Search Engine Optimization and Marketing in Healthcare

Search Engine Optimization and Marketing for Doctors: the Dos and Don’ts of Marketing Your Medical Practice

Like any other industry, marketing and search engine optimization is a critical part of the medical profession and plays a key role in reaching out to both new and returning patients. With the advancement of technology and unlimited information becoming available online, you can no longer sit and wait for a patient to choose your hospital, regardless of whether you have multiple locations within the community.

Statistically, 80 percent of adults in North America are online, and the internet is their number one source of information on physicians and medical-related news. However, while digital marketing is quite efficient, keep in mind it works best when combined with other marketing methods such as participating in community events and interacting with locals. 

Marketing for doctors is a rather difficult mission, thanks to the strict rules they need to follow, complexities of data privacy regulations, and fierce competition that practitioners have to deal with. Search engine optimization and digital marketing are generally highly competitive virtual landscapes, and yet with this guide will provide the tools for success in marketing healthcare entities.

Thankfully, there are viable and practical ways you can successfully market your medical practice to see positive results. Here are some dos and don’ts of healthcare marketing: 

Medical marketing dos

 
1. Use consistent healthcare branding

Creating a brand that patients can relate to is a sure way to make your healthcare network stand out among competitors. Take time to see what sets you apart; maybe it’s your quality services, your family-friendly office, or the way you treat patients. Leverage that one thing that makes you unique as it is what will make patients keep coming back.

And while it might take some time before you figure out what patients like (which involves extensive observation and analysis), you will eventually learn what works best for you. Moving forward, you will be able to represent your brand with any marketing materials.

2. Use relevant tools and channels 

There are numerous tools and channels to leverage to boost your medical marketing and consequently reach a bigger audience. Some of them include:

  • Networking relationships

    — Build a network by going where your audience is and exchanging information with them. Understand their needs and sought the best way to address them. 

  • Direct marketing

    — Marketing for doctors through print (personalized letters, brochures, flyers, and postcards) is an effective way of reaching people directly. Here, you need to know your audience to create messages that resonate with them and their needs. 

  • Free media

    — Writing blogs and articles for news media with a similar audience helps boost your credibility while selling your brand. You can also share e-newsletters with current patients and encourage them to share with others.   

  • Website

    — Create a professional and engaging website, and include the necessary information about your practice. Nowadays, patients are consulting the internet to gather information about their health, and a website can be helpful in this regard. 

  • Marketing automation

    — Automation facilitates your communication with patients by providing them the information they need automatically. For instance, technology can collect information about a patient, which can then be sent to the practitioner right away. 

  • Inbound marketing

    — Create helpful, valuable, and interesting content on your websites and blogs to connect with patients and attract organic visitors.

3. Leverage social media

Social media is indispensable in healthcare marketing, particularly in reaching a broader audience of both young and older demographics. You can leverage the many opportunities provided by social media to market your healthcare practice; specifically, make use of popular social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram to let patients know more about you and your brand. Consider paid advertising to reach people who may be looking for your services. 

4. Ask for reviews from patients

Positive reviews are a good way to prove the credibility of your healthcare practice and services. And since patients do not always voluntarily leave reviews, you should prompt and encourage them to do so. Here, make use of technology to send emails and messages asking patients to leave positive reviews.

Remember that 88 percent of patients trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Asking for reviews will help to increase traffic to your websites, which translates to more customers and return on investment. 

5. Healthcare search engine optimization for target patient oriented SERPS

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a requisite for helping your medical practice rank on top of search engines. SEO largely involves using optimal keywords and phrases that Google can relate to your business and consequently rank it above other providers who offer similar services. In addition to using keywords naturally throughout your content, SEO should also include: 

  • Links that link back to your websites and blogs ()

  • Backlinks from reputable health sites

  • Submitting your website to Google

  • Managing your site index map 

  • Claiming your healthcare practice on Google My Business

Medical marketing don’ts 

 

1. Don’t violate privacy laws

Privacy is paramount in the medical field, and especially as far as doctor-patient confidentiality is concerned. The HIPAA has established a set of laws that safeguard patients’ privacy and promote trust with doctors, which means you can suffer consequences if you betray the trust. Before sharing patient information on social media, make sure you have consent from them to be on the safe side of the law.  

2. Don’t give medical advice

Don’t be tempted to give medical advice on social media as it goes against the provisions of HIPAA. Rather, ask patients to book an appointment for a diagnosis. Also, make sure your website has a disclaimer that no medical advice is given on websites or through the internet. 

3. Don’t rely on a single form of content

When sharing information on social media, don’t be boring and mundane as you will end up driving your audience away. Instead of using one form of content such as press releases or industry reviews, spice things up with images, patient success stories, infographics, videos, and any other available types of media. Integrating more content goes a long way in building engagement with patients. For examples on how we take advantage of various forms of media, take a look at our article entries at LAC Healthcare Solutions articles. We also write different content on different mediums to increase search engine optimization effectiveness and even distribution of Google juice.

Summary

To put all this in perspective, think about how we are using content marketing right now. LAC Healthcare Solutions is a wholesale medical supplier; this content is specific to our target audience. Define the problems your patients/partners have and brainstorm on how they will search for this content online. In our case, we target healthcare entities whom we can serve as a supplier. But we don’t limit ourselves to only speaking on supply chain and wholesale topics, we recognize that valuable content can be as useful as intent-specific optimization. 

In an era where information is the driving force to success, you cannot afford to neglect marketing as a means of reaching out to patients. Medical practitioners need to be aware of the dos and don’ts of healthcare marketing to provide quality services, stay on the safe side of the law, and boost returns.   

Post Script 

We carry a large catalog of medical supplies at wholesale prices for physician practices like yours. If you want to save while having the certainty you will have access to low cost high quality supplies all year, during pandemics or otherwise, reach out to us..