Upgrade Your Website’s Design
The heart and soul of any digital marketing strategy is the practice’s website, so invest in a clean and easy-to-read design. While updating the design won’t give you an immediate increase in patient volume, it does have a significant impact on the patient journey.
First, if a patient finds it difficult to find information on your website, they will likely leave and find another medical practice. Not only does that cause you to lose a conversion, but search engines (such as Google) see this as a poor user experience signal and will demote your website in the rankings.
Therefore, your website should:
- Have legible font
- Enable users to find any page on the site in less than three clicks
- Load quickly (ideally under two seconds)
- Have limited (if any) pop ups
- Contain concise content rather than long pages that go on forever
- Consistent and branded colors/fonts across the website
An example of a website with great design and usability is Teladoc.
It loads quickly, has concise and relevant content, is easy to navigate, and rather than using a pop-up, they use a small banner at the top.
Therefore, even if you have a clean design, it’s still important to look over the other bullet points listed above and optimize your website accordingly.
Improve Your Local Search Presence
Most patients begin their search for a medical practice by Googling medical practices in the area.
So if you’re doing SEO but still not at the top of the search results, pour more effort into this front. If you feel you’ve exhausted every last SEO effort and your website still isn’t ranking, ask yourself these questions:
- Is my GMB profile complete with accurate NAP and photos of the physical location?
- Do I have more Google reviews than any of my competitors?
- Do I have accurate citations listed on as many relevant directories as possible?
- Is my website technically sound? (use this guide)
- Do I have relevant local links from other healthcare related websites in the same geographical region?
If you’ve answered “no” to any of these questions, go back and optimize your local search presence.
In addition to local SEO, it’s still important to focus on improving your overall website’s authority. For example, regularly create quality content on information relevant to your audience. We will discuss this more in the content marketing section. Also be sure to build relevant backlinks to your website from other websites in the healthcare industry. Do so regardless of their geographical location.
If you’re struggling to build links, here are a few different strategies you can use to generate links organically:
- Create statistics pages
- Create original research
- Sponsor charities and other organizations
- Work with influencers
- Adding a relevant tool, calculator or widget to your site
The reason why link building is important to Google is that it proves other websites trust your brand enough to send their own readers to it.
However, there are other ways that you can actively reach out to other quality healthcare sites for links. For example, let’s say that you just published a blog post on how to cure a cold.
In this case, you could Google “how to cure a cold 2018” (or any dated year). Then, take those posts, put them in Ahrefs, click on “Backlinks” and then you can see all of the people linking to that dated post. From there, reach out to those places and let them know that you have an updated guide on the subject.
Another excellent link building tactic is taking outdated statistics, doing research on the exact same thing, and then sending an email to everyone linking to those dated statistics and showing them your recent statistics.
For example, after Googling “Depression Statistics of 2017,” this report showed up from Mental Health America.
From there, put that URL in Ahrefs, click on “Backlinks” and see who is linking to these dated statistics. Then just scroll through and see which statistics are popular:
In the above example, the 1.8 million statistic is clearly popular. So consider either doing original research and creating a new statistic on the number of youth affected by severe depression. Or, Google around for a more recent statistic that is the same or similar.
From there, I would post that statistic on my blog. Then, find all of the websites linking to that statistic, and offer them the updated statistic. This is perhaps one of the most effective ways to generate backlinks.
If you’d rather have someone that has already successfully executed SEO campaigns for numerous different websites, feel free to schedule a free strategy call with us today.
Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
Studies even estimate that about 62% of health related searches are made on a mobile device. So, ensuring the mobile version of your website is up to par is of utmost importance to capture new leads.
Google also ranks websites based on their mobile versions. Your rankings will suffer if your mobile version isn’t up to par with your desktop version.
So beyond having a responsive design, what does it really mean to have a “mobile-friendly” website?
First, check that your mobile version loads as quickly as your desktop version. If you use a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights, you can see if there are any immediate issues. For example, you can see in the screenshot below that the desktop version is much faster than the mobile version.
Google Search Console is also an excellent resource. I will tell you if there are any major errors in your mobile version.
Finally, do a manual scan of your content and make sure that it is generally easy to scan and read. If you find yourself pinching and expanding the content to read, you may have to update your design.
Each page must also be easily accessible, so check that the links are easily accessible (including relevant internal links).
If you have an option for patients to schedule appointments online, try it out yourself to ensure it is easily accessible.
Answer Potential Patient FAQs With Content Marketing
Another critical strategy that every medical practice should invest in is content marketing.
Content marketing is essentially the key to showing up in the search results for healthcare terms your patients frequently search. For example, if your practice treats knee injuries, you should create content around knee injuries such as:
- When should I go to a doctor for a knee injury?
- How do I know what type of knee injury I have?
- Can you walk on a torn knee ligament?
These are all questions that potential patients are asking. However, you’ll only show up for these questions if you have content (blog posts) that answer them.
So how do you know what your patients are Googling they schedule an appointment?
First and most importantly, just ask your patients. This is incredibly valuable but often overlooked. Ask patients what research they did before scheduling an appointment with your clinic. Specifically, what they were searching for.
This is important because not everyone searching knee related injury questions want to book an appointment. For example, someone Googling “best knee pads for volleyball” has a knee related issue. But, that searcher isn’t as likely to schedule an appointment as someone searching “treatment options for knee arthritis.”
However, if you do need some additional inspiration, you can use Google’s “People Also Ask” search:
Finally, yet perhaps most importantly, be sure to track conversions from your content. Only if you have accurate conversion tracking can you really tell if your content efforts are paying off.
If you don’t know how to track conversions from content, here’s a simple guide to setting it up in Google Analytics.
Generate Referrals Through Partnerships
Forming more referral partnerships is another easy way to schedule more appointments and increase patient volume with minimal additional effort.
Therefore, if you haven’t created partnerships with all relevant providers in your area, make an effort to do so. If you aren’t able to close that provider as a partner on the first visit or call, it’s essential to follow up regularly.
In fact, only about 2% of deals are closed on the initial conversation. So, set reminders to follow up within the first few days of the initial appointment and then within a week, and finally, monthly or bi-monthly.
In addition, the demand for online healthcare is booming more than ever before. So, you can also reach out to doctors across the country for telehealth referrals.
Engage Patients Through Email Marketing
Another great way to earn new patients (and retain current patients) is to engage with them through email marketing. By improving patient retention, you’ll not only be able to save on patient acquisition costs, but you’ll also be able to increase patient volume as churn rates will decrease.
So what does a great email marketing strategy look like?
While there is debate over the best send time, volume, and content, a great starting point is once per week on the same day.
In many cases, we find that some of the most successful email newsletters are nothing more than short recaps of blog posts with a link to the blog post.
If you’re at a loss for what to try, start with an email template like this:
Notice that it’s super short and simple. It gives the reader a glimpse into the blog post without giving too much away.
Therefore, as long as you’re creating relevant blog content, any emails promoting those posts should start to gain traction and convert.
Implement a Paid Ads Strategy
Paid advertising is one of the fastest ways to increase patient volume. While there is still some trial and error in running paid ads, it doesn’t take nearly as long as SEO or content marketing to start generating results.
In addition, if you hire a marketing agency to do it for you, you’ll probably go through far less trial and error.
If you’d like to work with an agency, feel free to reach out to us here. We’ve helped hundreds of different healthcare marketing companies run successful paid ad campaigns and can duplicate those results for you.
At Stodzy, we typically run either Google or Facebook ads.
Google ads are great because people searching on Google are actively looking for a solution. Those on Facebook are typically passive. For example, if someone is actively searching “knee doctor near me,” getting in front of them is a no brainer.
However, these Google searches can be quite expensive. If you aren’t closing the clicks you’re earning, it might not be worth the money.
Therefore, Facebook is also a wonderful option as the platform can deduce which people are interested in knee injury content and will show your ads to them. Therefore, even if you don’t immediately earn a click, your branding can follow them around on Facebook until they are ready to purchase.
We also like to use Facebook for content promotion. By driving people to these pages and earning positive users signals (long dwell times, low bounce rate, etc.), search engines are encouraged to rank your page more favorably.
Both Facebook and Google also offer retargeting. This essentially means that ads will appear in front of anyone that has already interacted with your brand.
As the rule of seven states that people need to see your brand seven times before they will make a purchase (though it’s probably much higher than seven now), including retargeting is also a no-brainer. In addition, people who have already browsed your website are much more likely to purchase than new visitors.
If you’ve never run ads before and don’t know where to start, look at what your competitors are doing and copy their ad style.
For example, Facebook’s Ad Library allows you to see all of your competitor’s ads:
As for Google Ads, you can use a tool like Ahrefs. Type in your competitor’s URL, and see which keywords they are bidding on and even the landing pages.
Invest in Social Media Marketing
Rather than trying to pull your patients away from the places they enjoy visiting online, consider joining them.
In fact, one survey showed that 95% of people claimed social media was the most efficient communication method with patients.
While organic reach is declining on social media, the sheer volume of attention on these platforms makes it a no-brainer to invest in social media marketing.
Fortunately, most brands aren’t fully utilizing their social media accounts. They treat them as advertising platforms rather than a channel to connect one on one with patients.
So if you have social media accounts that generate minimal engagement, try this strategy.
First, post less content but increase the quality. Rather than just sharing blog posts to social media (which typically perform abysmally), make an effort to write more social content such as patient stories.
Orlando Health has several great examples of this:
In addition to stories, you can also go live and ask your audience questions. While this doesn’t work very well for those with no audience, it is an excellent way to create a community once you have substantial followers.
Finally, influencer marketing is an excellent way to boost your social media presence. While it may seem like a B2C strategy, there are plenty of health and fitness influencers that can help you earn a loyal following.
Increase Your Patient Volume Today
The key to creating a steady pipeline of patients is picking a few of these marketing strategies and then chipping away at them consistently for years.
While building a brand doesn’t happen overnight, following these strategies will help you create a pipeline that will stand the test of time and help you increase your patient volume.
If you would rather bypass the trial and error of various strategies to increase patient volume, consider scheduling a call with our experts today and we can create a plan that will set you up for success.