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One of the biggest challenges for today’s healthcare providers is to effectively attract new patients. They’re slowly but surely giving up on traditional, intrusive marketing methods like direct mail. Healthcare industry leaders are turning inward and focusing their marketing efforts on targeted keywords, useful content and social media.
Increase visibility and credibility with SEO
Instead of shoving ads, commercials and direct mail down prospective patients’ throats, healthcare facilities can optimize their online presence to ensure that they will be noticed. By mastering Search Engine Optimization tactics, like targeted keywords and meta descriptions, they can increase their visibility and, in turn, their credibility. Many internet users look online for information about health and wellness. Patients are more likely to trust a facility if it appears first in their results as opposed to appearing on the fourth page after all of its competitors.
A Pew Internet Project survey reported that:
- 29% of internet users look online for information about food safety or recalls;
- 24% for safety or recalls;
- 19% for pregnancy and childbirth;
- 17% for memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s;
- 16% for medical test results;
- 14% for how to manage chronic pain;
- 12% for long-term care for an elderly or disabled person;
- And 7% for end-of-life decisions.
Heighten education and awareness with content marketing
Outbound marketing is all about saying, while inbound marketing is all about showing – through content. With blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, photos and videos, healthcare providers can show prospective patients why they are the best choice for their care – rather than just boasting it.
By creating and publishing educational content, healthcare providers can turn their online presence into one that their patients will want to pay attention to. They can share health tips, research, studies and recent technological advances with their patient base, so that their patients will trust them as a reliable, credible source of information. It can also help them continue their care outside the facility by offering patients tips to maintaining their wellness after their appointments or treatments.
Increase communication and patient engagement with social media
Social media is perhaps the best and most popular way to utilize inbound marketing in healthcare. Likes, comments and shares are our modern-day referrals. Believe it or not, both positive and negative feedback through social media can benefit the business. It gives patients an outlet to share information, opinions and experiences relating to your facility and the care it provides – on the facility’s page or their personal page.
Not only does it give them the opportunity to share their thoughts, it also gives healthcare providers the opportunity to respond. It opens up a line of communication that wasn’t there before. When you acknowledge and respond to your patients on social media, you establish a relationship with them. Positive feedback can also act as a testimonial, allowing you to recognize and highlight your facility’s strong suits.
In the event that they offer negative comments or criticism, as a provider you will have the opportunity to direct the conversation by offering an apology or a solution. The more confident you are while handling criticism, the more confident your patients will be in your facility.
According to Mashable, inbound marketing in healthcare is used in the following ways:
- 26% of hospitals in the US participate in social media.
- 60% of doctors say it improves the quality of care delivered to patients.
- More than 80% of individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 said they were likely to share health information through social media channels and nearly 90 percent said they would trust the information they found there.
Most people believe that the best medications and health services will gain recognition through their own credibility – through suggestions, referrals, positive reviews, awards and certifications. They believe that credible healthcare facilities shouldn’t have to shove their message down your throat. Inbound marketing allows healthcare providers to prove their credibility to existing and prospective patients through search engine results, content and social media.