The experts at PatientGain.com are ready to help you build your medical practice by helping you with your healthcare marketing. Contact us and let our team show you what we have done for other practices and what we can do for your business. We can help grow your patient count and bottom line!