Over the last decade, the healthcare industry has been experiencing a paradigm shift. The days of one-provider-fits-all are slowly ending and are gradually being replaced by a consumer-driven industry. True enough, patients are increasingly becoming aware of their roles as healthcare consumers and are more empowered to participate in health-related decisions.
The post-pandemic era has accelerated this “completion” of healthcare. Thanks to various digital solutions, patients are now more informed and can access a wealth of information at their fingertips. In fact, more than 70% of Americans use search engines to research healthcare information before seeing a doctor.
This change in patient behavior has necessitated a shift in the marketing strategies of healthcare businesses. With the advancement of technology, a new focus on prevention, health system consolidations, and changes in consumer behavior, it’s clear that success hinges on adopting patient-centric strategies.
This is where digital marketing comes in. Digital marketing enables your healthcare organization to adopt patient-centric strategies to reach a larger audience, increase patient engagement, and measure your marketing efforts in real-time.
Leverage the Power of Digital Marketing to Grow Your Healthcare Business
Below are several ways digital marketing can help grow your healthcare business:
1. Improved Patient Engagement
Digital marketing platforms like websites, social media, blogs, and email newsletters provide a platform for healthcare businesses to engage with their patients. They can share valuable information, answer queries, and build a community. This engagement helps build trust and loyalty, leading to an increased patient base, retention, and referrals.
For instance, you can leverage social media to share health tips, news about advancements in treatments, and success stories of patients. This is significant since about 9 out of 10 potential patients seek health-related information via social media. Leveraging these digital channels educates the audience and humanizes your healthcare brand, making you more relatable and trustworthy.
2. Increased Online Visibility
Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising are effective digital marketing strategies that increase the visibility of a healthcare business online. By appearing at the top of search engine results, healthcare businesses can attract more patients and grow their customer base. To illustrate, the top 5 organic results in the SERP (search engine results page) receive 67.6% of all clicks.
SEO involves optimizing a website’s content and structure to make it more attractive to search engines. This can lead to higher search result rankings, making your healthcare business more visible to potential patients. In this case, healthcare groups should focus on local SEO to attract patients within their geographical area. After all, healthcare is mostly a local service.
On the other hand, PPC involves paying for advertisements that appear at the top of the search results. These ads can target specific demographics, increasing the chances of attracting the right patients. When done right, PPC can put your practice before patients who are actively looking for the treatments and services you provide.
3. Data-Driven Decisions
As the adage goes, if you’re not measuring, you’re guessing. The beauty of digital marketing is that it’s measurable. Performance marketing and analytics provide valuable data about your audience and just how effective your marketing strategies are. This data can be used to make informed decisions, optimize marketing efforts, and ultimately drive growth.
For example, by analyzing website traffic, a healthcare business can understand which pages are most popular, where visitors are coming from, and which CTAs (call to action) they respond to. This information can be used to improve the website and enhance conversion rates.
Analytics also play a key role in creating patient personas—fictional, generalized representations of your ideal patients. With access to information like demographics, behavioral, health, and patient journey maps, you’ll have valuable insights to guide your marketing strategies, helping you deliver the right message to the right patient at the right time.
4. Personalized Patient Experiences
The evolution of healthcare into a more consumer-driven market highlights the importance of delivering personalized patient experiences. With digital marketing, healthcare businesses will be better positioned to offer tailored experiences to their patients. Using data collected from various digital touchpoints gives you a holistic picture of a patient’s preferences, needs, and behaviors. This information can be used to tailor communications and services to each patient, leading to a better patient experience and improved patient satisfaction.
For example, a healthcare provider could use email marketing to send personalized health tips based on a patient’s medical history or lifestyle. This not only provides value to the patient but also strengthens the patient-physician relationship.
Another noteworthy example of personalized experiences is patient portals. Web-based portals give users easy access to their health records, including lab results, medical history, medication lists, etc. Plus, most portals allow patients to book appointments online, reducing wait times and improving the overall patient experience.
5. Cost-Effective Marketing
Compared to traditional marketing methods, digital marketing is often more cost-effective. It allows healthcare businesses to reach a larger audience at a lower cost. Plus, digital marketing enables you to easily track and measure the results of your marketing efforts, resulting in more optimized strategies, so you’re getting more out of your marketing dollars.
For example, digital marketing allows you to really hone in on your preferred audience, so you’re reaching patients who are more likely to be interested in your services. This reduces the resources wasted on reaching lower-quality leads outside your target demographic. As a result, your marketing efforts are more cost-effective.
Ways to Leverage Digital Marketing to Grow Your Healthcare Practice
Digital marketing offers a wide range of strategies to achieve your healthcare marketing goals. Here are some proven, effective ways to leverage digital marketing for your healthcare practice:
Embrace Local SEO
Healthcare services are inherently local. It makes sense; physicians and other healthcare providers rely on attracting patients within their geographical area. Meanwhile, patients want to work with a nearby provider due to convenience and less travel time. This is relevant because “near me” health-related searches continue to increase annually as more patients take charge of their healthcare journey.
Below are some strategies to improve your local search presence:
- Claim and optimize Google Business Profile (GBP).
- Create a local keyword strategy.
- Develop geo-targeted websites and landing pages for each location.
- Use citations and listings.
- Create a user-friendly and mobile-optimized website.
- Optimize for voice search.
Engage Through Social Media
Social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, provide a compelling way to connect with your audience on a more personal level. Sharing informative content, responding to comments, and engaging in relevant discussions can help build a strong online community of loyal patients. This increases your reach and fosters trust and loyalty among your patients.
Utilize Content Marketing
Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable content to attract and engage your target audience. This could include blog posts, infographics, newsletters, e-books, or guides related to health topics. With a solid content marketing strategy, you can establish your practice as a trustworthy source in various healthcare topics and treatments.
Leverage Video Marketing
Video marketing is a powerful tool that can significantly contribute to the growth of your healthcare practice. Video platforms like YouTube and TikTok will allow you to reach and engage with a wide range of audiences.
For example, a dentist could share a video demonstrating the correct way to floss, or a dermatologist could share tips for better-moisturized skin. Dr. Leslie, known as @drleslie on TikTok, does this effectively by sharing quick mental health tips and advice in an engaging way.
Invest in PPC Advertising
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is an effective way for healthcare marketers to reach a larger, more targeted audience. With PPC, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, ensuring your marketing budget is spent on attracting interested individuals. According to a recent study, Google Ads have an ROI of 200%.
By targeting your ads based on relevant keywords, you can reach potential patients actively searching for the treatments and services you provide.
Monitor Your Online Reputation
Did you know 94% of patients use online reviews when evaluating a healthcare professional? Online reviews significantly influence a patient’s decision to choose a healthcare provider. Below are some strategies to help you generate more patient reviews:
- Ask patients to leave a review after visits.
- Offer multiple ways to leave a review and make it easier to complete.
- Provide excellent service.
- Train front-facing staff in best practices.
- Invest in review solicitation programs such as Podium or Birdeye.
Use Analytics to Optimize Your Strategies
For instance, marketing analytics can provide insights into how patients interact with your website or other marketing channels. This can help you understand what content or services they’re interested in, how they navigate your site, and what factors lead them to convert or leave the site.
Digital marketing offers numerous opportunities for healthcare practices to improve patient outreach and grow their businesses. By leveraging these strategies, you can supercharge your online presence, increase patient engagement, and, ultimately, ignite growth for your practice.
To get started on your healthcare marketing journey, you can work with a marketing partner to make the most of your campaign.