healthcare marketing

7 best healthcare marketing action steps [examples included]

In this article, I will explain seven healthcare marketing action steps that improve your Google ranking and lead to a successful medical practice.
healthcare marketing

7 best healthcare marketing action steps [examples included]

Els van der Veire - Co-founder Digital Practice

Els Van de Veire

December 18, 2021

#1 Medical website strategy

healthcare marketing website strategies

When you plan to build a new house, it would be quite weird to call a bricklayer and tell him to “just get started”. When it comes to architecture, we accept that it starts with thinking and consulting about the design, functionality and structure of the house we want.

The same applies to medical websites. You would be missing out on opportunities and business avenues if you were to apply the bricklayer-first approach in your medical practice.

Before you start building your website – and this is similar to planning a construction job – you want to think about the design, functionality and structure of your new asset.

As a healthcare marketing agency, we help our customers with this important foundational work. Take Sexual Health North, a start-up private sexual health clinic in the northern suburbs of Perth. We catapulted their clinic to page 1 of Google for all the keywords they wanted to rank for, including “sexual health clinic Perth” and “STI testing Perth”, some of the highly competitive keywords on the wishlist. 20 out of 38 search terms now rank on position 1, in under one year of clinic activity as a sexual health provider in Perth’s northern suburbs.

The secret? Putting a strategy behind the medical website (and hard work; keep reading).

We sat down with the owners and asked questions. This fed into our keyword data research and analysis, allowing us to create a content plan for keywords that we know patients are searching for.

This is by far the most important step in healthcare marketing, just like it is the most important step in the architecture process. Without a building plan, there is no reliable and future-proof house. Without a medical content and keyword strategy, there can be no successful medical website.

#2 Medical content marketing

healthcare content marketing

Only when you have your medical website strategy, are you ready to write content. As a healthcare marketing agency, we help our customers with a framework to streamline the content input process. Based on your input, we then help you write effective content pages that help you rank.

It is a labour-intense process and the failproof backbone of a successful medical website strategy.

The better the content input, the better the outcome.

Here’s a snippet of some of the content we co-produced with the owners of Sexual Health North. Based on their excellent content input, we wrote over 16 pages of medical content, every page underpinned by extensive keyword research and analysis. And with an average of 800-1600 words per page.

#3 Medical SEO

healthcare marketing SEO

SEO or search engine optimisation is an often misunderstood term. And that is obviously not your fault.

Unfortunately, some SEOs (people who claim they are SEO experts) interpret their own profession as ‘backlink-builders’. Being a backlink-builder isn’t per se an inaccurate interpretation if only they would do the hard work of creating quality backlinks. For example, if they would pick up the phone and ask the editor of a quality newspaper to link news article Y to their client’s page Z.

Unfortunately, backlink-builders simply buy a volume of cheap labour to create a backlink for Australian plastic surgeon X in an obscure Chech guest blog post about dental plaque solutions in Prague, for example.

So what is great medical SEO? It is on-page SEO. The content we have created, based on the content plan (the strategy), should be optimised with your keywords.

Because we are an integrated digital marketing agency for doctors and specialists, medical SEO and content marketing are actually one and the same thing. In other words, when we write your content, we optimise every page so your keywords are being used. SEO is not something you do later, just like you don’t ask the structural engineer to slide a good foundation under your newly built house.

So let’s unpack how we applied ation steps #1, #2 and #3 for Sexual Health North:

Sexual Health North specialises in STI testing in Perth:

  1. We analyse how people search for this service (Action step #1 strategy)
  2. We write a dedicated page on STI testing in Perth (Action step #2 content writing), and use the search terms in the copy (Action step #3 medical SEO). We repeat this for all other pages.

#4 Medical web design

healthcare marketing web design

This is the fun part.

Now that we know what your website will be about, we can design your homepage and highlight your most important services in a visually compelling way.

As you can see, this is step #4, not step #1 and unfortunately, you may have had bad experiences in the past when your web designer created a fabulous-looking homepage that then proved to rank very poorly on Google.

This is why working with an integrated healthcare marketing agency like Digital Practice is worth the investment. Just like you, we first diagnose, then we treat. Not the other way around.

Sexual Health North, positioned as an inclusive sexual health clinic, has a colourful web design. The images are purposely chosen to evoke a feeling of “hassle-free treatment” and “joy of life”.

healthcare marketing

#5 Medical website health

healthcare website development

This involves the invisible work – the work behind the scenes – and the work that is often underestimated.

Let’s go back to the house analogy.

When your builder uses cheap materials to build your house’s foundation, you won’t notice this the first months after you moved in. As a matter of fact, it may take a few years before you start noticing that something is wrong.

Medical websites should be built using Google’s quality web guidelines. Building a quality, high-ranking website is not a drag-and-drop job; even though some companies would like you to believe that. It takes years to become a qualified web developer and great web developers are life-long learners, as technology and tools keep changing.

As a medical marketing agency, we use software that is linked to Google’s web guidelines to track the health of each and every website that we build. And the result? Our websites rank in the top positions – simply because we master all aspects of the process: understanding the mechanics of an effective strategy all the way to knowing these web guidelines inside and out.

#6 Social media for doctors

healthcare marketing and social media

I strongly believe that social media for doctors only makes sense if your social media posts link back to your medical website.

Yes, some restaurants don’t have a website at all and only use social to promote their business. Some restaurants are successful in that. But you’re not a restaurant, and showing a gallbladder polyp on Instagram won’t bring in any new patients.

Social media for doctors is the icing on the cake. It’s nice to have. But it’s not the cake.

Els van der Veire - Co-founder Digital Practice
Els Van de Veire, Co-founder of Digital Practice

"I love seeing my clients discover social once they are successful on Google. Social reinforces their leadership position, and in turn, social confirms their authority and helps to improve the Google ranking of their medical website."

#7 Tracking, analytics and optimising your medical website

medical website SEO and analytics

When your website goes live, you want to make sure it is doing what it is supposed to do. And this is another reason to hire a medical digital marketing agency.

Digital Practice uses software to track your keywords on a daily basis. The idea is to track your overall visibility 24/7 and optimise content that is not ranking as high as we would like it to.

The good news about organic content marketing (and this is quite the opposite of paid advertising) is that it gets better over time.

For example, when we created a website for a gynaecology practice in 2017, following the 7 steps as described in this article, we decided to add a blog article in October 2021. Even though this website was already ranking very well for all its keywords, its visibility skyrocketed after adding this one new blog article.

Paid advertising only works for as long as you keep the tap running. The tap that costs you money. Medical content marketing is a one-off investment, with a low maintenance cost, that keeps working for you.

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Ready to take action?

healthcare marketing action steps

If you feel the time is right to take action, let’s start with a strategy session on Zoom. We talk about your practice, where you want to be in 12 months’ time, and how we can implement these action steps together to help you grow.

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Double or triple your turnover

How to increase patient numbers & turnover

What has been done at your practice to boost your patient numbers in the last 3 months? You could ask yourself, your practice manager, or your marketing provider and see what comes up. Another valuable question is: When was the last time your Google ranking was checked for your main income avenues? In fact, who is responsible to add content to your website, so you rank higher and attract more patients? If you haven’t made a particular effort to grow your practice as a business, today is a great day to start.

It pays off to ask these questions. Our most ambitious customers have implemented the power habit to ask themselves these quality questions every three months. Their turnover increased by +50% after Year 1, and by +200% two years after they started doing this.

Optimising and improving your visibility – without paying for advertising – is a smart move if you want to turn your practice into a medical marketing success story.

Unveiling the SEO myths around medical marketing

boost patient numbers

Search engine optimisation and marketing are often misrepresented. Overseas outsourcing of digital marketing work has contributed to those myths and if you want to increase your patient numbers, the challenge is to avoid the pitfalls.

It takes only a small effort to get it right: For our top customers, it all started with gaining a better understanding of effective medical content marketing. With that knowledge, you can start growing and transforming your private practice.

The two key components to understand are:

  • The patient’s behaviour before they see a specialist: Patients search online, educate themselves, check out doctors and clinics and they digest the information they find. They also start building emotional connections to that information, and to anyone who is able to communicate in a way that resonates with them. This behaviour can be mapped in data charts so you know what your patients want to read on your private practice website.

  • The content you put on your medical website: Mechanically adding your resume is one way to do it. Dumping Wikipedia-style clarifications and definitions of Medical-School content on your pages is another one. Neither of those quick-fix approaches has ever helped a private practice thrive. What we see across our successful medical strategies is the spectacular impact of customised content for our customers. It is based on the detailed data charts for their particular specialty. Each page is produced to answer the patient’s questions, presented in a palatable format and organised so Google flags your content as worth ranking.
how to increase patient numbers

Too often, we hear dramatic stories of doctors delegating this pillar of their business development to people with the wrong skillsets. (“I’ll ask the IT guys to do some SEO”).

Medical content marketing is part of your business strategy. It’s not a commodity you quickly order on the cheap. This business strategy helps you create wealth, so your clinic becomes a valuable asset rather than just the vehicle to do your work.

We can help you connect the dots even faster so you don’t waste precious years struggling to fill your waiting room.

Attract more new patients. Convert more leads.

Convert leads into patients

Remember that there are two powers at work: the power to attract and the power to engage.

Attract more visitors – potential new patients
Great and effective medical content ranks well in Google searches for a specific treatment, condition or surgery type. It makes you super visible, without paying for Google Ads. This first step is all about investing in quality content. We put in place data and research to strategically choose content for your main income avenues, in line with the patient’s Google search terms.

Engaging with the patient – bedside manners in the digital realm?
When a patient finds one of your pages, do they get to know you? Is there some personality? Is your content authentic or does it feel like a template? Our experience in online media helps you find the right tone-of-voice, colour scheme, and editorial framework to surround you with.

When we work together, we work on the information and we make sure the values of your practice are engrained in your online profile. The way the information is combined with images and graphics changes the experience for the patient. Let’s not forget that anyone who has a health challenge is vulnerable and looking for that human touch.

We help you communicate in a way that is about the patient. Not just about you and your practice. Our data shows that this keeps patients on your website for longer and it helps you increase your conversions, in other words, your patient numbers.

Publish-Measure-Publish: The proven success loop

Boost patient numbers

A little known secret in medical marketing is this one: Publishing content, and measuring before you publish your next piece of content, is an extremely powerful, future-proof and proven method to grow your private practice.

Let’s take a closer look at this cycle of success:

  • Publish: Publish good content on your website in a consistent, regular way. Cover your main income avenues first and gradually add more articles, pages or blogs, videos and links, as you build your practice. Check out our excellent article on what Google considers good content, it’s a blueprint for your content marketing strategy as a doctor.

  • Measure: Your interaction with GPs and patients is an ongoing activity, as there are always potential new patients looking for information about your speciality. So it makes sense to continuously monitor what pops up in Google searches, which topics generate clicks and page views, for orthopaedics, obstetrics, bariatrics or the niche you work in. We help our customers with regular strategic sessions to learn from this data so we can put in place more effective content to grow their practice.

  • Publish: With our Optimiser program, we keep the cycle going: We monitor how your original content is generating patient leads, and then we build on your strengths with new pages, additional blogs and posts. The more depth we add to your profile, the more Google remembers you as a leader. The more Page 1 results for a variety of topics linked to your speciality, the more we boost your patient numbers.

The success loop is about nurturing a new mindset. I call it the mindset of continuous growth. Boosting your patient numbers is not about greed. It could be about working more to then work less. Once you are ready to turn your private practice into a brand, you can hire other doctors and take more time off with your family. Over time, your practice becomes an asset and who knows, one day you might be able to sell it. All of that is included in our strategic process when we embark on the exciting journey of growth.

How to snap out of procrastination mode now?

Medical marketing free strategy session

I can hear a deep sigh when you go over these strategic observations. If you have been stuck in marketing procrastination mode for a while, let’s break the cycle. Book that free strategy session and we will start building your visibility. A solid 12-month plan will radically change your perspective for the months and years to come.

Many of the specialist doctors I work with zap out of procrastination mode as soon as I share a Case Study in a complementary Zoom strategy session.

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Start growing today!

boost patient numbers

Want to break out of your marketing procrastination state? Book your free 1:1 consult now and let’s talk about your practice growth.

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