One of the greatest mistakes you can make is to treat your website like an online catalogue. In my experience, I’ve come across hundreds of medical practices who don’t know how to exploit their website to leverage and grow their practices.
In this article, I will show you the 8 ways to use your website to grow your practice. Don’t expect they are free or even cheap. Growing your practice online requires resources, one way or another (time or money).
Before starting this work, you need to research about your target patients. Are they hanging out online? If so, where would they find practices like yours? Do they look at search results? Or are they frequenting forums and community sites?
If you know where they hang out online and what sort of information they would search before embarking on an online marketing for medical practice campaign.
1. Use your website to gain local patients
Has it ever struck you that some medical practices, like Gordon Vet Hospital, consistently do well in search results. Do you wonder why?
Despite what you’re tempted to think, it’s got nothing to do with luck or magic, or even extensive advertising. It all hinges on good quality local SEO (search engine optimisation) techniques.
What is Local SEO?
- More than 40% of online searches now specify a location. This is called ‘local intent’. This means that almost half of all of the search requests in Google include a city, town, county or postcode. Can you see the massive opportunity this represents to you?
- More than 80% of people select organic (free) listings or Google Maps when they’re searching for a local product or service. The reason? These listings contain reviews. Authentic reviews are the most enticing of all sales tools.
- Google Places / Plus Local pages significantly improve your visibility on mobile phones and tablets. If you struggle to rank in the organic (free) section of Google, then Google Places/Plus Local is an easy way to hog valuable real estate, which has fewer visible competitors, on a mobile screen.
- Google Places / Plus Local pages also help smaller practices compete with multi-national brands and well-established directories in their own stamping grounds. It’s a sensible way to attract patients who live close to their office.
We all know the internet is an effective tool to advertise healthcare practice, but it can be a big, seemingly overwhelming market place. If your healthcare services apply to your local community, you need to consider local SEO a key marketing investment.
4 Steps to Optimising Local Search With Google can be found on this article that I wrote not long ago. “9 SEO Mistakes That Could Sink Your Business” (item 7th)
2. Acquire reviews on some industry community niche sites and forums and display on your website.
Reviews build credibility and ensure that you stand head and shoulders above your competitors.
On some community sites, you can potentially gain prospects as a result of offering advice or comments on member questions and issues.
Dr. Naveen Somia on realself.com is an example. He’s seeking to gain patients through his professional and authentic advices to the members on the community group.
You can insert the snippets of these reviews on your website which is a good way of showing objective third party testimonials.
3. Use your website to blog
Blogging is massive and still growing. The finest thing about blogging is that search engines love them.
To write and upload blogs on a consistent basis is considered one of the most efficient online marketing strategies that healthcare practices can use to increase the visibility of their brand. Aside from that, their public sightseers can interact with something.
Blogging is one of the very few tools that small healthcare practices can use to compete with their giant competitors.
Blogging helps create a personal connection with readers and establish personal authorship that the big healthcare practices usually don’t have.
So what to blog about?
- Blog what you think your prospects would need the answers to. You can gather this list of questions through your day-to-day interaction with your patients and prospects.
- Find good long-tail keywords through Google Suggestion, Keyword Planner Tool
Did you ever notice that when you scroll to the bottom of Google’s search results there’s a section called, “Searches related to…”?
For example, when you search for “eyelid surgery” on Google, you can see Google pops up some suggestions, these are highly searched queries that Google has gathered over search history time.
It looks like this:
Here’s a tip. Take a keyword from the “searches related to” section. Put that into Google. Now take a look at the “Searches related to…” results. This can be a great way to create an awesome list of keywords that the Keyword Planner doesn’t display.
If you click on eyelid surgery medicare, you will see a list of topics that you can write about. This topic “How much does Medicare pay for eyelid surgery” is a perfect title for this topic.
You can double check the search volume/month that this long tail keyword “eyelid surgery medicare” has using Google Keyword Planner tool.
This keyword has 20 searches/month, which makes it a perfect long tail keyword that you can use to blog.
- Find questions people ask on Quora and Forum and blog about it
There are many Q & A sites. Quora is the 140th biggest and most visited Q&A site in the world.
It has millions of members. You may not attract many of them but, if you are just starting out, an extra 100 – 200 visitors can make a big difference.
This makes Quora great for keyword research.
Just enter your keywords and it turns them into questions or enter questions and it will deliver great keywords.
The beauty with Quora is that the questions it hosts, are written by real people with a real thirst for informed responses. This can give you great ideas about what content might be useful and relevant.
Through the use of reverse engineering, you can easily create useful titles from questions by searching relevant topics on Quora. Just enter your keyword, then create these different titles for your blogs based on the responses returned.
Image 5: Here is an example of using Quora to find frequently-asked questions to blog in more detail about it and also join the discussion to gain more traffic to your intended page content.
- Get article content ideas from forums
Forums are another effective avenue to finding long-tailed highly-searchable golden keywords in your niche.
If someone asks on a forum about a certain question, they are more likely asking the same question on Google. This is big opportunity to get their keywords and use this in your optimisation program.
Firstly, approach forums where you know your target audience hangs out.
If you’re not sure where these are, just use search strings to find them:
“keyword” + “forum”“keyword” + “board”“keyword” + “powered by vbulletin”
- See The Popularity of Keywords Through Google Trends
Google Trends is another favourite keyword research tool.
This tool displays high-volume keywords in any niche…even before they appear in the Google Keyword Planner.
But the most helpful feature is that you see a keyword’s popularity over time.
If you’re about to invest $50,000 on an SEO campaign, you should know whether interest in each one of your keywords is growing (or falling).
To see this, go to Google Trends. And enter your keyword into the search field. It will show you “interest over time” based on search volume and news headlines:
In this example, search volume of the keyword “tick treatments for dogs” is pretty stable and going upwards, which is a good indication that we should target this term.
Another professional tip is to scroll down to “Related Searches” in Google trends after you’ve entered your keyword.
4. Use your website to sell and share your expertise
I’ve seen thousands of poor websites in my job and very few actually sell. Most are merely online catalogues.
Respondents contributing to research by Trust and Mistrust of Online Health Sites on poorly designed sites, had this to say.
- “I didn’t like the color… couldn’t wait to get out. It was an insipid green backdrop… just put me off reading.”
- “… nothing I liked … didn’t like the colours, the text, the layout.”
- “…. the screen too busy. I couldn’t quite latch onto anything straight away.”
Take a look at this example of the Gordon Vet Hospital.
This home page represents some fairly typical mistakes. It’s just a list of services—an online catalogue. Notice the differences here? This page uses real staff photos instead of dated stock images.
The call to action is above the fold with solid justifications for a choice of Gordon Vet Hospital. There’s also a video tour of the hospital facilities and staff, clearly demonstrating a well-functioning medical centre.
Selling via your website doesn’t just mean for eCommerce.Think about your ideal patient. Where do they hire medical services from, what’s their age group, what do they read, why are they looking for your service, and what made them choose to browse your site in the first place?
Share your expertise through website content
You might not know it, but internet users spend about 5.59 seconds focusing on a site’s written content. These statistics come from eye-tracking studies conducted at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. This means you less than 5 seconds to capture the readers’ attention, so make it count.
Think about how your “thing” improves their life and write copy that clearly explains that. Try to identify what they want to ask, and address that in either your web copy or in an FAQ section.
Your goal is to encourage them to take action! Do you want them to call you or email you or submit a contact form or even visit you? The goal is to become aware of who they are so you can solve their problem.
5. Use the website to build your email list
The death of email has been greatly exaggerated! It’s still a great tool for attracting people to your site. But just be careful about sending unsolicited emails. They will be marked as Spam so ask for your visitor to opt-in first.
Explain the types of emails you’ll be sending. Offer something valuable! This can be exclusive products, coupons, discounts, etc. If you offer the right incentive, people will want to hear from you.
Why Email still matters and money is in the list
- Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new patients than Facebook or Twitter
- 91% of consumers check their email at least once every day
- Over 70% of mobile purchasing decisions are influenced by promotional emails
- Email marketing has an ROI of 3800%. For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI
- 77% of ROI comes from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns
Source: Neil Patel’s webinar
Here are some effective tips in building email list that guarantee 100%.
- Call to Action is on the go
This verb phrase is one of the assets for building mailing list. There are several ways where you could place a call to action. You can add it in the sidebar, footer or create a popup message when they visit your page and ask them to sign up. Just make sure to tell them that they will never miss an update or important information if they subscribe to your list.
- Professional Looking Landing Page
Creating an elegant landing page is a big plus in gaining email address. If your website is attractive, trust-worth looking, direct to the point, and user-friendly, you will attract a bunch of potential emails.
- Perks, perks, and perks
Why not offer a free ebook, whitepaper or any special content that you think your reader would love? But, before they gain access on this stuff, they will need to give their email.
- Host a Webinar
Webinars are widely used. Present or host a seminar that’s transmitted using video conferencing software. Having this way of expanding the niche you provide, gives you a great number of emails.
These goldmine strategies are sure-fire way to develop a massive email list that will help you grow your practice. Just make sure to use these properly.
6. Use your website to automate your marketing through sales funnel
As a medical practice owner, you might not have time to follow up all your potential leads, so why not just automate this task. This is called marketing automation or sales funnel.
Without a Website Sales Funnel…
- You will have unpredictable lead generation
- You will have lower quality and a lower volume of traffic
- You’ll have to invest more resources into following-up leads manually, and educating them on your offer.
- You will experience fewer conversions
- An ideal web funnel setup generates traffic generation and lead generation through automated lead follow-up.
Once prospects get hooked into your email list, you can continue to communicate with them through an automated email sequence. The goal is to turn them to a patient.
At first you need to establish some trust with your prospects through the email communications, it could be answering some questions that they might have or sending them great dripped content (articles, cheat sheets, reports, videos) that could help reassure them that you’re the expert and they should use you instead of somebody else.
Maybe they don’t need your services yet, but you should still send them an email from time to time to remind them that you are still actively operating and you are there when they need you.
This process can be automated and you don’t have to manually follow up. How cool is this!
Attention is a new currency. You need to gain your prospects’ attention in today’s noise. You need to stay top of mind when it comes to choosing services or products that you are providing.
7. Use your website to gain free traffic through SEO
For on-going SEO, it is not FREE but if you get a good SEO consultant, you would have good return on your investment. Beware of cheap SEO, it could ruin your website performance, and worse you might run the risk of losing your medical practice website domain name.
I have written a lot about SEO in our blog, you can read more about this topic through “9 SEO Mistakes That Could Sink Your Business”
8. Use your website for Pay Per Click advertising
Google Ads, Remarketing
Google has recently made 4 top search results paid ads, which pretty much dominates the fold area. If you have some budget for it, I suggest that you spend it on Google Ads.
Remarketing is a great way to get visitors to return to your website to download a free eBook, or check out the items they may have left in the shopping cart.
Facebook Advertising is getting more powerful and you should consider using it before it becomes over saturated by your competitors.
You can laser target your market with Facebook ads. Simply add your email list and market to your existing list and their friends. How incredible is that!
Consistency of ads message, images in PPC
It is critical that your website landing page (sales page) shows what users see on the ads image.It is disappointing to be enticed by an ad, only to realise that it cannot find the item that they like from the image on the sales page.
Use dedicated landing page for your PPC campaign
You pay good money for your advertisements, and if your landing page doesn’t convert traffic into patients YOU’RE WASTING MONEY!
If someone clicks on your advertisement and leaves without taking action, you’ve failed! Your landing page must provide your potential patient with everything they require to take action!
Keep in mind that you need a dedicated landing page for your pay per click advertising. I have seen some horrible PPC campaigns that use home page and normal service/product page as the landing page for the PPC campaign. This is a quickest way to flush your advertising dollars down the drain.
A better way for them to do this, would be to target a single objective on a single landing page.
Or on some Facebook advertising campaigns, they show you different product images when you land on their website.
I saw this ad when browsing my Facebook news feed.
But when I clicked through and visited the ad landing page, this is what I saw. What a disappointment!, I checked out this ad because I was expecting to see that black swim suit and was eager to check the details but the advertiser offered me something completely different.
So keep in mind that the image on your advertisement and your landing page are both consistent to retain users on your landing page.
Please find a suggested roll out plan following:
1. First and foremost, design a high-performance website
2. Invest in PPC advertising to send traffic to your website immediately
3. Create some purpose-specific landing pages to get the most from your paid advertising
4. Expand that traffic with SEO
5. Write and post regular blogs
6. Establish an email marketing campaign to educate your prospects
7. Expand your reach even further by implementing a banner advertising campaign
Now track your conversions and work out your cost per action. You need to keep an eye on everything to ensure that your actions generate more in profit than costs.
In this article you’ve learnt that while it might take time and resources, it is possible to dominate your digital marketing strategy. You’ve learnt how important SEO is, and how to get the best out of local SEO results.
You’ve learnt how to establish thought leadership on forum sites and via reviews. How important it is to blog. And how to use Google’s ‘searches related to…’ and Google Trends to identify effective keywords to use in your blogs.
You’ve seen the importance of email campaigns, sales funnels and PPC advertising. All that’s required now is to roll out our suggested plan. So what are you waiting for? Do you have any roadblocks that prevent you from making your website work for you?
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