Digital Marketing for Healthcare in 2023

A.I. prompt: The future of healthcare marketing in a clean style

The landscape of digital marketing in the healthcare industry is constantly changing. Regardless of when you start, healthcare is a highly competitive space.

If you’re an entrepreneurial medic building a startup or brand, you’ll want to read digital marketing for entrepreneurial doctors.

To drive potential patients or clients to your clinic or other brick and mortar business, this guide will give you a great high level view of what’s required. 

The main areas you should concentrate your Healthcare marketing efforts are:

  • Web Development & Optimization
  • Content Development
  • Local SEO
  • Online Business Directory Listings
  • Reputation Management
  • Social Media
  • Online Paid Advertising

Naturally these fundamentals work across disciplines, whether you are a doctor, dentist, physiotherapist or any other healthcare provider.

Chapter 1. Search Engine Optimization

  • how to gain visibility and be found online when your potential clients are searching for services you provide (like “knee surgery”, “teeth cleanings”, etc.);
  • how to keep ahead of the competition, manipulating your own strategy to stay a few steps ahead;
  • how to drive new business, attracting more potential patients and engaging with them through different channels;
  • how to increase the return of investments, optimizing your website for conversions, and growing your patient base.

Chapter 2. Paid Search, Google and Social Media Advertising

Here we go into more depth about how you can make paid search and social media work together for your business. Discover creative ways to reach your target audience, thinking strategically about the methods to combine your outreach utilising multiple channels.

Chapter 3. Marketing Automation

In this chapter, we gather all you need to know about one of the most innovative healthcare tools – marketing automation. Learn how its implementation can help you reach more customers whilst improving your marketing departments’ efficiency and boosting the success of patient engagement strategies.

Search Engine Optimization

A successful healthcare website simplifies patient communication and can help your business win more potential patients. 

However, this doesn’t help much if your prospective clients can’t find your website online. To get your website on the first page of organic search, you need a strong healthcare SEO strategy.

For a much more in-depth look at SEO, we are building a complete guide to SEO for doctors and healthcare providers.

What is SEO? 

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to the art and science of rising to the top of Google organic search results (and any other major search engine). A good SEO campaign involves following best practices to ensure that your healthcare website is easily accessible to the right audience. 

SEO and its benefits for hospitals and healthcare institutions

SEO also keeps your website up to date with the latest algorithm changes that a search engine makes. Without regular search engine optimization, your online visibility could fluctuate greatly, preventing you from reaching your potential patients.

Are you still questioning the value of SEO for your business? Here are the top benefits of implementing a strong SEO algorithm on your medical website.

  1. Get on the first pages of the top major search engines, including Google.
  2. Get a higher return on investment with less risk
  3. Reduce the cost of patient acquisition.
  4. Generate high-quality leads.
  5. Drive more traffic to your website.

Conduct regular ongoing SEO audits of your website on a monthly and/or quarterly basis to maximize and maintain your search engine visibility for key specific healthcare searches.

Healthcare SEO Techniques

Today’s consumers are avid researchers and excellent SEO is a necessity to hold their attention. Below are actionable SEO tactics and strategies of attracting new patients regardless of the size and specialty of your medical practice:

Keyword research for healthcare practices

Keyword research is the practice of determining the search phrases your potential patients are entering into a search engine to find the services you provide. 

It will ultimately ease your job of positioning, marketing, and optimizing your business online. You will have to follow a few steps: 

  • pull an exhaustive list of keywords for topics that you are researching,
  • remove less relevant keywords,
  • organize your list by sub-topics,
  • identify the competitive nature of the keywords.

Tip. Consider optimizing your pages using long-tail keywords, rather than short-tail keywords, which are more general and have a higher volume of searches (which make them more difficult to rank for).

On-page optimization for your healthcare website.

The on-page SEO can help you boost your website’s search engine optimization effectiveness without impacting your medical pages’ ability to convert. 

Without a proper on-page SEO, your healthcare website might miss the opportunity to be at the top of the search results when the keywords specific to your services are entered in. Essentially, it will involve the following:

  • Adding the right title tags.
  • Writing a powerful meta description.
  • Use visuals, podcasts, and videos for better SEO results and higher engagement rates.
  • Optimize your images (Alt tags too).
  • Using primary keywords in H1, H2, or H3 Tags.
  • Having a mobile-optimized website.
  • Speeding up your website.
  • Identify, fix, and manage broken links on your website.
  • Review anchor text links.
  • Having an appropriate schema markup.
  • Use different SEO tools.
  • Use bold and italic formatting for text.
  • Optimize the footer menu.

Here we would like to emphasize the importance of having a mobile-friendly website and appropriate schema markup. 

Nearly half of the people who research healthcare providers on a mobile device scheduled an appointment, according to Google research. 

At the same time, using the right schema markup, you’ll optimize for Zero-Click Search, while correctly structuring your content according to Google’s guidelines.

On-page optimization is tightly linked to user experience optimization, and refers to the factors influencing consumers’ behavior when interacting with your healthcare website. 

Is your site easy to navigate? Is it secure, fast, and mobile-friendly? Is your content making visitors want to stay and engage? If you want to give your users the best experience, the answer to all these questions should be “yes”. 

Here is the user optimization checklist for your website:

  • User-friendly content (this involves using only high-quality original content, descriptive heading, and avoiding the overuse of keywords)
  • Web navigation
  • Fixed broken site structure/links
  • Improved readability
  • Optimized usability
  • High website loading speed

At the same time, on-page optimization is strongly related to website conversion optimization. The acquisition of more traffic is only half the marketing equation. You must convert more visitors into your customers.

Check this conversion rate optimization checklist for healthcare providers:

  • Banner optimization
  • Headlines and subject lines optimization
  • Content copy optimization
  • Elements building trust
  • Call-to-action optimization
  • Website design optimization
  • Lead generation forms optimization

Adopting micro-moments, along with all your efforts related to search engine optimization, will lead to similar scenarios.

Bonus tip. Consider creating separate pages for the services you offer and providing key information about each physician or practitioner in your business. This will help you to persuade your potential clients to schedule an appointment.

Off-page optimization for your healthcare website.

The off-page SEO refers to the things that can be done outside of your website in order to help you improve your SERP position. A lot of people associate it with link building, but it is not limited just to that. It also may include forums, influencer outreach, and content marketing, to mention but a few. 

Following off-page SEO strategies are a must for a healthcare website:

  • Having a press releases section on your website.
  • Having good blogging structure and content strategy.
  • Having citations (a buildup of your organization’s name, address, and contact numbers).
  • Keeping consistency within directories (similar listings). IMPORTANT! Having all your information consistent is a significant trust factor.
  • Keeping a tab on online review sites and respond accordingly.
  • And last but not least, link building, which is vital to improve your ranking in search engines.

Off-page optimization is strongly related to the local search engine optimization (optimization of your healthcare website to generate traffic from location-based searching). Consider optimizing your web content and blog posts for local SEO.

Healthcare providers usually service a specific area or region, hence why you may want people only from within your area to see your website. Local search engine optimization involves creating a list of keywords specific to your region. These keywords usually include a general term and a geographic term.

Google My Business for healthcare practices

You should create a Google My Business profile (if you didn’t already), so Google knows exactly where you are. This also allows for patients to rate your service.

As you can imagine, small businesses with no reviews are much less likely to be visited if there is a nearby business with a 5 star rating.

Online Paid Advertising refers to any online channel where a healthcare provider pays for traffic. 

This includes Paid Search, Paid Social, and Display Advertising. The most commonly used channel is Google AdWords, but there are other alternatives you can choose from, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to mention but a few.

If conducted correctly, paid advertising is very efficient (although quite expensive in terms of initial outlay of funds).

Top tips for an effective paid search campaign:

  • Research and select the keywords used by patients when making a decision (not when they simply look for information).
  • Create separate customer landing pages for each healthcare service you provide.
  • Using geolocation to reach your target audience.
  • Use negative keywords in order to increase the relevancy of your ad.
  • Accurately track and attribute performance to ensure your ad campaign is getting the credit it deserves.

Leveraging Social Media for healthcare marketing

Around 40% of users have said that social media posts affect their decisions regarding healthcare. At the same time, about 90% of people aged 18-24 say that they trust information shared on social media.

Social media can help facilitate two-way conversations between your business and your potential clients. It can drive more traffic to your healthcare website from a larger audience than you would be able to reach in a normal way. 

Social media is one of the factors taken into consideration by Google (or another search engine) when determining your web page quality. 

When it comes to the content you share on social media, consider focusing on quality over quantity. Also, consider filling out as much information as possible when it comes to the name, description, and sections. In will provide the search engines more information to assist them in ranking your social media profiles.

Also, consider focusing your efforts on paid channels to build brand awareness and on paid social to offer information about the COVID-19 services you provide. Post-real-time updates on your Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms to keep communicating with your clients. 

Generally, the golden rule 80/20 (80% of social media posts should inform, educate, or entertain the audience, while 20% should directly promote the business) has been shifting to 50/50 and even 20/80 in some industries. 

You must take a look at the posts and articles that perform best and learn how social media engagement has changed to decide what strategy works best for your business.

Here are a few steps you should take when building your marketing funnel:

  • Increase your brand awareness and reputation running ads for your customs and lookalike audiences.
  • Retarget your healthcare audience, focusing on those who have already expressed interest in your hospital or somehow interacted with you.
  • Change your initial offer and target your audience with other content.
  • Increase conversion by targeting only those potential clients who expressed serious interest (like watching one or more videos, reading two or more blogs, etc.).

You don’t have to choose between PPC and social media. There are many ways to combine these two marketing strategies. Consider leveraging these two channels in a complementary approach that will boost your website visits and conversions.

Marketing Automation

Healthcare marketers must continuously adapt to the new realities of our sector. 

Brought about by the shift to payments based on outcomes, increasing transparency, and an empowered healthcare consumer, we also must take into consideration the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare marketing.

At the same time, healthcare marketers should consider taking advantage of marketing automation for personalizing communication with their patients and automating the efforts related to the engagement. Once implemented, your messaging is timely and relevant to the receiver, helping you to retain and engage existing patients over time to drive higher revenue. 

By implementing marketing automation you can improve the efficiency of your marketing departments, boosting the success of patient engagement strategies, and supporting broader population health initiatives.

Here are 8 important ways that you can take advantage of marketing automation.

  1. Ask for your patients’ details in advance. 

Request your clients to complete the forms before treatment a few days prior to their appointment. It will save you and your client sometime.

  1. Increase appointment to visit ratios. 

Send reminders regarding appointments, your hospital location with a link to a map, your doctor reviews, etc. in order to reduce the no-show appointments and increase new patient acquisition and retention rates.

  1. Send automated post-diagnosis notes.

After your patient’s appointment, send all the important information (prescriptions, next appointment date, etc.) via email or text message. 

  1. Send personalized automated recurring-event reminders.

Automatically remind your patients about their health checkup next year by using date-based triggers, send personalized birthday wishes, and well wishes around the holidays – all these can go a long way in helping patient retention.

  1. Increase patient engagement using quizzes or health surveys.

Send your patients some useful tips based on their particular lifestyle habits and scores. You also can invite them for a free or discounted consultation. Store all relevant responses to build more healthcare workflows.

  1. Ask for your clients’ feedback.

Collect your patients’ feedback post-appointment. This way, you will not only assess the quality of your service and facilities but also win back dissatisfied patients with timely and relevant action.

  1. Ask for your patients’ reviews and testimonials.

After appointments, send your patients some automated emails asking them to rate and share their recent experience. This way, you will both improve your customers’ satisfaction and, hopefully, the number of positive reviews on your website and/or Google.

  1. Announce the latest updates, important news, and more.

Let your clients know that you are now offering a new service, a new doctor has joined your team or anything else important that could be of interest to your patients. 

Need more help?

Although there is no digital marketing roadmap that works for every healthcare business, these fundamentals will take you far.

If you have questions regarding creating or adjusting your digital strategy, don’t hesitate to contact us. 

Find out how the experts at Harley Street Digital can create an effective SEO strategy for your healthcare business.