By Mujib Khan
Medical offices across the country are struggling to grow their practices amid the coronavirus pandemic. Some patients are afraid to visit their healthcare providers right now. And, as millions of Americans continue to shelter in their homes, internet usage is skyrocketing. Consider that the Pew Research Center reports 72% of U.S. adults have searched for health information online.
Even in “normal” times, it can be a challenge to know which are the most cost-effective marketing tactics. So, here are a number of digital marketing tactics you can use to promote your practice and increase your patient engagement today.
1. Ensure Your Website is Mobile Friendly.
Mobile accounts for just over half of all web traffic. If your website remains static and isn’t mobile responsive, it likely won’t rank very well with search engines that put a greater emphasis on mobile friendly sites.
2. Create a Blog.
Doctors have a unique perspective and patients want to hear your expertise. As a professional practitioner, you have an inherent authority when it comes to presenting healthcare tips and recommendations. By drafting blog content and creating helpful videos, you can promote your knowledge and connect your online content with patients seeking your advice. Be sure to regularly update your blog with new content. This not only keeps your patients engaged, but it also tells search engines to regularly index your website, which increases your search ranking. If you don’t have time to create original content yourself, you can pay content creators to develop it for you. Just make sure they understand your voice to ensure the content connects with your brand.
3. Engage Your Community In Social Media.
Millions of users continue to flock to social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and emerging platforms like TikTok. You want to create a continuous stream of content on these channels to drive consistent engagement. But, don’t just post it and leave it, comment and communicate with your community. This could mean joining Groups online that speak to your expertise. For example, if you are an orthopedic physician, you could join Running Groups in your area and share tips on how to avoid overuse injuries. This can also be a great way to amplify the reach of your content while making genuine connections in your area.
4. Become a Resource for Local Media.
You local broadcast, print and online news outlets often seek expert sources who can comment on healthcare issues, especially as Americans remain concerned about the coronavirus. But, you don’t need to speak only to the virus. As warmer weather approaches, dermatologists can offer tips on avoiding sun exposure to their local media. Pediatricians can share tips on how to keep kids safe while swimming or the importance of checking the water’s temperature in an outside hose before allowing children to play with it. Veterinarians can provide information on how to ensure the pavement isn’t too hot for a dog’s feet. These kinds of tips can help you demonstrate your expertise and increase your visibility in your community.
5. Leverage Telehealth.
Telemedicine is growing in popularity as patients remain concerned about covid-19. Not only is it an efficient way to provide medical consultations, but it also can help you to expand your patient footprint as you can “meet” with patients in any location. This can be a terrific feature that you can actively promote to your existing patients and to a larger community to attract more patients.
6. List Your Practice in Online Directories.
Listing your practice in online directories can greatly enhance your own website’s search engine ranking and can help you get found by patients who are seeking your services. These can range from search engine listings in Google, Yahoo and Bing to speciality directors and booking platforms.
7. Paid Search Marketing.
Hospitals and medical practices should invest in pay-per-click search optimization through Google and Bing. This is a wise investment as you will only pay for click from people who are actively seeking your services.
8. Utilize Review Sites.
Patient reviews are a terrific way to enhance your practice’s online reputation and describe the quality of care your provide. There are a number of online review sites like HealthGrades and RateMDs. You will also want to explore booking platforms that offer patient reviews.
9. Conduct Patient Surveys.
As you create content and engage in pay-per-click search marketing, it can be helpful to better understand the topics that are of interest to your patients. Conducting a brief survey will provide guidance on the types of content you will create, the keywords you will buy and you can identify any areas for improvement that may be needed.
10. Make Yourself Accessible.
Finally, making sure you patients know how to contact you and where to send questions is a crucial factor in providing positive patient service and building strong relationships. Whether it’s through an EHR system to share health records or just providing an email address that you check regularly, providing consistent patient communication is a great way to stay in touch. Just make sure you use HIPAA-compliant email accounts or contact forms.
Mujib Khan is VP of Strategy for DocNow.