We’ve put together a list of the medical and surgical practice marketing topics that your peers were most interested in this year.
How do you convince patients that they don’t have to go to the “Big City” to see a qualified specialist? The key is to use your website to clearly describe what your practice can do. You need to cover the basic information about who you are and what you do, as well as location information and hours of operation. You should also look for opportunities to build credibility with your website visitors. Give patients a chance to connect with you through the content on your About page and give details about the procedures you perform in a way that your patients can easily understand. You need to sell the appeal of practice and convince patients that they can receive equal or better care when compared to practices in the Big City.
Local SEO (search engine optimization) targets at getting your business to show up in search results for relevant keywords in your geographic area. To do this, you’ll need to create content for your site that corresponds to your location and make sure that your location information is consistent throughout all of your practice’s online listings. Local SEO helps to ensure that your patients can find you and that search engines can better “understand” your location.
One question can help you improve your practice’s marketing efforts: How did you find us? You need to know your patients’ answers to this question to learn where you need to focus your marketing efforts. The easiest way to find out the answer is to add it to your sign-in forms. You may not be able to get an answer from everyone, but you’ll be able to get an idea of how most of your patients are finding you and identify areas that need more focus.
Inbound marketing helps you reach your patients by providing information that helps answer their questions and is easily found. You can do this by creating content that answers questions about your pathologies and procedures. This content needs to be structured in a way that both search engines and patients can easily understand. Once you’ve created the content, you can monitor its effectiveness by reviewing your site’s analytics and asking your patients for feedback.
Should you create a mini-website, or microsite, that focuses on a few procedures, or would it be better to put that information on your practice’s website? A microsite can be more highly targeted than your practice’s website, and if it is not tied to a geographic area, it could reach a broader audience. However, practices should focus on their local markets first, and research shows that patients are more likely to trust information coming directly from a practice or medical group. Microsites aren’t necessarily a bad idea, but they work best when you’ve already maxed out the value of your practice’s website.
Email marketing can be a very effective means of communicating with your patients–if you do it correctly. Whether you’re sending appointment reminders and routine information or sending newsletters, health tips, and other marketing materials, you need to make sure you are following HIPAA regulations and make it easy for your recipients to unsubscribe. You’ll also want to consider your branding, make emails mobile-friendly, and target your audience. Lastly, keep it simple; too much information in one email is confusing and won’t get your message across.
While the marketing funnel is traditionally used for sales-based businesses, it can work for your practice too. At the top of the funnel, patients are beginning the process; they know they need help with a problem. At the middle of the funnel, patients research doctors who treat their specific problems. At this point in the process, it is important that your website is informative to convince patients that you can help. At the bottom of the funnel, patients narrow down the choices and ultimately make an appointment with the doctor they choose.
Starting in January, we’re going to focus on marketing problems that are affecting doctors right now, with real-life examples of how we addressed those problems.
As always, feel free to contact us with your marketing questions, and follow us on Twitter @p3inbound for blog updates and online marketing tips.