Web Vectors by VecteezyOne of the reasons to consider online marketing in healthcare is the presence of your name on the internet. Today, when a person decides to visit a new doctor, it has two options – either connect to the internet and search for one or ask a friend and then search for the doctor on the Internet. Online marketing is important for both options. Choosing the right online marketing strategy will result in an increased number of potential patients, no matter how they search for you. Besides, you will also improve your position compared to the competition.
Read the 4 tips why you should start with online marketing in healthcare.
Don’t underestimate online marketing in healthcare
The healthcare industry is evolving at a very fast pace, thanks to available innovative technologies. Therefore, its important doctors keep up with the development otherwise may end up losing their patients in a fight with better-prepared competition, which is already using online marketing. However, it’s important to act strategically to online marketing in healthcare. Think about the style of presentation of your practice or clinic on the Internet, communication strategy, and appropriate channels to connect with patients. Remember to align your marketing strategy with your business goals.
Why is online marketing important in healthcare?
Patients’ behavior and habits have changed dramatically in the last decade, and the Internet plays a major role. Before the Internet, physicians primarily relied on recommendations from satisfied patients based on provided quality health care. However, in today’s digital age patients seek out doctors mainly on the Internet. In general, patients find all the information about health care and doctors on the Internet. Based on available information, they can compare and choose a doctor that suits them best.
First of all, try to google yourself or your practice. It’s important to realize how your online presence looks like in the eyes of those who are looking for you. This will give you an idea of where to start when working on an online marketing strategy. Most often patients search for doctors on the Internet via Google. By simply entering the search term, for instance, ” general practitioner Prague” in Google. You will find all the GPs in Prague. The search results are dived into 3 categories – ads for relevant websites, a list of doctors on a map, and a selection of relevant websites.
Ads targeting your search term appear first on the page. Usually, it’s advertisements for larger practices or clinics providing a wide range of doctors. Based on research approximately 40-60% of users click on one of the displayed ads – that answers the question of whether ads pay off. Ads appear among the first search results, so its likely clients will get to a website by clicking on the ad. Now it’s purely up to you to convince the person to call your practice. Don’t forget to include information about your practice and your services on the website.
Below the ads is displayed a map with results, in my case a list of GPs in Prague. After a click on the map, you will see a full list of doctors with basic information and the most important thing – referrals by other patients. Most often patients make their decision based on these referrals. They simply want the best for their health – experienced good doctor with whom they will be in good hands. Patients rely on these referrals since it’s the only thing how they can select a doctor. Have you already register your practice or clinic with Google? Registration is free and you can immediately create your profile on Google My Business. Once your practice is registered and verified ask your patients after a visit to leave you a referral. You can send them an automated email with a link directly to fill it out.
The last part of the search is organic content, where Google displays relevant pages according to their relevance to the search term. If you don’t want to spend money on targeting specific keywords (first part of the search) you should focus on search engine optimization (SEO). However, getting a good position in a search is not a matter of a few weeks, but rather months of intensive work on your website. Search engine optimization is free compared to ads. You can maintain a good position in search if the optimization is well done but you need to have an experienced person who will help you.
Building a reputation through online marketing in healthcare
Online marketing in healthcare with a combination of suitable activities will help you to build your online reputation. Share your knowledge and educate patients about health care. Patients will appreciate your efforts. Focus on creating quality content that is a key to getting patients’ attention online. Try to avoid pure ad text, that won’t bring you the expected fruit.
The first thing a patient interested in your practice will do is go to your practice website. A functional website, where a patient can find basic information about the practice and offered services, prices, is necessary. Can your patients book an appointment online through your website? It’s like having a gun in your hand against competition! Patients could whenever book an appointment without the need to call your practice. Especially, the young generation prefers to have the option with online booking, it’s a more acceptable option for them and they can immediately check out your capacity for an appointment. Don’t forget the site’s responsiveness, patients are using more and more mobile phones for any kind of internet activities or search.
It’s important to realize, it’s common for practices or clinics to have their own Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page or group. Social media are not taboo in healthcare either. You can be directly in touch with your patients and connect with them outside of your practice. However, do not underestimate the choice of the right social media platform according to the target group you would like to reach. What kind of content should you share on social media? In general, the more interesting content you produce, the better but the content must be relevant and beneficial. Through the content such as educational articles, various interesting videos, photos, or news you will allow patients to infiltrate into your practice. It will help you not only to gain their loyalty but also create a relationship with your practice. They will feel like they are part of the team.
Another important channel suitable for establishing communication with patients is email. This channel is often underestimated. Every day we get a lot of emails into a mailbox. But important information from our doctor – that’s a different story. Again, the key is content. Share important information about your practice, remind patients of their visit, share interesting events, etc. Show your patients the added value of your emails. Based on research doctors who maintain contact with their patients outside the practice have a smaller chance patient will find another doctor or less likely to miss an appointment. That is not it, don’t forget an email subject, design, sending frequency, and the time of sending.
In fact, in online marketing in healthcare, you can use all available channels in other industries but bear in mind that its marketing promoting health care. If you are promoting medical products or medicine be careful about local regulations in your country. Do not risk getting a fine.
Online marketing is part of every business and we can expect a much greater increase of activities from F2F to the online environments such as online appointment booking or virtual doctor visits. Telemedicine has increased around the world due to the covid pandemic and the trend will likely continue to rise. Additional doctors’ check-up might completely turn virtual. However, it depends on the specialization of the doctor it’s not possible to move everything virtually. Telemedicine brings several benefits to patients such as better access to healthcare and reduces appointment waiting periods since a doctor can better distribute time among patients. The doctor could devote more time to serious cases, do not get into slips, and keep health care quality.
Do you want to get loyal and right-fit patients to your practice? Then start with online marketing! If you are not sure how to integrate online marketing into your practice, just book an appointment with me. Together we will evaluate your current state and strategically tailor online activities to your goals.
Understand the basics
Online marketing or digital marketing in healthcare is a set of activities promoting health products or services your business offer through the Internet. Online marketing in healthcare is primarily used to reach out to new and retain regular patients. With online marketing, you can also improve your online presence and your practice reputation.
In today’s digital world patients search for doctors mainly on the Internet. Patients find all the information about health care and doctors on the Internet. Based on available information they can compare and choose a doctor that suits them best. Those who are not on the Internet are losing their competitiveness and the opportunity to get new patients to their practice.
The most common activities and channels in online marketing in healthcare is a website, email marketing, search engine optimization, social media, and advertising. Nonetheless, the mix of marketing activities depends on your online marketing strategy considering your target group, communication strategy, and set goals.