6 Medical Marketing Strategies to Get Ahead in 2016
If there's one thing that remains true in marketing, it's that you have to think ahead if you want to succeed. Below are six medical marketing strategies to help your medical practice succeed in 2016:
1. Content Is Still On Top
Regardless of your specialty, developing high-quality, evergreen content should be one of your top marketing priorities. Developing original content for current and prospective patients should be a large part of your medical marketing strategy. Engaging content builds trust, improves your brand recognition, and sets you apart from your competition.
High-quality content not only helps to boost your rankings in the search engine results, but will affect how others perceive you.
Consider the following:
- 4/5 decision-makers in businesses prefer to get information about other companies through articles, rather than advertisements.
- 9/10 consumers believe that custom content is a useful way of obtaining information, while nearly 8/10 believe that companies who provide such content are more interested in building a good relationship.
- About 6/10 consumers think companies that produce original video content are more trustworthy than those who do not produce any videos. Similarly, about seven of every ten consumers think that videos leave a positive, lasting impression.
In the long-run, content-based marketing will cost you less than outbound marketing; additionally, it offers benefits that outbound marketing simply can't match. The statistics don't lie; publishing high-quality content should be a key part of your 2016 marketing strategy.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Matters
SEO affects a website’s visibility in the search engine’s unpaid results pages. Recently, Google’s algorithm updates made quality content even more important than keyword optimization (and that's saying something, given how fundamentally important keywords are!)
Content includes written text, graphics, images and videos. Visual content, in particular, could help improve your overall SEO rankings.
Quality visual content will keep people on your page longer than text. While visual content shouldn't replace all of your written content, visual content should be strategically placed throughout your website to enhance the existing text. It will significantly boost the page’s overall value.
Despite Google’s algorithm updates, other common SEO tactics still have an impact on the visibility of your site. Optimized meta descriptions, targeted keywords, alt tags and title tags are all important parts of a comprehensive SEO strategy.
Google’s search engine reputation depends on serving the best information to users. Google’s latest update, emphasizing quality content, was implemented because users are now entering longer, more complex keywords and questions into the search bar.
SEO tactics shift with the algorithm. Since Google continuously changes the algorithm to meet consumer demands and expectations, routine monthly SEO maintenance should be built into your overall medical marketing strategy.
For marketers, this means spending more time creating outstanding content. Search engine optimization and quality content will improve your online presence. And, rather than disrupting and bothering users, you actually make it easier for them to find the information they are looking for.
3. Don't Forget to Optimize for Mobile
Not too long ago, optimizing content for mobile devices was just a suggestion or consideration. That is no longer the case. Now, mobile versions of websites have become a valuable (and necessary) investment for any practice that's serious about marketing.
People use their mobile device for everything: phone, text, email, Internet, social media, directions, etc. Your marketing plan will never reach its full potential unless your mobile strategy is a key fixture.
To better understand the importance of mobile marketing, consider this fact: 87% of Millennials say that they are essentially never without their phone. Smartphones (or tablets) are a major part of their daily lives. At the moment, about 14% of users won't even do business with a company that doesn't have a mobile presence - and that number is likely to grow.
By using a website with a responsive design, you could increase your conversion rates by over 150%.
4. No Excuses for an Out-of-date Site
Regardless of your practice size, if your website does not look like the website of a modern medical practice, visitors will see your practice as old, out-of-date, and out-of-touch.
In terms of first impressions, design is even more important than content. Users form an opinion before they even start reading your site. Your medical website should incorporate a variety of visuals such as pictures, videos, drawings, and similar media as it has shown to improve user engagement.
It should also reflect your practice's unique brand, provide an excellent user experience, highlight important treatment options, and allow potential patients to request an appointment online.
You should also compare your website to your competitor's website; routinely observe the activity of your competitors or have your marketing agency do a regular competitor analysis. To get ahead, you need to gain insight on what's working for your competitors.
5. Refine Your Social Media Strategy
Social media has been mainstream for a few years now, and most major brands have established a solid presence. For medical practices who wish to be found online, it is necessary to create accounts and publish information on platforms like Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Social media is a way to engage and build trust with users.
Social media is not the place to promote your products or services. 10% of all posts can be about you or your practice, but no more. Users do not like brands with a “me, me, me” attitude. Social media should not be used for self-promotion.
6. Your Brand Needs to Get Personal
Humans are naturally social beings. We address people by name, we develop relationships, we like to keep up with people, etc. Even online, we expect to be treated as people and not faceless entities.
Today, people are willing to exchange their personal information on a website for an appointment request or an educational ebook about treatment options. While basic expectations exist - mainly not abusing the information - more than three in four users are willing to share their information if asked to do so.
Collecting prospective patient information is key to personalization; without this data, visitors remain anonymous. Imagine walking into a store and having someone greet you with "Welcome to our store, completely ordinary customer!" You'd be a bit offended, right? And what if the sales associate started recommending items you neither want nor need? That's exactly what happens online and customers expect better.
When you personalize communications and experiences, foster trust, and focus on continually improving the user experience, you are able to build a real relationship with your patients.
The best way to collect prospective patient information is through online forms and progressive profiling. This process can be largely automated, and with this data, you will be able to tailor their experience with your practice. Patient segmenting and targeting is key to growing your practice.
To successfully grow your practice and increase your high-value patients, many practices choose to work with medical marketing experts. Medical marketing experts provide more value and insight than nonmedical digital marketers.
As a medical marketing and patient acquisition agency, we know what works and what doesn't work for different specialties. We know the best online tactics that will draw more patients to your practice. We know the keywords you should rank for on Google. And, we know how to write ad copy that will lead to more appointment conversions.