Marketing enables you to connect with your target audience, and digital marketing ensures you’re able to do so online. With increasing numbers using the internet every day, digital marketing for doctors can be far more effective than offline alternatives. However, many medical professionals fail to realize the importance digital marketing can have. Despite the potential of increased patient numbers and amplified engagement, many medical organizations are still failing to implement appropriate digital marketing strategies.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing focuses on connecting with your audience via digital methods, but this can take many different forms. Common examples of digital marketing include:
• Email marketing
• Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising
• Social media marketing
• Affiliate marketing
• Online PR
• Content marketing
By combining these tools and methodologies, businesses, organizations and medical professionals can establish an effective digital marketing strategy. With ongoing marketing activity and targeted campaigns, you can successfully use digital marketing to enhance the online performance of your practice, attract new patients and promote the services you offer. In addition to this, medical professionals can use digital marketing to enhance their own reputation within their specialized field and publish research content, case studies and new treatment initiatives.
Why Does Medical Digital Marketing Matter?
When people look for any type of service, they tend to begin their search online. Whilst medical treatments and consultations typically take place offline, this doesn’t prevent people from using the internet to find reputable doctors and clinicians. Indeed, the rise of ‘Doctor Google’ simply confirms how often people are using the internet to research medical queries!
If you aren’t actively marketing your clinic or services, where your target audience can see your content, you’re simply going to lose their interest. With many other medical practitioners already engaging in digital marketing, your potential new client will simply be snapped up by a competitor if you aren’t promoting yourself online.
Like any business or organization, medical practices rely on having a certain number of patients in order to operate. Whether income is derived from patients who are paying privately, government-funded or insurance companies, the number of patients registered with your surgery or practice will have a direct impact on the financial success of the organization.
Due to this, attracting new clients and retaining existing patients is crucial for any medical practice. Whether you offer optional services or life-saving treatments, there will be a number of other medical professionals and clinics vying for the same patient. By engaging in digital marketing, you can connect with your targets and promote your services and expertise in a professional and appropriate manner.
Although digital marketing is great for big businesses, it’s also been highly effective for smaller medical practices and individual medical practitioners. With a range of budget-friendly marketing options available, digital marketing has effectively levelled the playing field and enabled smaller surgery centers and enterprises to compete with larger and more established practices.
Choosing the Right Tools for Medical Marketing
Digital marketing for doctors requires a nuanced approach. While digital marketing tools like social media, PPC and content can be used to market any business or organization, the industry in which you operate will, obviously, have a significant impact on the type of marketing you choose to engage in.
When people search for a doctor, consultant or medical specialist, they want to find someone who is highly qualified, reputable and well-established. With digital marketing, you can emphasize these qualities and provide reassurance to new patients who may be nervous or apprehensive. Whilst brash promotions may be appropriate for retailers, digital marketing for doctors is, perhaps, most suited for subtle trust-building, treatment transparency and reputation awareness. With this in mind, there are some digital marketing tools which work particularly well for medical professionals and medical practices…
Content is still king when it comes to digital marketing, and it’s particularly important for medical providers to publish high-quality content. Everything on your website is considered content, so your images, videos and text should all be planned with digital marketing in mind. Although your website should provide important information to your patients, such as your contact details and emergency numbers, it’s also a place to showcase your services and specialties.
However, content needs to be regularly updated in order for it to be effective in terms of digital marketing. Whilst you won’t want or need to frequently update your service pages or contact pages, for example, you can, and should, update other areas on a daily or weekly basis.
A medical blog can be a fantastic way to enhance your digital marketing, as it gives you the opportunity to add fresh content to your website on a regular basis. Important for SEO, adding original content will help to keep your website ranking highly on search engine results pages, and it will provide readers with informative, useful and engaging content, too.
As well as telling users about practice news, such as new doctors joining the team, you can publish press releases regarding new services and treatments, provide answers to common medical queries and discuss typical medical issues. In addition to benefiting your readers directly and increasing your website’s search engine rankings, establishing a blog gives you content which can be shared easily too. This means that it can be used in conjunction with other digital marketing tools to increase its reach and effectiveness.
Social Media Marketing
Social media might not be the first thing you think of when you’re planning a medical digital marketing campaign, but it’s highly effective. When you establish a social media presence, you can engage with potential new patients and existing clients directly and provide enhanced levels of customer service.
However, you can also comment on common issues which relate to the medical community and share links back to your website. The issue of vaccines and immunizations is a hot topic at the moment, and it gives us a great example of how medical practitioners can engage with people online about current medical issues. With a lot of online discussion taking place, you can get involved in the debate and, more importantly, provide links to relevant content on your website.
In addition to sharing your own links, you can promote other people’s articles and network digitally, too. Furthermore, other users will have the opportunity to share your content with others online, which will ensure it gains maximum publicity. As a result, the number of people visiting your website can skyrocket, and you then have the opportunity to convert these online visitors into regular patients.
Furthermore, producing and sharing relevant content helps to establish your credentials as a leading medical professional. It also builds trust between a doctor and the patients. With people able to get a glimpse of your approach to medical issues and find out more about the services you offer, users will find it easier to locate you.
Word of mouth is still a highly lucrative form of marketing, but it takes place online more than offline these days. People like to receive recommendations before using a service or making a purchase, but getting tailored recommendations when you’re searching for medical doctors and treatments is even more important.
People’s health is the most important thing, so a raft of glowing reviews will help to increase confidence in you and your practice. Given the choice between a doctor with no public reviews and a doctor with a verified history and a list of positive recommendations, people will almost always choose the medical practitioner who is highly endorsed.
With numerous ways to publish and publicize your reviews online, this should be an integral part of any doctor’s digital marketing strategy. In addition to posting reviews on your own website, take advantage of Google’s review features, as well as industry-specific independent review sites.
Remember – positive reviews are valuable in themselves, but they can be used in conjunction with other digital marketing methodologies, too. Published on your website, visible on Google and shared anonymously via social media, you can use your reviews to directly influence readers, enhance your SEO and rankings and link to other content.
Cultivating a Medical Digital Marketing Campaign
With so many tools and strategies to utilize, planning and developing an effective digital marketing campaign can seem overwhelming. Indeed, there is a significant amount of research and planning to be done before your digital marketing gets off the ground. Of course, digital marketing isn’t a one-off activity either. To be truly effective, digital marketing needs to be consistent and ongoing. With fresh content regularly being published, a reliable social media presence and routine optimization, for example, you can ensure you’re visible to your target audience and attracting new patients.
Although digital marketing can be handled in-house, it may require dedicated staff and resources. With many medical professionals unable to dedicate the time to manage their own digital marketing campaigns, finding an experienced digital marketing expert can be the most efficient way of promoting your practice online. Fortunately, our team at Crystal Clear Digital Marketing is at the ready to help. Contact us today to learn more information about our services!