How do modern consumers behave when it comes to purchasing a product or service for the first time? According to a recent report, most consumers do their online research and rely on consumer reviews. This change in behavior led many industries to upgrade their marketing strategy to include digital marketing in their sales funnel.
Do we find the same trend in healthcare? How do patients behave nowadays when it comes to choosing healthcare services and providers? Based on current trends, health consumers mirror the same consumer behavior.
- They look up doctors online.
- They read about their symptoms online.
- They’ve asked friends and neighbors for referrals.
This trend can prove advantageous for your practice because unlike regular service industries, such as insurance and investment, you rarely cold-call patients as part of your marketing campaign.
In the health field, most doctors market their expertise through conferences and medical journals. Some ways to promote your practice and establish authority in your field are:
- ad boards, podium, and poster presentations
- write and publish journal articles
- appearing on TV and radio health shows
But what if you’re camera shy, or research is not your cup of tea? Are there simple ways that you can establish your expertise to draw potential patients to your practice? And once you’ve attracted them, can you keep them and even get them to recommend your practice?
Digital Marketing Holds the Key
With an online presence, you tap into the power of digital technology. You get referrals from search engines like Google, social media like Nextdoor, or a Yelp review.
These digital marketing strategies generate leads to your target audience. They capture the attention of potential customers, which, in your case, are your qualified patients. These are what we call quick leads.
By clicking on your calls to action, your qualified leads quickly end up on your website’s landing page.
Simply put, quick leads are forms of inbound marketing strategy that quickly bring your patients to you.
Will these quick leads convert your readers into patients?
It could if you did your homework on creating an effective landing page on your website.
Are there other ways that your webpage could draw potential patients if you don’t run ad campaigns in these social media channels?
We’ve got some insight for more ways to attract qualified patients. In this blog, we’ll discuss the value of leads and sustained leads in digital marketing.
What Are Sustained Leads in Digital Marketing?
This part of your digital marketing strategy ensures ongoing leads to your practice. This strategy also supports your quick leads and nurture marketing strategies.
Here are three tips for attracting sustained leads with digital marketing.
1. Create a search engine optimized website
Content is key
Content is vital, and content marketing will rank you higher on web searches.
You need fresh content written specifically for your patient population with the following key characteristics:
Post your in-clinic brochures as online brochures that your patient can download and print on demand. You can even use this strategy to gather email addresses and increase subscription to your email newsletters.
If your readers can share your content to their social media pages, you can tap onto social media marketing for free. Boost conventional word-of-mouth marketing with the “word-on-web” kind.
Useful and practical content
We don’t want to clutter our patient’s inbox or their lives with spam emails. There is too much clutter and noise for them to navigate through as it is. We don’t want to add to that noise, lest our patients miss the signal. We want to give valuable and helpful advice that will minimize our patients’ relapses into sickness.
Local search engine optimized content
Although the medical practice has evolved to virtual medicine with the commerce of e-visits and telemedicine, local SEO would help get your practice in your neighborhood’s radar when optimized for local SEO. Getting found on Google Maps and adding your correct name-address-phone number on your webpage and business e-directory will promote local SEO.
2. Conduct a regular technical SEO audit.
Aside from great content, you need to ensure your website is clean not only on the outside but also on the inside.
These behind-the-scene SEO-renderings include auditing for:
- duplicate content
- title tags and meta tags
- image alt tags
- AMP configuration
- SSL/HTTPS implementation
- “thin” or low content levels on site pages
- broken links
In addition, watch out for missing titles and meta tags, headers that don’t grab attention, and issues on crawlability and loading speed.
3. Monitor and analyze your metrics
How do you know if your website is doing its work of generating readers, converting readers to followers (increasing your conversion rate), and followers to customers? There are ways to gather these data and analyze them.
Read this blog so you can analyze your healthcare marketing using metrics.
You can boost your sustained leads with lead nurturing strategies geared on increasing your community exposure. These are healthcare marketing strategies that will enhance patient loyalty and retention and increase your net promotion score (how likely your patients will recommend you to others).
What are some of the ways you can increase community exposure?
- Increase value-added presence in social media by featuring your outreach programs in Facebook; creating a Youtube channel featuring exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle changes; partnering with the community; knowing your patients’ channels so you can be found
- Partner with a practice that complements you and not competes with you; piggyback on their marketing campaigns by supporting it through your existing channels
- Tap on content syndication with the community; partner with school nurses and have them access your content through the school’s health program; additionally, you can syndicate content from organizations and funnel it to your channel and distribute to your patients and community partners
- Organize medical and dental missions to underprivileged sectors in your community through the school, church, and civic groups – through these events you can network and provide your website as a resource
- Volunteer your services to non-profits that are in line with your specialty – for instance, if you’re a primary care physician, you can volunteer at the American Heart Association’s fun runs and showcase such events on your website. Not only do you provide additional marketing for AHA’s campaigns but also promote a healthy lifestyle for your patients
- Partner with recreation centers and public libraries to give talks on preventive ways to address common health issues
Sustained Leads in Digital Marketing Means Long-term Commitment to Your Patients
When you talk about sustained leads, think of it as long-term commitments for your patients and not just some feeble marketing efforts.
What kind of commitment does this entail?
A commitment to “do no harm”
Patient safety means employing all digital and lead nurturing strategies you can think of to ensure your care goes beyond the four walls of your consultation room. Your patients go home with instructions, whether online or printed reading materials, links to videos to supplement the consult and hand-outs, and patient advocate support to explain things that they don’t understand, and so on.
A commitment to quality improvement
You don’t rest on your surgeon’s cap at the end of the day but seek to improve systems and processes to decrease waiting hours, avoid sentinel events, and improve near-misses. You don’t just treat diseases but also aim to improve the quality of your patients’ lives.
This could translate to:
- adding an online appointment scheduling capability on your website
- offering an option for e-visit for conditions that can be managed remotely
- building online communities to connect your patients with each other for support and encouragement
A commitment to enhancing the patient experience
Use email marketing not only to promote your practice but, more importantly, to promote your patient’s health. Send out timely reminders that show how you care for your patients even when they’re not in your clinic.
These could include:
- annual exam and flu vaccine reminders
- seasonal tips
- lifestyle modification health articles and blogs
- reminder for quarterly blood workups as needed
- invitation to sign up for blog and vlog subscription for free
More Tactics for Lead Generation and Sustained Leads
Here are other lead-generation tactics to come up with fresh ideas and inspiration for sustained leads with digital marketing:
If you think having a website is enough, think again. Watch the leaders in your industry. What’s on their website? Are you keeping up to date, or are you left behind? Are their patients emailing them through their website portal, and your patient is stuck with your elevator music or an automated voicemail? You may not hear from that patient again.
Listen to your patients: survey, needs assessment, online reviews
You may shrug off one negative review to a sick and tired patient, but five of the same kind complaining about how your staff treats them in the waiting room is a red flag. Address this bush fire before it burns up your reputation. All you need may be a monthly team-building session, quality improvement workshops, and in-house continuing education and process improvement strategies.
Assess where your leads are leaking.
You’re generating potential patients with your quick leads, which include: pay per click ads and postcard mail ads, but are these converting to patients? More importantly, when they’ve converted, are they coming back, or do you lose them after the first visit?
A quick lead ad may attract a patient to your practice and register for an appointment, but you lose them at “hello” when the answering machine leaves them hanging for three minutes while they might need immediate guidance.
Going digital is more than having a website and putting your digital channels on your calling card. Maximize your digital presence to care for your patients. And if all these talks on quick leads, sustained leads, and lead nurturing sound daunting to you, we can help.
We Can Help
Don’t have time to think through your digital marketing campaign? Let us take care of the details! Schedule a free business growth call here to find out how we can help your practice’s marketing efforts. We can help promote your practice in 2020!