Regardless of the kind of medicine you practice, having a robust online presence these days is becoming more important than ever. While word of mouth and referrals are still a valuable way to cast a net for new clients, you need to have a remarkable website and marketing materials to stay ahead and experience new growth. Fortunately, there are lots of different methods that you can use to advance your online agenda without having to devote all of your spare time to it. Consider some healthcare marketing trends and tips for medical professionals.
The cultural landscape has changed in the last few decades, and that means that all industries need to catch up, lest they are left behind. Medicine and healthcare are businesses just like any other, which means that you need to utilize methods that can reach a wider audience.
According to recent research, almost half (47%) of internet users searched for information regarding doctors and healthcare, and a third (33%) do online research of hospitals and care clinics.
With the proliferation of mobile devices, this also means that more people are looking for alternative ways to get the healthcare that they need. Whether it’s trying out virtual doctor visits (60% interested) or booking appointments through a mobile device (33% already do), it’s clear that the state of healthcare has gone digital.
Thus, you need to make sure that your online presence is working hard enough to get you new patients and retain the ones you currently have. As more people search for alternative ways to get in touch with their doctor and find out what’s wrong with them, it will only become more vital for you to provide that kind of digital customer service.
You have patients to take care of and plenty of things on your to-do list already. You can’t also fit in enough time to properly build and manage a website as well as promote your practice online. Your involvement with online marketing shouldn’t detract from your daily operations.
So, to make sure that you’re getting the best results, you want to find a marketing company that can work for you. We’re going to show you which techniques you should focus on the most, but you need to have professionals handling all of the detail work for you. As long as they attract new and long-term clients, they will pay for themselves.
If your practice doesn’t already have a site where patients can visit and find out more about what you have to offer, then you are falling way behind. Given the fact that more people want to conduct their healthcare business over the internet, here are some tips to make your site work better for your practice.
Show pictures of yourself and your staff. This will help prospective customers get to know you better and establish a report without even having to meet face to face. If your site is sterile and unwelcoming, then it will give off the wrong vibe and could cause visitors to go elsewhere.
Keep it Simple
Only put information that helps your patients, and make sure that it’s accessible without having to scroll or search for it. Also, remember that even though younger people are using the internet for healthcare research, 61% of Americans over 65 are now online, so you have to ensure that they can navigate the site easily as well.
Use Automation to Your Advantage
There are two reasons that people are using the internet for health related reasons. First, they want to save money by doing more of the legwork themselves. This goes extra for uninsured patients since a visit can set them back substantially (up to twice as much).
The second reason is that health is a very personal thing for most people, meaning that they would rather take care of as much as they can on their own before having to go to see a doctor.
Thus, your website should make things as simple and comfortable for patients as possible. Not only will this add value to your practice, but it will save you on costs as well. Here are some examples of what you can do with your site.
This way, patients can handle all of the details and paperwork on their own and ensure that they are coming to your practice when necessary.
Make it Mobile Friendly
Considering that 62% of smartphone owners use their device for a healthcare related inquiry, it’s vital that your website is conducive to that kind of interaction. When building it, make sure that it will optimize for smaller screens so that your patients can still access all of the information they need, no matter where they are. Convenience can be a powerful asset for any business, particularly when related to healthcare.
There are so many different ways to promote your business online that it can be a bit overwhelming at times. However, it’s better to focus your attention on campaigns that work, rather than trying to spread yourself too thin. Here are some things to consider when marketing your practice.
Create a Blog
One of the best things you can do to attract new leads (interested customers) is to have a blog and keep it updated. Even if you are not the one writing all of the material, as a healthcare professional you have a unique voice that can have a profound impact on your patients, even those who can’t come and see you.
To enhance the viability of your blog, you need to provide high-quality information that offers a detailed perspective on a particular issue. So, if you run a podiatry practice, you can advise on how to keep your feet clean or what patients can do to treat their bunions. Again, most people will avoid coming in unless it’s necessary, so it’s much better to reach out and advise them digitally than to wait until things get bad.
Remember, health is a very personal subject, which means that it’s imperative that you maintain confidentiality and trust at all times. Even private messages on social media can be leaked, so you want to make sure that you’re not exposing any of your patients when discussing medical problems or insight. Also, don’t get too comfortable when talking online. Leave personal matters out of the discussion and pretend that every conversation is public (because it technically is).
Use Social Media
As we mentioned above, being personable and open to your patients is a great way to develop trust and build long-term relationships with them. As such, you should manage a couple of different social media profiles as a way to engage with your customers and show how you are interacting with the community. This will not only add value to their experience, but it will help you promote your practice in a cost-effective and meaningful way.
Encourage Reviews and Feedback
Most people these days won’t think twice about rating a restaurant or a product that they just bought, but when it comes to medical care, the idea of leaving a review online can still seem a bit foreign. However, positive word of mouth, digital or otherwise, can be a powerful marketing tool for your practice, so you should empower your patients to spread the good word about your services.
The other side of that is to pay attention to the negative reviews as well. If people are complaining about wait times in your office, then you can try to restructure your appointment scheduling, or you could invest in more interactive materials in the waiting room (i.e., games, movies, or reading material).
If you can make changes based on the feedback that you get, it will encourage more people to leave reviews because they know that their voice matters. While you shouldn’t incentivize patients to provide higher ratings, you can still provide value by listening to what they have to say and thanking them for sharing it.
Utilize Video Marketing
When compared with other techniques, it appears that video is by far the best way to reach new people and engage them online. Since we are so inundated with images and text all day long, a video has much more appeal to the average internet user. In fact, over half (55%) of those online watch video clips on a daily basis.
You may be wondering how you can incorporate videos into your marketing materials, but the fact is that everything can be “clipped” (turned into a video clip). You can greet your patients on your website, offer valuable information about a common health problem that you encounter, and provide how-to guides on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
When creating a video, content is more important than style, so even if it’s just you or a staff member talking into a camera for a couple of minutes, it will be much better than a static image. Best of all, video clips don’t take long to produce, as you can do it on your smartphone in less than an hour (including editing and uploading).
As the internet continues to dominate our daily lives, it will only become more important for healthcare professionals to reach out and engage with patients online. The more value you can create digitally, the better it will be for your practice, and the easier it will be to transition into the future.
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