Medical Marketing Ideas Every Practice Needs to Implement ASAP
Marketing a medical practice can be an overwhelming undertaking. Even if you have found some success things are continually changing and evolving and it is easy for initiatives to become stagnant or ineffective.
Shaking it up or trying something new is always a great idea with any practice. Good marketers understand the value in constant A/B testing and innovative new ways to reach and engage with their patient base.
I whole heartily agree so I have compiled a list of the most effective and some slightly outside of the box healthcare marketing ideas to try for your medical practice.
1. Perform a Medical Website SEO Audit
How can you decide on what medical SEO marketing initiatives you need to move forward if you don’t know what’s going on now?
Your website is the single most important digital asset to your business, especially when it comes to ranking highly in SERPs for keywords related to your practice specialty or geographical area.
With the 100s or 1000s of algorithm updates that Google releases annual it is critical to check, recheck and continuously update your website content and site structure.
An audit will identify any errors, weak points or areas of improvement on your website and provide a roadmap for your local SEO marketing plan.
What is your current medical website page speed scores?
Page speed and load times play an important role in page ranking and overall SEO of your website.
Why? Because if some clicks on a search result for your website and the page takes too long to load so, the exit Google will start correlating that page as a bad result for a given query. It will then begin to drop its overall position in search results lowering your ranking position.
How many quality backlinks do you have pointing to your website? Are some of those now broken?
Backlinks are one of the more critical rankings signals for pages. Having high QUALITY (not necessary quantity) backlinks to a page showing Google the page has “authority” and makes it more likely to be ranked higher in search results.
Broken links or toxic links can do the opposite and hurt your standings, so you need to pay attention to building quality backlinks and fixing any broken links along the way.
Are you showing up for the right medical services and procedures?
Have you ever even run a report or started tracking where your pages are ranking for the keywords that matter most to your practice?
This is essential to tracking your local SEO efforts, and there are 100s of useful tools out there both paid and free to do so.
Start with Google Search Console the handy (and FREE!) Google webmaster tool that will show you where you rank for queries, impressions, click through rate and much more.
With this free tool alone you can track a world of useful information.
Do you need to restructure the pages on your website, so it’s easier for Google to crawl them?
Google relies almost 100% on bots to crawl the web and send signals back to their algorithm for ranking billions of websites. There is no way an army of people could manually check trillions of data points, so this is the only way to make it happen.
Therefore, your website needs to be set up to “speak” those bot’s language and make it as easy as possible for them to understand where things are, what content is more important, what your business is and does, and more.
Without that, you are leaving this up to chance and just crossing your fingers and hoping Google will make the right decision about what queries your pages need to show up in.
One of the most important things to do is:
Add schema mark up to the head of your website.
What is Schema markup? According to Neil Patel, “Schema markup is code (semantic vocabulary) that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users.”
Joel Hall created a nifty schema markup tool that can help you build it for your website without wading through code. Once you have created it, send to your web developer to add in the head of your website. You can then use Google Structured Data testing tool to check everything is in the proper place.
Does your medical website contain crawl errors, 404s, missing H tags, etc.?
These are all questions you need to know about your website. Having a comprehensive SEO audit of your medical practice website will give you a clear understanding of your current digital footprint and what marketing needs to be done to boost your Google rankings.
2. Using Instagram for Medical Practices
Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms out there. 35% of adults are on Instagram with an astounding 64% between the ages of 18-29 and 40% the ages 30-49. Social media platforms are a huge contributor to online SEO for your medical practice.
Instagram is a uniquely visual platform that offers an excellent opportunity to connect with your audience differently and bring them into your practice without them ever stepping foot inside.
If you’re a physician in the aesthetics or cosmetic field Instagram can be a fantastic tool to generate new patients. Utilizing Instagram to share current and past patient before and after’s and successful cosmetic results can be great exposure for your practice and show off your advanced capabilities as a surgeon.
Instagram also utilizes a unique search and geo-targeting to help get you in front of your ideal patient demographic. Instagram can function as a marketing tool to put your physicians on display, show results, provide advanced ways to reach your target audience, promote specials and events, and boost SEO. It is crucial when implementing Instagram for your medical practice to keep it clean and consistent with your medical brand services.
A successful Instagram should have:
- Proper business profile set up & completed bio
- Posts should contain relative keywords and descriptions to your practice
- Posts should be uniform and include the medical practice brand
- Overall style and branding of a page should follow a given “theme”
- Regular posting and interaction with the target demographic
- Unique images to the medical practice – not just stock photos
- Location-based keywords
- Feature visuals of the practice medical services and procedures
- Calls to action
- Tracking & analytics to monitor calls, website clicks & direction requests
3. Create a Special or Promo and Send to Current & Past Patients
Go for the low hanging fruit! Retargeting past and current patients to promote services and procedures is an all too often overlooked healthcare marketing tactic.
Current and past patients are a great way to boost select services for the medical practice and increase high revenue procedures. Existing and previous patients have used your services before and may not know about the benefits of other procedures offered by the practice or may need a reminder.
Appeal to them and reward them by building patient loyalty with unique and special promotions just for existing and past patients.
Often healthcare marketing promotions are focused on just bringing in new patients, but applying them to existing patients increases the value per patient and boosts sales as well as patient loyalty. When the practice marketing promotions focus on attracting new patients, they tend to be low commitment patients and low revenue procedures involving a longer sales cycle and more touch points to close.
New patient-focused promotions often discount low revenue and low commitment services which can attract patients that are clearance shopping and not likely to return for any full priced services or long-term commitment.
Promotions designed specifically for current and past patients eliminate the long sales process and tend to be the higher revenue procedures and packages. Focusing marketing efforts on previous patients can be highly successful due to the fact they are your ideal target and have the confidence in your capabilities as a physician and are more likely to return.
4. Hold an Open House & Utilize Facebook Events to Promote
Expand your local healthcare network of potential patients, local physicians, and other healthcare referral sources. A great way to gain exposure for your medical practice and grow your healthcare network is to host an open house.
An open house can help you as the physician feature new services and procedures unique to your practice as well as make connections with local healthcare professionals and potential patients. An open house provides a personal marketing approach where the physician can meet with attendees in a relaxed environment and speak about their unique medical approach and benefits of the medical practices.
The key to running a successful open house is to get a large group of attendees by offering incentives for attendees and hors-d’oeuvres and drinks to make them comfortable. A great way to track and ensure a significant turn out for an open house is to market to consumers and businesses by utilizing Facebook to promote the event and get people to sign up.
In addition to connecting with the local healthcare network and promoting the practice, an open house can be an excellent opportunity to collect contact information of potential patients. You can use this contact information to retarget them in the future and stay in front of with email marketing.
Tips for an Open House:
- Plan way ahead – give at least 6-8 weeks to promote the event
- Timing Matters – Wednesday & Thursday nights 6-8pm tend to work best
- Capture Contact Information – utilize a giveaway or “wish list” approach to get people to hand over their contact info
- Live Demos – people like to see an interactive component especially if you offer aesthetics
- Event Specific Pricing – a package or offer that will only be available during the open house to attract new patients
- Partner with Someone – find a local business that serves a similar audience and allows them to join in on the event to cross-promote and increase the odds of a great turn out! It’s a win-win!
5. Create Videos that Feature your Physicians
Video content is quickly becoming the new source for the future of SEO. Youtube is the second most popular social media platform behind Facebook and the second largest search engine behind Google.
This means video content can help your medical practice market to potential patients by providing credible information about the physicians and services. Establishing a Youtube channel to feature physicians, top medical conditions, and treatments can help boost your SEO and digital presence.
Check out the example below? Imagine being a rheumatology practice that leverages video marketing. Dr. Amy was able to generate 107K+ views just by expanding on the topy of the difference between Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms. You can see people are eating up information on topics reltaed to your area of practice.
When setting up a Youtube channel make sure you are uploading relevant and unique videos featuring your physicians. It’s important to add your medical practice logo and branding template overlay on your videos to add that extra level of professionalism.
Do not forget Youtube is its own SEO universe! Take the time to add in the proper descriptions, tags, locations and more to make sure your are leveraging search and people are finding your videos.
Once you have established a medical Youtube channel for marketing utilize your website, email and social media platforms to distribute your content and grow a loyal following.
6. Guest Blogging Opportunities to Reach Your Audience
Spread the word! There are plenty of opportunities to reach people in your local area or target market by leveraging the audience someone else has already established.
Guest blogging is a fantastic way to increase traffic to your medical website, grow brand recognition, reach new potential patients and establish yourself as an authority on a particular topic.
Doctors can look for guest blogging opportunities based on geography or parallel audience that they serve. Both can be a great win for the healthcare marketing initiatives of your practice.
Another big reason to leverage guest blogging is backlink building. Backlinking is now one of the single most critical components of growing SEO for your website. Every time a relevant website puts a high-quality link back to your website it gives your website authority or “juice” from a search engine optimization perspective.
Therefore, if you can create a solid piece of content that is featured on someone else’s website that points links back to your site is another step in the direction of winning local SEO.
A large portion of websites that contain blogs are always accepting and looking for guest contributions. All you need to do is reach out and pitch them on an idea via email or their website contact form and see what you get back in return.
They win by getting new, fresh content on their site and you win by gaining additional audience exposure and the benefit of new backlinks to your website.
7. Local SEO Citation Building
Localized SEO should be a major focus of a practice’s healthcare marketing strategy. Why? Because generally, patients will not drive (especially in urban markets with high competition and traffic) over 15-20 miles max to visit a practice location.
Add that to the fact that Google is become increasing more local searched focused. An easy way to see that is by doing a search on desktop and you will now see the Google “Local 3 Pack” is the first search results with the map above the other organic listings. That shows how important localized search has become.
Most practices know what Google My Business is but just in case you do not it is IMPERATIVE that you do. Your Google My Business listing is the listing you see in Google Maps and in “Local 3 Pack”. Below is an example of a Google My Business Listing.
If you are not sure if you have one, before creating one go to Google Maps and do a quick search for your brand name or exact address. If you have been around for a few years chances are Google has already created a listing for you. If you find it, claim it by clicking “Own this business?” and follow the prompts.
If you have already claimed and updated your listing make sure you have completed all areas of the account including 5 categories, photos, business description and more.
Pro tip: For the business description ensure that location keywords are used in the first 1-2 sentences of the description. Example: if you own a dental practice in Austin, TX make sure “Austin dental practice”, “dental office in Austin” or some variation occurs right out of the gate to help Google in a proximity-based search.
Once you have updated for Google My Business listing your Local SEO strategy has just begun on a monthly basis. The next step is citation building. There are 100s or 1000s of directories that exist online. You need to be consistently checking, updating, verify and adding your practice NAP (name, business, phone) information to these on a monthly basis.
Start with the most important based on monthly search volume and domain authority (Yelp, Facebook, Healthgrades) and work your way down. These directories send ranking signals to your Google My Business and work together to improve your listing’s ranking for local searches.
8. Start Generating Reviews for SEO
Patient reviews can be a great way to promote visibility and credibility in your medical practice. 74% of adults in the U.S. go online and, of those, 80% look for health information online. 29% of internet users have looked online for information about a particular doctor or hospital.
This means your patient reviews serve as a pivotal tool for attracting new patients searching for your medical practice online. Reviews can help build your patient base by boosting your credibility as a top medical provider in your community and increasing your visibility online compared to your competitors.
One of the top ranking signals for Google Local 3 pack on mobile devices is the number of reviews and the quality of those reviews. As a dentist, if you wish to show up above the competitor down the road focus on generating new patient reviews.
You want to make the patient reviews process as easy and painless as possible. You don’t want to overcomplicate the reviews process, so they don’t get distracted or are less inclined to leave a review about the doctor or practice. There are multiple platforms that Google indexes for patient reviews including popular sites like Yelp, Facebook, Google My Business, Healthgrades, and many more. Organize a review generation process to streamline online reviews using these multiple platforms.
Some patients may be more comfortable leaving a Google review while others Facebook. No matter the case, all of these review platforms are beneficial to your practice’s online reputation and search results.
It’s important to not only focus on one review platform for two reasons:
- You could be missing out on a number of reviews because a patient may be more likely to leave a review on a different platform.
- All review platforms contribute to overall medical SEO and reputation of your practice.
You are the best doctor in the biz, make sure your potential patients know it!
9. Digital Advertising to Attrach New, Local Patients
Digital advertising has become an integral part of marketing and will continue to become more vital as the search landscape changes and becomes more competitive.
In 2018 advertising platforms, such as Google Ads, have robust levels of data on consumers offering specific ways to target the ideal audience profile based on age, income, sex, geographical area, interests, and even income level.
When creating your first PPC ad sit down and clearly define what the goal is in running your ads. Is it creating brand awareness in your immediate area? Great idea if people do not know you are around, you are new or offering a new product/services.
Is it to drive traffic to your website with the goal of having a patient take a particular action? Awesome, make sure you have the proper funnels set up to help patients make that decision once they click on that ad.
Maybe it’s to promote a new offer that patients can take advantage of. Either way, clearly define goals and expectations for what a win looks like.
Once you have your goals come up with an ad that grabs the patients attention. Chances are your first Ad will not be perfect so test, retest and test some more. Test the ad copy. Test the main ad graphic. Test the target audience. Great ads are continually tested and optimized.
Pro Tip: We run into many practices that are missing out on call tracking data. Make sure you are tracking call conversions along with the form conversions on your website! This is critical data that you are missing out on if you do not do so. There are some amazing call tracking companies out there that integrate straight into Google Ads platform and your website. CallRail is one of our go tos.
10. Hire a Physician Liaison to Grow a Physician Referral Program
Physician referrals can be a substantial contributing factor to grow your patient base for your medical practice consistently.
An active physician outreach program can be the backbone of building a successful practice. A Physician liaison or physician relations manager can serve as your marketing representative to help grow your doctor referrals and increase practice revenue.
A Physician liaison will be the director of your outbound marketing program building strong relationships with referring physicians and practices by providing them with resources and information. As an extension of the practice a liaison can help you, the providing physician, extend your reach to local referring doctor offices and increase existing and new patient referrals.
They can also ensure your practice provides to referring doctors an extra resource and level of support and communication to make the patient referral process smooth sailing. A physician liaison will promote your medical practice, strengthen your physician referral relationships, and connect with your local healthcare network.
They provide huge value in giving you the physician a comprehensive marketing audit of the current status of the patient base and growth. Their knowledge of the local doctor referrals and referred procedures can help the practice focus on marketing efforts that have proven to be successful or help grow physician referral streams that may be weaker.
Responsibilities of a Physician Liaison:
- Visiting referring physicians and practices
- Building and maintaining strong doctor referral relationships
- Connecting with local healthcare professionals in your community
- Promoting the medical practice and its physicians
- Informing referring physicians of procedures and treatments offered
- Serving as a resource for information and communication
- Increasing new patient referrals
- Increasing existing patient referrals
- Marketing director
- Increasing high revenue procedures
- Increasing overall practice revenue
- Physician referral tracking and reporting
To ensure that your medical practice is implementing a physician liaison program that is successful you need to develop the program and track ROI properly.
Read this for tips on building a strong physician liaison program.
In conclusion, healthcare marketing offers numerous platforms and creative ways to grow your practice but make sure you are choosing the best fit. These are 10 marketing tips to help you grow your medical or dental practice and reach new patients. If you are looking for a healthcare marketing professional to help you implement these marketing initiatives, we would love to help! Give us a call 678-250-4757 or fill out our contact form.