This is the very start of the year 2018 and there are already so many predictions, new trends and analysis in the Digital Marketing Field. When you google “new trends” besides fashion you will most commonly read titles that involve technology, design and marketing.
So, if you have a private practice that has been doing well on personal recommendations, and the only way for patients contacting you is by phone and email, you are already running a decade late. I`m going to believe that you already hopped on the social media train, so the beginning of every new year should be the time to analyze the results, and to ask yourself when was the last time you made some serious updates? When checking new trends, you can see if you are on the right track and only need few improvements, or you need a complete makeover.
Whether you are a family doctor with private practice, dentist, chiropractor, or maybe a nutritionist, your patients are like any other clients (user of goods or services) and there are three things they are mostly interested in are:
- To hear what is new with your practice,
- To know if you have any promotions and
- They want to be entertained, while reading your content.
Smart Digital Marketing strategies will enable you to answer all three of these, in countless different ways and make your content reach further than you imagined. All your patients are unique, they suffer from different health issues, they differ by age, gender, social status, etc. By furthering your marketing strategy potential, you can catch their attention on the platform they like, in the time they visit them and you can give them content they are interested in. How do you do this? Research, get friendly, get personal, be their doctor, chiropractor, dentist,…. share their common interests outside your practice. Also, analyze all the tools social media platforms have to offer you and your business.
I`m going to talk about three most cost-effective ways for you to reach out and win more patients:
Start with Social Media Updates
Even though social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn are present for some time now, their popularity will not decline for a few more decades. They will only offer new avenues for their user to share content in order to draw in more attention and beat the competition.
Health is a huge source of inspiration but you need to take time and research it, find information that concerns your practice then see what your patients suffer from and what are their main concerns. For example, if you are a chiropractor you won’t be posting about dental hygiene, but you might want to give them a few reasons on why you are better for them than a family doctor.
Your current and potential patients are overwhelmed with healthy tips in social media feeds on a daily basis, so thinking out of the box is the way to go this year. Research and organize. Be authentic. Use all those new tools and apps that are popping up daily. If your patients are using them, why wouldn’t you? Think of all the qualities that makes your practice different from the competition and work on putting that out there. Be consistent, but original. This year is more about quality than quantity. Don`t post stuff just to be posting. You can still give them health tips, but the secret is in the new ways of delivering it.
Update your posts and the way you are posting. Ephemeral Content found it’s way in 2017 but will really bloom and make a difference in 2018. So, what are you waiting for? Make some Instagram and Facebook Stories. They will last only for 24h so if your patients want to be up to date on what you are currently up to, they would not want to miss out. It will take only a few minutes of your time and you can get more personal with them. Other things to consider is to start making more videos. Whether it`s live video from your workplace, or informative ones that you will post after you do some editing, just keep doing them. Videos are time consuming for you and for your patients. They most likely won’t read bunch of specialized text on their smartphone to get the information they need, but they will spare few minutes to see and hear the information from their health professional. Think about these when creating social media marketing strategies this year.
New Blogging trends
In the 2018. you want to keep blogging. If you haven’t done that yet, start doing it a.s.a.p. If you work in health care, Blog is the best way to answer everyday health questions because it gives you space to go into details and at the same time, by using more characters on your website, you are boosting your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and your Google rankings are improving. By now everyone knows that the secret is to use as many keywords as possible and share blogs everywhere. Since there is so many content online, many of them speak of the same topic and you`ll have to work even harder for Google to recognize yours.
Luckily there are always some useful techniques, tips and tricks that can keep you going in 2018.
- Quality with the Quantity
You would expect quality over quantity, but that is not literally the case here. SEO will always benefit from longer texts and this year, blogs with 1000 characters and longer are the way to go. The twist here is that the characters and few health-related images here and there are not good enough no more. The quality part is, again referring to the more interactive ways of delivering information. For example, make specialized videos that cover the nutrition topic you write about, or download your Facebook live moment you shared with a patient when determine his/her nutrition plan and make these parts of your next blog. Add infographics, take some more time to research statistics. Add surveys, polls and voting tools. Blogs should be more than just letters on the screen. It`s about the engagement of the ones that are reading them – your patients.
- Use Blog to answer Health FAQ
Whenever we get sick, first thing we do, we ask Google to tell us what could it be. In the year behind us, Google introduced us to Micro Moments. We all grab our smartphone when we want to pick a place to eat, have a drink, go sightseeing in a new town we are visiting, or simply if we are discussing something and want to know more on a new trend, new happenings or an event we missed. Now think about all the possible questions patients might have about your practice. Does your website answer all of them?
Think of all your patients and what is different about each of them. They don’t share same micro moments and still you need to be there to answer them all. When thinking of your next set of blog topics always ask yourself what would your patient ask. If you always choose different type of patient as a referral, your blog will always be informative for someone.
3. Create strategy and promote
Now that you know what you need to focus on, you have to make a plan, a strategy for your Blog scheduling. How much time you have to do it? Are you willing to hire someone to do it for you? Do you want to post one blog a month, or one Blog a week, or every other week? You need to be consistent. Your patients would like to see your blogs regularly. Don’t post three blogs in one month and then next month, none. If you feel inspired and want to write on several different topics, that’s great, but don’t post all of them in short time, schedule them in the way they can fill your calendar evenly. You don’t know how much time you`ll have next month.
Think of the topics in advance and put them on the paper and go through them every once on a while, they might need some updating if something new happens. Use Social Media and Emails to promote them, choose every opportunity to add a link to your latest blog, or simply inform your patients that you write blogs on your next appointment. Maybe some of them don’t know it yet.]
Use Email Marketing`s potential
With all these social media stuff going on, why would you spend your time on email marketing? Well, you should, because you need promotion wherever you can get it. You probably have an email list of all of your patients, but the real question here is, are you using it enough and how are you using it? Email is still thought as the “professional way” to communicate with clients and certainly more personal than social media. Only thing that is changing from year to year is the tone and the design of the emails you send out.
Buy now, people are used to all kinds of content, and they won’t be surprised if they see a part of it on their email. Don`t just use it for doctor-patient communication. Try implementing everything I mentioned on social media, here. Yes. Why not sent a funny video in your email? Health related content doesn’t have to always be serious. Be different, make your patients laugh. Maybe your older patients don`t have social media profiles, so why not share some part of that content here. Start a survey, or add voting button for a poll you want to do. Make interactive personalized birthday card with a discount or a present for your patient on that day. They sure will be surprised and will appreciate this small sign of attention.
If your last patient had a really bad spine injury, sent personalized email with some additional every day tips he can benefit from and you didn’t have the chance to share all of them in person. This is something you don’t want to do on social media. Your patient will certainly appreciate the efforts and time you took and will most certainly talk about this with their friends. If you have a Newsletter you might want to redesign it. Don`t put too much on it, keep it plain. Choose only one video for each Newsletter you send out. Topics you mention in it should be related, don’t write about latest improvements in dental prosthetic and then share a video that talks about babies first teeth. Simple style is more appreciated, so just give your patients guidelines and triggers that will hook them and take them to your website or social media page, or even better, directly to your front door.
So, to sum up:
- Update your social media content, interactive is the way to go, be authentic and think outside of the box;
- Write more Blogs with quality content and answer as many questions you can;
- Don’t forget email marketing, update your clients, but make it informative, fun and personal.