Healthcare marketing used to be little more than counting on word of mouth. Potential patients usually found their dentist, dermatologist, or even their plastic surgeon by asking around at the office or from neighbors or friends.
Of course, those were the days before the internet and practice websites. That has changed everything, and healthcare practices need to carve out their space in the digital realm because that’s where most patients are now finding practices. Word of mouth still has power for patients finding potential providers, but word of mouth in the digital world is far more powerful.
Healthcare marketing is different from traditional retail marketing, as well. While retailers hope to develop relationships that keep customers returning to re-order after an initial purchase, for many purchases it can be one and done. The same is often true for service providers such as painters or plumbers — you’re not calling these people every few months or even years.
But healthcare marketing needs to establish a relationship, hopefully for life. If you’re a dentist, establishing that first patient visit can lead to a decades-long series of visits every six months. The same is true for other healthcare providers. While plastic surgeons may not have patients come in for cosmetic surgery every year, they will return for noninvasive procedures.
What is different about healthcare marketing today?
The digital world has changed the healthcare universe forever. Today, the first impression a potential patient often has with a provider is the practice’s website. Obviously, that site has a big job. It needs to welcome the visitor, provide a tour of the office, introduce the doctor and staff, be a resource for information on procedures, and hold the patients’ hands, so to speak, assuring them this is the provider they should use.
Today’s practice websites need to be engaging and well designed. They need to be populated with rich, informative content, along with high-quality photos and videos. Sites need to be able to move patients from curiosity to filling out a contact form or calling for an appointment.
Sites need to be mobile friendly, operating seamlessly whether the potential patient is at home on their desktop or at lunch searching on their smart phone. The majority of all search is now done on mobile devices. Website functionality needs to vary based on the constraints of the device, all the while establishing the same look and feel. For instance, page layout when accessing a practice website on an iPhone needs to be different than on a MacBook Pro, yet both should feel like the same practice.
And today’s practice websites need to be optimized for search. Because search on Google, Bing, and other search engines is local, your site needs to be optimized so that you rank highly when a local patient or potential patient is searching for a medical service you provide. Search engine optimization involves myriad steps both in front and behind the scenes of your practice website to ensure your search ranking is high for the procedures you specialize in.
Benefits of healthcare marketing
It can be easy to shrug off the need for healthcare marketing — you’re busy running your practice — but you do so at your own peril. Today’s healthcare world is more competitive, and patients and potential patients require more from today’s practices, and that includes marketing to them.
Here are benefits your practice will enjoy with elevated healthcare marketing:
- Connect with patients across various channels, from practice websites to social media, from review sites to traditional media.
- Find and convert potential patients to provide long-term revenue through ongoing repeat business.
- Increase your strategic advantage against competing practices by differentiating through the quality of your digital presence.
- Keep patients engaged with your practice, so that even when they are not in need of your services you stay in their mind for the next time they do.
- Retain patients to establish and nurture long-term relationships.
- Evaluate the value of your digital marketing through the effective use of data analytics.
Trust two decades of healthcare marketing expertise
Everything discussed in this blog is critical to the success of your medical practice in today’s healthcare environment. Digital marketing needs to take the lead in these efforts and no one in the industry has more experience than Advice Media. For over two decades, we’ve been designing the healthcare world’s most beautiful, engaging, and informative websites. Then we’ve been optimizing them for search. In fact, we’ve been at the forefront of search engine optimization long before anyone had even heard the acronym SEO.
At Advice Media, we’ve helped thousands of practices stand out in today’s healthcare marketing landscape. We can do the same for your practice. Fill out a contact form, or give us a call, and let’s get started.