Google notes that the vast majority of patients use both offline and online resources when they’re conducting research into healthcare matters. Couple that with the fact that a growing number of individuals conduct a mobile search before visiting a local service provider — in any industry — and you begin to realize the value of being online.
If your practice isn’t showing up online for these searchers, you’re losing out on potential patients. Even if you do have a website or profiles that generate decent traffic, if your content marketing efforts are subpar, those web visitors are less likely to become patients in your office.
Apply these best practices to triage your healthcare content marketing for a better outcome.
1. Target the Right Audience for Your Healthcare Practice
High-quality content can’t do its job if only the wrong people see it, so ensure your content marketing targets the right audience. Here’s how.
- Define your audience. What age and gender are your patients, and what problems do they tend to present with? A pediatrician is going to create completely different content marketing campaigns than a dentist specializing in aesthetics because their patient demographics aren’t the same.
- Find out how your target audience is looking for and engaging with content. That means understanding what types of keywords they’re using when they look for information via Google (hint, your audience is unlikely to use the most technical medical terms) and knowing where your potential patients hang out online. Younger generations flock to Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube, while older individuals are more likely to check in on Facebook.
- Communicate at an appropriate level for your audience without giving up professional integrity. In short: use laymen’s terms and explain specific healthcare verbiage, but avoid slang and ungrammatical, low-quality content (even on social media).
2. Create Trust With All of Your Content
An appropriate level of communication across all your channels is the first step to creating trust. Your goal with healthcare content marketing is generally two-fold: first, ensure patients are aware of your practice or brand. Next, convince patients that you’re the right doctor for them.
Since common sales tactics can come across as pushy and even scary in your niche (no one wants a doctor who sounds like a used car salesman on his website), try building trust and engagement by offering education, insight and comfort via your content marketing.
Blogs, social posts and even landing pages on your website should:
- Make patients feel like they aren’t alone
- Show that you are an expert in the topic
- Provide enough information so the patient is comfortable making the next move
3. Offer Potential Patients Something in Return for Their Email
The longer you treat a patient, typically the more they come to rely on and trust your medical recommendations and judgment. The same goes for a relationship in the digital world: even if a visitor to your website doesn’t make an appointment right away, you can begin building a long-term relationship with them, especially if you can get their email address.
Email marketing is still a very lucrative form of content marketing, but you can’t just send newsletters and drip campaigns to anyone. Individuals have to give up their address and agree to receive emails from you; offering them something of value makes it more likely they will.
While healthcare marketers shouldn’t give treatment recommendations or offer diagnostic opinions outside of a real patient-doctor relationship, you have plenty of other valuable information to offer. Things your audience might trade their email address for include:
- Short eBooks about common healthcare concerns, such as weight loss, exercise, eating right or living daily with a chronic disorder
- Whitepapers or checklists on subjects of interest, such as symptoms or common home remedies and why they work
- Access to content on your site that isn’t available to everyone
4. Make it Easy for Readers to Transition to Patients
Finally, while a lot of content marketing is less about sales and more about building trust and confidence in your office or brand, you do have to let individuals know exactly how they can move from reader to patient. Whether you’re marketing on social networks, publishing blogs posts on your site, sending emails or offering whitepapers for download, always include an appropriate call to action. CTAs may:
- Invite the person to click on a link to another page, where they’ll find additional information about the topic or your office
- Complete a contact form so someone from your office can reach out with additional information
- Make an appointment online using a web-based scheduling tool
- Call your office to make an appointment
While you’re putting all these best practices into action, remember to keep on the right side of healthcare compliance and regulatory requirements. If you’re looking to partner with an agency that can handle healthcare content marketing for you so you can spend time treating patients and running your office, contact us at Lead to Conversion today.