Digital Marketing Strategies for Healthcare and Private Practice

06/28/2017 08:33 pm ET

Most people don’t go into healthcare with the sole intention of making money. There are tons of industries that can lead to profitability. We choose Health Care to help people, to better the world in some way, and to fight the good fight. But you can’t keep your practice open without money and the only way to bring in revenue is to bring in customers. So that leads us to how. How do you “sell” healthcare? How do you differentiate yourself from the other providers out there?

Affordable Digital Marketing Consulting for Small Businesses and Startups.
Brand Plan Consulting
Affordable Digital Marketing Consulting for Small Businesses and Startups.

Healthcare is a special type of service that does not always stand the test of traditional marketing strategies. Unless you are in plastic surgery, it is unlikely you can use pictures of beautiful people. Additionally, unlike industries like the alcohol industry, restaurants, and hospitality, there’s nothing “cool” about illness. And of course there’s that pesky HIPAA Compliance which prohibits photos and ethics that don’t allow patient testimonials. After the long list of DONTs it can be hard to find a list of ways to actually drive people to your website and start building rapport with possible patients and clients.

When I ran my private practice, Autism Family Center, we tried many different methods to drive traffic to our website. The goal was to prove we could provide quality care, and indeed, that is the most important part. But you cannot prove the quality of your services if you aren’t getting enough leads. Eventually, we mastered a strategy that brought us new leads every day. Below are the strategies we used.

Content Creation

I’m going to start with the most important one - content. This doesn’t just mean finding funny memes on the internet or even a solid infographic. This means creating new content with valuable information for your readers to engage with. For example, if you work in pediatrics, you can write an article about the top ten ways children under the age of eight can start practicing healthy habits. You can also create a video with the same content but use animated figures to tell your article as a story.

Visual Content

Our current world is obsessed with images and videos. We, as a society, want new information but we want that information quickly. You will not find consumers in their 20s and 30s sifting through the library for one article about diabetes. They want as much information as they can find as quickly as possible. And they want that information to be presented in an engaging way. So, don’t shy away from images, infographics, and videos. Just ensure they provide useful and valuable information from a credible source (like your practice’s doctors!).

<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.brandplanconsulting.com" target="_blank">Affordable Digital Marketing Consulting for Smal

Form Relationships Both On and Off-Line

It is definitely important to have a lot of likes and followers on your social sites. However, relationships offline establish credibility, referral sources, and even help generate more likes online. For example, let’s say you attend a networking event and you meet a professional who is not a competitor but serves the same or a similar population. Together, two groups can create content or plan an event. Then through cross promotion, you help each double the viewership. You will also establish more credibility because those who follow the other provider will look at you as a referral and a reference. If a provider they already trust recommends you, they will have more trust when coming to you with their health issues.

Credibility and Quality

Credibility and Quality are in some ways similar but are also two separate issues. The first is Credibility. It isn’t enough to generate content or form relationships. The content needs to be published to credible sites (e.g., Psychology Today if you are a therapist). Your relationships should also be credible. It can be tough if you are a newer practice to prove yourself to established practices; but it can be done and it is worth the effort. The same goes for publication. You may not be able to get your articles published on the platforms you desire the first time, but persistence is key as is the value of your content. Make sure you are writing or creating videos about topics that haven’t already been covered. If you are a doctor, you have worked for years to gain knowledge the public doesn’t have. Find your area of interest and hone in on it. Then don’t be afraid to share it. If you are a practice owner, have faith in your doctors. Sit with them to listen to what they have to offer and create content together that your audience will engage with.

Now let’s also talk about quality. Once you have credible and valuable information to share, the format actually matters. If your video looks like a teenager could have done a better job, then outsource… maybe even to a teenager (they know a lot about technology). You would be surprised to see that most freelancers and agencies have reasonable prices. And the price pays off when it leads to a larger volume of clients. The higher the quality of your content, the more credible it looks.

A Gorgeous Website

Ok, this might sound obvious but look online. Most private practices do not spend the time creating a beautiful website. Once people land on your website, you can keep them engaged for much longer if your website is enticing. In fact, a nice website even establishes credibility. It tells your audience that your practice is not new (even if it is) and that the doctors have experience and can be trusted.

Just like we discussed above (Credibility and Quality), the quality of your website matters. Your website should be easy to navigate, visually appealing, and provide useful information. Every page needs an easy way to request a consultation or contact the front desk. Make sure no matter where your reader is on a page, they always know how to find contact information. You never know what piece of information will lead them to desire that consultation which is why you always want a button accessible.

Targeted Social Ads

Let’s say you have already tried writing articles but no one is finding them. Even if you post them to your social media site, you might only receive a few likes. This can be very discouraging. You just put so much time and effort into an article and no one even got the chance to read it let alone reach out and come in for a consultation.

What you might not realize is that most brands pay to have their content seen by more people. I know you may be thinking that your marketing budget is small. But targeted ads on platforms like Facebook are cheaper than print marketing and far more effective in the digital age. But don’t waste your budget just practicing. Be sure to do research on the most effective ways to use targeted strategies or outsource with a consultant who can show you the best way to reach your audience.

Search Engine Optimization

This may be the most complicated aspect of marketing but is important to pretty much any industry. When someone is looking for a new provider, one of the first things they might use is Google. Let’s say a patient recently found out that they were diagnosed with depression and are trying to find a specialist who works with depression. They may type “depression doctors near {fill in where they live or their zip code}.” If you are a therapist who works with depression, your website somehow needs to reflect these keywords.

There are many tactics to increase your SEOs - copywriting into your website, Google Keyword Search Tool, paid SEM, entering keywords into your HTML or the backend of your website, or using third party sources. I’m personally not a fan of third party sources that only do Search Engine Optimization. They usually come with a monthly subscription fee and you get very little special attention. I think it is more important to either take classes on Search Engine Optimization or outsource to a consultant who will give you personalized attention.

Resource Guides

This last one is short and easy. You probably already know about resource guides and you may be on a couple. But two is not enough. Find every resource guide out there and contact the administrator immediately. The more credible lists you are a part of, the more likely you are to be found. Bonus tip: this also helps with your SEOs.

Thanks for reading! Check out my website for more Digital Marketing Information or feel free to reach out to me any time by emailing lrabin@brandplanconsulting.com.

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
CONVERSATIONS