There’s a paradigm shift in the medical community, as doctors present themselves online more and more. The content created and shared, like the expertise a patient receives in person, must be both legitimate and comprehensive.
Digital marketing for doctors starts with the medical practice website, and optimizing your site is the key to patient engagement, search rankings and lead generation.
First, think about the purpose of your website.
Many practices present a “brochure” website, which is sufficient for necessary information but is usually a user dead-end for patient engagement. If you want to use it for lead generation (and you should be), the website needs direction and tending if it’s to help grow your practice.
Here are nine things to consider when creating a robust marketing strategy for your doctor’s office:
Did you know your About page is the second most visited page behind the homepage on most small business sites? But all too often, it’s also the most ignored.
You have a big opportunity on your About page and Service pages to encourage your prospective patients to take the next step with you.
Most practices take this for granted. They present their information and leave it at that. Instead, we’ve found the best thing to do is to literally tell your visitors the next action to take. Where to click, who to call/email or what page to visit next.
Never leave a visitor wondering what action to take when they reach the bottom of a page. Always give them the next step to take with a call-to-action on every page.
Digital marketing for doctors is just like marketing anything else. If you don’t give the next step, your patients won’t their way down your marketing funnel.
Creating content that doesn’t sound like a medical journal can be tricky. However, it is achievable and will set you apart.
You need to start with your unique voice and approach and remember, above all, to whom you are speaking. Block out a chunk of time to brainstorm solely content ideas (whether you’re creating marketing ideas as a chiropractor, dermatologist, or another type of healthcare provider) to keep laser-focused on your target audience.
People want a physician who understands their problems and anticipates questions and concerns. Copying the text from vendor brochures won’t work long-term. It has to come from you.
“Our goal with Fluxe was to increase conversions from local organic traffic on our website while lowering our cost per lead. Since we started, organic traffic has become our largest source of new patients and our cost per lead has decreased as they continue to build high-quality content. We’ve enjoyed our relationship with the Fluxe team and look forward to our future growth together.”
– Dr. Todd Plott, Owner, Dermatology Alliance
Google has implemented new algorithm updates that penalize health practitioners’ websites if the site doesn’t demonstrate clear authority to talk about medical topics. We discussed it a little our content refresh post here, but we’ll spare you the technical details for now.
If you aren’t writing in a way that is backed up by facts, doesn’t sound professional, or isn’t helpful, your rankings can tank. The penalties are long-lasting as well. It sometimes takes up to six months to self-correct information Google deems sub-par.
The final step here is to make your credentials as clear as possible on your website. A detailed author box linking back to an author page with a full bio and links to published material on other medical sites makes it easier to see that you and your content have the authority the search engine is looking for.
In this way, digital marketing for doctors is easier than some other niches. Because you spent so many years in medical school, the high-authority content you create is just what Google wants to offer its users.
What happens to a reader who finds your content compelling but isn’t quite ready to commit to your services?
Well, one of two things will happen. Either they’ll read a helpful article on your site, then click away, never to be heard from again. Or, they’ll be led to a friendly opt-in on your site that asks for their email. Once they’re on your email list, you can nurture them along until they are ready.
If you don’t guide your visitors, you throw away possible patients. If the only way to reach you is through a contact form, you give up 97% of the prospective patients who visit your site to your competitors. Ouch.
Remember, just because someone doesn’t reach out to you immediately doesn’t mean they won’t further down the line. Digital marketing for doctors can be a slower process than for a business selling impulse purchases, for example. So keep leads in your ecosystem by providing engaging, targeted content, and when they’re ready to act, you’ll be the first practice that comes to mind.
Most medical practices tend to list their services in the same way the doctors learned them, like a textbook.
But this isn’t your audience. The real goal of your service pages is to help your prospective patients make a choice to reach out to you and reaffirm their choice if they’ve chosen you.
When done right, you can decrease the amount of questions you get from patients if you educate them with what they’re looking for ahead of time through your service pages
Think of all the questions your staff gets on a given week and address those issues in your content. Anticipate your patients’ needs, and you’ll establish authority and trust quickly.
A comprehensive digital marketing strategy for doctors multiplies all aspects of a doctor’s practice, from press mentions to Google rankings to establishing yourself as a thought leader.A comprehensive digital marketing strategy multiplies all aspects of a doctor's practice, from press mentions to Google rankings to establishing yourself as a thought leader. Click To Tweet
When you take the time to educate your audience enough to build a connection, the likelihood of referrals increases exponentially.
For example, say there are two doctors in the same region whose skill levels have parity. But one doc has zero digital marketing other than a generic brochure website. The other doctor has a thoughtfully presented, interactive site that is chock full of engaging content and undeniable authority. Which one would be more likely to attract referrals?
Obviously, the patient’s decision is based on more than just a substantial online presence. Still, the lack of anything substantive a consumer can engage in positions a practice at the bottom of the pecking order.
The doctor’s voice and personality should permeate the practice. It is a brand, after all, and continuity is essential.
It’s why our interview process works so well. It captures the doctor’s voice or style and becomes the raw material we use to create content. This conversational approach also acts as a creative filter that adds SEO capabilities while showcasing an individual’s expertise.
Time is a precious commodity for any medical professional, and dedicating one hour a month to content creation with us can result in precise and compelling content that converts.
Building organic traffic for your website gives you a non-stop stream of attention from people interested in your service.
A search-optimized blog gets people who are searching for the services you offer to find your site, rather than just those who have already heard of you through other channels like social media or word-of-mouth recommendations from friends.
SEO is an important part of digital marketing for doctors. When it comes to SEO, your blog is the most impactful part of a doctor’s digital marketing strategy. If you post regularly and use keywords relevant to your business in your on-page optimization, you’ll accumulate monthly visitors searching for a service just like yours.
The easiest way to do this is by creating high-quality content that answers questions people might have about what you do and how it can help them.
You can accomplish this goal by writing blog posts about topics related to what you offer as a service or product; topics like “What Is HRT?” Or “How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?” for example
Cadence is key here. Google rewards sites that publish regularly and like clockwork. It doesn’t matter whether you create one post a week or one post per month. The important thing is that you do it consistently, which is tougher than it sounds.
It’s no secret now that online reviews are the point of contact for the vast majority of new patients so, if you’re doing developing yours, you’re losing patients to competitors as you read this very article.
When people search for your name on Google, reviews make crystal clear all the wonderful things you do as a medical practice or doctor’s office.
And if there are bad reviews out there—which happens to everyone—you want to make sure they’ve been responded to so that people can see you’re active and take patient concerns seriously.
For a more detailed guide on reputation management, you can check out our full post here. The main thing though is to request that satisfied patients leave you a review via your Google business page and to monitor the email account linked to that page so you can respond to each review as they come in.
Because a consistent content output is so important to your search rankings, there’s nothing worse than scrambling around last minute to try and think of ideas, draft, edit, add SEO details and images for your post so you don’t miss the publishing deadline.
That’s where a content plan comes in.
A content plan or “content roadmap” is a written document that outlines what content you need to create when it needs to be created, who will create it, and how much time they’ll have to do so.
It also includes a schedule or calendar for when that content will be published and promoted. This helps ensure that your marketing efforts are being focused on the right things at the right times—and helps keep you and/or your team on track throughout the year.
When you know what you’ll be writing out, you’ve got plenty of time for ideas to percolate and opportunities to do a little research. If you add notes to your draft throughout this time, you’ll be able to write a better post and with a lot less stress.
Digital marketing for doctors, or really anyone, is all about planning. When you do all the thinking ahead of time, you’ll have a much easier task building a successful content campaign, so brainstorming and scheduling those ideas is the first task. Check out our free content calendar template. It will save you a ton of time.
Joel Widmer is the Founder & CEO of Fluxe Digital Marketing—a content marketing shop that helps smart businesses create, produce and promote their content through a unique one-on-one interview process. When he’s not working, Joel can be found trying new restaurants with his wife, son, and daughter.