Physician Practice Marketing in the Age of Digital Media

As with traditional marketing, digital marketing also relies heavily on knowing who your target market is.   So in today’s marketing environment, who is the target patient for a physician practice?

The explosion of mobile, social networking and all the other digital forms of communications have ushered is into a world of constant connectivity that offers more selection, more information, and more options. So, how do you ensure your patients are receiving the correct healthcare information?  You access the markets and platforms where your patients are.  Today is the era of participatory health. Today is the era of the E-Patient.   Defined by Nicole Ziady as “e-patients are health consumers who use the web to find information about certain medical conditions, e-patients are starving for information.

According to A Pew Research report, 47% of adults have used the internet to get information about doctors or other health care professionals.  Additionally, 41% of adults have read someone else commentary or experience about health or medical issues on an online new group or blog.  These numbers are clearly important.  Our patients are now educated, equipped, empowered and experts in their own healthcare.  Let’s face it, today is a world of “participatory health.”  Patients research their own symptoms and then report back to their physicians.

Marketing is shifting from the traditional method of promoting yourself, your services, and your products. Instead, digital marketing is becoming more about educating your patients with the correct healthcare information.  Did you know that 14% of people trust advertisements, while 78% of people trust what others say?  Why not write down the answer to that question you received 40 times today in your 7 minute patient visits?  Post it on a blog that links to your website.  Those e – patients will listen.  They will follow and they will be happy.  Positive patients = positive things said about your services = more prospective patients will listen and follow = positive return on investment.

Isn’t that what we all want?

 

 

SEO and SEM: Getting Started

More and more people are researching their medical and treatment choices online. Search engine optimization (SEO) or search engine marketing (SEM) are excellent ways to market your practice and bring more users to your practice’s website. Though there are numerous changes and adjustments that you can make to increase your site’s visibility, here are a few tips to get you thinking about SEO and SEM.

Keywords

Keywords are the search terms that users often employ to begin their online search. If you include these specific words and phrases within your site’s structure and its content, users have a better chance of finding your site.

Begin by thinking about the words that someone might type in to find your site. Keep in mind that some users know a lot about a topic and may use different keywords than someone who has limited knowledge. Being aware of these differences can help you create content for a varied audience.

And if you need help coming up with keywords, some online search engines have tools that can help you generate keywords that are relevant to your business.

Make Your Website Easy to Navigate

Unless you have hundreds of items that need to be indexed under different categories, you can keep your website structure simple and therefore easier to use.

If your site’s navigation is based solely on drop-down menus, you may want to rethink the structure. Using text navigation not only helps users who may not have some applications like Flash or Java, but also makes it easier for search engines to crawl your site. A crawler is an automated script or program that methodically searches the Internet, extracting data.

Use Exact Language

Create accurate, descriptive page titles for each page. Page titles full of numbers and letters rather than words will make it more difficult for users to search and locate your site. In addition, using the description tag on your page to outline your business helps when search engines pull up information to include in results “snippets,” or the bit of text that often accompanies a result listing.

Create Quality Content for Your Users

Producing quality content for your site is essential. Remember, your site exists for your users, not search engines. Copying large chunks of text or not breaking it up with relevant headers and dividers does not make it useful to your users. In addition, if you create unique content and update it often, visitors will return regularly and new users will also discover your site. Blogging and adding news items are great ways to update your site.

Paid Advertising

If you’re also ready to purchase search engine advertising on sites such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and others, they offer ways to insert your practice’s name in search results. This type of advertising is highly targeted, reaching customers and clients who are already searching for your specialty or focus. There are various levels of advertising, from those for small business to campaigns for global corporations.

Marketing Your Practice the Right Way

Generating and building exposure for your practice and reaching more patients online sometimes can be an involved and complicated process. The web experts at The Doctor’s Bag can help you navigate the world of SEO and more, helping your site to perform well in online searches and reaching more patients. Contact us today.

Up Next: Learn how to effectively promote your practice’s website, both online and offline.

SEO (Search Enging Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing)- The Basics

A friend or colleague may have said, “Have you implemented a SEO plan for your website?” or “Have you tried search engine marketing?” Digging into the inner workings of your website and customizing numerous parts may seem intimidating, but optimizing your site and its content for search engines (and the people who use them) can increase your practice’s visibility, send more users to your website, and in turn bring in new patients.

What Is Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Whether you pay for advertising, use your website’s descriptions and keywords to make it easier to find, or both, SEM and SEO are great ways to drive traffic to your site and increase exposure. There are various methods, paid and free, to help users discover your practice online.

Search Engine Optimization
SEO involves using designing, writing, and coding a website to make it more understandable to search engines, therefore ranking it higher in search results, and making your site easier to locate for people who are seeking services like yours.

SEO is not all about keywords and coding, however, it also relies on the quality and purpose of your site. The Google search engine’s SEO guide says, “…you should base your optimization decisions first and foremost on what’s best for the visitors of your site. They’re the main consumers of your content and are using search engines to find your work…Search engine optimization is about putting your site’s best foot forward when it comes to visibility in search engines, but your ultimate consumers are your users, not search engines.”

Search Engine Marketing
While the free method of keywords, tags, and more can definitely be considered “marketing,” search engine marketing (SEM) may also involve paying for ads that show up along with the results of a search.

This type of advertising is very popular (and often very effective) because it is linked to the keywords that a searcher types into the search engine. Linking ads to search results reaches consumers who are actively seeking your service or product. There are many ways you can purchase search advertising, including sponsoring searches, pay-per-click ads, banner ads, and more.

Why Do I Need SEM & SEO?
For showcasing your practice online, SEO and SEM are powerful tools. If users are already searching for a practice or specialty similar to yours, why not put your name in front of them? With a combination of SEO and SEM, you can leverage more visits to your website—transforming them into more visits for your practice.

Expert Assistance
The Doctor’s Bag team can help you navigate the world of promoting your practice online. We offer a full spectrum of SEO and SEM services for all types of practices, from plastic surgeons to general practitioners. Contact us today to learn how we increase your practice’s exposure.

Coming up: We’ll share information on how to approach SEO and SEM, along with a few tips.

The Benefits of Video Marketing for Your Physician Practice

One of the best ways to reach out to your patients and potential patients is to use something that many people encounter on a daily basis: video. You know the most about your practice, so who better to introduce it and explain your specialties?

Here are a few of the advantages of using this pervasive technology to help market your medical practice:

Personalizes Your Practice: Video puts a face with your practice, creating a more intimate experience for potential patients and a deeper relationship for existing patients. It enables potential patients to “meet” you before they even set foot in your office.

Specify Your Message: Creating a video allows you to display a very specific message or niche, if you desire.

Portable and Available: Video is portable and offers anytime access. When potential patients are searching or browsing on their computers, phones, tablets, or other devices, they can watch your video content—whenever they want and wherever they want.

Ensures Engagement: Since video requires a person to be wholly engaged, with eyes and ears, they are more likely to view your entire message rather than skipping over text.

Cost-Effective: With some simple equipment like a digital camera or even a mobile phone, you can record a video and post it. However, for a more polished look, more sophisticated equipment may be required.

Increases Website Traffic: From piano-playing cats to how-to videos, billions of videos are viewed every day on YouTube and other sites. Posting your video on multiple sites can drive traffic to your website.

Videos can be one of simplest and most cost-effective ways to market your medical practice. Contact The Doctor’s Bag today to learn how you can increase your practice’s exposure and connect with patients using a video.