How Doctors are Connecting with Patients by Marketing Health & Wellness
Healthcare has changed tremendously over the past 10-15 years: Electronic records, Insurance company hoops, Remote healthcare, Telemedicine, HIPAA, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act.
One thing hasn't changed -- your commitment to your patients. But the way you reach new patients and interact with existing ones has changed a lot. Your reach and influence extend beyond an office visit and for the better. Today, you have an opportunity to connect with patients like never before through the Internet -- and no, I'm not talking about chatting on social media.
Health content marketing is helping Doctors' Offices stay connected for the betterment of their patients. Content creation is the key to get more patients and fostering loyalty among your existing ones.
What is Content Marketing Health
Content Marketing is providing High Quality, Informative, Engaging Content (articles, blogs, infographics videos, etc.) to the general public for "free". A content writer/ designer, which may be you or someone in your office or a professional SEO blog writer, develops this content for your patients .
These days, you post them on your website as blog posts.
You have 2 primary facets within your strategy that will convert into financial benefit for your practice as well as improved wellbeing of patients.
Yes, you can have both!
You will use content to engage existing patients. This helps improve routine visit frequency, loyalty and a desire to share their positive experiences with others. You are also regularly providing them with information that makes their lives' better.
You use content to attract new patients. These patients will find you through search engines like google or bing. This is called inbound marketing because instead of paying for 30 second spots during a sporting event on TV, people are naturally and organically discovering you on the Internet. And this very non-obtrusive way of reaching new patients, is overwhelmingly how new patients prefer to be convinced that you are the doctor's office for them.
We all know nothing is ever free. You benefit by generating what marketers call "leads", people who are likely to pay for your service as a doctor. The content that you publish online will lead a prospective new patient back to your website and encourage them to make an appointment. This is patient acquisition in the new era and how successful practices are growing and thriving.
How You've Already Been Using Content Marketing
Content Marketing is not really a new concept to Doctors. We could even say that your profession invented it. You've been content marketing forever with helpful brochures, pamphlets about drug interactions, exercise plans and special diets that you hand out in your office to your patients.
The many interesting posters on your wall about how to quit smoking or the importance of getting a colonoscopy, that's content marketing too.
Doctors understood before any of us-- and still understand -- that providing helpful tools and information to their patients fosters trust and loyalty to them and their practice more effectively than interrupting their patient's favorite show or calling them incessantly to remind them to come in for a checkup.
But this content has become digital with the advent of the Internet, making it easier -- and dare I say more lucrative -- than ever to connect with existing and new patients in a very mutually beneficial way. ... No HIPAA violations involved. That's always good.
Digital brochures and pamphlets have become our most valuable marketing tool. As thousands of potential patients in your area scour the Internet to find out "which new disease they think they have this time", instead they run across your authoritative, engaging and actually accurate information that will both educate them and help direct them toward your office to find out if they really have "that awful disease" or if it's something else.
Regardless of your specialty: general dentistry, geriatrics, cardiology, veterinary or plastic surgery, content is how doctor offices are reaching a new audience, In the marketing world, this has nearly replaced TV, Radio and other traditional ads and yet many medical providers haven't jumped on board yet. We call this a competitive advantage in the marketing world.
According to research, effective content marketing produces 3X the leads (potential new patients) for 2/3 less than traditional marketing.
But it does take some hard work and strategy, so I want to share a little about how it's done.
How to get started marketing a doctor office or other medical practice
The primary principle behind content marketing is developing valuable content. These days people of all ages and backgrounds are devouring online content. Much of it is just bad information. So content marketing allows your practice to provide valuable information in a reliable setting, on your website. You develop an even greater reputation for being a "guru" or source of truth.
This content is very personable and understandable yet authoritative. It goes beyond simply focusing on your specific specialty, although that's important too. It treats the patient like a "whole person". If you are a cardiologist, you might begin by providing content like a page for various conditions and procedures explaining symptoms, risk factors, treatments, what recovery is like after different procedures, etc. Then you would expand out to heart-healthy recipes, the importance of stress-management, exercise routines, related news story, interesting research, new technologies being tested like artificial hearts, etc.
It may seem limited at first, but as you develop content, you will find more and more connections across specialties, subject matter and interests.
If you have the time and are great at writing medical concepts in a way that the average person can understand, about an 8th grade reading level, you may want to do it yourself. Otherwise, you can hire marketing professionals or a wordsmith in your office.
But there are certain strategies that will make your content more effective, so you want to make sure that your writer knows the ins and outs of content marketing to get the best return on your investment.
Here are couple articles that will help you.
Blog Writing Basics For Medical & Dental Content Marketing
This one helps you understand how to write a blog and will be useful for any profession, although I wrote it specifically for the medical community.
* under revision* I'll have it back up very soon
infographic on the same topic.This article is for doctors who are frustrated with online review systems like Yelp that are not in their favor despite their commitment to their patients. If you only have a little time, you can also check out my abbreviated
You may also be interested checking out samples of my own blogs here.
Can Content Marketing Propel Your Practice?
The answer is undoubtably, "yes". It may sound like a strange way to advertise, but it is proven and it works. In fact Forbes Magazine, a leading business publications even said, "It's time to double down on content marketing."
Extensive research has been done to show what is effective and how a strategy should be implemented to get the best results. If you are ready to take your practice to the next level while connecting with your patients on a level never before possible, it's time to work with a professional content marketer who knows healthcare and patients and can develop a customized plan for you.
How do you reach new patients?
Do you think expanding your online content could help your patients?
If you are already using online content, we'd love to hear how it's working for you.