Often times we are told by Physicians that they do not need digital marketing. “My practice is already seeing as many patients as we can handle.” or “What’s the point of us having a website?” The reality is always the same. If you don’t tell your story on digitally, someone else will and while it’s great that your practice is full, is it full with the type of patients you want? Finally, the easiest question to answer, yes your practice needs a website.
In today’s digital landscape there is a great opportunity for healthcare providers to use digital marketing to educate, inspire, motivate, and engage their patients. Unfortunately the healthcare industry is almost two years behind other industries in adopting and leveraging social and online in their marketing efforts.
So why is digital marketing so important to your practice? Let’s look at a couple reasons:
Yes, You Need a Website
In today’s digital landscape every Physician and /or group practice needs a website. With over 60% of patients looking for a Doctor now turning to the web first, it is vital that a practice have a website. Without a website you either miss those patients immediately or look less professional by comparison. A good site makes your service offerings easier to find, increasing the likelihood of a positive match with the patient. Prospective clients have come to us frustrated after losing a cutting edge procedure patient to a facility that is 2 hours away. “Why didn’t the patient call us?” Because the other facility was positioned for that service when the patient searched for it. A well put together website allows a practice to position offerings where they need to be seen.
Increase Your Reach
A healthcare facility can amplify who they reach quickly with a solid digital marketing plan. With search engine optimization, social media and mobile marketing tactics, your business will be seen by a broader and more diverse audience in a faster and more effective manner. The addition of an inbound marketing approach that is targeted to attract specific or preferred patients is also an effective method of improving success. This allows Physicians the ability to increase the preferred patients vs taking any patient that walks through the door.
As mentioned above, more than 60% of prospective patients are using the internet to search for a provider. These outlets are proving to be a necessity rather than accessory to marketing plans. Always remember if you don’t control your digital footprint, someone else will control it for you.
Building on the Inbound approach, digital marketing is allowing physicians to be more personal in approach with the type of message that is sent to or used to attract patients. This all comes back to one thing; Data. With so much data available to the healthcare industry, marketers are turning to digital tactics to better reach and target the right prospective patients. Data including demographics, age and even behavioral information are giving marketing teams a much clearer picture of how to reach the preferred patients. The end result? Happier patients and happier physicians. Transparency is key.
Just as the healthcare industry is big on data, digital marketing is as well. Unlike other forms of marketing (tv, radio, billboards, newspapers, etc) these efforts can be tracked, in most cases, in real time. Day to day, week to week, analytics and data reports are gathered for your viewing. This allows for the marketing team to optimize the plan and yield better results at a day’s notice. In most cases with tv, radio and other traditional marketing executions you are given monthly reports and you have, in some situations, wasted the months efforts if it has missed the mark.
There is a reason the phone book has decreased in size drastically and the delivery driver no longer knocks on your door to ask you how many you would like. They know if they did, the circulation would decrease drastically and in some cases cause the phone book to disappear. If you are reading this and still have a phone book listing, back down to the smallest listing and move your budget to the internet. You will have more transparency and will quickly see the impact from the moving of this budget.
When it comes to the advantages of moving your business to a more structured digital marketing plan, I could go on for hours. But to keep this to a shorter post know this: If a healthcare practice and the healthcare industry fully adapt a digital strategy, it has the potential to increase their reach and effectively bring in the more optimal person for their practice. Increasingly, the Internet based world and catering to patients in it will continue to grow. The goals – to find more, engage existing patients in a more modern way, resulting in improved patient care and a healthier society overall.
How does your practice currently use digital marketing? Would it help improve your marketing tactics?
Chris Josten is the founder of Curiosity, a digital marketing company based in Panama City, FL. With over 15 years in marketing experience and digital marketing it has become the focus of the company. Curiosity is the perfect combination of creativity, talents, and vision. The group is diverse, innovative and client-focused. Curiosity’s route to digital transformation starts with collaboration from clients and only stops when the team lands an idea that is incredible.