Let’s Dive into Online Healthcare Lead Generation And The Six Keys to Online Marketing Success:
Medicine is a vibrant, organic field. It evolves constantly as new practices cut their red ribbons and patients migrate between doctors. One revolutionary facet has churned up more change in the industry than any other: Google. A Pew Research study found that 83% of patients run Google searches on their health queries before visiting a doctor. Twenty-one percent hunt for doctors or hospitals online, so no practice can afford to ignore digital marketing. The modern practice is a branded one requiring the same marketing smarts as any other industry. There are six vital elements of a powerful campaign:
Pay per Click (PPC) Marketing
Pay per click marketing should be right at the top of your priority list. It generates an 11% click-through rate, earning $2 of income for every $1 invested. If you can push that ad to the first position on your Google search, you’ll earn 5% more than your rivals. Google visibility is the golden ticket to profit bliss, and if there’s anything PPC ads can do, it’s stand out. The search titan has created a highly effective tool to reduce your ad spend. As its name suggests, you only pay for your clicks.
Other digital marketing tools are demanding on your patience, requiring consistent input over time to gain rank, but PPC provides overnight success. It’s the generous Secret Santa of marketing tools because you get what you want the second you remove the wrapping. The tool is, nonetheless, only as effective as you make it. Keyword research and compelling content will stretch your reach, then amplify your message. Patients hunt for healthcare facilities near their homes, so a successful PPC medical marketing campaign also needs to be geotargeted.
SEO and Content Marketing
Every week, Google updates its algorithms – the technology it uses to decide which websites to place at the top of search results. That’s why the web’s most successful businesses pump more money into search engine optimization (SEO) than any other form of marketing, and so must you if you want to succeed. Healthcare practices on the first page of Google receive 92% of the traffic related to that search. There’s no need to overcomplicate SEO, though.
Google has responded to unethical SEO strategies by releasing the Penguin and Hummingbird algorithms, which have improved content quality standards dramatically. For that reason, a talented writing team can achieve the same SEO results as a campaign that includes links, keywords, and website sculpting, and that’s Google’s entire point — to replicate human interest and work out what kind of content attracts it. The only way to win lasting rank is by earning it organically, and you can only achieve that by developing engaging content.
Google will quickly detect shallow and manipulative SEO tricks, but you still need to practice a few good habits:
- Identify the keywords that are driving traffic in your industry, then use them to optimize your site.
- Use reputable links and earn social shares.
- Include content that has real depth.
- Stay up to date on Google’s algorithm updates so that your content is always search engine friendly.
- Use Geotargeting
- Include YouTube-shared clips to collect video-related traffic.
- Optimize for voice search by using questions and long tail keywords in your content.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
90% of Millennials and 77% of Generation X are active on social media. Few industries have achieved the market penetration social networks have, and all the best businesses are in on the trend. Facebook and Twitter are more than just social sharing tools. They are analytics-driven platforms with inbuilt customer service features. A well-maintained Facebook page can incorporate AI-driven bot support, drive traffic to your website, and zoom in on social chatter about your practice. It doesn’t get more powerful than that, but they aren’t the sole stomping ground of consumerism. They have the power to engage and educate patients.
Written content is the most preferred medium on social media. Add reviews and listening tools to your kit, and you can engage existing patients who are talking about your practice online, building your brand in the process. Now that’s power.
A Facebook page will improve your patient retention rates by creating a platform for engagement. It will also bring you free analytics, fuelling further campaigns on and off social media. PwC found that just short of half of those collecting health information on social media read reviews before connecting with a medical practitioner. Facebook, it seems, is a popular medium for doctor-hunting, with 80% of members using it for that purpose.
Outbound marketing delivers an ROI of 122%, four times that of any other online marketing channel. It’s particularly powerful in the healthcare industry, where patients are actively seeking information. The sector has a median open rate of 21%, representing some of the highest click-through rates of any industry.
Email marketing is an exciting way to engage your patients and keep your brand relevant to their lives. Appointment reminders and industry news are perfect opportunities to attract traffic and stay at the front of your patients’ minds. Outbound channels are effective enough on their own, but automation has turbo-charged them. Artificial intelligence has become so good at generating natural language that it can be used to write unique emails for every one of your patients.
E-commerce titan, eBay, uses the technology to engage with clients along the buying funnel. The system sends out unique emails that are personalized according to what customers bought when and what their interests are. Doctors and healthcare practices rarely consider the sales funnel’s role in their marketing, but it’s integral to creating an email campaign. A website funnel is a tool that helps you to draw patients a step closer to becoming repeat clients. It prevents lead leakage and drives your outbound and social media tactics at each stage of lead generation. A digital sales funnel follows six stages:
- Exposure: Introducing your brand to patients and establishing trust. At this stage, you should focus on educating and creating brand awareness.
- Discovery: Your patient learns why they should choose you or your practice. Middle-of-the-funnel marketing must create a meaningful connection and introduce patients to your team. Reviews and doctor interviews can help to push patients between discovery and conversion.
- Conversion: The patient completes the desired outcome, whether that means making an appointment, signing up for a newsletter, or engaging in further marketing efforts.
- Patient relationship: Now that your patient has engaged with your practice, it’s time to turn them into repeat visitors. Bottom-of-the-funnel engagement includes using online appointment tools, submission forms, and other customer service tools.
- Retention: Service excellence ensures that your patients always have positive experiences with your brand, both online and off.
Your sales funnel should act as the guiding light of your email campaign, even if you’re relying on human marketers rather than digital ones. Choosing the right medium for every stage of the client journey creates a more personalized experience for your patients. A segmented patient and email list will take much of the legwork out of your campaign.
Content is the skeleton of your entire strategy, sneaking into every discipline from email marketing to SMM. Seventy-two percent of marketers say content marketing boosts their lead numbers and improves engagement, but it has a different role to play in the healthcare space where education is integral to treatment success. In this field, content can improve medical outcomes and develop patient empowerment. Marketing is a secondary concern, but every swathe of text you produce has SEO value. Quality content can push you all the way to the top of your search results and gather enough traffic to fuel your practice. With 50% of clicks going to the top three Google results, content is essential to your success. It should include:
- White papers
- Blog posts
- Website copy
- Explainer videos
- Email content.
All should be keyword optimized and geotargeted, but the highest priority of all is quality. If your videos and posts are relevant, newsworthy, and engaging, they will hit those Google Penguin sweet spots without fail. Just like your email campaign, your content must address every part of your sales funnel, from improving awareness to building trust.
Instituting a digital marketing campaign with a dysfunctional or sloppy website is like advertising with an empty store. No matter how much traffic you attract, your ultimate result will be underwhelming. Your website design is often the first point of contact with patients, and first impressions count. Your site aesthetics must be saturated by your brand identity and be intuitive to navigate on desktops and phones alike. Every element of your marketing campaign ends in a website click, and one glitch can chase away your leads in mere seconds.
Your site is right at the end of your patient sales funnel, engaging interested patients and improving retention rates. It should tell your site visitors why they should choose you and how they can kick off your relationship.
A holistic marketing strategy will increase your reach and help you to stay in touch with your patients. In today’s globalized world, the only way to stay ahead is through a powerful online presence, and developing one is easier than you might think.
Author Bio: This article was written by Niall Hally of Village Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic. Niall has recently carried out an extensive digital marketing campaign to promote his business.