A recent study from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) shows that the healthcare sector as a whole is well behind other industries when it comes to using digital technology. This finding is in sync with the general perception about healthcare – a sector usually considered a laggard in adapting to new technologies and digital advancements.
Healthcare services have undergone a paradigm shift through mobile apps, Internet consulting, social media, emails, custom websites and so on. Patients now extensively refer to social media and other digital platforms to manage health and make their health decisions after thorough analysis. For physicians, these channels are new prospects for patient engagement and communication. But unfortunately, the healthcare industry has been slow in adapting to the change. There is a lot to be learned about digital marketing strategies from other industries. Let’s have a look at few of them:
Have a responsive website
According to Google Think, about one-third of patients now use mobile devices or tablets to research health conditions and/or to book appointments. Responsive web design is becoming more important as the amount of mobile traffic now accounts for more than half of total Internet traffic. In fact, this isn’t new to the digital world and has been recommended by Google since 2012 as the best strategy for mobile-optimized websites.
Manage your online reputation
Your online reputation, practice website, social media and other digital channels are your brand advocates that provide a complete picture of your practice as a brand. When patients/potential patients search about you on various online platforms, they should have a crystal-clear idea about the services offered and get a transparent picture about your practice and how your brand can help patients. Focus on optimizing digital platforms to develop an online visibility and a positive online reputation.
Use social media marketing
For physicians, dentists and other healthcare practitioners, social media marketing is now an essential “must have” in their marketing strategy. It plays an indispensible role in connecting with patients and potential patients and helps develop a relationship of trust and credibility. To cater to healthcare’s digital decision-makers, physicians should focus on developing a strategy with an umbrella approach, i.e. to have a versatile digital presence through a website, blogs and social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. The info-hungry consumers also check out patient reviews on various physician-review websites such as Yelp, RateMyMd, Healthgrades etc., so having an active profile on these will help build good relationships with patients and will also keep you aware of what is being said about you online.
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
Strengthen communication strategy
By reaching out to healthcare consumers online, physicians can create impactful communication channels that can drive patient decisions to their favor. Physicians now need to think like marketers to better understand and participate in digital conversations as these can directly impact their online brand perception and reputation.
Create impactful online communities
An online community is an interactive platform where the two-way conversations can serve marketing goals for your practice, such as connecting with patients/potential patients, fostering innovation, providing interactive support and building brand equity. Successful online communities can be created on many social media platforms by responding to tweets, lively discussions on LinkedIn, replying to messages and comments on your Facebook page or creating pages for discussion on special topics on all these platforms or your website.
Plan an effective SEO strategy
SEO is the most important part of an Internet marketing strategy that helps to draw more website traffic and improve search engine rankings. It involves thorough knowledge and smart use of keywords along with content optimization as the essential ingredients to ensure a website is positioned better. SEO is quite cost-effective compared to other marketing strategies that can help generate a generous return on investment, thereby cutting down on marketing costs. Build your brand equity to prevent your website from being buried by your competitors in the search engines.
It high time for you to strategically plan the course of your online marketing plan if you want to succeed. Staying competitive in your marketplace is the key to attracting new patients. Connecting with healthcare consumers means letting patients know that you are willing and able to care for them. Your positive online presence does make an impact on your digital reputation, the main prism through which patients see you. Patients are eager to find a true healthcare advocate for their healthcare needs, and healthcare marketing unlocks doors for many opportunities that allow you to give them a welcome invitation.