Healthcare is a competitive industry both in small towns and large cities. People have more options than ever for healthcare, so how do you separate your business from everyone else? The right digital marketing strategies can turn your small practice into a booming business or your hospital to the number one choice for your area.
Healthcare digital marketing grows and advances as the Internet expands and Google dominates the search engines. We’ve developed 10 tips that can help your healthcare business take the lead and drive patients to your website and business.
Don’t let the competition make the digital marketing moves first, learn and build your business.
1. Your Website is Your Digital Hub
Marketing in Healthcare begins with your website. The content, layout, and navigation are top priorities for Google and your patients. If they have trouble viewing it on mobile or finding the pages they need, then they’ll move on to the next listing in the search results.
Your website is the hub for your healthcare digital marketing. When they click on the search results or advertisement that’s where they’re going. It must be mobile optimized and filled with pertinent information.
They should be able to find the page they want within a few clicks and be satisfied with the information. The ultimate goal is for them to schedule an appointment either online or from their phone. Don’t forget that it must also be compliant with all facets of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
2. Focus on Local SEO
There are two types of search engine optimization: general and local. If you’re a business that sells products or services to anyone in Europe, then you’ll focus on national or even international SEO.
Hospitals and doctor’s offices service a specific area or region. It doesn’t matter if people from 500 miles away see your website because unless you provide a specific hard to find treatment or specialty. You want people only from within your business region to see your website.
Local SEO involves creating keyword lists that are specific to your area. They usually involve a general term and a geographic term. For example, if you’re a chiropractor from Cardiff, then a potential localized keyword could be “back pain relief in Cardiff”.
Your web content and blogs should also be optimized for local SEO. Your business should have a Google My Business profile, so Google knows exactly where you are, so make sure business listing sites have the correct information.
3. Invest in Pay Per Click Advertising
SEO isn’t a fast process. If you’re starting out with little content or optimization, then it will take time to create the content and for Google to recognize it. If fact, it can take weeks or months to see a significant ranking change for specific high-value keywords.
Pay Per Click advertising requires a budgetary investment to advertise on the Internet. The most common PPC platform is Google ads, but many social media platforms such as Facebook also have PPC programs.
Google has search, videos, shopping, and display advertising. Search ads show up above and below search results. It’s prime real estate as it’s the first thing people see. Video ads show up on sites like YouTube.
Display advertising is the picture ads seen on websites. You must provide a budget for each ad campaign and then go into an auction with other people seeking PPC keywords. It’s possible to send considerable traffic to your site if the campaign is run correctly.
4. Keep Up to Date with Google Changes
Google uses a complex algorithm to determine search engine rankings. Many years ago, it was easy to use tricks to earn the top spot for specific keywords, but dozens of updates later there is no way to “trick” the algorithm.
Google wants to provide its customers with the best product, so they regularly update the algorithm to improve the search experience. Over the past several years, the company implemented artificial intelligence into the algorithm to better learn the intent of searches.
Google recently implemented Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT). BERT helps to understand the conversational language used in search queries. Many queries now come from vocal queries through a cell phone or personal assistants such as Siri and Alexa.
John Lincoln from Ignite Visibility share the ways the new Google BERT Update impacts your SEO:
The goal is to better understand the subtle nuances of language to provide more accurate search results.
Algorithm changes can have a significant impact both positively and negatively on SEO efforts. It’s important to keep up to date with algorithm changes so you can adjust your SEO plan.
5. Email Marketing Keeps People Coming Back to Your Site
Email marketing is one of the oldest methods of digital marketing available and often provides the best return on investment. Contact forms and newsletter signups are a way to keep your potential patients up to date on what’s going on with your business.
When they give you their email address, you know they’re interested. If you add a new doctor, new machinery or procedures, then send out an email. Your weekly or monthly newsletter can have information about your practice or general healthcare information.
Use read more links to bring people from the email to your site. Keep them engaged and next time they need your services, they’ll remember your practice or hospital.
6. Social Media Engages Your Patients
Social media has exploded on the scene and is vital to advancing your marketing efforts. Healthcare digital marketing trends show it’s an important part of patient research. Everyone has a Facebook page and other social media such as Instagram and Twitter.
Use your social media to keep people up to date on hospital happenings. Many times, people leave messages and comments on your page, both positive and negative. Respond to both and try to turn the negative to a positive through excellent customer service.
Social media has made it more difficult to reach existing followers and get new followers. You may need to provide a budget for sponsored posts to reach more of your existing patients and reach out to other potential patients.
7. Don’t Underestimate the Influence of Landing Pages
When you want to focus on a specific product or service, then you may have a landing page created that directs people using your digital marketing avenues to it. The makeup of a landing page is important in moving people to the next stage of their journey.
It should include a description and any special offers or discounts you’re having about the product or procedure. It should an effective call to action that moves people to call or contact you for more information or set up an appointment.
Landings pages are vital in providing a snapshot of something specific that might be lost in the content of your site otherwise.
8. Create Authoritative Content
Many potential patients don’t know they need healthcare services. They have symptoms and decide to look them up on Google. They want information and not specifically to look for a doctor.
If your website has great informational blog posts and other content that answers their questions, then you insert yourself as an expert. Google wants information that provides expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
Lily Ray, the director of SEO at digital agency Path Interactive, explains why this is important:
If you have lots of good information on your site in relation to the areas you practice, then you’ll provide the answers and you’ll be front of mind when they seek help or treatment.
9. Keep Track of Website Data
Digital marketing can help your business, but how do you know its working? Return on investment for digital marketing can be difficult to gauge unless you use a program like Google Analytics. It’s a free program provided by Google that helps track traffic and user interaction on your website.
You can see where your traffic is coming from such as Google Search, Facebook, etc. You can see the most popular pages and what pages people leave your site on.
There are also programs that can track your rankings for specific keywords over time.
10. Diversify Your Digital Marketing Strategies
It’s easy to put all your digital marketing efforts into one basket. Many businesses think they can focus on one and then move on to the next later, but in today’s competitive business climate diversification it best.
Instead of just focusing on SEO, PPC or social media, use all three. You don’t have to use all these methods above, but if you diversify then if one isn’t working, then others can shore up the traffic. It’s best to choose which avenues sync with your marketing plan and go from there.
You’re still getting traffic from other methods as you tweak the one that isn’t working.
Build Your Healthcare Business Online
Everyone uses the Internet for everything from searching for illness symptoms, doctors and more. If healthcare organizations are to keep up with the competition, then they need to enact digital marketing strategies that build and grow their business.
If you want to learn more about healthcare digital marketing, then please explore our site.