If you’re looking to increase your medical practice’s visibility and bring in more leads, look no further. We’ve got your step-by-step, comprehensive guide to successfully marketing your doctor’s office online right here.
How do we know our method works?
Because we’ve been using it successfully with our own health care clients for years, and continue to produce amazing results using it today.
Is it time for your medical practice to up the ante and get serious about attracting more patients? We here at Zen Media can help. Let us guide you through the process of making your online presence as robust as possible. Our extensive experience in the industry has given us unique insight into what works specifically for medical offices. To illustrate our methods, today we’re featuring one of our long-time clients, EyeCare 20/20, a thriving practice of eye surgeons and eye doctors in New Jersey.
Step 1: Strategy Development
The first step in any online marketing plan should be an intensive strategy session. Answer the following questions for your practice:
- What exactly do you want to accomplish through your online marketing efforts? (The achievement of more visibility for your doctors as experts in their field? More qualified leads contacting your office through inbound marketing? A stronger presence in your local community?)
- How much involvement in online marketing activities can you realistically commit to? (Will you, or someone on your staff, have time to take photos and videos for your marketing team to use online? Approve blog posts and PR articles before they’re published? Collaborate with your marketing team on new ideas and initiatives?)
Your goals and your level of involvement will determine what your marketing team does for you, and how they go about doing it. In the case of EyeCare 20/20, the goals were to:
- Increase medical director and founder Dr. Silverman’s visibility as a leading physician in his field.
- Increase qualified traffic to the EyeCare 20/20 website.
- Increase leads.
Dr. Silverman and his staff committed to an active level of involvement with our marketing activities, as they wanted to do everything possible to ensure the success of our endeavors. While we took on all of the day-to-day activities, such as blog writing and social media account maintenance, they agreed to provide us with photos, videos, patient interviews, etc. from time to time, in order to maximize the effectiveness of our work.
Based on the EyeCare 20/20 office’s answers to our questions, we were able to develop a comprehensive strategy for their online marketing. Steps 2 through 7 describe what we were – and still are – able to do for them.
Step 2: Build a better website.
A healthcare practice’s online presence is only as good as its website. No matter how many people sign up for your email newsletter, or engage with your office on social media, your website will still be the major influencing factor in their decision whether to call for that appointment or not. An unprofessional or dated-looking site instantly sets off warning sirens in a potential client’s head – “if they can’t even trouble themselves to keep their website up-to-date, what other corners are they cutting?”
A medical practice’s website should be a treasure trove of information on their field of specialization. Potential patients should be able to find expansive, easy-to-understand explanations of common conditions, along with their causes, symptoms, and treatments, as well as clear, detailed information about how exactly your practice can help. By making your website a go-to resource for patients seeking details about their condition, you elevate your practice to the status of trusted expert in their eyes.
In addition, the appearance of your website matters tremendously. A modern look and feel is a must in order to gain the trust of anyone thinking of calling. The appearance of your site is the first impression most people will receive of your practice, so maintaining a well-organized, easy-to-navigate, up-to-date site is vital to attracting new clients.
For EyeCare 20/20, we were able to redesign their website to make it truly reflect the expertise of Dr. Silverman and his team. With a sleek, modern appearance emphasizing the cutting-edge surgical techniques used by the practice, and the addition of a comprehensive body of original content regarding all things eye care-related (updated regularly!), we were able to achieve the goal of creating a high-converting website for our client.
Go after long-tail keywords that patients might be searching for. Ex. for vision they might be searching for things such as “vision therapy” or “binocular vision treatment” and so forth.
Step 3: Full-Scale Search Engine Optimization
With a solid website in place, the next step is to ensure that its SEO value is as high as it can possibly be. This process actually begins during the website development process, but it most definitely should not end there. Search engine optimization is an ongoing process that must be continued in order to be effective.
Every page of a site should be optimized through the content it contains, as well as its URL, its meta tags, the links it contains – even down to the captions on its images. This entails in-depth research into the most commonly searched keywords relevant to your practice, as well as an experienced hand to put these keywords in the strategic locations they are needed in order to win favor with Google and other search engines. Fresh content is a major component in Google’s rankings, so SEO can never be a one-and-done project. From posting regular blog posts using strategic keywords to updating static pages regularly with the latest research, effective search engine optimization means constant data-driven tweaking of a site.
Link-building is another essential aspect of SEO. Google gives preferential treatment to sites cited as resources by other websites, so actively working to build the number of links back to your healthcare practice’s website from other industry websites and blogs is just as important. This is done by developing relationships with industry influencers, often through offering to write guest posts for their sites.
For EyeCare 20/20, our Search Engine Optimization department was able to set up a solid SEO foundation during the website’s development, and continues its work to this day, spearheading the development of fresh, strategic content and the continual acquisition of more influencer links to the site. By targeting keywords for the local New Jersey area, as well as the specific eye care needs that Dr. Silverman’s office caters to, we are thrilled to be able to say that we have increased qualified traffic to the website by 400%.
Step 4: Outreach and PR
The next step in a comprehensive online marketing plan is closely related to SEO’s link-building efforts, but an endeavor in its own right: Outreach and PR. Both visibility and credibility are increased when a medical practice’s name begins to appear regularly on various prominent industry news outlets, whether online or off. The fact that industry influencers would think highly enough of a doctor or a practice to allow them to contribute to their site gives them instant authority as a fellow expert in the eyes of an audience. And any articles published through large, national media outlets only add to that perception.
Building up enough of a relationship with these media outlets and industry influencers that it becomes possible for a client to publish PR articles and guest posts through them (ghostwritten by us, of course!) is a full-time job in and of itself, but our Outreach Department was – and still is – up to the task, securing PR opportunities for EyeCare 20/20 on outlets ranging from Examiner to CNBC.
One creative joint venture we came up with for our client is their ongoing monthly contribution to Cataract and Refractive Surgery Today Magazine. Our CEO, Shama, partners with Dr. Silverman each month to write a column about various aspects of how to market a health care practice online. Combining Shama’s expertise in social media marketing with Dr. Silverman’s expertise in the world of eye care has proven to be an exciting way to boost EyeCare 20/20’s visibility and online reputation.
Step 5: Blogging and Content Marketing
Nowadays, a website just isn’t complete without a blog. Blogs provide a place for a business to demonstrate their expertise, offer valuable information to their audience in order to gain their trust and loyalty, post fresh, keyword-rich content to satisfy the search engines, and create engaging content to be shared via social media and email newsletters.
In order to be effective, however, a blog must be replete with relevant, interesting, informative topics and written in a relatable voice that will attract readers and hold their interest enough to make them want to return to read the next post. It must also be maintained on a regular basis – if prospective patients notice that posts are few and far between, or that the last post was published months ago, they’ll wonder what the problem is.
We set up a blog for Dr. Silverman, creating and posting new original content several times a week, from ghostwritten blog posts about the latest research in the industry to establish expertise, to fun, informative posts with eye care tips perfect for sharing on social media, and even including interesting infographics and unique custom printable images made by our design team. One particularly successful idea we developed was that of creating custom eye exam charts whose gradually shrinking letters spelled out some of Dr. Silverman’s favorite inspirational quotes. The audience loved to print these out and hang them in their offices or homes, which provided them with a constant reminder of EyeCare 20/20’s services each day.
Step 6: Email Newsletter
With fresh, exciting content to share on a regular basis, the next step is to build an email subscriber list and send that content directly into the audience’s inboxes via an email newsletter. Blog post teasers form the foundation of these communications, but bulking them up with updates about the practice, as well as other relevant tips and tidbits, makes it even more likely that recipients will open them, read them, and then click through to the site to find out more.
With Dr. Silverman and his team taking an active role in supporting our online marketing efforts, we have been able to make EyeCare 20/20’s email newsletters not just popular, but eagerly anticipated. Each one gives the recipient a glimpse into Dr. Silverman’s personal life and interests, including one of his favorite recipes each month, as well as details about his latest cycling adventures – a personal passion of his. We are also able to share information about the good work that EyeCare 20/20 does to give back to their community. All of this has enabled us to achieve above average open rates and increased engagement among his email recipients.
Step 7: Social Media Marketing
The final piece of the online marketing puzzle is social media marketing. Each different channel, from Facebook to Twitter, from LinkedIn to Pinterest, and from Instagram to Google Plus, must be leveraged in the way best suited to its own particular audience and guidelines. Strategic posts must be made to each platform regularly, in order to gain engagement from their online communities.
Regular themed campaigns are also a must, in order to draw renewed attention and interest. For EyeCare 20/20, we maintain accounts on the top social media channels, carefully tracking engagement with each and every post and then using that data to determine our next moves. Our latest campaign, Humans of EyeCare 20/20, is another beautiful example of collaboration with Dr. Silverman and his team. He takes photos of his patients and asks them a few questions, so that we can share vibrant details about the lives of his clientele on social media to bolster engagement.
The Big Picture
Effectively marketing a health care practice online is anything but simple. It requires a significant investment of time and effort, and even then, there is no guarantee that it will have the desired effect. Your best bet is to hire an online marketing agency with the experience and expertise to tackle every single step of the process in the most creative, consistent, and strategic way possible. Zen Media is that agency.
When EyeCare 20/20 hired us to act as their marketing department, their goals were clear: more visibility, more traffic, more leads. We have helped, and continue to help them meet those goals. The bottom line? EyeCare 20/20’s leads have increased dramatically, going from just 3 a month before they hired us, to 72 a month after our strategy had been fully implemented. With such a successful partnership in place, it’s no wonder that we have been working together for as many years as we have, and that we both plan to continue our collaboration well into the future.
If you would like to tap into our expertise in the area of health care practice marketing, fill out our online contact form today. We would be more than happy to discuss your medical office’s marketing needs with you, and get to work bringing you more visibility, more traffic, and more qualified leads right away.