How to Market Your Healthcare Facility and Stand Out Online
Attracting patients online, especially in a competitive market, can be tough. In my previous blog, I discussed how online consumerism has changed and how potential patients are conducting their research online.
Attracting patients online, especially in a competitive market, can be tough. In my previous blog, I discussed how online consumerism has changed and how potential patients are conducting their research online. Online research includes both search engines and social media, as long as the information they’re finding is trustworthy and answering their questions.
In this blog, I’m going to provide 5 high-level tips on marketing your healthcare facility to get your practice showing up everywhere potential patients are searching. Let’s get started.
1. It’s all about the website.
If you don’t currently have a website for your practice, or it’s so outdated it doesn’t work, you’re going to want to begin developing a new and strategic website. What do I mean by strategic? Let me explain.
A strategic website should act as your marketing hub. It’s well-thought out and proving out your marketing goals. When configured correctly, a strategic website can be the highest performing marketing initiative you have.
Here are some must-haves for a strategic website:
Appealing design and easy-to-navigate pages - Think of your website as the welcome mat to your practice. For many users, it will be the first thing they stumble upon, so naturally, you’re going to want to make a good impression with a welcoming design. Typically, when prospective patients turn towards search engines, they’re searching for something or someone in specific, and they’re wanting information as quickly as possible. Make sure your website is structured fluidly so users can easily and quickly discover the information they’re searching. P.S. Don’t overlook optimizing your design for mobile searchers. Mobile is just as important as desktop optimization.
Practice information - Your website must contain the location(s) of your practice, phone number, and map/directions. I don’t know about you, but when I’m looking for a dentist, I’m going to want the closest one to my home or job. I’m not willing to drive two-hours for a teeth-cleaning. Imagine a prospective patient being in the market for a routine teeth-cleaning, performing an online search, discovering your practice, and calling to book an appointment. Sounds great right? But when they call to make an appointment, they find out you’re in an entirely different state! This can easily be remedied by providing all the information on your website, upfront. This way, you’re only bringing in leads who are relevant to your market.
Call-to-actions (CTA) - When a prospective patient is on your website, it’s important to think about the action you’d like them to take. Do you want them to book an appointment, fill out a contact form, call your phone number, etc.,? Your CTA can vary throughout your site depending on the context of the page. Also, make sure what you’re asking of them is relevant to the information you’re providing on the page. This will help maximize conversions.
Content, content, content - Developing content may be one of the hardest parts of configuring a strategic website, but it’s one of the most important. Users want trustworthy and educational content. If I’m in the market for a plastic surgery procedure, I will want to learn more about what to expect, typical length of the procedure, and of course pricing. I’m wanting to be educated. Content should be focused around answering questions. When content is developed around this strategy, readers gain a sense of reassurance and associate your practice as a credible expert. One thing to note, you should consistently publish and revise content. It’s not a one-and-done type of configuration task. Have a new tool you’re using for procedures? Make sure your website is up to date with that information.
2. Search engine optimization (SEO)
Once you have a website set up, ensuring it’s search engine friendly is vital. You will want to think through both on-page and off-page SEO contributors as well.
Here are some best-practices for on-page SEO (factors on your website you control):
Content relevance and keywords - In conjunction with your content strategy, your content should rank for materials relevant to your industry, topics, and competitors. You should also formulate a keyword strategy to guide you through content building. Be careful not to keyword stuff. Google’s algorithm rewards relevant content and punishes keyword stuffers.
Tag, tag, tag - On every page of your site, you have page title tags, meta description tags, header tags (H1, H2’s) and more. Best practice is to optimize those tags to be as relevant as possible. These tags tell Google what your page is all about.
Structure and foundation - During the development process of your site, make sure you’re building out optimized URLs relevant to the page it’s directing to, and ideally, include one to two keywords. Though having an optimally-built and appropriately tagged website is a great start to stand out from your online competition, make sure you don’t overlook your website’s loading speed. When consumers are searching for information, they want information quickly. If your page takes too long to load, the user will leave and find another page that loads quicker.
Here are some best-practices for off-page SEO (external factors to your website or social media success):
Domain authority - The more content you have, ranking with high-quality keywords and relevant tags, the more authority your page will have and the higher it will rank organically (non-paid). The higher it ranks, the more traffic you’ll receive, but you’ll also potentially beat out your competitors’ organic ranking. Your goal is to be anywhere on page 1 of organic search results, since the majority of online users don’t click on to page 2. The first organic search result is ideal, or at least in the top three.
Social - I’ll touch more on how to be successful with social media marketing below, but social sharing and reputation play a strong factor in off-page SEO and authority building, so be sure you’re active on social media and adding sharing icons to your website’s pages.
3. Local listing
Remember the example I shared above about the dentist being out of state? Having your practice listed on Google My Business (GMB) is also important to avoid such situations. GMB is great for establishing local traffic. Adding this listing will help potential patients find your practice… and help you stand out from your competition.
4. Video marketing
To really stand out from your competition, you should invest in video marketing. A great way to use video marketing is with customer testimonials. Clients like to see success stories and being able to see real-life stories builds trust and credibility. You could go about videos in two ways. One, you could offer a testimonials page on your website where you display the video gallery. Another option is to create a YouTube channel for your practice. You could also offer educational content via videos in addition to success stories; explaining how a certain treatment is administered. Here’s a great resource for optimizing a YouTube channel for higher visibility.
5. Social media
Social media provides another method of visibility and credibility to your practice. The goal of social media marketing should be to maintain contact with your followers and increase engagement. If you think social media isn’t important to standing out from your competitors, think again… 57% of patients choose their PCP based on social media presence alone. A great start to leveraging social media is to share the content you’ve already created for your website, such as, procedure expectations, success stories, or blogs. You can also look into seasonal posts, such as, tips for withstanding flu season.
So there you have it! 5 high-level tips on marketing your healthcare facility and standing out online. If you’d like to dive deeper into any of these topics, contact us! We love providing expert online marketing guidance for healthcare professionals.
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