The vast world wide web has inserted itself into almost every aspect of modern life. While doctors will never have to worry about losing their jobs to a computer, the healthcare industry has certainly been forever changed by the advent of the Internet, and its rapid and widespread adoption.
From what we’ve seen, health providers and practice managers tend to have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the Internet. You know it can help you grow your business, but you don’t know where to start. You know patients use the Web to find healthcare providers, but you’re not sure how to help them find you. When you try to get some basic information, you are inundated with claims and promises and can’t-fail approaches that are impossible to understand, let alone vet. Utterly overwhelmed, you walk away from the computer and back to your patients, where you have the knowledge and experience you need to determine what to do.
We get it. The Internet can be confusing and chaotic terrain. Worse, there is so much information out there — and so many “experts” selling services, tools, and etc. — that without some footing it is almost impossible not to become overwhelmed. Allow us, then, to give you some footing. The truth is, effective Internet marketing comes down to a few essentials, each of which is pretty simple. Here is Internet marketing demystified — the core, fundamental components of online success and how you can win more patients from the web:
Search-engine optimization: Search-engine optimization, or SEO, is ground-zero for Internet marketing. SEO refers to website development and other online tactics that affect your website’s visibility in search engine results pages. In other words, SEO is a vital part of getting your website to the top of Google. Effective SEO is one of the key players that will make the difference between a website your prospective patients can find, and one that is buried in the depths of the Web, never to be seen or heard from…ever. The ‘how-to’ of effective SEO is far beyond the scope of this article — but it is essential, so you will want to make sure that whoever is handling your SEO knows what they’re doing.
Inbound marketing: Content-led inbound marketing is a relatively new concept — but one that is proving to be indispensable in today’s competitive climate. Internet users are becoming more and more savvy at spotting blatant marketing pitches, and promptly ignoring them. People go online to find interesting, original content — and content-led inbound marketing delivers just that, and more. Inbound marketing simply means using high-quality, original content to promote your health practice — articles, blog posts, videos, podcasts, social media content, and more. In this ever-changing environment, it is the intelligent, cutting-edge answer for physicians who want to attract and engage consumers (so that’s pretty much everyone).
Pay-Per-Click: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising catapults your site to the top of Google. PPC ads are the “sponsored links” that appear at the top of Internet searches, the right side of the search page, or alongside online content. PPC is an extremely effective way to attract new visitors to your website, to market a specific service or product, or to target a discreet geographical area. A word of caution, though — PPC can be tricky to get right. Inexperienced users often end up wasting money without attracting the audience they want. So be sure to do your research and learn the PPC tricks and tips for healthcare providers before launching a campaign.
A good website: Obviously, you can attract all the prospective patients in the world, but if none of them convert after arriving on your website then it’s all for naught. A good medical website stands out as original and unique, is visually-pleasing and easy-to-navigate, has all the essential pages (Read: Must-have pages for medical websites), and has the necessary SEO infrastructure built in to the design.
When you have these elements in place in your Internet marketing campaign, you will attract and convert new patients. You absolutely will. From there, you can graduate to improving things even more with advanced approaches like custom landing pages, retargeting to recapture patients who left your site, and more (yes, there’s always more!). But focus first on the fundamentals above, and a big boost in new patients, and profits, will soon follow.
We’re here to help. If you have questions about Internet marketing, content development, social media, SEO, PPC, website development, or anything else we’d love to hear from you. Connect with us directly, or visit us online to get instant, hassle-free healthcare marketing support from Paramount/MD.