Need to grow your medical practice or urgent care service? Here are 7 medical marketing ideas, tips, and strategies that will help you get more appointments.
Online marketing for medical services deals with two very different types of leads.
The first is a person with an immediate medical need. They may need urgent care or feel they’re developing a condition that requires immediate attention. Of all the types of online consumers, few move from need to action as fast as these people.
The other is a person doing medical research. They’re concerned about potential health issues so they’re learning about it online. At the same time, they may be looking for practitioners, clinics, and specialists. This research can go on indefinitely. Of all the types of online consumers, few move slower from need to action than these people.
The moral of this story is that organizations marketing medical services need to know their audience. The strategies, tactics, and execution of their marketing depend greatly on who they’re trying to reach.
Here’s a breakdown of the essentials you need to accomplish to market a medical service online, with considerations for the differing needs of potential patients.
Medical Marketing Idea #1: Optimize Your Website
The first impression your practice or medical service is going to make is through your website and landing pages. This content must make a professional, trustworthy impression while motivating the visitor to act.
As we alluded to, there can be considerable differences in the content you create depending on the service.
For urgent care services, for example, it’s absolutely critical that contact information, including a map to their location, be on every landing page. People visiting these pages are ready to act, and they need this information in front of them. Here is what a high converting urgent care landing page looks like:
In general, it’s a good practice to make sure contact information is always visible, but this is particularly true for medical pages. Since you can’t retarget with medical content, you need to try to convert them while they’re on your website.
A clinic or family doctor’s website can be a bit more traditional, but still focused on getting people to set appointments. Here is an example mockup from UXI®:
This design does a good job of providing calls to action and information resources.
Of course, your website needs to be mobile responsive and easy to navigate on both computers and phones. Your website should have pages describing all the procedures you perform and about pages for all your physicians. Also, include all patient forms and pre/post procedure materials.
Invest in a superior website design for your medical practice. If your site is second-rate, many prospective patients will pass you over.
Medical Marketing Idea #2: Develop Videos
We highly recommend that your practice use videos to give an introduction to your service and convey the experiences of your patients.
Videos have the advantage of quickly helping people understand the benefits of work. Web consumers tend to skim over website content, so even people doing research may miss vital points about what you do.
For example, this video quickly conveys information on the main procedure of this practice:
This video tells about the process from the patient’s point of view:
Take advantage of the visual appeal and fast messaging of video. You can embed videos on your web pages, use them on social media, and optimize them for search on YouTube.
Medical Marketing Idea #3: Focus on Your Specializations
One of the keys to successful marketing is to be clear about the unique value you offer. This is where you state how you solve a patient’s problem and differentiate yourself from the competition.
For many medical practices, this is actually an easy aspect of marketing because they run clinics that focus on their specialization.
For example, this practice specializes in helping people who suffer from acid reflux:
In many ways, your area(s) of specialization guide your marketing. It is far easier to market a practice that specializes in treating a particular condition. You rank better on search, can develop unique website content, and clearly establish a competitive advantage.
Having a specialization, of course, precedes executing a marketing plan, but it should be part of your initial strategy. Many physicians today are developing specializations (in concurrence with their skills and interests) because they realize it will give them a competitive advantage in their market.
Medical Marketing Idea #4: Master Search Marketing
One of your main goals must be to appear on page one of search when people look services and ideas related to your practice. Searches like this generally indicate strong intent to eventually get a procedure, so the traffic is valuable.
There are three ways you can show up on the search result page. The first is pay per click advertising or PPC. This is where you bid on auction systems like Google Adwords to appear in top positions on the page. Your budget and placement will depend on your competition. PPC ads give the most control over ranking, ad content, and landing page.
The second is connected to your Google My Business account. You create this through Google to get location based search results (it is also Google Maps). Optimize for keywords and photos/business details, and get client reviews to increase your ranking. This is a free listing/clicks.
Last is your organic listing related to your website SEO. This is the direct listing of your homepage domain, and offers free ranking/clicks. Optimize your website content for keywords, add fresh content to your blog, earn links, and get social media traffic to your website to increase your ranking.
Over time, you have the chance to be in all three spots on the search result page:
Medical Marketing Idea #5: Content Marketing
While urgent care services seek to convert patients immediately, many practices will need to nurture leads through their research and decision making process
Often with digital marketing, we advise keeping content as concise as possible, structuring material for impatient web surfers.
But medical content doesn’t fit this structure. Data shows that even conversion-based landing pages do better with well-developed content that includes text explanations, videos, images, and infographics.
Simply put, it’s worth it to explain what you do so patients thoroughly understand the benefits you bring. On the services pages of your site, offer answers to common questions patients have. Also, optimize these pages for search so that people researching these topics come across your content during their research.
Use your blog to comment on medical trends and share news. Regular updates on your blog will support your SEO efforts.
Then, spread your content out on social media and use it in email campaigns. Be sure to create a Facebook business page where you can post videos and connect through messaging. Encourage patients to follow your page where you can post health tips, practice updates, and curate content related to your services.
Content marketing is about sharing your expertise so you can initiate a relationship with prospective patients and earn their trust.
Medical Marketing Idea #6: Manage Your Reputation
Today, it’s vitally important to get patients to comment on their experience and results. Reviews and testimonials are among the most effective types of marketing content, and our experience suggests that a practice will have a difficult time converting online without them.
While some happy patients will leave reviews on their own, it’s worth it to ask people to comment on their experience to boost your profiles on different review platforms.
We’ve found that an email follow up that requests a review (linking directly to the platform you want the review on) is one of the most effective ways to get reviews. Try to build your profiles on Top Rated Local, Google, and Facebook. Also get reviews on healthcare specific sites like Zocdoc, Vitals, and Healthgrades.
We use this type of template, where the “good” opens a review link and “not good” opens a feedback form.
All of the medical websites we develop also use testimonials extensively in their content. You can have a page dedicated to testimonials, but having them on your homepage and landing pages is also useful.
Patients typically trust medical professionals, but they relate more easily to the experiences of other patients.
Video testimonials like this are as persuasive as any other content you create:
Medical Marketing Idea #7: Know HIPAA
With medical marketing, you must keep in mind HIPAA regulations.
The main consideration with digital marketing is that you can’t use remarketing ads which is unfortunate because they’re so useful for services that have a long sales cycle.
You also have to be careful about the content you create and claims you make online. There are also restrictions on maintaining patient records, limiting what you can do with email and CRM systems.
If you work with a marketing company, make sure they are experienced at working with medical practices and are familiar with HIPAA regulations.
Here are more ideas, data, case studies and medical marketing strategies.
- Medical marketing case study: The Benefits of Multichannel Marketing
- Urgent care case study: Paid Search and Landing Page Optimization
Don’t hesitate to call one the medical marketing consultants at Marketing 360®. We’re here to help you understand the digital marketing landscape and keep it working for your medical practice’s business goals.