Medical professionals can cut costs significantly by focusing on inbound rather than outbound marketing. Outbound marketing refers to paying for exposure through traditional media channels, such as TV, radio and magazines. These channels are expensive and rely on a small percentage of a mass audience to respond. Inbound marketing is based on attracting target followers by offering online content they are seeking. Here are five medical inbound marketing methods for generating leads.
1. SEO: Find Patients Through Search Engines
Search engine optimization has become a powerful approach to medical inbound marketing because it can bring you new leads indefinitely without recurring costs. Even though Google uses over 200 factors that determine its search results, only a handful of these factors have significant weight. The main concept to remember is to base your site on useful content relevant to your niche.
Google's goal is for its users to find the content they are searching for as quickly as possible. Since it doesn't want to send users to irrelevant sites, it rewards sites that have deep informative content with high rankings, at least in theory. If your site only has a few web pages without much content, there's a good chance a competitor's site that's more content-rich will get higher rankings. Here are important techniques to gain search engine visibility:
- use keywords that define your services in titles, tags, headings and content
- include your city or neighborhood as a keyword
- submit your business information to local directories such as Yelp
- answer common patient questions on your site
- encourage loyal patients to post reviews of your services online
2. PPC: Accelerate Patient Leads
Even though SEO may help patients find your site through search results, it typically takes several months to generate leads. A faster method to bring traffic to your site is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising through a platform such as Google AdWords. Your ads will be headlines that link to your site at the top and sides of search results for keywords that users enter in Google.
You will only have to pay when people click your ad. Studies show that people who click these ads have a genuine interest in them. In 2016 Wordstream found that about 65% of online consumers click Google ads when they're ready to purchase. Using a combination of SEO and PPC can be very reliable at bringing relevant leads to your site.
3. Email Marketing: Stay in Touch with Patients
At one time email marketing became associated with spam, but new laws have helped transform it into a more viable form of communication with target consumers. The key to many successful online businesses these days is building an email marketing list, but you must first seek permission from each recipient to comply with FTC regulations. You will then be able to build a target audience of patients who want to know more about your services.
The most efficient email marketing solution is to subscribe to an email marketing service such as Campaign Monitor or MailChimp. You can also use a more robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution, but it usually involves higher costs. Essentially, email marketing software allows you to customize messages to patients, which is important for building relationships. It's also useful for distributing regular newsletters that you can use to promote various services.
4. Social Media: Online Customer Service
The popularity of social media is tied to an easy way to connect with several friends at one time, but it's also now used for businesses to connect with customers. In fact, it's a quick way to answer customer questions in real time if you have someone constantly managing your profile. Not all businesses have the time to oversee their own social media profiles, so they outsource to digital marketing specialists.
Social media needs to be more widely embraced as a medical inbound marketing tool since it provides immediate feedback from patients. You may not have to spend as much on market research since you'll already be connected with your target market. Social networks allow you to build an online community that expands through referrals by adding friends of friends to your list. The faster you respond to inquiries about your services, the more you can nurture patient loyalty. It also allows you to promote your web content with text and eye-catching images.
5. Content Marketing: Blogs and CTAs
The string that ties all your inbound methods together is content marketing, which can come in the form of writing blogs and articles, creating videos and sharing other forms of media. Content is the core of inbound marketing because it's what online surfers are searching for. That's why it's important for all your landing pages to feature valuable information. The more useful your content is, the more they'll keep coming back to your site as a resource.
The saying "content is king" is extremely accurate online. If you expect a PPC or email campaign to be successful, you'll need rich content to back it up. No one keeps going back to websites or clicking emails and ads to look at fluff. Patients want quick answers. In order to direct their attention to what they are looking for, you need strong call-to-action (CTA) statements or buttons.
Perhaps the most understated form of effective medical inbound marketing is optimized blogging, which Google favors in search results. Not all blogs gain search engine visibility or traffic, but the ones that do utilize these techniques:
- write about your expertise
- allow responses from readers
- provide unique perspectives
- integrate with multimedia
- cross-promote with other bloggers
- mix personality with facts
- keep posting fresh content
The old method of outbound marketing can be costly since you have to spend money on reaching an audience by interrupting content through mass media. With inbound marketing, patients seek your services through the content you offer. Contact a digital marketer that specializes in medical inbound marketing strategies so that you can save money on your marketing budget and focus more on directly connecting with your target audience.