From hospitals to dentists, from vision care to urgent care, healthcare systems of all sizes face ongoing challenges in attracting new patients. The way patients find healthcare providers has changed, and your organization’s marketing strategy needs to evolve, too.
Strategic use of digital marketing can help to ensure a steady stream of patients into your waiting rooms. Here’s what you need to know.
How Patients Find Healthcare Providers
More than 80 percent of internet users have searched for a health-related issue online, CNBC reports. Whether seeking a primary care provider, specialist or dentist, or looking for treatment for a particular condition, consumers tend to start with a general internet search.
Insurance company websites, healthcare contentwebsites (such as WebMD) and healthcare provider listing sites (such as ZocDoc) are other tools that consumers employ when they need help finding a provider or seeking treatment.
With many online resources available to divert potential patient web traffic, you can’t just rely on patients to do a direct search for your healthcare system’s website, nor rely on a static website to attract patients in local markets. Instead, you need a comprehensive digital marketing strategy to attract patients in need and convert patient traffic into appointments.
Driving Potential Patients To Your Website
Attract and convert new patients with these key digital marketing tactics:
Localize your web presence. A convenient location is important for more than 50% of patients when choosing a doctor. While including a list of your office locations on a single organization-level website can help attract local traffic, it is paramount that all of your locations get listed on online directories like Google My Business.
Google My Business listings are almost always found at the top of search queries like “dentist in my neighborhood” or “doctor near me”. Thus, it is essential that you get all ofyour office locations claimed on the largest online directories, and that each of those listings are consistently managed. It helps even further if your locations have their own unique web page or microsite.
Use SEO keyword optimization to get found online. Some 92.3% of healthcare companies using inbound tactics such as search engine keyword optimization enjoy increased site traffic, Healthcare Business & Technology reports. To fully capitalize on search traffic, your website should be optimized for search using keywords patients are likely to use. A provider’s accepted insurance plans and experience with particular treatments are the top factors patients consider in choosing a provider, according to the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Keywords should include the insurance plans your system accepts and the medical specialties of the team at each location.
Enhance your SEO with pay-per-click advertising. The combination of PPC and SEO can work hand-in-hand to increase visibility in search engines and drive prospective patients to your system’s and providers’ websites. For instance, Web for Enterprise’s Google-certified analysts can create Google AdWords campaigns on a national or a hyperlocal scale to display only to consumers in specific neighborhoods or ZIP codes.
Make your website mobile-friendly. Many patients use smartphones as their primary means of online access. When searching for health providers on their phones, Hitwise reports, 68% of consumers start with a search engine. A mobile-optimized system website not only has SEO benefits, but it allows users to quickly find local providers on their mobile device. A click-to-call feature on individual locations’ sites lets them contact a provider right away.
Partner With Digital Marketing Experts
Working with an experienced digital marketing partner can help your organization succeed. Here’s what to look for:
· Choose a marketing solutions partner that understands the special needs of healthcare organizations, including how to develop a HIPAA and ADA-compliant web presence.
· Find a partner that can scale solutions and continue to support your healthcare organization as it grows.
Think of your healthcare organization’s digital presence as your "front door" and make it as welcoming as you can. Employing the right digital marketing partner and the right marketing strategy will drive new patients in the door at a healthy pace.