Healthcare is not the “sexiest” topic in the world when it comes to Internet Marketing. Medicine has been one of the last industries to adapt new technologies when it comes to self-promotion. This could be because Doctors might assume their content does not want to be consumed by the vast majority of the population, or simply they lack a game plan and time.
As internet users, we have reached an era in which the only Healthcare providers implementing Internet Marketing Strategies will survive. The ones who don’t will be left behind. As future patients, the rules have shifted and the way we find has changed even more. Even though it might be scary to get started with digital marketing in such a heavily regulated industry, a well-developed content marketing strategy can be a breakthrough. Checkout our Content Marketing Tips for Healthcare providers below.
1) Be Active on “Old” Social Media
Many healthcare providers do not have an established online presence. Whether they working for a hospital or their own private practice, patients will most likely google the Doctor’s name to get reviews and references.
Searching for a Doctor sounds simple, but many do not have a website or followers in the online space. Many rely too heavily on Healthgrades.com & Vitals.com, so what happens to those profiles that do not rank in the top 10 locally on such websites? Internet users in the United States account 23% percent of their time on Social Media and BLOGS. Facebook is a great way to start building an audience to add eyeballs to a medical practice. This is what patients are actually using to engage and obtain information, therefore become their source.
2) Stick to the Plan and Guidelines
Do not think just posting around will do the trick. A plan and a proper strategy will set you apart from the competition, and give fruition to all efforts being implemented. Snoop around on different platforms to check engagement levels. Start by building ideas on what works and what does not work. Use past data as a leverage technique to point your feet towards success.
However, what did not work for others, could work for you. Find a way to spin those ideas or tactic but always keep the strategy going forward, instead of just trying to put out content.
Did you know 18-24 year olds are more than 2x likely than 45 to 54 year olds to use social media for health-related discussions. If you are thinking “that is not my target market”, you are wrong. Just remember their parents and family members are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinning away and Snapchatting.
Keep the staff and yourself informed about all guidelines in place in order to avoid issues.
3) Make it as Human as Possible:
Most Healthcare providers lack the ability to find a connection on a human level. Constructing and nurturing this emotional bond between provider/practice and patient is crucial. Patients should search and get a face, website, testimonials, videos and an interaction before hovering over a link clicking. Trust is the key when it comes to ensuring growth. After all, doctors are the ones saving our lives.
4) Videos Videos and Videos
Videos and testimonials are fantastic for medical practices as it bridges a gap between research and connectivity. Youtube traffic to hospital sites has increased 119% year over year. Therefore, it increases chances to get more reviews, book more appointments and getting a consistent flow of patients.
I mentioned building a bond; content via video will do this. Take advantage of the opportunity and provide prospects with a preview of what the practice and staff offer. Patients will end up feeling much more comfortable, will swing by, and schedule more appointments.
As consumers of a service, we have doubts, concerns and insecurities about what we are getting into, especially when we are thinking of making a long-term commitment. It is the Healthcare Provider’s job to fully remove our fears and present us with a solution upfront.
5)“New” Social Media Visuals
If you are on Facebook great, what about Pinterest and Snapchat? There are 200,000 million active snapchat users worldwide, but how to take advantage of it? Dr. Miami @TheRealDr.Miami has 55,000 twitter followers and 421,000 Instagram followers. Dr. Miami is a marketing and content machine and is one of the biggest influencers on Snapchat.
Some Healthcare providers might not want to implement or spin off any of this techniques, still find a way to provided video content to future patients to provide value while being away. Use this “new” social media tools to walk their shoes, show customer satisfaction, a credible environment etc.
6) Infographics and Charts
Patients will want to select a Doctor or practice that has an established online presence. When looking for a place to eat Sushi, are you most likely to try the new mango dragon rolls from a 4.5 Start restaurant with 43 reviews, or the one three blocks away with no pictures and no reviews.
Sure, the one with no reviews could be fantastic, but the best rated one gets more visibility and more exposure. The same happens to any local practice, doctor or hospital. Patients have a need to get healthy or find solutions to their questions. Find a way to answer patient’s local questions online. As a provider, the marketing technique of thinking customer calls without efforts will not last forever.
Patients coming to a medical practice, did not go to med school for eight years and then jumped into the residency of their dreams. Therefore, keep the information simple, educative and easy to understand. Facts do make great points, but assume this audience does not know too much.
Provide patients with infographs and charts to digest information. They are fantastic for search engines and can get a lot of buzz around when spread to the right communities.
7) Provide Value upfront!
When customers are coming to a HealthCare Provider website or Facebook page, what are they or getting from it? Besides a phone number, address, and hours of operation, what entices them to be a returning visitor? Better yet, what entices them to click on “schedule an appointment” or pick up a cell phone to dial? If you are thinking they should because Doctors have the answers, you are wrong!
Patients are nervous, need information, need attention and have done their research. It does not take 45 minutes to find a doctor, it could easily take weeks.
The idea is to build a subconscious alert and reminder of why they need to come to you. Get creative and give your future patients great content that can be shared with other people who have the same condition.
This is extremely powerful. It gives Healthcare providers the ability to become the solution to patients that could need the service, while becoming the “answer” hub to all of their questions. Now imagine, if you are a local dentist, physician, endocrinologist, etc and your patients are so satisfied with the information they are receiving, that they are no longer going to Web MD, Wikipedia, or other forums, but your website?
Do this with Ebooks, Videos, Cheat Sheets, Infographics, Guides just to name a few.
8) Appointment Strategy
Fantastic, the patient requested an appointment on your website, but what are the next steps you are presenting? What is your engagement methodology or way of connecting with this prospect from the moment they book, all the way until they arrive at your office? How is your practice or company providing additional tools to keep the patient informed or intrigued of what is to come? Make sure patients do not feel like the bear on the image below!
9) See it as an upgrade:
Sure more patients mean more business, more revenue, and more growth which gives the ability to expand and possibly hire new staff. Sounds great right? For example: Physicians that spend too much time on EHRs and EMRs, would much rather increase their face to face with patients.
Current patients and future patients love to be educated and informed. As a Healthcare Provider YOU have the potential and ability to provide value worth gold to patients, which will transmit into reaching new patients, gaining more exposure, increasing visibility and reaching out to those in need.
Patients are looking for the best way to keep their health in check to keep on spending time with their loved ones. It is much easier and convenient to cut the cord at the beginning and pass on the contact information to another Healthcare Provider.
10) Virtual Platforms, anyone?!:
One great to get started and adapting new technologies is by Joining HealthTap. Ron Gutman, founder and CEO said “Every day we hear from patients and doctors alike that traditional health care is increasingly difficult to access in a timely manner, delivered, with uneven quality, and is increasingly impersonal”
Dr. Lugo, a General Surgeon in Houston Texas, uses HealthTap on his website. Once landing on the page, patients will see “Send Message” “Virtual Appointment” and “Video/Chat” via the HealthTap integration. Social media buttons on the right hand side, and an email newsletter sign up on the middle of the page, provide Dr. Lugo with the social proof necessary to be established as a top surgeon in the state of Texas.
Here is his statement on HealthTap: “We can’t look past the fact that our patients are in social media and the internet looking for information. It is important that we direct them to the correct and accurate information. A better informed patient will make our job easier and we will get better results”
Healthcare providers: 15 million people met with a doctor via an online or telemedicine platform in 2015, which was an increase of 50% from 2015. (source: Fortune.com) If 60% of doctors believe Social Media can improve the quality of care delivered to patients, what is your practice waiting on to Develop a proper and thorough content/Internet Marketing Strategy?
As future patients, we love to be educated and informed, especially when it comes to our health. We have families, loved ones, so being healthy is a top priority. Please find ways to communicate and get to know us via the platforms that make part of our daily life. The patient-doctor relationship has changed and we are getting more selective per your online presence. We know change is scary and risky, but content marketing/digital marketing strategies to better understand and comprehend our pain points will be worth it.
p.s: Now that you are ready to develop and create a content strategy. Start by going through our SEO Checklist.