Tips on getting started with this effective digital marketing strategy
You keep up with CME requirements. You upgrade your technology and embrace new innovations in medicine. So why would you cling to outdated practice marketing techniques? If you’re still using only traditional marketing tools like print brochures and display ads in lieu of digital marketing, you could be missing out on more patients, higher conversions, and even a more personal connection with patients.
What is content marketing?
Digital marketing refers to any online marketing efforts. Content marketing is one element of digital marketing that’s being employed effectively by businesses of all sizes and types, from mom-and-pop shops to major brands like P&G and Microsoft.
The Content Marketing Institute defines it as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Content marketing means providing relevant and useful content (such as blogs, eBooks, and videos) to your customers or patients instead of pitching your products and services.
According to CMI, “Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.” In a way, content marketing is simply the online version of a strategy that was always used by savvy businesses, such as AAA providing members with maps and travel guides, or Betty Crocker publishing cookbooks, pointed out HealthcareSuccess.com.
For medical practices, content marketing strategies may include:
- Email newsletters
- Patient education videos
- And even your website.
In fact, you may already be doing content marketing and not even realize it!
What can content marketing do for your practice?
According to HealthcareSuccess.com, content marketing is a natural fit for health providers. “Among the benefits, it is a marketing tool for patient engagement, retention, branding, and professional reputation building.”
Doctors already have a leg up because they are seen as a more trusted source of medical information online than other sources. For instance, according to Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry News, 60 percent of consumers said they trust doctors’ posts versus 36 percent who trust posts from a pharmaceutical firm, reported ReferralMD.
Content marketing can help doctors build trust and establish personal connections with patients—even before they come into your practice.
Patients are also looking for more personal connections with their doctors these days, and content marketing can help establish that before they’ve even met you. A blog or social media post written in a conversational tone can familiarize prospective patients with your practice and give them a level of comfort, explained Whittington Consulting, a marketing agency in Virginia. “When the patient is comfortable, he is more likely to make an emotional connection with your website and medical practice, and therefore more likely to choose you when the time comes to select a medical provider.”
For more on a related topic, see Should Doctors Blog? Four Reasons to Say Yes.
Tips to get started
Does your practice already have a website, blog, or Facebook page? Great! Those are good first steps. Now build on them by doing the following:
Always keep your audience in mind. Who’s your target audience? Are you trying to educate existing patients or attract new ones? Are your ideal patients young professionals or seniors? It can be a mix of these, but for each piece of content you create—say, a blog article or a social media post—you will need to tailor it to the intended audience. For ideas and best practices, see Eight Tips and Tools to Expand Your Social Media Audience.
Be consistent. Content marketing doesn’t yield results overnight; it takes time and consistency. Regular blogging engages new visitors to your website and boosts search engine optimization (SEO)—that is, the number of visitors who find you through web searches. According to Whittington Consulting, a specialty medical practice client saw a 58 percent boost in search-engine traffic after starting a blog, and appointment requests through their website increased as well.
“A huge challenge in content marketing is regularly generating content that is top-quality and worthy of sharing. The lack of consistency in producing content hampers many practices from receiving the full benefits of content marketing,” wrote Naren Arulrajah, president and CEO of the company Ekwa Marketing, in MDMag.com.
Get help. To stay consistent with your content marketing efforts, Arulrajah recommends investing in top-notch blog writers, video producers, and/or other content creators. If you’re struggling to find content and post frequently, your Rendia Customer Success Manager can help you plan out dozens of video-based posts to schedule out seasonally—including content for disease awareness months, reminders to schedule regular checkups, and holiday messages to help you build patient loyalty and brand awareness.
Maximize your content. If you make the investment of time and money in high-quality content, make sure you’re stretching it as far as you can. Promote your blog posts on social media, include them in email newsletters, and showcase videos in your waiting room, on your website, and on your social media platforms.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel—Rendia offers high-quality patient education videos that can be branded with your practice’s logo to share with your patients.