In the past, health services were deeply rooted in tradition, where physicians and medical practitioners relied on firmly established advertising techniques, like print, TV, radio, referrals, and so on. As a result, providers can manage a profitable patient pipeline just by being able to provide care services. However, with the internet and evolving consumer behavior, you need a comprehensive digital marketing plan to attract new patients and grow your practice.
Table of Contents
- 1. Audit Your Healthcare Website
- 2. Focus on Patient Centricity
- 3. Claim and Optimize Your Google Business Profile
- 4. Connect With Patients Via Social Media
- 5. Boost Your Local Search Presence with SEO
- 6. Invest in Paid Search Advertising
- 7. Manage Your Online Reputation
- 8. Leverage Video Marketing on TikTok
Today, modern patients are more in-tuned with their roles as healthcare consumers. Armed with the power of the internet, patients are empowered to take control and find information about their healthcare–from their symptoms to potential treatments to nearby providers. This highlights the importance of adopting digital solutions for successful audience engagements.
Modern health advertising is more than just selling your medical products and services; you must find new ways to reach and engage with your patient base. Below are time-tested healthcare advertising tactics for increasing patient volume and achieving growth targets.
1. Audit Your Healthcare Website
You can’t succeed in health advertising without a solid foundation. This is where your healthcare website comes in. Like your physical locations, such as clinics and health centers, your digital presence must have a firm footing to grow. For most patients, your medical website will be their first interaction with your brand, and it’s a golden chance to make a great first impression.
As such, you need a well-optimized website that makes it easy to convert visitors into patients and rank well on search engines like Google. What makes good web design? Consider the following factors when auditing your website:
- Design: Simply put, your medical website must look professional, modern, and good-looking. Otherwise, you’ll lose patients before they even step inside your clinic. 38% of users say they won’t bother engaging with a poorly-designed website.
- User experience: Although the design of your website is crucial, you’re not doing your brand any favors with a website that’s hard to use, understand, or navigate. This means you should have intuitive layouts, pages with consistent branding, clear menus, easy-to-read fonts, and original professional images.
- Content: While it’s true that content is still king, avoid doing content just for the sake of it. Create content with patient-centricity in mind, meaning you should strive to provide real-world value to visitors through your content and messaging. A solid content library will help establish trust and credibility toward your brand.
- Site speed: Did you know that 1 in 4 visitors will leave if a website takes more than 4 seconds to load? The longer the pages load, the more the bounce rates skyrocket. And higher bounce rates tell Google that users don’t find your website useful, so your SEO will also suffer. Use tools like PageSpeed Insights to audit your web pages’ speed.
- Mobile-friendliness: In 2023, mobile devices like smartphones account for 60.67% of all web traffic, highlighting the importance of a mobile-friendly website. Employ responsive design to ensure your website displays properly, regardless of where it’s viewed.
2. Focus on Patient Centricity
In a consumer-driven healthcare market where patients want to be engaged, you need a patient-centric marketing campaign based on your target audience’s unique medical needs and preferences.
With patient-centric marketing, you aim to engage and provide value to your patients by educating them. This is where high-quality educational content shines. Your content strategy must involve informative medical content, such as information about specific illnesses, diseases, or things people can expect about the services/treatments you provide.
Focusing on patient-centricity will put your practice in a better position to engage your patients, enabling them to trust your brand and hopefully convert.
3. Claim and Optimize Your Google Business Profile
Like many healthcare providers, your practice likely relies on attracting patients within your geographical area. Having said that, one of the most effective ways to boost your local presence is Google Business Profile or GBP. This SERP (search engine results page) feature doesn’t just impact your search rankings, but it’s also the first thing potential patients may see when searching for a local provider.
GBP is essentially a local listing tied to your physical location, like a dental office or outpatient clinic, and it’s how Google validates your practice. Optimizing your GBP listing is relatively straightforward; you just need to provide accurate and timely information about your practice, such as:
- Name of practice
- Phone number
- Business hours
- Email address
- Appointment link
- Photo of your facility and staff
- Short description of your practice
In addition, you can further optimize your GBP by adding a section for frequently asked questions or FAQs. You can include questions commonly asked by your patients, like accepted insurance, payment options, and availability. Finally, make it SOP to ask patients to leave reviews through your Google profile.
4. Connect With Patients Via Social Media
Social media is an incredible way to reach and connect with patients and attract more people to your healthcare brand. Although there’s no shortage of social media platforms to choose from, you don’t have to join them all. The most important thing here is to be present in platforms relevant to your ideal patient personas.
Once you categorize your patient personas, you’ll determine who they are, what they have in common, and their challenges. After honing in on your relevant patient personas, you’ll know exactly where they find healthcare information and advice. This is important because 90% of Americans use social media to find healthcare information instead of talking to their primary care physician.
Aside from community building and patient engagement, you can leverage social media for paid social advertising. For example, you can use Facebook Ads to send funnel-based messaging strategies to reach patients and send them the right message at the right time, depending on where they are on the funnel.
5. Boost Your Local Search Presence with SEO
Despite brand consolidations and private equity acquisitions, healthcare has always been a local service at its core. As such, healthcare marketers require a comprehensive and scalable local SEO strategy to build their local organic search presence and attract new patients.
Use Geographical Keywords
For starters, your marketing team needs a geographical keyword strategy. Geographical or location-based keywords are generally bottom of funnel (BOF) keywords. These high-intent keywords target people who are a few steps away from booking an appointment or visiting your physical location. Some examples of high-intent geographical keywords are:
- best cardiologist fort worth tx
- 24 hour animal hospital jacksonville fl
- Skagit valley wa hospital nutrition
- Aba therapy near me
- cancer screening program Atlanta ga
- kaiser permanente adhd screening
When selecting the keywords to optimize, go for solution-aware keywords that align with your specialty services and treatments and your accepted insurance programs. Optimizing for high-intent keywords will help capture highly qualified leads ready for their first appointment.
Create Geo-Targeted Websites and Landing Pages
When it comes to healthcare, patients want personalized experiences. And when they search for a local provider, they want to know about location-specific information, not just generic content. Patients who don’t find what they’re looking for will bounce off your website.
People want a good experience when browsing a landing page. In this scenario, the algorithm will determine that your website or landing page isn’t the best match for the patient’s search intent, severely impacting your search rankings. On a related note, we see one of the most common relevancy mismatches when companies link their ads to generic home or service pages.
Thus, multi-location healthcare groups should invest in developing individual geo-optimized websites and landing pages for each location. The characteristics of a good landing page experience include the following:
- Follows up on the “promises” on the ads
- Speaks to patient motivations and their challenges
- Answers relevant questions and creates clarity
- Provides a clear path to conversion
- Provides a fast and intuitive browsing experience
Invest in these dedicated, well-optimized pages, boost your local search presence, and improve patient engagement through personalized, high-quality digital experiences.
6. Invest in Paid Search Advertising
A fully-realized local SEO campaign with a robust PPC or Google Ads campaign with high-intent, location-based keywords are a match made in heaven. Paid search remains one of the fastest ways for providers to put their practice in front of high-value leads–aka potential patients searching for health services.
Choose the Appropriate Account Structure
Nowadays, Google Ads are driven mainly by automated bidding systems. Instead of relying on human input, marketers leverage automation for more optimized and strategic bids. However, you can’t just set your campaign to auto-pilot and expect your campaign to take off. A suitable account structure is what you need to take advantage of Smart Bidding fully.
We’ve had great success with hybrid accounts for multi-location healthcare organizations because it gives us the best characteristics of segmented and consolidated ad groups. Better budget control and hyper-targeted audience from segmentation? Check. Maximized ad impressions like with consolidated accounts? Absolutely!
Align Keywords with Patient Journey Funnel
Successful PPC campaigns have implemented the alignment of keywords along the search intent funnel. Are you familiar with Google’s Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)? Modern consumers are more tech-savvy and discerning regarding healthcare providers, so they will research before making an appointment. Afterward, the patient’s journey starts and slowly moves through the funnel.
The idea is to capture and engage patients in each stage of the buyer’s journey, which can be achieved by building a conversion funnel. Your PPC team must create a diverse set of keywords and content that satisfies search intent and meets patient needs along the funnel. If you’re successful, you can send the correct type of message at the right time and to the right audience.
As an example, here’s what your conversion funnel would look like:
- Top of funnel or problem-aware leads: These patients are in the ZMOT research and solution discovery phase. They have concerns about their health (e.g., chronic pain, anxiety episodes, etc.) but can’t tell if they need to see a medical professional yet. In this phase, your ads should incorporate educational keywords like “how to live with chronic pain and depression.”
- Mid-funnel or solution-aware leads: These patients have decided to talk to a physician but are still determining which treatments or services they need. In this phase, target educational keywords about your services or treatments, like “what happens at your first pain management appointment.”
- Bottom of funnel or product-aware leads: These patients are ready to see a doctor and are ripe for conversion. This is where you can utilize high-intent keywords of location identifiers, such as “pain management doctors horizon nj health.”
7. Manage Your Online Reputation
It’s time to stop relying on word of mouth and referrals to attract new patients into your practice. Instead, letting your online reputation speak for your brand would be best. 94% of consumers use online reviews to evaluate healthcare providers, which is a big wake-up call to get your digital reputation in order. Furthermore, 84% of patients trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, so a strong reputation management strategy is vital.
How to Get More Reviews for Your Practice?
The best and most reliable way to generate patient reviews is to simply ask them. I know that asking patients for reviews isn’t rocket science, but you should have SOPs for gathering reviews. For starters, you should train your patient-facing staff members (e.g., receptionists, billing, nurse assistants, etc.) on the best practices for collecting reviews. A good approach is to let patients know how reviews immensely impact your practice. In reality, those who are satisfied with their care will gladly help you and leave a review about their experience.
However, since you’re essentially asking patients for a favor, ensure the process of leaving reviews must be as easy and pain-free as possible. For starters, provide options about where patients can leave their reviews, including your GBP listing, website, follow-up emails, and short surveys. Otherwise, not many people will be compelled to provide feedback.
In addition, organizations should devise a response plan to online feedback. Designate a team to monitor all conversations about your brand and determine your practice’s positions regarding positive and negative feedback. For positive reviews, you can thank the reviewer for entrusting you with their care.
It gets more tricky with negative reviews, but don’t shy away from responding to them. Apologize for the poor experience or discomfort caused by the incident, and explain your side with a firm but apologetic tone. Then, thank the reviewer for their feedback and the opportunity to address a potential issue. Responding to and managing negative reviews can potentially double patient satisfaction.
8. Leverage Video Marketing on TikTok
When it comes to engaging content, the video format remains one of the best storytelling mediums. Video marketing is your best bet if you want to get people’s attention and drive engagement.
With more than a billion active users, TikTok is one the largest and most active social media platforms today – and it happens to be an excellent network for video marketing. Although TikTok is known for fun, short, and entertaining content, it has evolved into a legitimate video marketing platform.
But why TikTok?
TikTok has filled the gap left by Meta by providing robust options for connecting and engaging patients and care provider communities. For starters, TikTok is by far the most engaging social media platform, with an average session length of 10.85 minutes. Plus, it offers one thing that other social media platforms don’t – native targeting options available to health advertisers.
With TikTok advertising, you can produce creative videos designed to engage patients at every step of the buyer journey. The key is to create authentic content that resonates with your audience and showcases your personality. Plus, you can always repurpose your TikTok content for other platforms since they play off each other so well.
One of the best ways to approach TikTok advertising is by activating disease state awareness (DSA) campaigns. Since brand advertising is still limited on the platform, your practice can shine through DSA content which is permissible by TikTok.
Developing a fully-realized health advertising campaign is more than daunting, it’s a challenge. However, you can start your campaign by adopting the strategies outlined above. Regardless of the strategy you wish to adopt for growing your practice, remember that your patients should always be the focus.