Having an optimized online presence to attract patient referrals is of the utmost importance for today’s medical practices. According to a study conducted by Google and Compete, Inc., 84 percent of patients use both online and offline sources for medical practice and hospital research.
One of the first steps to attracting the patients you want online is by creating an online patient acquisition strategy. Here are four strategic ways to draw in potential patients online.
Use Pay Per Click Advertising
Pay per click (PPC) advertising is a marketing tool that allows businesses and individuals to buy listings in their search results. When you search Google, Bing or Yahoo for something, the suggested sites that appear first are pay per click advertisements.
Using PPC advertising can help generate site traffic, impressions of your name and potentially attract new patient referrals. When searching for health information, 81 percent of people click on a sponsored link, or PPC advertisement, according to Geonetric. The key to using PPC advertising is in the keywords. Choose keywords that you think people would use to find your facility. This includes services, location(s) and your name. The more specific you are the better.
If your office has a niche service, it may be helpful to include it as a keyword. After you have chosen your keywords, test them in a keyword tool to see the estimation of how much traffic that keyword will generate.
Utilize Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a way of improving a website for ranking in the search engines to increase the number of visitors the site receives. Search drives about three times as many visitors to medical and hospital sites compared to non-search visitors, according to a study by Google and Compete, Inc..
Again, keywords play an important role with SEO. Be sure to use keywords in your titles, your content, URLs and image names. Be sure not to “stuff” your page with keywords, as using a lot of keywords on your page can get your site labeled as spam; and this will result in a negative SEO impact.
Understand Content is King
Content marketing refers to creating quality content relating to your medical practice’s services and expertise. This can help with SEO, as it creates unique content to be shared on social media or in a newsletter and gives your patients content to associate with your practice.
Make sure the content you’re producing relates to your practice. The unique content you create doesn’t just have to be a blog post. It can be an infographic, a podcast or even a video. Remember that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to content – meaning, a video you record of a physician speaking on a subject can also become a blog post, an infographic, a social media post, etc.
Use Email Marketing Tools
After building a patient database, keep in touch with them with an email newsletter. In the newsletter include news about your practice or content from your blog. Also, use email to remind your patients of upcoming appointments. One of the best services for e-newsletters in our opinion is MailChimp.com (and no, we weren’t paid to say that…it really is pretty good).
What Did We Miss?
What are some ways you have attracted more patient referrals online? Let us know about a method you have successfully implemented in the comments below.