Why do you need Internet marketing for patient acquisition and retention?
80% of Internet users in the US search for health-related topics.
Today, healthcare practitioners must be visible on the Internet to engage their target market or, the practice next door will attract your patients. What age groups are searching online for doctors? The fact is, every age group now uses the Internet to look up their healthcare providers:
- 18 – 29: 97%
- 30 – 49: 96%
- 50 – 64: 80%
- 65+: 36%
According to a report from NBC News, the number of individuals turning to the Internet for health care information is on the rise, and will continue.
IN ALL, 80 percent of Internet users, or about 93 million Americans, have searched for a health-related topic online, according to a study released Wednesday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. That’s up from 62 percent of Internet users who said they went online to research health topics in 2001, the Washington research firm found.
It means that you, as a provider have a much higher chance of being found by potential patients when you continue to publish valuable health information through multiple online channels.
Why put time into social media?
Social media has become a big part of our lives. Talk to just about anyone – from the youngest generations to seniors that use some form of it. It’s a way to educate your patients, stay in touch with them, improve your customer service, improve patient loyalty, and publicize your research. 34% of consumers search for health data on social media.
The American Medical Association supports the use of social media for physicians. In this excerpt from a report by AMA member, Tyeese L. Gaines, DO, the benefits are made clear:
“The beauty of social media is that you can reach people who wouldn’t automatically read or digest that information. By using some of the social media tools or hashtags, you can bring your information to a much wider audience than would normally read what you publish” for a physician or medical audience.
As your professional interests change with time, so can the focus of your social media postings. “As long as you are deliberate about it, you can definitely drive something home for a while, and then explore a different passion.”
Teach patients and the general public. Rapid, but thoughtful, reactions to trending medical news stories can be an effective way of doing this.
“We can’t just hide in our offices and wait for patients to come to us to clear up this kind of misinformation,” Dr. Gaines said. “Based on what they’re reading, they may never even get there. This is an extension of our role as physicians to not just treat the patients in our office but the obligation to advance overall knowledge and understanding of health and health literacy.”
Attract patients. While few patients are likely to trace their decision to seek out your practice to a particular social media posting, the overall impression formed by an active social media plan that highlights the physician’s or practice’s role can tip the scales.
“We all know that being a social media expert doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the best doctor, but there’s something to be said for building your presence. You’re showing that you’re involved with the community, and allowing patients to feel like they will be seeing someone who is a trusted voice in health care.”
Publicize research. “There’s a ton of great research that never makes it to the lay public, and social media is absolutely a way” to spread it far and wide. Engaging with and promoting high-quality research on social media also can help educate medical students and aspiring physicians, as well as help reporters and editors who are looking for story ideas to pursue.
“I know some physicians think they can get through their whole career and not deal with social media,” Dr. Gaines said. “And I don’t think it’s mandatory to be on social media to take care of patients. But it’s such an opportunity to broaden your reach as a physician. We have so much knowledge after going through our training. Why limit it to the 40 patients you see a day when you could be reaching thousands of patients a day on social media?”
4 Top Internet Marketing Methods for Healthcare Practitioners
1. Mobile optimized and responsive websites – updated on a consistent basis.
2. Search engine optimization locally and regionally – requires daily attention for patients to see you.
3. Social media profiles with valuable, educational content – requires repetitive and consistent posting.
4. Email marketing for patient retention – valuable, unique content establishes loyalty and return visits.
Concerned about finding more patients? Let us show you how increase your online presence so they find you.
Contact us at 888.448.2932 or simply use the form below to schedule a 15 minute consultation call with one of our healthcare marketing experts. (Please note that times listed are for Arizona, USA.)