The Importance of Digital Marketing for Medical Practices
From Robotic Surgical Equipment and Artificial Intelligence (AI), to telemedicine, mobile health apps, and electronic health records, it is impossible to ignore the significant impact technology has had on medicine and patient care over the past decade.
Technology has revolutionized the industry, and it has reshaped the way patients search for their healthcare information. In fact, nearly 80 percent of Internet users (93 million Americans) have searched for a health-related topic online. In addition, a study by Google found that 77% of patients used an online search before booking an appointment, and 44% of patients who research hospitals on a mobile device scheduled an appointment.
These numbers indicate an evolution from traditional patient communication and marketing methods to the significance of a digital marketing strategy. For healthcare organizations and medical practices alike, the implementation of a digital marketing strategy is not only important; it can be critical in today’s fiercely competitive healthcare environment. Below are a few helpful tips to getting started:
5 Tips for Getting Started with a Digital Marketing Strategy
- Build an online profile- If you do not have a website yet, it is time to get one. Practices need an online presence to communicate information to current and potential patients. Even busy medical practices, should have a well designed website to help provide practical information such as location and office hours to patients. It can be an efficient tool that allows patients to download forms, get directions, request appointments, and prescription refills. It can also help to reduce the influx of phone calls, allowing staff to focus on other tasks.
- Get Listed– If you are not already listed with the most common online marketplaces, ensure your practice address and contact information are up to date with Google My Business, ZocDoc, Bing, Yelp, Whitepages, Vitals, Healthlinks, etc. According to Google, local searches bring 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day.
- Utilize Video Content– Video content is an essential tool that anyone can use to make his/her practice stand out. It can be shared easily by patients, and it delivers a human element more effectively than photos or text content. Hospitals and medical practices should consider utilizing video content for physician interviews, patient stories, and introductions to a practice. HubSpot found that 54% of customers prefer to see videos over other marketing tactics from the brands they support. In addition, the statistics show that YouTube traffic to hospital sites has increased 119% year-over-year.
- Create a professional profile page on social media– A professional social media page provides a medical practice with an ideal platform to stay in contact with current and potential patients by posting medical tips, blogs, important services, patient stories, and other noteworthy practice information. According to a recent PwC Health Research Institute survey, one-third of U.S. consumers are using YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to find medical information, research and share symptoms, and offer opinions about doctors, treatments, drugs, and health plans.
- Start a blog or email newsletter– According to HubSpot, companies that blog experience 55 percent more traffic on their website, and businesses that make blogging a priority are 13 times more likely to see ROI gains year over year. A regular practice blog will not only help drive more traffic to a practice website, it is also a very effective way to keep web content fresh while including valuable keywords and improving google rankings if implemented effectively. Topics can include anything from procedures, preventative health tips, and patient stories. Also, consider utilizing whitepapers, studies, articles, photos, and slide presentations. Utilize an email service provider like Constant Contact or iContact to create a monthly practice newsletter. It can be a valuable resource for current patients, in addition to a great way to recommend the practice to family and friends.
Medical practices today are tasked with doing an incredible amount of work with significantly less resources, which is why the thought of implementing a digital marketing campaign may seem like a daunting task. However, even with limited resources, some of these strategies can be easily implemented and the return on investment can be well worth it.