Today's consumers start their search for a new healthcare provider online. Fact is, seventy-seven percent of potential patients use search engines to research providers and their practices before booking an appointment. Sixty-three percent of those patients will choose one provider over another because of a robust online presence. If you want to grow your healthcare practice, start by investing in a digital marketing strategy.
A solid digital marketing foundation helps patients find you, increases the likelihood that patients choose you over the competition, improves your return on advertising, and creates a sustainable growth track for your practice.
Agency Experts Reveal the Secrets to Online Success
We spoke with High Level Marketing's Executive Healthcare Marketing Consultants, Heather Sexton, and Ryan Files, for insights on the importance of building a robust digital strategy for practices looking to acquire new patients. Here's what they had to say:
How Do You Build a Strong Digital Strategy for Healthcare Practices?
What return can healthcare practices expect on their digital marketing investment?
“The biggest challenge healthcare practices have around their online presence is how they think about the investment,” says Files. “For ads, they look at what they’re getting in return for ads, which makes sense. With digital marketing, it’s not a one-to-one relationship, but there is absolutely a long-lasting impact and return.”
How does a practice’s online foundation affect its digital marketing efforts?
“It’s like building a house with cards vs. building a house with bricks,” says Files.
“As a leading healthcare marketing agency, we see healthcare practices with website and social media issues dumping money into paid. They’re investing in billboards, online paid advertising, etc., but not paying attention to how their problematic online presence is hurting these investments’ performance. It’s not bad to invest in a billboard, but it shouldn’t be the first thing to invest in or seen as the most important.”
Why the push to advertise despite a shaky foundation? “A lot of times practices do it because it’s easy...buying ads is easy...but making sure your website is user-friendly, consistent with branding, SEO optimized, etc. takes time and effort,” says Files, “and sometimes, doctors don’t have the time to do that.”
“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of lost opportunity because of it,” adds Sexton. “You can try to get patients from any channel you want, and best-case scenario, let’s say they find you. If they don’t understand the value of your services, if they aren’t positively influenced by what they see, they’re not going to convert.”
Driving traffic to an outdated, incomplete, or unprofessional website is not only a poor investment; it may actually hurt your reputation.
7 Signs Your Digital Presence is Hurting Your Healthcare Practice (& What To Do!)
Files and Sexton outlined the following signs that a practice’s digital presence needs some extra care and what form that care takes.
1. Your website isn't mobile-responsive.
Eighty-one percent of Americans own a smartphone. If your website isn’t responsive, it won’t display optimally on your potential patients’ devices. And you’ll lose out on business. A qualified and experienced healthcare website design and development team will ensure your site looks sharp, loads quickly, and performs well on all devices your potential patients use.
2. Your website lacks content or has too much content.
The average patient visits 12 web properties before choosing a healthcare provider, and the Content Marketing Institute indicates that 61% of consumers will make a purchase after reading a blog. Healthcare content done right can help you win and retain more patients as you engage, educate, and build trust with site visitors. Include a healthy mix of engaging written and videocontent.
3. You’ve dumped all your services onto one web page.
Take it from the SEO experts; when your page is about everything you offer, search engines don’t know how to categorize the page. By building individual service pages with rich content on that topic or service, you send a strong signal to Google that you offer that service. In turn, you’ll stand a better chance of ranking for that service in your local market and be found by users searching for that service.
4. Your web pages are named and organized around your business instead of the patient’s journey.
Consider how patients search - most patients search by symptoms like hyperpigmentation rather than the services like chemical peels and IPL that treat the symptom. Name and organize the pages on your site in a manner that makes it easy for search engines to direct in-market patients to your site and reduces the steps for patients to find answers.
5. You have only a handful of Google Reviews.
“When you have two reviews, it’s a volatile situation from a review perspective, but something we commonly see,” says Files. “Practices say they have a 4-star review and only one bad review. But when your review numbers are that low, it only takes one to two reviews to crush your reputation.” Not having enough Google Business Profile Reviews is a common misstep you should address.
Seventy-two percent of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new physician, and 19% of patients use online reviews to validate choosing a physician they have tentatively selected. Why? Because there’s power in social proof. “Without satisfied patients, there is no business," writes Physician’s Practice. A healthy online reputation is a requisite of a strong online presence.
6. Your website's design lacks direction.
Potential patients can tell if an unqualified developer designed your website. It gives visitors pause to think, “If this is how their website looks, what does their practice look like?!” Indeed, when you think about your website as your business front on the internet, it furthers the reality you need a professional website designed by a reputable digital marketing agency like High Level Marketing.
7. Google Analytics. You haven’t looked at it, or you don't understand it.
If you don’t have Google Analytics set up on your website or aren’t checking it, you’re missing out on valuable visitor data. Analytics provides insights about the number and type of visitors engaging with your site, as well as how they’re engaging with your site.
Analytics insights guide you in continuously improving your website to provide a better online experience for prospective and current patients alike. High bounce rates or law traffic indicate your site’s user experience (UX), load time, SEO, and/or content need improvement. When you partner with a digital marketing agency like High Level Marketing, you get access to important insights that help guide your digital marketing decisions.
Join the Elite Group of Healthcare Providers Growing Their Practices with High Level Marketing.
High Level Marketing's foundation-first stance comes from years of data and insights collected by our healthcare marketing customer success team, production specialists, and healthcare marketing experts, including Files and Sexton, helping practices like yours grow.
We've seen firsthand how healthcare providers making their online presence a priority enjoy faster and more sustainable growth and receive larger dividends on marketing efforts.
Grow Your Practice With a Leader In Healthcare Digital Marketing!