Patient care is all about building relationships based on trust and communication. Current trends for medical practice marketing focus on fostering those relationships by providing ways to engage patients while providing them with valuable resources and information. Using a combination of on-page and local SEO, doctors, dentists and surgeons can establish a solid online presence that maintains their authority and instills confidence.
Here are four current trends that will help medical practitioners step up their marketing game while improving their level of patient care.
Refine Your Keywords
Historical use of keywords for SEO optimization focused on choosing one or two that were relevant to a practice or area of specialty. Current trends are just as specific, but in a different way. Rather than using X number of single keywords like “surgeon,” “dentist” or “pediatrician,” SEO trends favor long-tail keyword phrases that are location-based.
This is especially true now that nearly 70% of patients are looking for care using their smartphones rather than from a laptop or PC. A patient may be on the road and not have time to sort through a ton of search results. What they really want to know is “Where is a particular care provider near me?” According to statistics provided by Solution21, the majority of those who find you in a mobile search listing will make an appointment at your practice.
For example, if you’re an oral surgeon with a practice located in Memphis, Tennessee, you’ll improve your outreach using high-value keyword phrases like “best oral surgeons in Memphis, Tennessee” that are strategically placed in your content and metadata. In today’s search climate, quality matters much more than quality.
Improve Your Accessibility
The general desire for instant gratification carries over into the medical field. You can provide more comprehensive service while still meeting this demand by providing patient access and resources right on your website. One rising trend is to create a patient portal where they can go online and access their information without calling into an office and waiting for someone to get back to them. This provides them with the information they need while saving time in-office for you and your staff to do what you do best: take care of patients.
A patient portal allows the patient to feel like they’re taking an active role in their own care. Think how convenient it would be for your patients if they can login to your website, make or confirm appointments, view test results or access personalized, patient-focused comments and recommendations. If a patient is too sick to go into the office, a means of instant communication or feedback allows you to extend care beyond the physical confines of your practice.
Build an Online Community
People like to feel that they’re part of something, especially when the healthcare industry sometimes makes us feel as though we’ve been reduced to numbers. Social media was once used to provide blurbs about services and maybe a helpful article or two. Taken a few steps further, you can create an online wellness community that provides resources and more meaningful engagement.
No one social media platform can be all things. You should have a presence on each one and learn to utilize it effectively. Platforms like Twitter can offer teasers that link back to your website for answers. Using Facebook, you can provide a forum for patients to discuss important health topics. Instagram or Pinterest can showcase photos of staff and patients. Add a blog to your website containing practice-specific topics, health tips and other information that your patients – and prospective patients – may find useful or valuable. Link all of your social media platforms to your blog and create a weekly newsletter to send out to your contact list that draws them all in.
Establish an Environment of Reciprocity
Unless you’re a general practitioner, you’ll likely specialize in one or two specific health areas. Reach out to other medical professionals in your community to create a spirit of reciprocity. You can offer to write a guest post for their blog, containing back-links, or course, and offer them a spot on yours. That way, you can market services their patients might need in a way that benefits both practices and their patients.
This also helps you build authority in your field and increases referrals. For instance, an orthopedist or a physical therapist might write a blog post for an urgent care center. A patient going to that center with a broken leg may need your services for follow up care or to hasten their recovery. Back-links and blogging also improves search engine ranking, so it’s a win-win all around.
It’s essential for any kind of business to create a robust online presence. When you take the time to invest in a winning strategy, you’ll experience a solid ROI. Incorporating these tips into your medical practice SEO and overall marketing plan will keep your practice and your patients healthy and thriving.