Healthcare Marketing in 2021: Strategies & Tips to Grow Practices

Justin Knott
CEO - Intrepy Healthcare Marketing
03/15/2021

Healthcare Marketing in 2021: Strategies, Techniques & Tips

Healthcare marketing has evolved and grown to be a sophisticated process of finding creative ways to engage with patients where they are on the patient care continuum.

Patients are more than ever interested in taking back their healthcare journey and educating themselves on what you do and how you do it.

That is why it is critical to developing an effective healthcare marketing strategy to reach and educate new and existing patients.

What is Healthcare Marketing?

Healthcare marketing is the process of developing marketing and communication strategies to reach new patients and improve patient care by developing an open line of communication between providers or healthcare organizations and their patients. Healthcare marketing seeks to deliver valuable content and resources to patients across the care continuum using websites, social media, paid advertising, SEO, email marketing, video, and many more mediums.

Why is Healthcare Marketing important?

The importance of marketing in the healthcare industry is to develop and execute marketing strategies geared toward engaging and educating patients on their healthcare journey through SEO, digital advertising, website, content marketing, and more.

The most effective marketing in healthcare is patient-centric, meaning it focuses on who the patient is, what information they care about, and building a know, like, and trust relationship.

The healthcare industry is always changing, and patient education and information are fastly becoming the forefront of focus.

The healthcare world is competitive, and as local competition grows and large hospital systems come into the mix, the more difficult it can be to stand out and promote your medical services.

Healthcare marketing allows you to increase your visibility from your competitors on local search engines and social media platforms.

Another reason why healthcare marketing is important is that an effective healthcare marketing strategy can provide the ability to reach potential patients and position you as a thought leader in your specialty. 

Benefits of Healthcare Marketing…

1. Will Increase the Patient Base of the Practice

That is what this is all about, right? Attracting and retaining patients and improve patient engagement. Effective healthcare marketing services should do just that.

2. Increase Local Physician Referrals to the Practice

Increasing the local reach of your brand should and will result in an increase in new patient referrals to the practice from other local primary care and specialty physicians.

3. Make Your Physicians Thought Leaders in Healthcare

Getting your physicians involved in the marketing initiatives through storytelling and video is a powerful way to allow them to develop thought leadership in their field of expertise.

This will make them a trusted advisor in the eyes of patients and increase the likelihood of a patient choose them over a local competitor.

4. Promote Important Medical Services

Healthcare marketing systems like social media marketing, website, healthcare content marketing, and digital advertising are fantastic tools to let physicians feature and promote their medical services and capabilities.

5. Enhance The Patient Experience at the Practice

Now with the use of healthcare marketing strategies, patients receive not only the top quality medical care but can have an overall fantastic experience, with the availability of continuing education resources, patient portals, reviews, and much more!

healthcare marketing reviews

Patients are also able to quickly and efficiently communicate with the medical practice and send and receive valuable information to their care.

6. Scale the Reach of The Healthcare Organization

Healthcare marketing has created new avenues to reach patients, share patient journeys, educate the public and patient base, and so much more.

Physicians can now reach the masses with patient education and feature themselves and their brand as an industry thought leaders. As more patients turn to online resources for healthcare, the more ability you have to capture new leads than ever before.

In addition to attracting new patients, healthcare marketing implements tracking and analytics. Tracking and analytics reports can give you a full 360-degree view on where your marketing efforts are most profitable and what you need to do moving forward to scale.

Creating a Healthcare Marketing Strategy

Healthcare marketing strategy involves leveraging a collective group of marketing channels both digitally and offline designed to specifically target new and existing patients for practices and hospital systems to improve patient care and generate growth and revenue.

In the last five years, the amount of healthcare marketing professionals and agencies specializing in marketing for medical practices has grown substantially.

Patients have become more sophisticated in how they utilize and integrate the internet into their daily lives.

As a result of constant advertising, patients have become somewhat “tone deaf” to the messages they receive.

They also want to feel that the marketing and advertising they do consume is extremely patient-centric.

Fortunately, more prospective patients are turning to the internet via search engines and social platforms to take their health into their own hands.

They are in search of finding information, practices, and hospitals to aid in their pursuit of optimal health.

80% of potential patients look online for health information about a specific medical problem or disease.

healthcare marketing strategy

So, what healthcare marketing strategies for medical practices are most effective?

Patients are active and engaged more than ever online, so that is why it is critical to put healthcare marketing strategies in place for 2020.

Where do you start putting together a medical marketing plan?

This will not be surface-level theory that says “create a Facebook profile,” but we will look at each component of a healthcare marketing strategy:

  • What tactics to use
  • Why they are effective
  • Real life case studies and examples
  • Instructions to get you started

When you finish reading this, you will be ready to hit the ground running and generate real growth in your practice.

Top Healthcare Marketing Strategies to Reach Patients

Now that we more closely understand the importance and benefits of healthcare marketing services, it is time to take a look at the most effective tips that you should be leveraging in your practice to reach and convert new patients.

Marketing in healthcare can seem overwhelming as to what to do and where to get started, which is why we laid out these healthcare marketing strategies and case studies as well.

These are tested and proved healthcare marketing tips that we leverage with our clients day in and day out.

1. Build a Website for Patient Experience

A healthcare practice’s website is one of the single most important digital healthcare marketing assets they have.

Think about it?

What other salespeople can be on the ball 24/7/365 selling and delivering content to potential patients whenever they need it?

Whether it is midnight and you are asleep or 3 pm in clinics your medical website is always hard at work for you showcasing relevant content.

Great medical website design puts the focus on user experience and providing clear and immediate value from the second a patient enters your website.

Explaining who you are and what you do.

medical website design home page example

Answering questions and delivering value to get them to convert.

2. Local SEO Starts with Your Google My Business

A large part of any healthcare marketing strategy is super local by nature.

Why? Because patients are generally only willing to travel so far for patient care.

Therefore, it is critical to winning in your local search environment for whatever specialty or conditions you treat.

About 80% of patients do an online search before booking an appointment with a provider.

And when it comes to winning medical SEO searches, Google My Business is king.

What is a Google My Business listing, you may ask?

Google My Business is a free tool provided for physicians and businesses to manage their online presence for Google.

You run into it nearly every time you search, and it looks like the screenshot below.

google my business example healthcare marketing

When it comes to optimizing your Google My Business, there are a few things that matter the most.

  1. Make sure you pick the most accurate category possible (ex. Hand Surgeon in the photo above)
  2. Make sure to include where you are and what you are in the first sentence of your business description, i.e., John Smith MD is a hand surgeon in Phoenix, Arizona.
  3. Fill out all of your contact info completely

3. Your Reputation Matters, Invest in Patient Reviews

Reviews have quickly become one of the most critical components of healthcare marketing strategies.

This is for several different reasons.

healthcare marketing local seo pie chartThe top reason being is that consumerism has arrived in healthcare.

Meaning (whether we like it or not) patients shop for medical services and physicians similar to how they shop for products on Amazon, they do research, and they read reviews.

92.4% of consumers read online reviews. That is a staggering number. And reputation matters most in healthcare decisions or any other industry.

patient review chart healthcare marketing

In addition to that, one of the top local ranking factors for your Google My Business that we mentioned above is….reviews.

That’s right, now that you know how important Google My Business is to good marketing in healthcare, the best way to move yourself to the top of rankings is by generating positive reviews consistently.

The top recommendation for getting started is to find a good workflow to ask patients for reviews.

The easiest way to achieve success is to automate as much of the process as possible by leveraging reputation management for doctors software.

4.  On-Page SEO Starts With Great Content

One of my favorite personal quotes that I tell to providers is, “If you want to rank for it, you need a page for it.”

In simplified terms, that means that if you want to show up high in local search rankings for your focus specialties and procedures, you need excellent, well-structured content on your website for it.

For example, say you are an orthopedic practice that wants to rank #1 in your local market for your Spine Surgery department.

We would recommend that you have an extremely in-depth page on spinal surgery on your website, complete with who, what, why, and common FAQs.

Just take a look at the screenshot below on a search for ‘knee surgery knoxville.’ The results speak volumes.

on page seo healthcare marketing

The #1 ranking SERP result is a client of ours with a super detailed treatment page about what they offer for Knee Surgery solutions.

Keep this simple rule in mind when thinking about your website’s role in your healthcare marketing plan that you need to make sure you have content as a top priority.

If you want some more specific tips about how to structure the content pages on your website to perform well in search results, check out the video below.

Healthcare Marketing On-Page SEO Tips

  • Add the focus keyword at the front of your title tags
  • Keep your URLs short and include your keyword
  • Most treatment pages should be over 500+ words

5. Digital Advertising is Extremely Targeted Now

Data has made paid digital advertising a powerful way to connect and drive new patient leads no matter what type of patient you seek or practice you are.

With so many options available to choose from Google Ads, Display Ads, Youtube Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Programmatic Ads, Native Ads, you should be able to get the right blend to reach your ideal patient.

Developing a great digital ads strategy as part of your health care marketing starts with excellent planning.

Answer questions like:

Who is my ideal patient? Create a patient profile on each of these

Where do they go online to spend time?

How much website traffic do I currently have for retargeting?

What assets do I have for advertising? Videos? Graphics?

These questions are essential to find out which platforms will be ideal for you to start advertising on.

For instance, we have a women’s health facility that offers menopause and bioidentical hormone replacement services.

online marketing for doctors advertising

Their primary target audience is women over 45 years old in a 20-mile radius of their location.

So we came up with a menopause quiz to get potential patients into an email automation sequence.

The results? Nearly 350 targeted new patient leads in the first 30 days!

6. A Patient Email Address is Still Extremely Valuable

Email is still not only a viable but powerful marketing in healthcare tool that you should be leveraging.

Whether it’s new patient funnels, remarketing to existing patients, or disseminating critical information during times like COVID, email is a vital line of communication between you and your patients.

Investing resources into developing a healthy email marketing program will yield a steady stream of new and returning patients through your doors (physical or virtual).

A few great tips for growing your list include:

  1. Hosting a webinar
  2. Paid advertising funnels like quizzes and assessments
  3. Downloads and ebooks
  4. Exclusive subscriber content

7. Telemedicine and Online Appointment Book are a Must

Telemedicine and online appointment booking was nice to have as a healthcare marketing component before COVID.

Now, it is absolutely essential to doing business.

The problem is there is still a lot of confusion about getting started and getting patients using telemedicine.

First and foremost, you need to get emails out communicating to your existing patients about your process for telehealth (this goes back to why email is so important).

Then get landing pages on your website and announcements on social media regarding your telehealth solution.

When it comes to online booking, you need to have this option available and accessible on your website. It is expected from patients now.

On top of that, it is essential to track your paid advertising campaigns for new appointment bookings effectively.

8. Physician’s Listings are Critical for Local SEO

Patients go about finding local practices, providers, and procedures in a few different ways.

They generally either search or practice types “dermatology practice near me.”

Or they search for procedures “mole removal near me.”

Or they search for a specific type of provider by name “dermatologist near me” or “john smith md.”

physician listings healthcare marketing

Winning this last search at the provider level is critical for marketing in healthcare.

SEO for doctors starts with making sure your provider’s Google My Business and other listings are correct, unified, and stay up to date.

Other listings are Healthgrades, Vitals, CareDash, etc.

Google leverages these other third-party platforms to match and verify against their search algorithm that your information is correct, and they can return your physician high in search rankings.

The problem is??? Physicians can be journeymen by nature.

Think about where you have been from residency, fellowship, first practice position, on and on.

Your listen could be all over the place and delivering lousy information to your patients and Google. A double whammy.

Get started by claiming and verify each of your physician’s top listings and make sure they are all “speaking the same language” in terms of contact information.

9. Analytics and Tracking are Keys to Healthcare Marketing Strategy

Now that we have looked at several of the best healthcare marketing strategies, it all comes down to one thing…

How do you know what is working and where the opportunities for improvement lie?

By keeping a close eye on your marketing analytics and making sure you are tracking campaigns accurately.

The best healthcare marketing is rooted in data.

To improve, you have to know what is working and be able to attribute success and failure accordingly to be continually improving.

This starts by investing in analytics.

You can start with the essentials like Google Analytics and Google Search Console, to name a few.

When you a ready to see if all in one place, then marketing analytics dashboards are right for you.

Here at Intrepy, we put the utmost importance on data visualization, and it’s why all of our clients get access to analytics dashboards at all times.

Best Healthcare Marketing Strategies – Wrapping Up

Marketing for healthcare is an ever-changing world but has endless possibilities for healthcare professionals to reach the audience they need, grow their patient base, educate patients,  feature physicians, and scale their practice.

When beginning your healthcare marketing strategy, choose a partner that understands the space, and only focuses on marketing in healthcare. A healthcare marketing agency understands the patient experience and industry and can use tested and proven methods to get you where you want to be!

Ready to get more patients?

At Intrepy we speicialze in growing medical practices like yours.

Ready to get more patients?

At Intrepy we speicialze in growing medical practices like yours.

New! eBook Download

Local SEO for Healthcare Practices

Download this in-depth presentation guide that our founder Justin Knott developed on Local SEO for Healthcare Practices. In this ebook, we unpack what really matters for local SEO and the steps and strategies to improve your practice rankings. Topics include Local SEO 101s, Google My Business optimization, roles of reviews in search, citrations and directories explained and on-page website SEO.