Of all the types of traffic that your medical practice’s website can receive, search engine traffic is arguably the best since it is free. Traffic from Google is highly variable, though, since Google frequently adjusts its ranking algorithms. An article that brings your institution plenty of traffic one day could suddenly become less successful because of a change in rankings. Because search engine rankings can change without notice, capitalizing on every possible traffic source is crucial.
Utilize every available marketing channel to get the most possible opportunities for your medical practice. Social media and pay-per-click advertising can be immensely profitable when planned and executed well. By capturing and marketing to leads, your institution can also do more with the traffic that it already receives. In this overview, we’ll discuss some of the most effective marketing methods for medical practices.
With pay-per-click marketing, you pay a search engine to display advertisements for your medical practice on search results pages. Google is the most common vendor for PPC advertising, but Bing and Yahoo also offer advertising services.
How PPC Marketing Works
To get started, you’ll enter search keywords to indicate the results pages on which you’d like your advertisements to appear. Suppose, for example, that your institution is an urgent care clinic in Boca Raton. You might enter keywords such as the following:
- urgent care Boca Raton
- Boca Raton doctor
- Boca Raton clinic
Next, you’ll indicate how much you’d like to pay each time someone clicks one of your advertisements. You can enter a different amount for each advertisement. You’ll also indicate the maximum amount that you’d like to spend on each advertisement per day.
You’ll pay the search engine the amount that you indicated in your bid — or potentially less — each time someone clicks one of your advertisements. When you reach your defined daily limit, the search engine will stop displaying the advertisement for the day.
How to Use PPC Marketing Successfully
PPC advertising for a medical practice isn’t easy. The price that your institution pays for each click may be quite high. A poorly planned campaign can quickly incur significant losses.
Three key factors influence the success of a PPC campaign:
Competition: The other institutions in your area want to appear on the same search results pages as you. Competition drives up the bid price for each keyword — and the more your campaign costs, the more difficult profitability will be to achieve.
Relevance: Each of your PPC advertisements will link to a landing page. The landing page should explain your services and convince the potential new patient to schedule an appointment right away. For the landing page to be successful, it must contain content that matches the potential patient’s search intent.
Conversion rate: No matter how effective your landing pages are, some of the people who click your advertisements will not become new patients. No landing page results in conversions 100 percent of the time — but you’ll pay for each click either way. To make your campaign effective, you’ll need to know the conversion rates of your landing pages and set your bids appropriately.
Social Media Marketing
Communication is the essence of social media. While social media began primarily as a way for people to make new friends and communicate with existing ones, it has since evolved into a vital marketing tool for thousands of businesses. Let’s examine how social media can help you market your medical practice.
Communicate With Your Patients
A study published in the Journal of Participatory Medicine in 2015 examined the qualities that patients most want to see in their doctors. By far, the most common response was that patients want doctors who listen to them. Having a social media presence makes it easy for your institution to quickly answer general health-related questions without disclosing HIPAA-protected information.
Gain and Market to Followers
Each time your institution answers a question in the form of a public post on a social media website such as Facebook, you’re creating content that adds value to your social media presence and gives people a reason to follow your medical practice. Eventually, people who aren’t yet patients will follow your institution on social media simply because they want to read more of your content. Some of those people will likely become patients eventually. Your social media content can be an effective marketing tool even if you don’t pay for wider exposure.
Launch Targeted Marketing Campaigns
Social media services know a great deal about their users, and the information that those services collect makes them excellent advertising platforms. Social media platforms generally allow you to advertise to users within specific geographical areas. Having the ability to target your advertisements ensures that you’re only spending money to reach people who could potentially become patients of your medical practice. However, some platforms have additional targeting options that can make your advertisements even more effective.
Facebook is a social network that allows you to advertise to people with specific interests or demographic details. If your institution specializes in cardiac health, for example, you could target men over 50 with college degrees. Older men are statistically more likely to have cardiac problems, and men with college degrees are likely to have the means to pay for your services.
Content and Email Marketing
If your medical practice’s website has a large library of informational content, you already know that a website can receive a great deal of traffic from search engines simply by giving information away. If you’re only using informational content to raise awareness of your medical practice and encourage immediate patient registrations, though, you aren’t getting the full possible value out of your content because most of the people who search for general medical information online aren’t looking for a doctor right away. If you don’t capture an information seeker’s email address, you may never get another chance to market your medical practice to that person.
Utilizing Lead Generation Forms
Returning to our previous example of a medical facility that provides services for cardiac health, let’s consider some of the informational articles that such an institution might publish to attract search engine traffic:
- How to Eat When Your Family Has a History of Heart Disease
- The Five Best Exercises for a Healthy Heart
- The Most Common Signs of Early Heart Disease
If a person reads one of these articles and believes that he has a serious health problem, he may contact your institution immediately. However, most of the people who look for information about cardiac health online are trying to improve their health so they won’t need medical assistance. Through your content, you want to capture the email addresses of information seekers so you can continue marketing to them. If you can keep your institution fresh in an information seeker’s mind, he may become a patient when he eventually does need medical assistance.
Every time you publish an informational article, you should include a form allowing the reader to provide his email address. Since people are often reluctant to give their email addresses away, you should also offer a reward for doing so. Ideally, the reward should have something in common with the article displaying the form. A heart-healthy cookbook, for example, would be an excellent lead generation magnet at the end of an article about making appropriate food choices for cardiac health.
How Email Marketing Works
Compiling a database of prospects’ email addresses makes it possible for your medical practice to market to those people. A large enough mailing list gives your institution a web traffic source that’s less volatile than search engine traffic. Each time you send a message to your list, some of those people will visit your website — and a few will become patients. It’s important to remember, though, that a person who subscribes to your mailing list to receive a free e-book probably won’t be very receptive to heavy-handed marketing. Keep your prospects interested by making sure that every message you send has real value.
Increasing Email’s Effectiveness With Segmentation
If your practice focuses on one area of medicine, it’s possible that all of your mailing list’s subscribers will want to read the same type of information. However, a facility with several areas of specialization attracts a wide variety of patients. If that’s true of your institution, you should segment your mailing list to increase the effectiveness of your messages. Most email marketing platforms make list segmentation quite easy. If someone signs up for your mailing list to receive an e-book about diabetes, that person probably wants to see more content about maintaining healthy blood glucose levels. A person who signs up to receive an e-book about exercise probably wants more information about maintaining a healthy body weight. Giving your mailing list subscribers relevant information ensures that they’ll always open and read your messages.
Market Your Medical Practice More Effectively
Marketing a medical institution online requires a great deal of time and effort — and with the high costs involved, marketing profitably is even more difficult. If you need help, it’s time to turn to the professionals. Crystal Clear Digital Marketing works exclusively with medical institutions such as yours. Contact us now to learn more about how we can help to bring more opportunities to your practice.