COVID-19 has changed the game for a lot of businesses. Healthcare is not an exception. Outside of the tremendous strain, the pandemic has put on organizations due to infection rates, another concern has been in the way practices deal with patients in general. This also includes your marketing initiatives. While the pandemic is a temporary situation, many of the changes in the way we do business can be beneficial. And your marketing routines are no exception.
We posted a blog on five simple ways to market your medical practice back in April 2019. Some of those tips are still a great idea. Others, like having an open house, won’t work under current restrictions. This post serves to talk more about digital options to promote your practice. All of these things can be done right now, under current restrictions and guidelines. You’ll also find them helpful for the long-term, even when you can add more face to face options back to your practice.
Top tips to market your practice digitally
Developing a digital presence takes work, but the investment of time is well worth it. Did you know that about 80% of internet users search for health-related topics online? Right now, a digital presence gives you a way to connect with your patients and prospective patients even during social restrictions. They’re also efforts that will benefit your practice in the long run.
Here are some top tips to help you use the digital landscape to market your practice:
Use Best Practice in Your Website SEO. In the blog post we linked above, we mentioned that great content was a good marketing tip. It is, but that’s not the only thing that will drive visitors to your website. SEO, or search engine optimization, will help you rank higher in search engines, which brings visitors to your site organically. SEO is a wide topic, so we’ll cover a few more tips on this specifically below.
Develop Your Social Media. Choose the social media platforms that you’re comfortable using and invest time in developing those accounts. This means posting on a regular schedule, making sure to respond to all of your comments, and commenting on other people’s posts, as well. Make sure you remember to share new posts for your website and announcements about your practice but don’t make your social media all about selling your service. Make it about offering useful content to your followers.
Reach Your Patients Where They Live. Study the channels or platforms that your patients prefer and then make sure to use those channels to send them updates. This will be specific to your patients, so ask them. Make it a question when they come in or leave. Note it in their file. Some prefer logging into your web portal, others will like text or email. You may even still have patients who like regular mail. Don’t be afraid to cater to these preferences if you’re able to.
Pay Attention to Review Sites. Here’s a statistic you might find interesting — 70% of those surveyed said that online reviews impacted their decisions about which practice or physician to see. Review sites are that important. People trust personal reviews much more than they trust the information on your own website because they know that your web content was written to sell the practice. Personal reviews seem much less biased and more dependable. This can be excellent for physicians because you have the opportunity to respond to patients, thank them for their reviews, and even remedy any possible issue.
Publish or Perish. Did you know that you could write guest posts for trade magazines and even commercial magazines about your specialty? You might write articles about running a practice or specific areas of medicine. You are, after all, an expert. Having articles published in online venues will give you a link to your site, It also gets your own name out there, which can lead to other opportunities that advance your practice.
Develop a Webinar. If you’re a physician who speaks at public events or does any kind of teaching or lecturing in the community, that option is probably not open to you during social distancing. However, developing a webinar can be an excellent way to continue to teach the community and offer something great to your current and future patients.
SEO best practices for your online presence
SEO is a wide topic. Having a great practice website is more than just writing good content. The content should be developed strategically to help you rank higher and get found by the people in your area. When people talk about SEO, they usually mean the keyword phrases that the search engine reads. But that’s only part of it. Here, we’re going to give you a quick overview of some of the things that you should include in your SEO strategy.
Research Keywords. You want to research the keywords you want to rank on. For practice, you’ll often want to include geographic terms, as well, so it registers for people who search for things like, “general practitioner in Mobile Alabama”. Your research should include seeing how well those keywords rank and how competitive they are. You should be using keywords in all of your content.
Tag Your Content and Pictures. Make sure that you tag all of your content, including images, so that the search engines can read them.
Make Sure Your Site Loads Fast. Your website speed will impact your ranking for a few reasons. The most important reason is that people are not patient. They will often leave the site if it takes too long to load. To the search engine, that registers like the content wasn’t adequate for what they were searching.
Backlinks Are Super Important. Backlinks are links back to your website from other sources. A link on a highly respected website, such as a guest post on a site with a lot of traffic, will be counted as very important in search engines. Basically, these links back to your site act as a sort of referral. The search engines see people linking to you and rank you higher because those referrals rate you as an expert.
Building a digital presence can help you communicate more effectively with your patients and it makes you easier to find for new patients. That has been very important during this time when old fashioned methods don’t work. But it will also be advantageous permanently. People were already searching for their healthcare needs online, prior to the pandemic.