Digital Marketing for Radiology Practices
Digital marketing isn’t a fancy term — it simply means creating a strong presence out on the web. This starts with your radiology website; it’s usually the first point of contact with potential patients today. From there your digital marketing extends through active social media pages, informative blogs, email campaigns, multimedia content, and accurate directory listings across the web. Making an impact online is sure to positively impact your practice bottom line.
This guide examines 14 unique radiology marketing channels. We’ve divided this guide into two sections: Digital Marketing Ideas and Traditional Marketing Ideas. The goal is simple — drive more patients to your radiology practice!
Radiology Internet Marketing Strategies
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- Radiology Website Design
- Radiology Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Local Radiology Directory Listings
- Radiology Reputation Management
- Radiology Social Media
- Radiology Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Radiology Email Marketing
- Radiology Blogging
Radiology Traditional Marketing Strategies
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- Offline Radiology Advertisements (TV, Radio, Billboards, Newspaper, Direct Mail)
- Radiology Business Development
- Radiology Referral Program
- Radiology Offline Events (Open Houses, etc.)
- Radiology Community-Building Events
- Radiology Speaking Engagements
Radiology Website Design
Your website is your most important marketing channel, and it’s likely to be where your potential new patients form their first impressions of your radiology practice. You want to be sure to showcase your expertise, the breadth of your imaging options, your skilled staff, and other areas of your radiology practice that separate you from your competitors.
Your website needs to function seamlessly on all devices from phones to laptops, clearly convey your radiology brand in the digital world, and make it simple for a patient to instantly contact your office whether they have a question about what’s involved in a CT scan or to schedule the appointment to have one. Of course, your radiology website needs fast, reliable web hosting.
There are plenty of digital marketing firms out there, but you should trust your online marketing to a company with specific experience in radiology website design. You want an agency that understands different conversion strategies for the radiology sector of the medical world. And your radiology website should have certain design features — robust content, photos of your facilities, radiology blogging, testimonials, and strong calls to action — to help patients utilize your practice for their imaging.
Radiology Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
All search engines have the same goal — for searchers to receive the most relevant results to their queries as quickly as possible. To achieve this aim, Google weighs various factors to determine if your website is relevant to the query, is trustworthy, and if it deserves a high ranking in organic search returns. SEO for radiology practices involves optimizing your website to rank highly for search terms that match the imaging services you specialize in.
You can help your digital marketing firm know where to focus by providing original, engaging content on your key areas of specialization at your radiology practice. This enables the firm to optimize that content to push you up in organic search. To get this started take your five top procedures and the top five questions/concerns your patients have and provide these to your SEO marketing firm.
Local Radiology Directory Listings
You’ve probably used Yelp to find a new Thai restaurant. How about to find a radiologist? People use directories to find medical practices and there are over one hundred of them out there. You want to be sure these directories have accurate information about your radiology practice but having a staff member wade through the endless options is impractical.
Yet, inconsistency across listings confuses search engines; they assume different wording in different listings (i.e. Suite or Ste. or Office #) means those are different businesses. Having accurate NAP information — name, address, and phone — ensures that search engines and patients have correct information. This consistency across the web instills trust, helps bring patients to your radiology, and is crucial for search rankings.
Your radiology practice needs to work with a digital marketing firm so you can be sure your listings are consistent, and you don’t need to worry about them. Advice Media has a tool that verifies your information is identical across every single directory out there.
Radiology Practice Reputation Management
Online reviews have become crucial for any business, radiology practices included. It may seem odd to think of a patient rating her mammogram, but she will, especially if your tech seemed indifferent to any discomfort involved. Today, reviews are often the first impression point a potential patient has with your practice. Plus, you can respond to online reviews for free, which gives you a chance for engagement without a dollar spent. Generating and responding to reviews needs to be a standardized routine in your front office, but it’s hard to keep up.
Your practice needs reputation management software that alerts you when a new review is posted. This software also needs to help you generate reviews from your satisfied patients. Advice Media has review management software that does all of that, allowing you to effectively keep up with your online reputation.
Radiology Practice Social Media Marketing
You may question the value of social media for a radiology practice, but social media has become important for potential patients becoming actual patients in all medical specialties.
Today, patients and potential patients across the various medical specialties look to a practice’s social media for a different perspective. They want to see engagement and how patients talk about the practice. They want to see a more casual side of the practitioners and the practice. Social media can help build trust and it allows patients to connect on a more personal level with your radiology doctors and your entire staff.
To be worthwhile and engaging, social media needs consistent posting. This can be difficult for a radiology practice to manage. Your digital agency can help by creating your social media profiles and generating regular posts. This keeps your visitors engaged without taking up the time of your staff members.
Radiology Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Organic search results keep getting pushed further and further down the search engine results pages. The reason for this is simple — Google and Bing want paid search. Paid search is also called pay-per-click (PPC) advertising because users only pay when their ad is clicked on and the user is directed to their website. That makes PPC advertising truly cost effective, which is why it needs to be a part of your digital marketing plan.
That’s why great website design and robust, engaging content are so important. Together they work to keep a curious PPC visitor on your site, encouraging that person to push deeper into the pages of your site. This increases your ROI.
The two most common search engine advertisements for radiology practices are text ads (the paid returns atop the search engine results page) and display ads (ads on the right side or across the entire top of regular webpages). Unlike text ads atop search engine results pages, display ads show up on pages of websites that you set as parameters. For instance, a display ad for your radiology practice could show up on the side of a page when a person is on the Cleveland Clinic website reading about when you may need an MRI for knee pain.
It’s important to set different strategies to optimize these ads so they generate leads. This is another place where your radiology marketing firm can help you navigate these confusing new media options. Setting your SEM campaign and budget involves first setting your overall SEO strategy. This optimizes your website to ensure your budget is efficient and your ad quality scores are high.
Radiology Practice Email Marketing
Many radiologists don’t see email marketing as a match for their practices. But email marketing can be a great way for your practice to maintain a connection to existing patients (after all, mammograms can lead to bone density scans) and to push for referrals. If you handle your email marketing in house, you need to choose an email marketing platform based on two factors: ease of use and price. Prices are usually dictated by frequency of your emails and the size of your list.
For our radiology practices, we recommend sending out one email every month. For your area of medicine, content would be mostly educational. When is a CT scan better than an MRI? for instance. Each email should mention your referral program information. Your staff needs to collect these email addresses and manage your practice email list. To do this you should have a connected form that directly links your website to your email marketing software.
Having an active blog on your radiology practice website can pay many dividends. These blogs can drive traffic and potential patients to your site, provide regular content to share on your social media pages and through email marketing, and blogs are an important part of SEO. This is because search engines view blogs as new content, and new content is rewarded in organic search.
Consistent posting is a must. Each blog should also focus on a single radiology topic. It can be purely educational, or it can show how your practice fits in the injury/diagnosis/surgery process. Radiology is somewhat of a mystery to the average patient, and this ongoing information helps establish your radiology practice as an authority on the imaging procedures you specialize in.
Writing a monthly blog post can be difficult — you’re a radiologist, not a writer — and it can be challenging to produce on schedule. Many radiology practices farm out their blogging duties to their digital agency or a freelance writer. This ensures every blog has fresh content and the writing quality is high.
Traditional Radiology Marketing
With today’s focus on the online world, it’s easy to overlook traditional marketing — radio and TV commercials, print ads, billboards, and direct mail. Unlike pay-per-click ads, where you know people interacted with your ad, traditional advertising has few guarantees. With these media, you pay for potential — that your target has the potential to see and interact with your ad. If you buy an ad in a local outdoor-oriented magazine touting your MRI services, a potential patient who just wrecked his shoulder in a mountain bike crash may see it or he may not.
At Advice Media, we believe there is a place for traditional advertising coupled with digital marketing as described above. To make these traditional media cost effective, you need a process to track their effectiveness and ROI, which isn’t always easy. We have options for doing this by directing specific media to specific landing pages or to certain distinct phone numbers. Still, traditional media can be frustrating due to the unknowns and the cost of creative production.
Traditional marketing has been on the decline and will continue to decline for these reasons. That’s why your radiology practice needs to focus as much as possible on digital marketing options.
Radiology Business Development
Partnerships present an opportunity to garner new patients without spending any money. You’re an expert in the use of medical imaging to diagnose and treat injuries and diseases; you don’t do knee surgery. But odds are you know a surgeon who you would highly recommend for the surgery. When that surgeon sees a patient with a potentially torn meniscus, he can return the favor and recommend your radiology practice for the MRI.
And you can think beyond straight business referrals. You could offer to write occasional stories for the local newspaper on different radiology issues. Local TV stations in smaller markets usually need content to fill airtime, and new imaging techniques make for good visual content.
There are endless possibilities for these kinds of business development opportunities for your radiology practice. A great way to come up with possible associations is to first identify your typical patient. Then get your whole staff together, along with your radiology digital marketing firm, to brainstorm creative options for reaching this patient.
Radiology Referral Program
Every practitioner in every medical specialty knows one thing — referred patients are excellent patients because they’ve already heard great things about your expertise. That’s why your radiology practice needs to encourage referrals through a defined program. Through a referral program your current patients will receive something in exchange for a referred patient scheduling a procedure.
It’s not like you’re going to provide a free venous ultrasound, so for rewards you’ll need to look outside your radiology world. Maybe gift cards to a local spa for mammogram referrals or tickets to a local college sporting event for other imaging. Referrals are great way to spread the word about your radiology practice and to reward your loyal current customers.
You will need to make this easy to implement (don’t make anyone jump through hoops to receive the rewards), and you need to have a clear process in place, both for your patients and for your staff.
Planning an open house or event is a great way to increase exposure to your radiology practice. It can be a grand opening, an office remodel, or just a yearly event to thank your imaging patients. You’ll want to have catered food, promotional branded items with your logo and practice name on them, and office tours with staff members. People will love to see how your imaging equipment works.
We recommend radiology practices hold an open house/event once each year. That way you’ll learn a bit each year about successfully hosting these events, and your patients will begin to look forward to them each year.
Radiology Community-Building Events
Patients like to see that the businesses they patronize are engaged with the community, and that includes the practice they use for their imaging needs. You could buy a booth at the local health fair; sponsor the fun run that benefits the local high school; or sponsor the bridge tournament at the local senior center. Opportunities for community engagement are endless. These events show that you value being a part of the community and that you’re willing to give back.
Radiology Speaking Engagements
The radiology world is constantly evolving, and you and your techs are likely to be continually attending seminars and symposiums for continuing learning. These are great ways to show your patients you’re staying on the cutting edge of radiology.
If you can present or speak at one of these events, that’s even better. Information gleaned about new procedures, photos, and other items from these events all make great content for your website, social media platforms, and in a newsletter or monthly email.
Make an Instant Impact — Let’s Get Started Today
If you seek answers and help with those 14 items listed above, you’re in the right place and on the right website. We are Advice Media, and we can help move your radiology practice to the next level with our digital marketing SEO and SEM services. For over 20 years, we’ve been building and optimizing the health care industry’s most beautiful websites.
From tools to handle your radiology practice directory listings to helping you decide whether PPC text ads are better than paid display, we’ve been the trusted partner of thousands of practices over our two decades. Ask for our featured radiology case studies, or let’s get right to talking about improving your digital marketing. Click here to submit a contact form, or give us a call at (855) 439-3858.