How to Create a Healthcare Marketing Strategy That Brings In New Patients Month After Month
How does it feel when a patient walks in the door or contacts you online to call for your attention? Great, right? Of course, it's the joy of every doctor to help someone stay alive and live a healthy life. Additionally, a patient walking into your practice or getting in touch with you is an opportunity for you to increase your revenue. But what if you can proactively bring in as much prospective patients as you want instead of waiting passively for them to contact you? Wouldn't it be better?
Generating your own leads gives you the upper hand against the competition, allows you the opportunity to boost your revenue and ensures that you don't lack patients to treat.
And the beautiful thing here is that you can do this online, right in your office.
Having a healthcare marketing strategy in place is a beautiful thing.
Know what's even better though? The subsequent lead generation becomes even more important when you realize that almost 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy just yet.
You simply can't be careless with the other 4%.
So, how can you generate leads for your medical practice?
How can you convert website visitors into paying patients?
This article will answer those questions in a moment, but first, let's start with the basics.
First Things First When it Comes Your Healthcare Marketing Strategy
First off, you need a place that prospects can come to in order to find information about you and your practice.
Or more plainly, you need a website. But not just any kind of website.
If your website must support your lead-capturing efforts and get people to book appointments with you, you need to figure out how to make it lead-friendly.
We're about to give you some amazingly effective healthcare marketing tips that you can use to build your brand, increase your search engine rankings, and get more new patients.
1. An Effective Healthcare Website Has Clean Design
Truth is, websites serve as virtual offices. Now, imagine a patient walking into your office only to find it messy and disorganized.
That'll be improper, right?
That's the same way it is when they land on your website only to find that you used 7 different colors that do not match. And chances are, they'll leave almost immediately without taking any action.
If you haven't gotten the point yet, here's a one-liner summary:
You need a clean, professional-looking website to present your practice and services well to prospective patients, period.
Going for something cheap, or edgy can cost you leads, new patients, and even revenue.
These days, there are a number of platforms with thousands of beautiful themes which you can use to build a website that stands out.
Also, take into consideration the responsiveness of your site. You have to design for your users' screen.
If designing a simple but cool website is not your thing, you can hire the services of a professional web design company.
2. A High Ranking, High Converting, Healthcare Website is Fast
Website speed plays an important role in conversion.
For instance, Walmart found a 2% increase in conversion for every 1 second of improvement they made on their website speed.
According to studies from Aberdeen Research Group, a 1 second delay in your site speed can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
Leads are likely to go away if they find that your website takes longer than expected to load.
So, if you're serious about generating leads and converting visitors into patients, you need to ensure you are paying attention to your website's load time, and that you aren't frustrating people because you have a slow website.
3. The Navigation for Your Website? Simple. Easy to Follow.
Just as in optimizing your website load time, the idea behind a simple navigation is to make it a breeze for prospects to complete actions and find things on your website.
Making it easy for them to find what they're looking for improves user experience and increases your chance of converting them into patients.
So, How Can You Get Traffic to Your Website?
Before you can capture leads and get them to become interested in your services, you need to first drive targeted traffic to your website.
After all, without traffic, there'll be no lead to capture in the first place. A clean website with a simple nav means nothing until it's found.
So, before we get down to the tactics for generating leads for your medical practice, converting the same, and getting them to book appointments with you, let's take a look at some effective ways to drive targeted traffic to your medical website:
1. Set up your blog
In the 2014 HubSpot State of Inbound, it was noted that marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI.
As a doctor, you’re an expert in your field, and as such, you have valuable information to share with both existing and prospective patients.
Blogging allows you to do this.
By sharing educational content, people will see you as a thought-leader; they'll see you more as an expert who knows what he is doing and will practically be endeared to your medical practice.
It's a win-win: You add value to their lives through education, they understand better what you're doing and buy into it.
But that's not all that blogging does. It can also bring visitors your website on a regular basis, even when they may not necessarily need medical help.
That's more leads being nurtured and an optimized opportunity for conversion.
In addition to making your website more attractive to visitors, blogging also has the potential to make you more visible in search engines. This helps your website to rank naturally so that leads can find you.
But just remember to blog on topics that your patients are interested in and don't use industry jargons in your blog posts.
The other option is guest blogging. This is where you provide blog posts for other websites that are relevant to your industry typically, or perhaps your geographic area.
I discussed how you can get healthcare professionals to write guest blog posts for you, on your website in a podcast (listen below). The same strategy can be used for you to get guest blog posting opportunities.
Here's an example of some blog posts that I've written:
2. Don't just use social media, ENGAGE on social media
Social media is great for driving traffic to your website and for interacting with people who may be interested in what you do.
Just a search for doctors on Facebook resulted in 1000s of pages own by physicians with everyday medical practices.
Research shows that there were over 2.206 billion active social media users as at the third quarter of 2015, a global penetration of 30%.
Another study reported that in the US alone, 73% of the American population had a social network profile by year 2015.
These people are using social media to search for everything from what to eat for lunch to the best-paying jobs and a new dentist. And as a smart service professional, you have to take advantage of this. Fully.
So, post regularly; grow your following and connections; give out useful tips on Twitter; share professional advice LinkedIn; answer questions on Quora; interact with fans on Facebook and if you've got inspiring or interesting photos, then Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Faceook are all good for that.
And while doing all these, don't forget to build relationships. Well, because thats the key.
Even if leads were to visit your website, that's no guarantee that they'll buy from you.
But if they know you on a personal level?
They'll be much more likely to because they are beginning to know, like, and trust you.
3. Get in front of a huge audience
This is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic. It's about leveraging the audience of other blogs in your niche and is highly recommended especially if you're just starting out.
They've got the audience you're looking for; so, why try to build the same audience from scratch when you can simply leverage that of your competition?
Wondering ways to do this?
Interviews, special features, and guest blogging on other health blogs can work wonders.
4. Optimize your website for search engines
According to a shopping and personal finance study carried out by Interconnected World in 2012, 44% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine.
In 2013, Chitika published a study which stated that the number one spot on Google organic search results gets about 32.5% of the traffic, the second spot gets 18% and the traffic only degrades from there.
This simply means that if you want to get the largest share of the Google cake, you would need to optimize your website to rank high.
You can do this by strategically integrating keywords into your web copy to make your website easier for the search engines to read and understand.
But while doing that, be careful not to make your web copy smell fishy.
Excessive (and unnecessary keywords) can turn readers off and jeopardize your personal brand.
5. Invest in paid advertising
There are lots of companies offering paid advertising , with the most popular, at least for medical professionals, being Google and Facebook.
Paid advertising, though it requires money upfront, it can be very effective in driving traffic to your website, generating leads for your practice, and getting people to book appointments with you.
Little wonder that search ads accounted for $10.1 billion, or 39 percent of, of the total web advertising revenue for the first half of 2015.
What's more, you can target a specific audience based on targeting factors like age, location, education, interest, demography, hobbies etc.
These are just a few effective ways you can drive targeted traffic to your site. The idea is usually to choose what works best for you.
Just be sure you aren't making these extremely common Google AdWords mistakes.
So, after getting traffic, how exactly can you convert them into purchasing customers? Or more directly, how can you turn ordinary website visitors into loyal patients?
Converting Prospects into Patients
1. Let prospects know you're available
Most times, the trouble isn't that people do not want to buy, but miscommunication on the side of the marketer.
So, while making sure that everything is in place, don't forget to seal the deal: Let them know that you're open to taking new patients so they can go ahead and book an appointment.
2. Create a custom landing page for capturing leads
Without a landing page, it'll be difficult to generate leads.
Instapage mentioned that over 1,000 landing pages are designed with their software every day which goes to show that marketers are embracing landing pages.
In the same vein, MarketingSherpa reported that 67% of marketers are creating unique landing pages for various marketing campaigns and brands.
Landing pages are vitally important for capturing leads and should not be ignored.
However, to enjoy the full benefits of landing pages, you have to learn your way through landing page optimization.
Also, for your landing page to be effective, it must have all the essential elements of a high-converting landing page which include:
- An attention-gripping headline
- An email opt-in form
- A truly compelling sales copy
- A descriptive image
- And call-to-action (CTA), our next point.
3. Include calls-to-action
Yes, you may already know that calls-to-action are an important conversion element, but if you want results, you have to go beyond just that 'outsider' knowledge to actually knowing how to kick ass with CTAs (calls to action).
For one, adding just one CTA button to your homepage isn't enough.
You need to include CTAs on every page so that prospective patients can click on them irrespective of where they are on your website.
This doesn't mean you clutter up your website with big, flashy buttons everywhere.
Your CTA needs to be enticing and different from the usual "Sign up here" which has become less effective over the years.
Once you are experienced with CTA's and you feel comfortable with how they are performing, and how to change them, then consider testing them. You can create a new design, perhaps place it in a different spot, or change colors, and see what performs better.
For instance, before Performable was acquired by HubSpot, they A/B tested their CTA button color and found that the red color (being the variation) outperformed the green color (being the original) by 21%.
4. Use lead magnets
Back in the days, it was easy for website visitors to give out their details just like that. They liked the idea of receiving information right in their inbox for free.
But these days, information is virtually everywhere and you would need to bribe visitors ethically before they share their details with you.
A lead magnet is that ethical bribe.
It's simply a free offer that you put up on your lead generation page in order to incentivize prospective patients to give you their email, name, phone number or whatever detail you ask for.
And using a lead magnet is simply one of the most effective ways to convert website visitors into sales leads.
Don't know what to use as a lead magnet?
Here are some ideas to pick from:
- Free consultation
- Discount for those who book appointments online
- Free medical test (when they finally come to your office)
- An educational health guide (packaged in an eBook or eCourse)
You can even offer a lead magnet specifically for the purpose of getting people to book appointments with you online.
Here’s an example of a lead magnet:
5. Create a sales funnel
It's not every visitor that land on your website that will buy right away. Most of them may not immediately need medical attention but that doesn't mean they won't need it in the future.
In fact, almost everyone would need to visit a doctor at some point in their life.
So, the smartest thing to do here is to collect their details as outlined above AND create a sales funnel through which you can nurture leads and drive them through the conversion process until they're ready to visit you.
This is where email marketing comes in handy. You don't need to send them daily or weekly emails necessarily. What is far more important is that you are emailing them information that pertains to them, and on a regular basis so that you stay top of mind for when they have a need for your services.
This will make them to become familiar with you (which is important for closing deals) and keep them engaged for future purchases.
Pop-up forms (opt-in forms that pop up just when a visitor is about to leave your site) are great for capturing this sort of leads.
But remember to include privacy assurance in the forms. This reduces risk and shows prospects that you care about their privacy.
More Conversion Strategies
Use Geographic Targeting
If your practice is location based or if your clinic serves a particular area, you'd know that location is important.
With that in mind, it's advisable to use geo-targeting to reach leads close to your clinic location.
Geo-targeting is the practice of determining the location of a visitor and delivering relevant content to them based on their geographic criteria like country, region, state, city, zip code, IP address etc.
Geo-targeting can be used to target local patients through paid ads and organic search.
You can use Google Trends to enhance your geo-targeting campaign.
Google Trends is a tool that shows how frequently a search-term is entered on Google over a period of time and across different locations.
Make it Easy to Contact You
In booking an appointment with you, prospective patients would need to contact you. The easiest way to make them not to contact you, actually, is to make it difficult for them to contact you.
Conversely, offering your potential patients different contact options can make all the difference.
Offering your potential patients different contact options can make all the difference.
While contact forms are great contact tools, most people hate CAPTCHA and wouldn't bother entering it.
Place your email address above the fold and in a place that prospects can easily see them. Don't make them comb your site in search of it, otherwise, they'll simply go away unconverted.
Add a Smiling Image of Yourself
Preferably in your scrubs or lab jacket.
37 Signals (now Basecamp) found a 102.5% increase in sign-ups just after adding a photo of a smiling, happy person to the landing page for their Highrise web app.
Some prospects may have concerns, disagreements, or objections with your offering.
These concerns, disagreements, and objections are called frictions. They delay prospects from taking actions.
To get rid of this and turbocharge prospects to book an appointment, you would need to tackle those frictions.
One way to do this (reduce friction) is to provide answers upfront to simple concerns like the direction to your clinic, your hours of operation etc., and answers to patients' frequently asked questions.
I mean, it wouldn't make sense for a potential patient to come to your office just to ask what type of eye care services you offer, but an FAQ page on your site will give potential patients the needed information that can make them to book an appointment with you at the drop of a hat.
Another way to tackle friction is to build trust.
However, building trust is more than just tackling frictions. In fact, trust is one of the most essential conversion triggers there is.
Here are some quick ways to build trust:
- Use social proof, case studies, customer review and/or testimonials
- Include trust badges on your website (Member of the Chamber of Commerce, an accreditation, BBB membership, etc.)
Provide Appointment-booking Features for Patients
Since you're looking to get people to make appointments with you, it'll be best to integrate a calendar into your website to enable potential patients book when they can visit you.
Does your website offer the ability to book an appointment online? I hope so, these days, you can potentially lose patients because they prefer to do business online as opposed to call. It's an easy thing to add, in fact your practice management software may even provide a small snippet of code that you can place on your site, which will add a cool little 'Book Appointment' button on your site.
Whether you’re a dentist, an psychologist, a plastic surgeon, a chiropractor or any other role as a medical professional, you need to generate leads in order grow your practice.
Sure, creating a website for your practice gives you an advantage over the other physicians that do not have a website, but that's not enough.
I mean, really.
Doesn't nearly everybody have a website? So, that doesn't do much to set you apart.
To really get the most out your website, and out of the internet as a whole, you would have to actively make efforts to generate leads and boost your website conversion.
We've already done part of the job for you by providing you with this guide. Now, it's your turn to implement the strategies we've shared with you.
So, go ahead. Get your hands dirty with these tips and let us know how your patient attraction methods work.