Just as the digital revolution has changed the way consumers purchase goods and services, it’s also changing the way people seek out healthcare information – including finding medical professionals.
If your practice is still tied to traditional (and fading) “outbound” marketing tactics, like direct mail, outdoor boards and Yellow Pages, you could be missing out on valuable new leads. Consider these findings from a 2014 healthcare marketing whitepaper published by Smith & Jones:
Consumers are using online resources to search for information on medical conditions, treatments and care providers.
From Baby Boomer to Millennial, consumers are increasingly tied to new media channels, especially when messages are integrated for mobile use.
Brands mean business – younger consumers are brand-conscious, and will respond to branding in a healthcare setting.
Younger patients in particular will turn to social networks to ask questions of their friends and followers about health topics.
What does this mean for your practice?
Pew Research reports that 59 percent of U.S. adults have looked online for health information in the last year. Meanwhile, Google statistics reveal that 44 percent of patients who research hospitals online go on to schedule an appointment.
Numbers like that mean you could have a lot to gain by identifying prospective new patients, creating online content that engages them and answers their questions, and using the other tools of inbound marketing to convert those web searchers into qualified leads.
Three ways to gain more qualified leads
1. CREATE CONTENT
Branding your practice and attracting qualified leads have their roots in the blogs, articles, reports, videos that position you as authoritative and trustworthy – no small claim on the Internet. The services of a healthcare-oriented web services company is vital to becoming a successful content publisher. Their core competencies – from research to analytics to graphic design services – are aimed at getting your practice found online, then gradually leveraging the trust you’ve built into compelling sales messages aimed at the particular target audience you’ve already established.
2. GET SOCIAL
Today’s web users not only accept social media from their providers, they expect it. “The healthcare business is talent-starved in many key areas; social media is a strong way to create a competitive advantage,” says CEO Lisa Calhoun on LinkedIn. “People want to work for people they like and trust, and social media is a great way to put a CEO’s charisma to good use.” Facebook and Twitter are top venues to post informative blogs and videos aimed at gaining credibility and building business; LinkedIn, the world’s largest business network, is ideal to present yourself to others in your field, as well as screen potential associates or employees.
3. GO MOBILE
No longer are consumers tied to their desktop, or even laptop, computers. The smartphone and tablet go with them virtually everywhere, so your web content must be optimized for mobile usage. That means teaming up with your web design agency to create versions of your site that fit into the smaller frames of mobile devices, and are easy to use. These days, Google is actually on an initiative to REWARD websites that are mobile friendly with preferential treatment on search results pages.
Build your practice online
Though there will always be a place in healthcare marketing for personal referrals and one-to-one contact, never underestimate the power of the Internet to foster qualified leads who then convert to new patients. “If your health care facility is blogging and creating engaging video, you will be seen online over your competitors,” says Inneraction Media. “You will be gaining new customers, and educating people with correct information. Consumers will look to you for reputable information and you will gain the trust you need from them to convert them into customers and promoters of your facility.”