Most hospitals and clinics, including telehealth companies generate patients through local SEO marketing and word of mouth, as there are generally only a select few in the area.
However, telehealth has opened up an entirely new market that gives you instant access to a much larger community. Therefore, with a new market of consumers also comes increased competition, and this time, you’ll be competing against providers across the country.
Therefore, if you haven’t invested in marketing efforts like paid advertising or SEO, it might be time to branch out and expand your brand’s digital presence. In the wake of COVID-19, telehealth marketing is increasingly important as more patients are willing to book a virtual visit, and more providers are offering online appointments.
To help you improve your digital footprint, here are some tips to effectively market your telehealth practice.
One of the easiest ways to generate more leads is to alert your existing referral providers to your new telehealth services. Telehealth services may be a necessity for some patients, so your close rate from referrals may increase once you alert your partners of your new telehealth options.
You can also partner with providers across the country now that you can service their patients via telehealth.
To start connecting with new providers, ask employees inside your clinic if anyone has existing relationships with other providers. You could also send a brand ambassador to conferences on parallel industries and form relationships that way.
Another excellent way to generate new telehealth patients is to update your website to include a page dedicated to telehealth.
The page should include the services you offer remotely, the benefits of remote care, the technology patients need for their appointment, and overall expectations.
Your messaging should also cover commonly asked questions about the new service. So, ask the front desk team what FAQs typically arise in conversations about telehealth services. Then you can address those questions on the telehealth page.
Finally, updating your website’s user experience should be a top priority in your marketing plan. Not only does the user experience directly affect conversions, but it also impacts your SEO (as we’ll discuss in detail below).
Therefore, make sure that each page is no more than three clicks away from the homepage. Also make sure the website is easy to navigate and skim.
As a user, notice how easy the following website is to scan?
In contrast, you can see how difficult this website is to scan:
If you don’t know how user-friendly your website is, look at your bounce rate. A high bounce rate often means that people either didn’t find what they were looking for, or the website was a poor user experience. Another option is to add a heatmap. Some heatmap software, like Hotjar, even allows you to add a question box to the corner of the screen. This allows you to ask the audience how they feel about the user experience.
You probably already invest in local search marketing, though competing for telehealth keywords requires a slightly different optimization strategy than competing for local keywords.
Rather than focusing on generating reviews, local links, and optimizing your Google My Business profile, focus on optimizing telehealth-related keywords.
For example, if your clinic offers telemedicine services for anxiety, depression, and anger management, you should already have a page on each of those services (per the previous step).
Once you do, the next step is to build backlinks to those pages. You can do this by reaching out to fellow partners and asking them to direct people to your telehealth services pages. Another great way to earn links is to find websites that have already linked to your competitors and ask if they would be willing to link to your page as well.
You can use Ahrefs to do this by entering a competing page’s URL and clicking “referring domains”. This gives you a list of everyone that is linking to that competing page.
If you notice that your pages still aren’t ranking very well after about six months, consider updating the content. For example, if you notice that Google is ranking landing pages or salesy pages in the SERPs, yet you have a blog post, it might be worthwhile to create a landing/salesy page for the term.
However, if Google is ranking mostly blog posts for the term, yet your blog post still isn’t ranking, ask the following questions:
Are there any key FAQs your page/post is missing that the pages currently ranking include?
Is your post significantly longer than the other posts (perhaps long-winded)?
Are you including the keyword in the title and meta description and properly using H2 tags?
Are you building backlinks from relevant websites (in healthcare with decent authority)?
You should also make sure that the technical aspects of your SEO, such as load time and user experience, are up to scratch.
Another excellent telehealth marketing strategy that can increase your virtual visits is content marketing. It’s one of the most effective ways to promote telehealth services. Patients actively searching for care online are already using the technology required for a telehealth visit. This includes a smartphone, iPad, or computer.
Therefore the job of content marketing is to simply educate potential patients. Particularly those in rural areas. You can effectively detail how you can help them solve their ailment virtually.
However, content marketing should go beyond just educating people about the basics of telehealth options. It should act as an entry point to your brand when they are first learning about physical ailments. For example, if your services include telehealth for anxiety, be sure to have articles addressing early signs of anxiety when to reach out to a medical professional and other early-stage questions a new patient may ask.
From there, you can offer a CTA to speak directly to a doctor via telehealth. You can also send them to a page on your telemedicine services.
Social media marketing is also an excellent way to generate brand awareness. Social media also lets new and existing patients know about your telemedicine services.
First, choose one or two platforms and invest heavily in them. If you try to invest equally in all social platforms, you won’t go as far as if you had simply put all of those resources into one platform.
Facebook is perhaps the most popular marketing platform. So, it might be best to start with that. From there, branch out to other platforms like TikTok or Instagram. If you want to test a few platforms at the start and see which one performs best, do so and then choose just one of them to double down on.
Once you’ve chosen a social media platform, consistently create content that is social rather than promotional.
For example, here are a few post styles that should make up the majority of your social account:
Community questions (“what is one exercise you look forward to?”)
Fun, yet relevant updates from the practice
Baylor Health has some excellent examples.
However, here are some topics that you should avoid posting:
Overly promotional offers (a few per year are fine, but it should be less than 20% of posts)
Frequently dropping links to blog posts
When you launch your social media strategy, send it to your email list, your employees, and any other partnerships you have and ask them to like and share it.
Winning social media algorithms is all about achieving a high engagement average on your posts. So, post less frequently and push the post to more people in your early days. If the algorithm sees that you are consistently posting with little engagement on most posts, it won’t give you the benefit of the doubt when you do post something highly interesting.
Another great way to kickstart your social media plan is to collaborate with influencers. We’ll discuss influencer marketing more below. But, this is a great way to increase your organic engagement.
Paid ads are an excellent way to generate a relatively quick ROI. While your results won’t compound over time as SEO does, it can provide a quick boost in conversions.
So which platform is best for paid ads? Is it better to run ads on a search engine or a social platform?
Search engines are excellent as you can get in front of people that are actively searching for the services you offer. People on social platforms aren’t actively searching for your services. However, ad platforms do offer targeting options. This allows you to get in front of a much larger percentage of people.
Paid ads on social platforms may be better if your goal is generating brand awareness. Search engines are excellent for sending a solution-aware audience directly to a landing page.
Facebook and Google are perhaps the biggest ad platforms. Therefor, they generate the most reach. However, they are also more expensive than other platforms.
Therefore, analyze where competing healthcare providers are advertising. From there you can choose the most used ad platform. You can use a tool like Ahrefs to determine how much the competition is spending on ads by looking at the “paid ads” section. It shows the keywords they are bidding on, how much they are spending on ads, and the top landing pages.
In addition to tracking Google ads, you can also track Facebook ads in the Facebook Ad Library.
The Ad Library shows you when the ad was launched, the various versions, and more to help you understand what works with your target audience and how you can duplicate the success.
Email marketing may seem like one of the most archaic digital marketing strategies. However, it still has a relatively consistent ROI when done correctly.
The key is to do it correctly.
First, build a list of patients actively interested in telehealth. For example, rather than just sending everyone that lands on your homepage to an email signup form, create lead magnets to telehealth related offers (a discount on your first virtual care appointment, a guide to telehealth services, etc.).
Once you have a list of people that are actively interested in telemedicine, your open, CTR, and close rates via email will be much higher.
So, what kinds of emails should you send and at what cadence?
This is a hotly debated topic by digital marketing experts. However, it’s clear that each audience requires a slightly different approach.
Therefore, don’t be afraid to experiment with send times, how many emails you send monthly, and the content within your emails.
That said, here are a few guidelines that can help you get started:
Aim to send one email per week
Tuesdays through Thursdays tend to generate the best engagement
Sell your online health services in no more than 30% of your emails
When in doubt, ask your audience what they want to learn from you. This will help you make your emails more valuable.
For example, in your autoresponder, welcome them to your email list, provide the promised value, and ask what they are hoping to receive from you by joining your email list.
The more you communicate with your list, the more successful your email marketing campaigns will be.
While telehealth is often marketed online, given the nature of the service, there are also plenty of ways you can advertise your virtual care services offline.
Attending, speaking at, or even hosting your own conferences enables you to build trust face to face with other healthcare providers and even potential patients.
For example, if you’ve been offering telehealth services for some time now, you could apply to speak at telehealth conferences. This gives you more credibility as a provider, and you can also sell your services if there is a relevant audience.
However, perhaps even more effective is offering to speak at schools, local events, and other health-related gatherings where you are the sole telehealth provider and speaking to a room full of potential patients.
If you’re giving a speech, be sure to provide plenty of value before you sell and send them to additional resources (a sales rep, a website, etc.) for more information and to book an appointment.
To find events, start by looking within your local community and consider sponsoring local groups. Providing free value is one of the best ways to improve your brand’s image and get in front of the right target audience.
Finally, if you’ve tried the above telehealth marketing strategies and still haven’t found success, or you just don’t have time to execute a digital marketing strategy, it might be time to partner with a telehealth marketing agency.
When you’re looking for the ideal partner, be sure that they have examples of other healthcare marketing strategies. Make sure to ask how they would approach your marketing strategy.
A knowledgeable healthcare marketer will set expectations that you likely won’t see organic results for some 6-18 months. They will also focus more on long term strategy than short term wins.
For example, here at Stodzy our goal is to help telemedicine providers rank their service pages for keywords that indicate purchase intent. In addition, we track phone calls so that you know our marketing services are generating an ROI.
If your marketing partner is only tracking vanity metrics like traffic and impressions and refuse to track any conversions, it might be a warning sign that they aren’t focused on the same goal you are – conversions.
If you want one of the experts at Stodzy to help you achieve consistent patient volume, schedule a call today. We will gladly discuss various growth options.
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