When it comes to marketing, the healthcare industry tends to lag behind others.

Between HIPAA compliance regulations that dictate how patient information is used and stored and FDA restrictions that decide how many healthcare organizations market their products, it can be scary. How do you adapt to changing marketing trends in such a heavily regulated industry?

However, reaching and engaging with today’s tech-savvy patients and physicians means digital marketing is no longer optional for organizations in the healthcare space. It's a necessity.

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For instance, over 90% of healthcare patients source online reviews when looking for providers and professionals, so it's a good idea for healthcare industry participants to have a presence online.

1. Designing a responsive website.

Almost half of patients booking appointments online cite a clunky website or having to wait too long as a pain point. 60% of patients want to be reminded about their appointments on their phones. It's clear a clean digital experience is important — and that starts with having a responsive website.

A responsive website adapts to the screen size of the device being used. Because the elements of the site adjust depending on the aspect ratio of the browser, content is easier to read and navigate. Instead of a patient trying to navigate a clunky website on their phone, a responsive website would make that page cleaner.

Additionally, managing an efficient site allows healthcare organizations to focus on developing a strong web strategy, one that increases visibility, reach, and conversions. This is all while decreasing expenditures and effort.

2. SEO best practices across web pages.

It is crucial that your organization develops a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that allows you to be found when a potential customer conducts an online search.

There's high competition for search traffic. For example, if a nearby hospital has a more effective SEO strategy than yours, it will appear higher in organic search results than yours. A highly targeted SEO strategy increases your overall web presence.

Research keywords to find the ones that patients, physicians and healthcare professionals might be using to search for your organization. Similar Keyword tools, like Ahrefs, help you determine the competition surrounding key healthcare industry buzzwords. For example, should you optimize for “Phoenix Arizona cardiologist” or “Phoenix Arizona heart physician”?

Additionally, add an FAQ section on your website. Include general questions about your practice and doctors, but also take some time to point out symptoms patients might be experiencing.

For instance, A question could be: "Do I have glaucoma?" and the answer would describe the symptoms and end with an optometrist's phone number to schedule an appointment, since glaucoma requires a medical diagnosis. This common question most likely shows up on Google a lot, along with "symptoms of glaucoma."

Having the information about glaucoma on your website gives you a chance of ranking highly in Google's Featured Snippet section, which is often the very first search result.

Choose a relevant keyword for each of your website’s pages, including social and blog posts, as well as other content your organization publishes. These keywords should not be set in stone — analysis of keyword performance and adaptation are key, especially due to Google’s constant updates.

3. Having a fine-tuned content marketing strategy.

It's nearly impossible to build a successful SEO strategy without the right content. To succeed in today’s developing healthcare industry, companies need to constantly produce new content that gets them found and surfaces leads.

This content will improve your search engine rankings and drive new traffic to your website. Additionally, it will nurture leads throughout the sales flywheel, encouraging them to visit your practice or hospital for their healthcare needs.

Create content that facilitates a personalized experience for consumers. Think outside the blog and newsletter to more diverse ways you can delight your audience. For instance, what content will nurture your leads as they progress through their journey?

A CTA at the end of email updates that reminds patients to check out your new blog post or social posts that include important practice information or compelling industry stats are simple ways you can engage patients. Additionally, offers of trial size versions of products, like glasses cleaner or free toothpaste, keep your name in their thoughts.

For instance, do you have a chatbot on your website that can answer frequently asked questions 24/7? Think of how you can create quick explanations of what you offer or ways to keep up your health at home.

Check out this resource on developing a content strategy. Above all, make sure your content is properly optimized and encrypted for security.

4. Making your website Google-friendly.

When I have a healthcare concern, I go straight to Google. I try to self-diagnose — or least, put my mind at ease. Some days, my queries are some of the billion Google gets every day related to healthcare.

Most queries don't end in a question mark, now that Google has begun to suggest answers based on an uncompleted query. While this is great for speed, it's a hindrance to healthcare businesses that answer questions on their website. Don't panic, though: You can still optimize your business so you show up on Google.

First, create a Google Business Profile via Google My Business. This profile provides a snapshot of your business at a glance. It allows you to enter vital information customers want to see, such as location, price range, and website, in a snapshot:

Google My Business profile showing up as a search result

It's important to fill this section out so organic searches, like "optometrists near me," can locate your page if your business is within range. Additionally, your business can start obtaining online reviews, so your happy customers can explain what they love about your company.

Once your profile is set up, use keywords on your website so it has a chance of ranking higher for search queries.

5. Including multimedia to incite action.

Do you have any videos about your company? Whether you have video or plan on investing in a video strategy in the future, let's strategize a few ways you can include video on your website to encourage visitors to book an appointment or sign up for an offer. The first, and most likely easiest, are conversational videos explaining common issues within your profession.

Filming a video that concludes with, "Schedule a consultation in 10 minutes!" presents a strong call to action (CTA). If that CTA is hyperlinked to the page for booking appointments, it would be easy for someone already thinking about your service to book from where they are watching.

Throw on your white coat, pick a background, and explain the healthcare concern or the process for doing something safely. I always struggled with putting in contacts, but a video explaining the process, from an optometrist, would be incredible.

In the future, I would consider seeking out the same doctor that gave a tutorial online, because I'd already been introduced to them. That being said, don’t forget to make an introduction video.

What is your practice, who are the staff, and where are you located? This video can live on a YouTube page, your website, and any social media page. If you provide helpful resources in the video, like where you practice, contact information, and hours of operation, you answer questions a visitor might already have, eliminating the need to search for extra resources before seeking an appointment.

For a few quick videos, you don't need to have the fanciest equipment. If you have a smartphone, you can still produce a high-quality video. Find out how to ace video marketing, in this post.

6. Making practice accessible online.

The accessibility of your business counts everywhere, not just on Google. For example, do all of the professionals at your practice have a WebMD profile? It's not just a website for queries and symptoms anymore; Now, doctors can have their own public profile to answer questions and promote their practice.

WebMD Doctor profile example

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Healthcare consumers access WebMD to find a diagnosis for their symptoms. Now they follow a similar process when searching for doctors and providers.

In addition to a Google Business profile, consider creating a Facebook Business profile so you can have a Facebook snapshot of your practice. Your Facebook account can serve as a vehicle for finding new patients, asking general questions, and posting interesting stats, videos, or new blog posts as posts.

Consider this business profile from Harvard Square Eye Care. The posts serve as updates for the practice, and helpful contact details are listed on the right of the page:

Harvard Square Eye Care's Facebook Business page

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Simple, visually stunning graphics are perfect for a social media feed. Facebook is the second most widely-used social media platform, and over half of its users check the website multiple times a day, so you can find numerous new patients from Facebook.

Facebook Business is pretty intuitive to set up and use, and offers plenty of walkthroughs to get the most out of your account. Click here for more resources.

Finally, think about how to make appointments more accessible. Can you offer consultations online? Is booking online a clear option?

If you can add an online component to your practice to boost accessibility, do so. Clients, old and new, will appreciate the steps you've taken to cater to their needs. For instance, maybe transportation isn't as secure for a client and they need a virtual consultation — that could be the deciding factor between your practice and a competitor's.

New trends in healthcare marketing can turn into mainstays. If you can visualize any of these changes becoming permanent, maybe they're the boost your marketing plan needs. Take time to think about these trends and pick a couple you can commit to rolling out soon.

That way, you'll have a list of goals to plan for when the time comes to revamp your strategy. But, as always, keep your customers in mind, and think about what will serve them best.

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Originally published Jun 17, 2020 3:00:00 PM, updated June 17 2020

Topics:

Marketing Strategy