Digital Marketing for Your Medical Practice

Get tips on improving your web presence, including suggestions on content, SEO, local listings, and reputation marketing.

Your website is the cardiovascular center of your marketing efforts. Even if patients don't know you have a website, they are likely to go online to learn more about you. For that reason, it's important to optimize your web presence to ensure patients are able to find you and get the information they need.

1. Get a fully optimized website to serve as a central hub of information about your practice. Don't have a practice website? You'll definitely want to get one if you want to be able to compete with other practices in your area. Your website is the one location that you can always drive patients to with any of your marketing efforts to give more information. Though a professional, well-built website is a more costly investment upfront, it will pay off in the long run. Websites range from $500-$15,000; all depends on the marketing agency you choose to use. 2. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly to attract patients on mobile devices. Not only do you need to have a website for your medical practice, you also need to make sure it is mobile-friendly. Is it easy to navigate your site on a smartphone or tablet? If not, it's time to consider getting a responsive, mobile-friendly site. Google has been issuing warnings to sites that aren't mobile-friendly, saying that these sites may not rank well in search rankings. We've built nearly 500 healthcare practice websites in our lifetime. Across all of our websites, we've seen an average of 40% of a practice's online traffic come from mobile phones and tablets/iPads. This percentage is often in larger metropolitan areas. You certainly don't want to miss out on that much traffic. Depending on when your current website was built, you may already have a solution in place for mobile. If you aren't sure, we definitely recommend checking with your web provider. The best option is to use a web provider that uses responsive design, as this will allow your website to adapt to a wide range of screen sizes, auto-fitting the content so that your patients always get the best experience. 3. Implement SEO best practices to improve your ranking in search engines. Search engines are constantly evolving, and in order to get a favorable spot in search results, you need to follow the best practices of search engine optimization (SEO). Weed out things like low-quality or duplicate content, and avoid using spam tactics like keyword stuffing and link scheming. A good SEO strategy should focus on quality content, local listings, and other, more technical optimization. To really improve your SEO strategy, it’s a good idea to work with someone who specializes in SEO. By working with an expert, you can improve SEO and develop a plan to keep your website optimized as you add and update content. 4. Create custom content for your website to attract patients seeking specific procedures & services. Quality custom content should be a part of your SEO plan. You can create custom content to inform patients about your practice, qualifications, procedures, and services. Some practices write this content themselves, but you can also pay a content to help you put content together. Quality content is an important factor in search engine ranking. It shows that you are knowledgeable and an expert in your field, which improves your chances of ranking for relevant searches. For example, a page that explains your expertise in hip replacement and answers common patient questions will improve your chances of showing up in search results when local patients search for a hip replacement surgeon. Please, don’t try “shortcut” tactics. They can actually hurt your chances of ranking. Instead, create content with your patients in mind. What information do they want and need to know? Search engines are now intuitive enough to figure out whether or not you are providing quality information, so stuffing the content with the keywords you want won’t work. However, if you have well-written content with accurate, descriptive information, search engines will recognize it and award you with better ranking. 5. Claim your local listings to help patients find your practice. Once a patient has decided to schedule an appointment with your practice, he or she will need to know where to find you. This is where local listings come in. If you claim and verify your local listings in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, these search engines will display that information when patients in your area search for you. If your listing doesn’t show up, or your listing information is incorrect, your new patients may have a hard time finding you and get frustrated. Managing your listing does take some effort upfront to get all of your listings claimed and up to date, but maintenance is fairly simple once you get that done. You’ll really only need to check in if you need to change something, or if you get a notification about a user-submitted change. Although many listing services are free, you can also use a paid service if you don’t feel your office has the time to keep up. Automated services like Moz Local and BrightLocal allow you to make changes in one place, then push those changes out to several major online directories at once. Which is a great way to save time and management. 6. Optimize your local listings so patients can quickly find the important details about your practice. Once your listing is claimed and verified, don’t stop there! Fill out as much information as possible to make your listing stand out and improve your chances of showing up in search results. Currently, Google only shows 3 map listings on the first page of search results, so it’s important to optimize your listings as much as possible to get that prime placement in the map results. Add photos of your practice, fill out hours and specialties, and add a short description about your practice. The more information you can give, the better. Google My Business is also constantly rolling out features like user-submitted Q&A functionality, so make sure you stay on top of the latest online listing features so that you can be prepared. The more you optimize, the better you will rank. 7. Regularly update your website so patients can always get the latest information about your practice. If your website contains old, outdated information and potential patients can’t find the information they are looking for, they may get frustrated and move on. It’s important to check for updates periodically to avoid this frustration. If your website has a content management system, it should be relatively easy to make updates to your content. In addition to keeping your website content up to date, you also need to keep your site up to speed with the latest technology. If your site is very old, it may not be up to date with all of the latest security and functionality standards. This can create more frustration or distrust among your patients, and may eventually cause you to lose search engine ranking. In fact, Google Chrome has started marking non-secured websites as “Not Secure” in the browser bar. We suggest going with a website platform that regularly rolls out updates so that your practice’s website always utilizes the latest technology available. 8. Start a blog to share helpful tips and information with your patients on your website. Blogs are a great way to continue adding content to your website on a regular basis. This content should differ from your other website content. Rather than explaining your procedures and services, you can give health tips, talk about innovations in healthcare, give injury prevention tips, or any other relevant topics your audience would be interested in. Blogging is more of an advanced strategy we’d recommend trying after tackling things like mobile-friendliness, SEO, and improving other content throughout your website. 9. Help your patients find your website so they know you have an online presence. This one’s pretty simple: If you have a website or are on social media, let your patients know! They won’t know to look for you if they don’t know you’re out there! Put up “Find us on Facebook” or “Visit our website” signs in your office, and include that information in your marketing materials, too. 10. Use review sites like HealthGrades and RateMDs to establish your reputation online. Review sites like HealthGrades and RateMDs are becoming increasingly popular among patients. Current or former patients can leave reviews about the quality of care they received at your practice, and new patients will often look at those reviews when researching to find a new doctor. Online reviews are even becoming more prevalent in search results, and may also factor into your search ranking. If you don’t have time to solicit reviews from patients, you can use a service like our Reputation Marketing offering to collect reviews from patients in-office and post those reviews to key review sites. 11. Respond to online comments & reviews to show patients that you care about what they have to say. Review sites and social media pages allow other users to leave reviews and comment on your posts. Don’t just ignore those comments! This opens up the door for you to engage with your patients. It could be as simple as thanking a patient for a positive review, or you could engage in a conversation. You shouldn’t ignore negative reviews, either. Respond in a professional, well-thought-out way, and provide a way for the patient to resolve the issue with you offline. Even if you have some negative responses, if other potential patients see that you have taken the time to address those concerns, it could help to quell some doubts about your practice. Our Reputation Marketing service even helps you keep track of negative reviews, so that you can respond right away. 12. Get patient testimonials to reinforce your marketing messages. Patient testimonials are a great addition for your website. Testimonials show the success stories of patients under your care, which can be reassuring to new patients. You can make it easy for patients to submit testimonials via a form on your website. We also recommend placing relevant quotes from your testimonials throughout your website and marketing materials to reinforce your marketing (just make sure you have the right permissions in place with your patients before doing so). Marketing Tip: Good enough, never is. Nobody wants to see the "second best" doctor. Achieving marketing success in attracting new patients is an ongoing effort to communicate a message of quality in healthcare delivery. The business grows from excellence in clinical care and outcomes, patient experience, professional growth and personal satisfaction. There are many methods for marketing a medical practice, including search engine marketing, social media, blogs, direct mail, and more. Each of them provides you with a unique perspective or approach. By outsourcing your healthcare marketing projects to Thor Social | Digital Marketing Agency: Outsourcing helps your manage costs, lets you scale quickly, you get a fresh perspective, your practice becomes more effective and more efficient.

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