What is Patient Engagement Marketing?
Your website will be a touchpoint that most if not all of your current and potential patients will come in contact with when interacting with your medical practice.
If your website is a passive, static site that is not actively engaging website visitors, you could be potentially losing a large chunk of potential patients to competitors who are engaging visitors on their website. To be as competitive as possible in the healthcare industry, a medical practice needs to implement a patient engagement marketing strategy.
Patient engagement is when your website actively engages a patient to get their attention. Studies show that you have mere seconds to get the attention of a website visitor. Assuming your website load time is not an issue, because a slow loading website will also cause visitors to drop off, you need to engage them immediately. If you can pique their interest, you have a higher chance of converting that website visitor into a patient no matter how you do it. A website that embraces patient engagement is key to consistent business and patient count growth. The experts at PatientGain.com can help you design an on-brand website that actively engages people.
Below are some patient engagement strategies we’ve used with other clients proven to be very successful. We are ready to help your medical practice implement these patient engagement strategies to grow your business.
1. High Quality, Unique, Informative, and Engaging Content
We all know that unique, high-quality content is a must-have if you want to have good organic results and efficient PPC campaigns. However, you should not write content solely to get good organic rankings. Your content should be engaging with patients and informative. Regardless of your medical field, the goal of your content should be that the reader learns something new about your medical practice after they finish reading. It would be best if you were mindful of your tone and the words you use. Avoid coming off as condescending or using language that includes medical terms they do not know or understand. This can be off-putting and cause them to find another website where they feel more welcomed.
When writing content about the services or treatments you offer at your medical clinic, try to implement a Q & A format. When potential patients visit your website when considering you to help them with their medical needs, they are likely to have questions. You can help them digest information better if you write out a question they already had or something close to it. If they see the exact question they were thinking about, they are very likely to continue to read content on your website and be receptive to the answer. The question and answer format is a great way to organize information on your website. If you have a page with a lot of content on it, it is also an excellent way to break it up to comprehend in smaller chunks. While this format may not work for every page you have, it is often beneficial on service and treatment pages.
Within your content, link it to other parts of your website for more straightforward navigation. You may have two service pages that are related but need their page. For example, you could have a page talking about sports physicals and camp physicals. Somewhere on those pages should be linked to each other if the reader realizes they need more information about the other physical. This will save them from going back to the home page or clicking through the navigation bar to find the other related subject. You are actively engaging with the patient by making it easier for them to explore your website.
2. Call To Action Buttons
A call to action, also known as a CTA button, is a great way to engage with patients. It would be best if you did not assume that patients know what to do next when they finish reading a bit of content. If you want them to take any action or proceed to the next step of something, you often need to spell it out for them. A compelling call to action will stand out amongst the rest of your content and is usually highlighted by a different color and appears as a button. On a mobile device, this button will appear about the size of a finger to allow someone to “tap it” to proceed, and on desktop versions, the button will be clickable. It would be best if you were careful not to riddle your content with CTA’s, or they will begin to lose their effectiveness. Also, make sure you do not pick a color or font that is wildly outside of your branding. You want it to stand out but not look out of place.
Some typical call to actions include:
• Book Now
• Get Directions
• Call Now
• Make An Appointment
• Take The Quiz
• Take An Assessment
• Contact Us
The placement of these call to action buttons is often at the end of content leading patients to the next step. Occasionally they are often the first thing people see when a website loads. These a call to action buttons are generally geared to returning patients or patients who came for a specific reason. For example, it isn’t uncommon to see a “Schedule A COVID-19 Test” call to action at the top of many medical clinics’ home page.
3. Live Stream and Connect With The Community
It is easier than ever today to broadcast live over the internet from your medical facility. You do not need a fancy camera, a high powered computer, or a state of the art recording studio. As long as you have an excellent cellphone with a great data plan or a great internet connection, you could go live today! Livestreaming is a great way to connect to your current patients as well as your community. You may even develop a fan base beyond your town since anyone on the internet would have access to your show!
To properly live stream, you will want to make sure your camera can take good quality video, people can year you speak, and the lighting is good. A jump video of shadows that sound like they are talking in a gymnasium will not get you much in the way of followers. Find a nice place in your medical clinic with good lighting for your live broadcast. Finally, the most vital piece of a Livestream is talent. It would help if you had someone knowledgeable, confident, and charismatic to be on camera. If no one in your employment feels comfortable doing that, you may have difficulty getting this off the ground.
When broadcasting, avoid the mistake of turning on the camera and hoping people will engage with you. That is unlikely to happen at first. If you start this way, there will be a lot of awkward silence of your doctor or another staff member just staring into a screen and waiting. Instead, plan out 20 or so minutes of material for the person to talk about. They could explain the service you offer or offer some health advice. During this time, someone should be monitoring the chat feature of the Livestream to see if anyone has arrived to chat or ask questions. Those can then be communicated to the person talking for further engagement.
The most popular places to stream online include:
4. Engage With Patients By Using Social Media
Social media, by its very nature, is perfect for patient engagement and patient engagement marketing. When social media is used correctly, all you are doing is engaging with others. People worldwide are sharing updates, photos, website links, videos, and chatting with each other through social media. As a medical clinic, you need to have a social media presence to connect with your current and potential patients. Managing multiple social media channels can be challenging, so it is best to approach this area of patient engagement marketing with a clear plan.
It may be tempting to post a page about service or treatment from your website every day and call it a day. However, this is not very engaging, and if you are always trying to “sell” something to your patients and potential patients, they will soon tune you out or unfollow you. Overall, you should provide a variety of different posts on your social media channels. While you should certainly include posts about your medical practice, there should also be posts about health news, local events, blog posts, and pictures or videos from your medical clinic. Not everything has to be geared towards selling something to a patient or potential patient. For excellent patient engagement, post things that are useful and informative. With social media channels, you also have access to their advertising platforms. Here, you can target an audience for your advertising campaigns. Many channels allow you to target by gender, age, location, and interests. If calibrated correctly, this fine-tuned audience should be the best possible audience that may be interested in your marketing.
The most popular social media channels for medical clinics to be on include:
Some medical clinics, depending on what field of medicine they are involved in, have found some success on:
To make your life easier, or the employee who manages social media, subscribe to a service that allows you to manage multiple social media channels at once. Instead of logging in and logging out of channels to post something, you can post to all channels from the same dashboard. Sometimes you may want to post the same things across all of your social media channels, but there are other times when you have a specific message for a particular channel. Keep in mind you can not do as many fancy things as you could if you’d directly posted from that channel, but you will be able to do most of your work from this dashboard.
5. Engage Patients To Leave Reviews
Online reviews are a vital part of any medical marketing plan. Most, if not all, potential patients to your medical practice will look at reviews before making their final decision. A bumper crop of bad reviews will all but doom you. A listing that only has a few reviews will often make a potential patient look around for a few more options. However, if they come across your listing and see a plethora of positive reviews, you stand an excellent chance to convert them into a patient. While you will undoubtedly get reviews organically without any help, you may find that patients who have a negative experience are more likely to leave reviews. Regardless of their concerns or problems are valid or not, they will track down your listing and leave a bad review. While you may be able to talk to them and fix their issue, chances are the negative review will remain.
To get positive reviews for your listings, you first need to create and manage those listings. The vast majority of reviews you will receive will be on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. These listings are relatively easy to create or claim, but some require some verification before you are allowed to manage them. This verification will come in the form of an automated phone call or a postcard with a code for you to enter for verification. Once verified, you will be able to read and respond to your reviews.
To build a reservoir of good reviews, all you have to do is ask. Yes, that is right! If you ask every person who leaves your medical practice to leave a review, you will start seeing them pile up. Not everyone you ask will do it, but a percentage will, and they will soon populate your listing with 5-star reviews. When asking them to leave a review, you want to make it as easy as possible. The entire process of leaving a review for your medical practice should have as few clicks as possible. Ideally, it should be one click, and then the person is prompted to leave a review. The more clicks, steps, and hoops someone has to jump through, the more like you will see people abandon the review process. You may think one little click will not impact anything, but you’d be surprised about much there are drop-in reviews when you add more steps.
The team at PatientGain.com is ready to help you with your patient engagement marketing plan. Call today and let us show you what we have done for other clients and our many apps that also engage patients. We look forward to working with you!