Digital Marketing for Healthcare


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This blog is for small business healthcare providers.
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You are ready to scale but the task is daunting.
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Break your marketing strategy into six buckets: social media, newsletters, website, SEO, PPC, and KPIs.

Are you a provider owner struggling to understand the necessity of digital marketing for healthcare? You’ve got business cards, a personal Facebook page, and a print brochure. What more do you need? Maybe you’ve heard someone give – unsolicited, mind you – advice on what “hashtags are trending.” Maybe you think the business you’re getting by word of mouth is good enough. 

Truth is, everyone here is probably a little correct. You do need some kind of online presence to grow a business, and maybe your current contacts are good enough to sustain you for now. But, what happens when a global pandemic hits and your current referral sources can’t return your calls? Or less dramatically, what happens you’re ready to scale?

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Increase your organic brand awareness, prioritize local SEO efforts, and streamline your marketing processes to attract qualified leads.

I’ve found it helpful to think of digital marketing as your company’s online presence. 

  • Your website is the equivalent of your digital brochure
  • Your social media is your business card
  • Your pay-per-click ads are swag items given away at conferences

You’re probably already doing these things. Why not digitize and save some on print costs. With that said, how do you know what’s a priority when everything feels like a priority? The answer to that depends on a few things:

  1.     Where you are in your current plans and future goals
  2.     What your budget looks like
  3.     Knowing your options

When working with healthcare providers as clients, I like to break digital marketing strategies into 5 main buckets. I’ve outlined them below along with some advice to empower you when prioritizing.

The 5 main components of digital marketing for healthcare provider

1. Website

This one probably doesn’t take much convincing. You may already have a website, or can see it’s value. The point for your website is to think of it as a living brochure with the flexibility to quickly adapt and update content. Something you can’t do in print! Providing free resources on your website, writing blogs on topics your community is interested in, or posting updates giving back to the community are all great content pieces for your website. It shows you are a resource to the community, are willing to give back, and feels less “spammy.” It’s also really great fodder for SEO but more on that later.

2. Social Media for Business

Remember when the COVID pandemic began and suddenly every business had a post with the phrase: “We’re all in this together.” As a consumer, it’s hard to really feel much compassion from a car company when what I really need from them is to lower their prices. There was a swift backlash from the public about these phrases and taglines that felt like one company parroting another. With social media, there are 2 sins to avoid:

  1. Don’t post content irrelevant to your audience and
  2. Don’t come across as insincere

How do you know what content to post? And, how do you know which platforms to focus on? I’ll have a separate post on these two questions alone, but put simply: you’ll need to start tracking some data. Survey your current clients to see what platforms they use most. Scroll through your competitors’ feed to see what content gets the most likes. 

3. Newsletters and Digital Communications

This is another method of keeping your audience up to date and honing in on the content most relevant to them. For healthcare providers, newsletters can be a powerful tool in drip campaigns. Drip campaigns are emails that go out to your audience at set intervals over a set period of time. This is an effective way to turn cold leads back into warm ones.

In terms of priority, I would say this probably isn’t your first. Get your website and social media up and get to a point when you’re comfortable taking on more before digging into newsletters. Having said that, newsletters are a useful and effective marketing piece! More on that in a future post!

4. PPC or Pay-Per-Click

This bucket can feel intimidating when you’re first starting out. Simply put, PPC ads are when you as a business owner pays Google to run an ad. You are only charged when someone clicks on your ad. You are paying Google or Facebook for each click. You set a budget, provide the content, and identify your audiences. Then, Google figures out which users to target within that audience to get the biggest bang for your buck.

This is another bucket that probably isn’t essential when you’re first starting out and you’ll probably want some help setting it up. It can quickly get expensive too – especially when Google keeps “recommending” you increase your budget. They are a business too after all, and their goal is to get you to spend more.

In a future post, I’ll talk through how to accomplish PPC campaigns on a tight budget.

5. SEO or Search Engine Optimization

Before I say anything else: don’t hire an SEO expert. Anyone claiming they can get you on the front page of Google is most likely going to suggest you put a ton of money into a PPC ad. Or, they may charge you a fortune to offer suggestions, and will request more money to implement them. In short: the SEO experts aren’t worth your time and you can handle a lot of it on your own as you get started.

SEO, or search engine optimization, takes time to build up. It’s the process of making small incremental adjustments to your website to increase the quality and quantity of your traffic. By taking the time to optimize your website with keywords relevant to your industry, Google (or any search engine) is more likely to rank you higher. 

As mentioned above, providing blogs is a great and easy way to load your website with keywords your audience is likely searching for. I will have a separate piece on SEO best practices in the future. For now: SEO is something you should always have in the back of your mind but it isn’t a digital marketing strategy that will present huge results right away.

6. Bonus Bucket! Data-Driven Decisions

I cannot stress how important it is to keep an eye on your analytics. It’s hard to know where to start when you’re shooting in the dark. And to some extent, you may need to try a bunch of things before it becomes clear the types of content relevant for your audience. 

People want to feel a personal connection even in a digital world. They want the materials to look and feel authentic, friendly, and inviting. They want to know their healthcare provider “gets it.” So much is advertised to people on a daily basis and we don’t have time for BS. I find this is especially true with the healthcare field. 

I know as a business owner, the last thing you want to hear is: digital marketing will take time. But, you’re being lied to if someone says they can make you an overnight success. 

From my experience working with healthcare providers, it takes about 3 months to gather data, another 3 months to test out a few methods, and another month or two to really get into your stride. I know 9 months can feel like a lifetime, but taking the time to interpret your digital marketing data will set you up for long term success. Helping companies examine their data to develop strategies and procedures is where Aducate Digital excels. Take a look at a few case studies as examples. 

Your digital marketing doesn’t have to take over the world…but try to take over a township. Successful digital marketing strategies are like exercising: you have to find the methods you enjoy doing to keep up with it (…or, maybe that’s just me).

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