Digital media has changed consumer behavior in healthcare irreversibly. Today’s patients are inundated with multiple sources and channels of communication, so digital marketing for medical practices is an indispensable reality.
Medical practices can no longer rely solely on traditional marketing strategies to build awareness and acquire patients. Nor can your physicians depend exclusively on referrals and expect a steady stream of patients. Digital marketing offers a highly effective way of growing your brand and making your medical practice stand out from others.
And when your potential patients are no longer taking healthcare advice from friends & relatives and taking their health decisions from their mobile devices, you cannot afford to sit back and relax. Digital marketing might feel like an additional task, but the return on investment it offers is tremendous and too good to pass on.
What is Digital Marketing for Medical Practices?
Digital marketing refers to the communication and branding activities to build brand awareness and acquire new customers. When it comes to medical practice, digital marketing strategies differ from other industries like retail or finance, as it deals with sensitive issues of personal and family health.
Hence, medical marketing can be defined as the set of digital marketing activities undertaken by a medical practice to reach new patients and retain existing patients through a combination of communication and branding strategies.
According to a report, 77% of online health queries begin from search engines. Patients are increasingly taking their healthcare research online and making purchase decisions based on your online presence. Your practice needs to assess its existing digital identity and overhaul every aspect for a competitive advantage.
Why Do You Need Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing today is much more than a crucial medium to reach new patients. Utilizing various online marketing strategies can reap massive benefits for your medical practice. You stand to grow your business and your brand and save thousands of dollars that can be better invested in other areas to improve patient outcomes.
As a 2020 survey showed, more than 90% of healthcare practices today utilize digital marketing strategies for their business. With almost all of your competitors proactively trying to reach new customers and grow their brand, you need to have a digital marketing strategy in place.
Healthcare providers show more confidence than ever in their practice website, social media presence, and SEO efforts. They’re also leveraging online advertising on Facebook and Google to build and engage communities and generate brand stickiness for their practice.
You need to reach potential patients where they are. Hence, website optimization, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and content marketing have to be integral parts of your online marketing plan.
What is the Difference Between Traditional and Digital Marketing?
When you think of traditional marketing methods, you’re probably thinking of newspapers, TV, radio, and billboards. These techniques are intended to reach the masses in a blanket approach. Digital marketing, on the other hand, involves inbound and outbound techniques like SEO, website marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, and many more.
There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with traditional marketing. The problem lies in limiting your marketing efforts exclusively to conventional marketing. Traditional marketing works well only for sharing standardized marketing messaging with a broad group of people, irrespective of their demographical differences. Also, traditional marketing methods cannot cover the entire patient journey and all the consumer touchpoints.
Moreover, traditional marketing campaigns on TV and in newspapers are much more expensive than digital marketing strategies. And you never know if your campaigns are performing as well as you’d hoped because you seldom have any way of measuring your ROI.
Lastly, digital marketing is simply more pervasive than traditional marketing. Almost 97% of people learn more information about a business or healthcare provider online than anywhere else. Your billboards and print ads might reach many potential patients, but your online presence will get almost everyone.
Advantages of Choosing Digital Marketing for Medical Practices
There is no shortage of digital marketing techniques for a medical practice online. And the advantages that come with them are numerous as well.
- Target the right audience at the right place: With digital marketing, you have the power to target tailored segments of customers with platforms like Google and Facebook. You can share customized campaigns directly with the target audience of your choice. e.g., women aged 35-55 living within 5 miles of your practice.
- Increase brand awareness: As a medical practice, your brand is perhaps your most important asset. By strengthening your online presence and optimizing your digital marketing efforts, you can grow your brand organically and translate that into leads and sales.
- Enhance patient loyalty and retention: Acquiring more patients is essential to retain your existing ones. No matter how impressive your services are, if you’re not leveraging CRM and other digital tools to enhance the patient experience for your current patients, they are bound to jump ship.
- Skyrocket your conversion rates: Digital marketing provides cost-effective methods to boost your conversion rates, thereby decreasing your patient acquisition costs. Due to practical customization tools and PPC ads, you’re only paying for relevant impressions and not advertising to irrelevant leads.
- Measure your ROI: With advanced tracking and analytics tools, you always view how your online marketing efforts are performing, giving you the added advantage of tweaking them for the best results in the future.
Interactive Strategies for Healthcare Digital Marketing
The importance of a medical marketing strategy might be obvious but creating one – maybe not be that simple. With literally dozens of strategies available on the web and without professional marketing services, how do you decide which techniques to pick that best suit your unique medical practice? You need a strategy focused on a chosen few marketing tactics best proven to generate the maximum value for your business.
Quality Web Content
A medical practice’s website is its number one spokesperson, working 24 x 7 to showcase what it has to offer. Patients looking for medical professionals online almost always visit their websites. You should make sure your website provides a modern browsing experience, loads fast, and is optimized well for mobile devices, considering around half of the global website traffic comes from mobile phones.
Your website content should be helpful for patients visiting it and should contain easily discoverable information about your practice.
Search Engine Optimization
Studies show that people make purchasing decisions 78% of the time after a location-based Google search. This shows that local search results account for most new patients reaching your medical practice. SEO aims to optimize your entire online presence to make it search engine-friendly, so your website and business listings are consistently ranked high in search results.
Your Google My Business (GMB) page should be updated regularly and provide detailed contact information and details of your services to patients online. These techniques together constitute what is known as search engine marketing.
Pay-Per-Click Ads For Increased Online Visibility
As the name suggests, PPC advertising is a cost-effective digital advertising technique to put your brand in front of prospective patients. With Facebook and Google Ads being the platforms of choice for 80-90% of marketers, you have at your disposal prime virtual real estate to pitch your digital billboard.
You can outcompete other medical practices with the correct keyword bidding strategy and supplement your organic SEO efforts with effective PPC ads. Plus, you can customize your ads using parameters like age, gender, geography, and interests to maximize your reach and conversions.
Targeted Social Media Marketing
Social media usage has exploded in recent years. With people spending almost 2.5 hours daily on major social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, your practice also needs to be present on these websites.
Leveraging organic engagement using consistent and highly-relevant content supported by social media advertising can massively increase awareness for your brand. You can reach newer patient segments, boost your social proof, and acquire previously untapped leads with social media platforms.
Interactive Video Marketing
Video is the fastest-growing content format in today’s highly dynamic internet. People spend 88% more time on websites with videos than those without videos. YouTube being the second-largest search engine globally, patients are also four times more likely to use YouTube than other platforms to find information about a brand, product, or service.
You can use video marketing to establish your brand and your medical professionals as authorities in your field, thus bolstering your online reputation and increasing your inbound leads. Documenting successful patient treatment journeys (with their consent), answering patient queries with engaging and informative videos, and sharing explainer videos featuring your physicians are only some of the interactive ways to utilize YouTube’s powerful potential for your practice.
Your medical practice needs to have a solid marketing strategy and update it to incorporate recent trends and patient behavior regularly. You should also consider partnering with a professional medical marketing agency to help manage all your medical marketing efforts while you continue to provide excellent services to patients.