Four tell-tale signs you need to take another look at your digital marketing strategy.
As more and more patients turn to the internet as their primary source for information about medical practices and physicians, your ability to attract new patients is now directly linked to the quality of your digital marketing strategy.
Even if you’ve invested a great deal of time, energy, and resources into your digital presence, it’s very possible that those efforts are actually being directed to the wrong areas, and it may be time to rethink your approach. Here are a few telltale signs that your medical practice may be in need of a digital marketing makeover.
1. Your Site Isn’t Visible in Search Results
Word of mouth referrals used to rule the day in medical practice marketing, but no longer — today, the patients are taking matters into their own hands and conducting extensive research online in order to make their own decisions about treatment. According to Google, 43% of consumers now cite the internet as their primary resource for health-related information, and in 2016, the search engine giant processed more than 28 billion medical queries in the U.S. alone.
Of course, this represents a massive opportunity to bring in new patients for your practice; however, if your site isn’t showing up on the first page of results when users enter keywords related to your practice, there’s essentially a 0% chance you’re going to get their attention.
Google is constantly updating its algorithms in accordance with evolving consumer trends and preferences, which means you have to constantly monitor relevant keywords and search results if you want to maintain a solid ranking. Things like link structures, focus keywords, meta tags, URLs, and content all play a major role in your practice’s organic visibility.
2. You’re Struggling to Grow Your Following on Social Media
Today, more than 41% of patients say that information they find on social media influences their choice to go with a specific physician or practice. Clearly, an active presence on social can have a major impact on your bottom line. But what if you’ve set up accounts on all of the most popular platforms and started regularly posting — and your follower counts still haven’t budged?
Try to make sure that all of your content is as “shareable” as possible. Social media users love sharing informative articles, videos, and infographics with their personal networks, but not when it’s overly complicated to do so. Make sure that social sharing integrations are properly set up on your site. It also pays to be active — regularly engaging with other physicians, associations, and patient communities will go a long way in terms of boosting your online visibility.
3. Your Site Isn’t Optimized for Mobile
These days, there’s a pretty good chance that the majority of patients visiting your practice’s website are doing so on their mobile devices. In fact, smartphones and tablets account for 65% of digital media consumption in the U.S. Moreover, more than 58% of Google searches now take place on a mobile device.
In response to this surge in mobile usage, Google has rolled out a series of “mobile-first” updates to its algorithms in recent years. Medical practices need to ensure seamless usability and readability on smaller screens, and that the content is consistent across both the desktop and mobile versions of their sites. As a precaution, you should see if your site is up to par using Google’s “mobile-friendly tester," and verify your mobile site in Search Console (if you haven’t already done so).
4. Patients Can’t Find Your Business Listing Info Online
With so many options at their fingertips, if a patient encounters a roadblock when searching for basic listing information (e.g., hours of operation, address, phone number, etc.), it’s unlikely they’ll be sticking around for long.
As such, practices need to first ensure their websites are optimized for conversion by including contact information on each and every page, ensuring maximum visibility. Additionally, practices need to be proactive about claiming official listings on as many search engines and third-party review sites as possible (think Healthgrades, ZocDoc, Yelp, etc.). The last thing you want is for a patient with a booked appointment to punch the name of your practice into Google Maps and get directed to an old location or down some random, dirt road in the middle of nowhere.
At the end of the day, digital marketing has arguably become the most impactful tactic with which medical practices can acquire new business at the lowest possible cost. But unless you’re focusing on the right areas and taking the proper approach, you run the risk of doing more harm than good.