In the past, hospital marketing and general health-care marketing involved brand management and patient education. Due to the pervasive growth of the Net some hospital marketers and marketing professionals for medical practices are having a hard time adjusting. Being able to stay on the cutting-edge while remaining relevant and accessible has become key for successful hospital and medical marketing.
Patients now more than ever are realizing the level of control and quantity of choices they have when looking for a qualified healthcare professional. Ratings, specialization and a unique level of engagement have become the primary methods that patients are using to select their health-care professional and medical facility.
To stay on top of these marketing trends, putting your best foot forward online has become more important than ever. We have found the following four strategies to be incredibly helpful for hospital marketers and marketing communication professionals of medical practices.
Search Engine Optimization
Less patients are bookmarking hospital services or directories. They are now far more likely to simply
search for health services in their area. Making your hospital one of the first listings when a patient
performs an online search involves careful planning, smart use of keywords and a large amount of
original and relevant content.
This process is known as “search engine optimization” or SEO. It is primarily concerned with offering
as much information as possible about your hospital or practice in easy-to-find resources while using strategic keyword implementation. A website that constantly provides interesting and relevant original content will also drive search traffic.
Some key points to directing traffic to your website include:
Conducting keyword research: When people come to your page, what they searching for to get there? Are there any terms that keep coming up? Is that how you want them to find you? Secondly, what terms do searchers use that should be driving traffic to your site, but currently aren’t listing your organization?
Keyword Research Quick Tip – Do a Google Search for the the “keyword planner” and this will walk you through the process of finding terms that are relevant for your hospital or practice. To find how people are currently finding your site you can use Google Webmaster Tools as well as your Google Analytics to find the most popular terms that drive search traffic to your hospital or practice.
Use website content to drive traffic: Place content on your website that includes these keywords, like blog posts and news articles. If you want to boost traffic based on a particular service you provide, make sure any articles are relevant to those services and include keywords that match.
Hire a professional like Zephoria to help: While a strong marketing team we routinely find that our presence in the process can help to increase traffic between 25-30 percent and in some cases even more. Including the right professional in the process can significantly improve your process and also build your internal core competencies.
A Usable and High-Quality Website Experience
Website building tools have changed dramatically in the last six months, let alone the last six years. If your hospital or medical practice has neglected to adjust to the times, this lack of effort will show.
New websites should be elegant, easy-to-navigate and visually appealing. Patients should be able to use
your tool bars and menus to quickly and efficiently find the information they wanted.
The latest website trends emphasize offering quick access to the needed pages while blending everything together in a cohesive and unique style.
User Experience Quick Tip – We find that Google Analytics is a great way to see what is working for users and where we can improve. For example, look for pages with high bounce rates or exits. We typically look for pages with a higher than 70 percent bounce rate as a huge strategic opportunity to improve the user experience. One other tool that we have simply fell in love with is UserTesting.com which allows you to quickly and very inexpensively build a health-care marketing focus group and get real input on what is working on your site and what needs to be improved.
Consistent Online Engagement
The best way to increase brand recognition is to remind patients of the quality of your services before they even need them. By making regular posts to social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter, a hospital can offer information to educate people or inform them of relevant health-related events in their community.
A well-marketed hospital will be seen as a vital contributor to the community, both sick and well. They can demonstrate this value by broadcasting their services and information online. This strategy is becoming even more important for the younger generation that will make social media an important part of their communications experience.
Patients are usually looking up symptoms and conditions online to aid them in making well-informed decisions. Adding to this information will only serve to help patients make better choices regarding their health care while reminding them that your hospital is there to help.
Blogs, videos and websites dedicated to educational campaigns and local initiatives can indispensably help your hospital’s marketing strategy. Offering these services also spreads the idea that your hospital
is committed to the community by maintaining an educated and health-conscious public audience.
Zephoria Make It Work Moment
Zephoria worked with a large hospital group with the goal of promoting one of their medical practice areas. The hospital group gave us permission to build an external mini-site which we were able to use to promote their practice area. After the site was built we then promoted the mini-site with a combination of paid search, organic SEO, and also social media promotion. What was so amazing about this campaign is that in three months we created enough traffic and new patients that the mini-site was taken offline because the hospital had enough patients for the entire year. For less than $15,000 the entire campaign exceeded the hospital’s goals and expectations for the entire year.
Contact Dan Noyes at Zephoria (585) 230-9565 to learn more how we can help you and your hospital or medical practice.