Successful Online Marketing for Medical Specialists – The 6 Must Haves
Medical Specialists have never had a more competitive marketplace. The days when a successful network of referring Doctors was more than enough to build a thriving practice are well behind us. The internet evolution and rise of Google means that patients feel more empowered in their decision making before even obtaining general medical advice.
One in six Google searches are health related and patients across all industries are now expected to “do their homework” before entering any medical surgery even for exploratory conversations. Specialty medical practitioners such as surgeons must remain up to date on effective online marketing practices and be able to implement to maintain a healthy business.
In light of the changing environment, Medical Specialists who ensure the following 5 items are implemented properly not only avoid looking out of touch, or worse still not being found at all, but they can increase their practice size by being the most found and the most trusted in their area for their specialty.
1. Website Security. Your website’s performance in search engines is heavily affected in its ability to rank highly in search results. One factor effecting this is the websites security status. A website is deemed to be secure if it has a current and correct SSL certificate. Having an SSL certificate is not compulsory so many older sites do not have one. You can easily tell if your website is secure or not by going to your web address and looking at the left hand side of your URL (address) in the web browser field at the top. If your address does not show a green lock icon with the word “Secure” it is deemed by Google to be insecure. If secure, it will also be preceded with the letters “https” instead of the usual “http”. Not having a secure site will not only negatively effect your websites ability to rank in searches, it may also indicate to the user that the site is not secure with a message – causing many to abort the link to your site.
Above is a website address which Google Chrome identifies as ”Not secure”.
2. Mobile Friendly. Well over 60% of all internet users are now using their smartphone or tablet to view the internet. If your site is not “Responsive” (i.e. re-arranges its information to appear clear and easy to use on different screen sizes), chances are it will be hard, if not impossible, to use on a smartphone. With so many alternatives available to users, they will more often than not simply search for one that is easy to use on a smartphone than battle with yours.
More often than not, someone viewing your website on a smartphone is looking for simple information like a phone number, address or map. If these are not immediately obvious on your home page screen, again, users will find it frustrating to use your site and may go to another.
3. Content. Not only is the content on your website used by Google when searching for keyword specific searches, the content on your website is critical for so many more reasons. We have compiled a few simple pointers to ensure your website’s content is effective.
- Keep it simple. Many physicians write copy that is medically accurate but often does not perform well in search engines. Have your copy written in a conversational style. While longer form content is useful, medical writing can be too long to keep the attention of an untrained patient. Aim to strike a balance to keep people reading to the end. The longer they stay with you, the more Google sees your content as relevant.
- Use a format like Q&A to make sure readers can find what they are looking for easily and avoid having large chunks of copy without pictures to break things up.
When using images, ensure that their file size is minimised and their alt-tags include relevant keywords. Google’s web crawlers cannot read images but they do read the alt-tags and captions.
4. Video. If you are not using short videos on your website, your competition already is. Video is becoming the most important form of content on the internet and Youtube is now the world's second largest search engine.
Short form videos are not only easier for patients to consume (think on a train or on the way to work), they are also perfect content for ever popular social media platforms.
Making these videos has become highly cost effective and if you are not thinking about venturing into making them yourself, it is definitely worth asking your agency or web developers for advice on who can help.
5. Business Directories. An essential (and easy) part of ensuring your local SEO is maximised, is to make sure your practice is listed and has consistent and correct information on as many local business directories as possible. There are obvious ones such as Yellow Pages, but a quick search on Google of your own local market will reveal a large number of FREE business directors.
Make sure your name, practice name, address, specialty, opening hours and phone numbers are consistent and where possible map pins placed.
The more listings your business has, the more effective your local SEO becomes and the easier it is for patients and prospective patients to find and call you.
6. Automation and Personalisation. One of the best goals for a specialist practitioner to have is to become a source of truly helpful assistance for prospective patients. The growing prevalence of Google as the first point of call for people researching health issues offers an opportunity for practitioners who are committed enough to offer this.
- Consistent blogging and the creation of downloadable resources can pay big dividends. If your information is designed, written and delivered as part of a deliberate strategic approach to market share of voice, there are big rewards.
- Personalised and Automated emails to those searching for answers makes a big difference to people with genuine needs for information. Downloadable E-Books and supporting articles that address the real challenges and questions of patients will not only increase your SEO but can build a trust and reputation for your brand to a great number of people. While strict adherence to privacy conventions as well as APRA rules is a must for this activity, delivering videos and comprehensive information to those prepared to have it emailed to them grows referrals, SEO and enquiry rates significantly.
For more information about any of these practices, or case studies with real examples, contact Nimbler Digital with your enquiry.Return to Blog
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