Studies from the CDC show that alternative medicine, including acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, and traditional medicine, is becoming increasingly popular across the United States which highlights the importance for marketing.
With its growing popularity, it’s more important than ever to have a strong digital presence to improve your patient volume and generate reliable revenue.
Here are a few of the top digital marketing strategies you can implement for alternative medicine marketing and some signs you need a new strategy.
First, does your current marketing strategy need an upgrade? Here are some signs that you have significant opportunities to grow your alternative medicine practice.
If you Google the name of your practice and it doesn’t appear first in the search results for the branded keyword, you probably can improve your SEO.
Even if you are an alternative medicine doctor, most potential patients want to see that you have some online presence as it makes you seem more legitimate.
Here’s an example of a quality branded search presence:
You can also use a tool like Ahrefs to evaluate your branded search presence.
In addition, most websites show up for their branded search terms before ever showing up for any SEO keywords. This is because Google claims that they prefer to rank strong brands over smaller websites. Thus brands have historically produced quality content that people like. This is why websites like Mayo Clinic and Healthline rank for almost every health-related keyword.
So if you don’t show up for branded search terms, you probably aren’t showing up for SEO keywords.
Therefore, the best place to start is by creating content and generating relevant links to your website. We’ll discuss this in more detail below. This is the first sign that your marketing strategy could use an upgrade.
At each visit, ask your patients how they found you. One of the telltale signs that you could use a stronger online presence is if all of your patients are referrals.
While this is a good sign that you are a quality doctor, it also means that your current marketing strategy isn’t generating the leads you need.
If you aren’t already, start by handing out a new patient survey and record how patients are finding your practice.
If most of them are referrals, you may want to consult a marketing professional to learn why your website isn’t generating leads. In addition, for figuring out what you can do to change that.
If you have a website and update a Facebook page, what are your expectations for these channels? Ideally, you should have monthly goals for each marketing channel. You should also see an incremental increase in those metrics month over month.
In addition, these goals should be specific and attainable. If your goals are too generic or only long-term (you don’t have monthly goals to achieve those long-term goals), you’ll find it difficult to track success.
Here are some examples of goals that probably won’t help you grow because they are too generic:
While these goals could be excellent overarching strategy goals with some modification, they aren’t specific enough to achieve real results and don’t translate to real business goals.
Here are a few examples of much more specific goals that are attainable (and will actually help you achieve the above goals predictably):
Once you have these goals in place, set a timeframe to achieve them and then create a strategy that will fit within that timeframe.
Another sign that your alternative medicine marketing practice may not be effective is if your growth has plateaued.
Similar to working out at the gym, you’ll see the biggest improvement at the beginning. Then, each incremental improvement requires more time and effort as your strategy becomes more advanced.
For example, ranking for a branded keyword requires a relatively small amount of effort compared to ranking for difficult keywords like these ones:
Therefore, while your previous growth strategy may have helped you achieve some results, you may need to upgrade your strategy to see further results.
Technical errors can also cause your growth strategy to plateau. So, check the Coverage report in Google Search Console to be sure there are no indexation issues or other error messages that are stunting growth:
Finally, your marketing strategy is likely ineffective if your leads aren’t converting. For example, you may be generating thousands of visitors to your website, but you still don’t have any additional consultations.
This is because not all visitors are your target audience. For example, some people coming to your website or reading your content may be college students researching alternative medicine practices. Therefore, regardless of how excellent your marketing message is, they probably won’t convert into customers if they don’t have any pain.
So how can you tell if you are attracting the right visitors?
First, look at the content on your website and ask yourself what kind of person it would attract. For example, this blog post below is certainly related to chiropractic. However, only a small percentage of people researching laptop setups will schedule a chiropractic appointment. Many of them are simply researching more comfortable desktop setups.
However, a blog post like this is much more likely to attract visitors that will convert as they are clearly thinking about selecting a treatment:
Therefore, you may actually generate less traffic with this second idea, though you will likely attract more targeted visitors that will convert.
Let’s chat about how you can get the more admissions through digital marketing. No pressure. No sales gimmicks.
So if you know that your marketing strategy needs an update, where should you start?
While there is no silver bullet or perfect answer to this question, there are some of the most common strategies that every alternative medicine doctor should consider:
However, before jumping into these strategies, be sure that you already have happy customers and that your churn rate is low. If you find that your customers come for one visit and never return (and not because you fixed their problem), think about how you can improve the patient experience.
If you implement these strategies, but your customers don’t come back, it’s unlikely that you will ever see the results your clinic needs. Therefore, survey your patients and read negative reviews. This will help you learn what you can change in your business (from your billing procedures to the office staff’s welcoming gesture) and then implement those changes.
If you have bad press or negative reviews, you can also implement a reputation management strategy. Once your service quality is excellent, then you can implement these strategies and see massive results.
The first and perhaps most crucial element of your marketing strategy is SEO. If your website is optimized for search engines, it will be easier for people to find you when they search for alternative medicine practices in your area.
In addition, about 44% of people search for doctors online before making an appointment, so having an excellent online presence is essential to generating calls.
Therefore, the first thing you should do is build out your local profile. This is what a completed Google My Business profile looks like:
It will also allow you to show up in search results like this:
To optimize for Google local search results, add your phone, address, and name, as well as pictures of the building. Once the basics are filled out, the next step is to generate more reviews.
Reviews and location are typically the biggest factors in ranking for local keywords. So, generating more reviews will help increase your rankings.
Additionally, about 90% of patients claim to read reviews when evaluating and selecting a physician.
While it’s illegal to bribe for reviews, you can request that patients leave reviews and make it as easy as possible for them to do so. For example, dedicate a page on your website to review instructions and provide specific instructions on how they can do so on Google, Facebook, and other review sites (though for our purposes, Google is the most important).
You can also ask people in person to leave reviews. This is perhaps most effective as 70% of people will leave a review when asked to do so in person.
Once you’ve generated more reviews, another thing that can help your local SEO is to earn local links. The first thing you should do is generate local citations. Local citations are listings on websites such as Yelp that enable people to browse for services. You can find a list of these citations with tools like BrightLocal and Whitespark, which can actually automate the process for you.
Earning backlinks from relevant websites is also a key to growth. A link is essentially a signal to Google that other websites also find you a credible source of information.
As there is a lot of information that is less than credible available on the internet, they weed out the suspicious information by only rankings brands with strong credibility.
Therefore, try earning links from websites that are:
While it’s ideal to have your links meet all three of that criteria, the first one is perhaps the most important. If you earn links from websites that are not credible (such as spam websites), it could actually decrease your rankings.
Similarly, if they aren’t related to health, they will also have minimal impact. This is because Google will judge what industry your website is from based on the websites that link to it.
However, this can be difficult for local businesses. For example, suppose you offer a scholarship to a school within your geographic area, and it gives you a link. In that case, that link is still very valuable even though it isn’t from a health-related website because it is such a credible source, and the geographic location is useful to Google.
Though whenever possible, try to earn links that fit all three categories.
In addition to earning links, you should also optimize each page for keywords. For example, if you are a chiropractor, you might have pages for pre/postnatal chiropractic care, auto accidents, massage therapy, and more.
To do this, you can use a tool like Ahrefs and find many relevant keywords that you can create service pages around:
To optimize these pages, be sure to include the keyword in the title and then add content regarding symptoms, how you treat that condition, how your services help, etc. This content will help the page rank higher and enables you to add the keyword to the page a few times naturally.
Once you’ve optimized the core pages, they will likely start to rank over time. However, there are still plenty of other keywords that are not service-related but could still drive quality leads. For example, many people are searching for keywords related to joint pain and may not have even thought of going to a chiropractor.
Therefore, you could create blog posts around managing joint pain and list one of the solutions to it as going to a chiropractor.
This will help you generate more leads from people that previously weren’t even considering a chiropractor. Even if these people don’t live in your area, they may still schedule a telemedicine appointment with you which expands your opportunities.
Once you have excellent SEO and have begun a content marketing strategy, paid ads are a great way to supercharge your marketing efforts.
For example, if you have a service page with a high conversion rate, consider running Facebook, Google, or Twitter ads towards it.
Another option is to create an ultimate guide and run ads towards that. Content is a particularly effective way to generate qualified leads. However it often requires time and patience to start ranking and generating traffic organically. Therefore, paid advertising is one of the best ways to boost your content and key service pages to generate traffic immediately.
If you’re not sure where to start with paid advertising, just look at the ads your competitors are running. To look at your competition’s Google AdWords, you can look in Ahrefs to see their top ads, the keywords they are bidding on, and the pages they are running ads to:
Therefore, you can create a similar landing page and bid on similar keywords as a starting place
Facebook Ad Library is also an excellent place to start. You can search your industry (say “chiropractor”) and then look at each how long each ad has been running and determine which ones were the most successful.
Start by testing a few different demographics with the same creatives and copywriting, and then A/B test various aspects. You can also test different landing pages and offers.
Another great way to increase leads to your practice is by leveraging social media. Social media makes it easy to spread the message through friends. It also makes your business seem more legitimate.
Therefore, create a profile on all social platforms to claim your name and then choose one or two platforms to grow.
Next, learn what kinds of posts resonate with your audience. Avoid promotional or overly salesy posts, as these typically don’t drive engagement. Unfortunately, if you consistently have posts that fail to drive engagement, the social algorithms will demote your posts and show new posts to fewer people.
Therefore, post about once or twice a week, but be sure that these posts are engaging and well planned.
Here’s an example of a post that isn’t selling the patient and will make those with pain stop and read as it is valuable information:
Other great strategies include:
As you’re creating posts, think about how you can please the algorithms and the people. For example, algorithms typically prefer live video to traditional text posts, so try to incorporate more livestreams.
You can also try partnering with other social media influencers or businesses in your area and try cross-promoting to earn new followers.
While most social media platforms have limited organic reach for businesses, it is still effective if you produce quality content.
While you’ll find success implementing these strategies above, another option is to hire a marketing partner to do it for you.
If you’re considering a marketing partner, here are a few reasons why Stodzy might be a good fit for your business.
When looking for an alternative medicine marketing partner, it’s important to hire a partner that already has experience in healthcare. For example, marketing to a healthcare patient is very different than marketing to an average B2C consumer.
For example, unlike more common B2C purchases, it’s unlikely that you’ll have impulse buys. Therefore, it is important to build a lasting relationship with the visitor. This involves adjusting your messaging from salesy to valuable resource and requires a lot of patient research (listening to calls, talking to patients, surveying patients, etc.).
At Stodzy, we have proven strategies and methods that can help you achieve the success your business needs.
A core value of our agency is to partner with each client rather than working as a separate team. This means we work directly with the founder/marketers to ensure that our marketing strategies are aligned with your business goals. For example, we’ll sit down with you to figure out not only what kinds of patients you treat, but also which ones are most profitable and how we can adjust your strategy to consistently target those patients.
You’ll have direct access to an account manager and a whole team of marketing specialists whenever you have a question.
Marketing strategies grow and change, so while you may think that you just need an SEO strategy, you may also need a paid strategy in the future. Therefore, if you have a full service marketing partner, it’s much easier to adjust your strategy as you grow.
If you don’t hire a full service partner, you may have to hire a different agency down the road to supplement your original agency. This can be a risky decision as it can be difficult for two agencies to work together with your business. Unfortunately, if the agencies don’t work together, they will probably have two different goals and strategies which will ultimately cause your business to suffer.
Finally, all of the staff at Stodzy are in-house. This means that you don’t have to worry about outsourced work and unreliable freelancers around the world. Instead, you’ll be able to speak directly with those that work on your marketing strategy and ensure that everyone is aligned with your vision.
Our in-house staff are experienced professionals that have worked with the Stodzy team for years. This means they have already helped plenty of businesses similar to yours achieve the growth you envision. Essentially, you get full access to an entire staff of experts for the price of roughly one marketing manager.
Driving more high quality leads to your business is possible with a strong marketing strategy. Using the steps above will help you on your way to success, though you can achieve results even faster by hiring an agency to do it for you.
At Stodzy, we’ve already helped many businesses just like yours achieve incredible growth by implementing the strategies above. If your growth has plateaued, call us now for a free consultation to learn more about low hanging fruit you can attack to improve your strategy.
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