Most orthopedic practices find that the majority of their patients come from referrals. While referral marketing is an excellent strategy for orthopedic practices, it also means that you probably aren’t getting the most out of your digital marketing strategy.
If you’re running some paid ads, paying an SEO (search engine optimization) company each month, but still see plateaued results each month, it might be worth it to reevaluate your marketing strategies.
With the marketing strategies below, you’ll be able to not only generate a steady stream of patients but you’ll also be able to attract new patients that are an ideal fit for your clinic (low maintenance, loyal, and a perfect fit for your services).
As a marketing agency ourselves, these are the exact medical marketing strategies we use to grow orthopedic practices. If you’d rather have a marketing agency execute the tips below for you, feel free to book a free strategy call.
Statistics show that about 77% of patients start with a search engine to book their next healthcare appointment. Therefore, it only makes sense that you should invest in local SEO. SEO marketing will help your orthopedic practice show up here at the top of the search engine results:
In addition, SEO has compounding results, meaning any investments you make now will continue to pay off for years to come. While it may take six to eighteen months to see significant results, it is one of the most valuable marketing strategies with long-term profitability.
So how should you attack local SEO?
First, ensure that your website doesn’t have any fatal errors preventing it from ranking in the SERPs. You can do this by hiring an SEO professional to do a technical audit for you. Or, you can look in Google Search Console for any errors.
However, I would like to add a word of caution – fixing every technical error on your website comes with an opportunity cost as content and links are much more important to your SEO success than small SEO errors like a page with zero traffic 404ing.
In short, some major technical SEO errors prevent your website from ranking. However, just because your website is completely free of all technical SEO errors doesn’t mean it will outrank the competition.
There are plenty of other ranking factors, such as links and content. These go into the SEO equation as well.
Therefore, while you should invest time to fix major issues that prevent your most important services pages (or your entire website) from ranking, don’t get too wrapped up in small technical errors. If you want to learn more about which technical errors are critical to fix immediately and which ones should be lower on your priority list, feel free to talk to one of our specialists.
Now that you know your site doesn’t have any major errors that will prevent it from ranking, how can you optimize it to outrank the other orthopedic surgeon websites?
To optimize for local SEO, building local links, creating a great user experience, adding appropriate keywords, and generating plenty of reviews is an excellent way to outrank the competition. Let’s dive into each of these in detail.
Local links and citations are excellent for building authority in the eyes of search engines. A local link is when a local organization’s website links to your orthopedic practice’s website.
For example, if one of your orthopedic surgeons speaks at a local event or makes a donation to a local organization and the website of that event or organization links back to you, that is a local link.
However, citations are also valuable. An example of a citation is this Yelp listing:
As you can see, citations are merely listings in local directories with a link back to your site. To see a list of all the relevant local directories, you can use a tool like BrightLocal or Whitespark.
When creating citations, be sure that your name, address, and phone are the same across all citations. Only create citations on high-quality directories as spammy, low-quality directories can actually harm your brand image.
Another critical aspect of orthopedic marketing that is often overlooked is the user experience. Google recently released a user experience update that gives websites with great user experience a boost over those with poor user experience.
So what does a “good user experience” even mean?
A great user experience means that your website loads in a timely manner. Under 2-3 seconds is ideal. Each page requires (ideally) no more than three clicks to access. Service pages and other important pages should require no more than one or two clicks to access.
The design should also be relatively inviting and easy to scan.
Basic keyword research is also essential. For example, the title tags and H1s on each of your services pages should clearly contain the main keyword of that service.
For example, the below page has the H1 as “Arthritis Specialist.” They also include that keyword in the title tag, as you can see in the search engine result listing below.
If this was an orthopedic practice the Stodzy marketing team was working on, I’d also recommend adding the location to the title tag (Arthritis Specialist in Scottsdale, AZ).
In addition, I’d leverage H2 tags that are relevant to the topic.
Let’s chat about how you can get the more admissions through digital marketing. No pressure. No sales gimmicks.
If you look at the local search results for almost any healthcare service, you’ll notice that the practices listed at the top usually have more reviews than the other practices.
While it’s illegal to bribe your customers for reviews, you can ask them to leave reviews on Google and other online review websites. Therefore, remind your doctors and front desk staff to personally ask patients to leave a review.
You can also generate more reviews simply by making it easier for patients to write a review. For example, have a page on your website with dedicated instructions on how to write a review.
Another pro tip is to have a monitor next to the front desk open to a review screen. Therefore, the front desk staff can ask them to write a review and gesture to the open screen, making it easy to generate more reviews.
While we’ve discussed local SEO at length, there are still plenty of other (typically nationally categorized) SEO tactics you can leverage to increase your rankings. Link building happens to be one of these tactics. Other websites directing readers to your site shows search engines that the online community believes you are a credible source.
For example, given that Harvard Medical School is linking to The New England Journal of Medicine, it’s clear that the NEJM is a trusted source.
While we already discussed local link building briefly above, there are plenty of other link building methods that can improve the authority and presence of your orthopedic practice.
Asking a website for a link through cold outreach is still a common orthopedic marketing strategy. However, it isn’t necessarily the one we recommend. First, cold outreach with little value add for the other party is a recipe for poor response rates. It can also tarnish your brand image.
So what are some other ways to earn links from high-quality (and healthcare-related) websites?
One way to earn links is to guest post on a reputable healthcare website. Do a little research to understand what kind of content their readers want to know more about. Then pitch the publisher. It’s essential to find the publisher rather than contacting anyone at the company. Finally, provide a few ideas of interest.
You can let them know that the final post will be medically reviewed by one of your orthopedic surgeons. Therefore, a freelancer can ghostwrite it. After that, one of the surgeons can look it over. This way, the other website will be receiving an E-A-T quality post that Google will love, and you will receive a link.
Another option is to be a guest on various healthcare podcasts. The benefit here is that they will likely link to your website following the interview. This will give your orthopedic practice more brand recognition and improve your authority.
Some websites will also be willing to do a written interview. Here’s an example of one where the surgeon earned a valuable link for minimal effort:
Notice that this kind of link building is relevant, positions your brand as an authority, and puts you in front of a lot of potential patients.
If you treat arthritis, your patient’s initial question is likely something like “should I see an orthopedic surgeon about arthritis?” and “what is the best way to treat arthritis?”
Therefore, it only makes sense that you should create content that answers these questions/keywords. Then, redirects readers to schedule a consultation with one of your orthopedic surgeons.
So how should you create an orthopedic content marketing strategy?
While most marketing experts recommend starting with keyword research, here at Stodzy, we recommend starting with patient research and understanding what most patients type into Google before they pick up the phone or schedule an appointment.
To do so, you can start by asking what brought them in. Pay attention to the exact words they use to describe their issue. It’s also important to pay attention to the most commonly asked questions.
For example, if almost all patients ask, “can you reverse arthritis in hands?” consider writing an article on the subject with the help of an orthopedic doctor.
One of the most common reasons this marketing strategy fails to work is that people fail to write content for questions your potential patients ask.
For example, you might have an excellent article about “most common sports injuries.” However, it is unlikely to help you generate more customers. This is because, even though it is related to orthopedic services, the searcher doesn’t indicate that they are actively seeking help from an orthopedic practice.
A common reason most marketing experts fall into this trap is that they are using traffic as a metric rather than conversions.
Therefore, even if you bring in more traffic by targeting keywords like “most common sports injuries,” you’ll be wasting money if it isn’t driving conversions.
To ensure that you are generating conversions from content marketing, we at Stodzy track calls from the website to ensure your orthopedics practice is seeing an ROI from our efforts. If you want to partner with us, you’re welcome to reach out for a free strategy call.
Unfortunately, organic search marketing often takes months, if not years, to show results. Therefore, paid advertising is an excellent option. Especially if you need another method to rapidly increase your patient volume.
While it doesn’t offer the same long-term ROI, it can give your new content a boost. It can also generate more leads to your services and landing pages.
Therefore, we advise most orthopedic practices to invest in SEO and complement it with paid advertising.
So where should you advertise?
We generally use Facebook and Google Ads to boost recently published content or content that has proven to produce conversions.
Facebook is an excellent platform as its sheer volume of users guarantees that you’ll get in front of some potential patients if you do it correctly.
In addition, you can leverage location targeting to refine your target audience. The Facebook Ad Library is also a free resource that allows you to look up all of the competition’s campaigns. Specifically, you can see the campaign ad, various versions, when it was launched, and the landing page they are sending clicks to.
Armed with this information, you’ll have a competitive advantage that will make it easy to create a successful campaign.
However, if you want to target people actively searching for your services, Google Ads is a great option for orthopedic marketing.
This helps you get to the top of the SERPs with minimal effort and enables you to pin point the audience. Rather than relying on a platform’s data to be accurate (as social media platforms would do), you bid on keywords relevant to your services.
Like Facebook ads, it’s best to start by learning what keywords your competitors are running ads to. It’s also important to see what those landing pages look like.
Fortunately, if you have an Ahrefs account, it’s not difficult to study your competitor’s campaigns.
Just look at the paid ads tab. You can see all of the keywords they are bidding on, the landing pages, and even the top landing pages of the campaign.
Now that you have a steady stream of new patients coming to your website, it’s important to consider how you can turn them into customers. Statistics show that about 95% of customers visit your website and never return.
So if you aren’t doing anything to reengage those patients, your practice will end up spending thousands of dollars on traffic with little ROI.
Fortunately, one of the easiest ways to reengage patients and bring them back to your website is through email marketing.
Email marketing is not only a relatively affordable marketing strategy, but it is also one of the best ways to develop a meaningful connection with your audience.
If you’ve already tried email marketing and claim that it doesn’t work, it might be time to change up your strategy. For example, if you send emails five days a week selling your products or services, it’s quite likely that you’ll have a high unsubscribe rate and few conversions.
However, if you send valuable information relevant to the people that signed up for your list (how to reduce arthritis pain at night, a new study on various experimental treatments, etc.) you’ll likely find that email marketing is quite effective.
In addition, don’t be afraid to ask your subscribers what they want to get out of your email list. Literally, just ask, “what are you hoping to learn from our emails?”
You can also test various send times and how many times per week/month you write.
Finally, if the orthopedic department is part of a larger organization, be sure to have a separate email list for people that want to learn about specific conditions and send information on those conditions. Sending a general list of general information is a key recipe for low conversions.
If you already have strong patient volume and want more brand awareness, social media is one of the best ways to do so.
Not only does social media marketing expose your practice to a much broader audience, but it also gives you a chance to develop a more personal connection with your audience.
In healthcare, gut feeling is often a critical factor when patients choose where they want to be treated. So, developing that relationship positively impacts conversions.
So how should you structure your social media accounts?
First, if you currently don’t have any social media, be sure to grab your name on all platforms before they are taken. However, only invest in one platform to start. If you try to do all of them at once, you’ll likely become exhausted, and none of them will work.
As you begin posting, try to partner with influencers to make your posts more popular. Accounts with posts with a high average engagement typically get shown to more people. Therefore, focus on the quality of your posts rather than the quantity of posts.
The content itself should also be social rather than strictly educational. For example, consider adding inpatient stories and even the stories of your medical professionals.
Metro Health is an excellent example of this:
If you need more inspiration, look at competitors that have high engagement. Then try following a similar posting schedule posting similar content styles.
Generating a consistent stream of high-quality patients isn’t easy. However, most orthopedic marketing plans don’t consistently execute even 50% of the advice in this post. Or, if they have executed some of these strategies, it’s unlikely that they have maintained consistency.
If you find that you need an extra set of eyes to look over your marketing strategy, or you need a marketing agency to ensure your marketing efforts are consistent, consider scheduling a call with us today.
The team at Stodzy Internet Marketing is ready to help you today.
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