Inbound Approaches are an Ideal Match for Marketing Effectively and Ethically
Putting the word “marketing” so close to “healthcare” tends to raise eyebrows. After all, healthcare professionals have a clear ethical responsibility to inform and educate their patients. At the same time, though, a private practice is still a business, and marketing is part and parcel of any business. Complicating matters are the myriad regulatory bodies and groups that provide (necessary) oversight for members and professionals in their fields. Basically, marketing in the healthcare sector can mean walking a fine line—which is why inbound marketing is such an amazing fit. Inbound marketing is all about being helpful, empathetic, and informative, which aligns perfectly with the values of the healthcare sector. Not sure where to start with putting inbound strategies into play for businesses in the healthcare sector? Here are 7 ways to get the ball rolling:
1 – Create Engaging, Empathetic Content
Content (whether written or visual) is a major component of every inbound strategy. If you’re already using some content marketing strategies as part of your practice’s overall approach to marketing, great! You’re one step ahead of the game. But the problem with most content marketing efforts is that they focus on promoting a business’ services in an almost-but-not-quite-direct fashion. For example, a dental clinic may have a series of well-written blog posts on a particular treatment, such as clear dental aligners for straighter teeth. This is all well and good but focusing exclusively on the brand of aligners that clinic specializes in narrows the usefulness and effectiveness of that content asset. It’s absolutely fine to discuss your services but remember, prospective patients want to know you understand their situation, their fears, their concerns. A content asset that just focuses on how amazing the treatment you offer it doesn’t necessarily offer much to a would-be patient. Reframing content as a reliable source of information that answers the questions of users while addressing their concerns goes a long way towards getting them to pay attention to your practice and what you have to offer. Which leads us to…
2 – Nail Your Messaging
How long does it take for you to make your point? Every second matters! According to Facebook, people spend (on average) 1.7 seconds with a piece of content on mobile. That number’s higher on desktop, but not by much: 2.5 seconds. Let’s get the point here: people might only take a passing glance at your content’s messaging, which is why it’s so important to stand out. You want to create something that’s going to delight and engage with them, after all—one of the central ideas behind inbound marketing! You’ve probably spent a fair amount of time developing your messaging already, but it can’t be stressed enough: make sure you’ve absolutely nailed it! Who are you? What do you do? Why should patients choose you over someone else? Keep these questions in mind and cut out the ambiguity. You’re awesome: just make sure everyone else knows it! In turn, that helps with…
3 – Reputation Management
Digital marketing’s focus on reputation management can often be frustratingly technical. You claim local business listings, build profiles, and respond to user reviews. That technicality is compounded by the fact that testimonials are a hot-button issue in the healthcare industry. Dentists and doctors have extensive guidelines regarding advertising, public communications, and marketing that they must abide by. This means that reputation management can be a tricky fit. Dentists, for example, can’t use testimonials to market their services on their website or through paid advertising, even if they’ve got over 600 5-star Google reviews. That doesn’t mean that reputation management can’t work, though, but rather that it needs to focus on establishing reputation through more traditional methods, such as highlighting publications that feature your practice or projects and research you’ve been involved in.
4 – Start a Conversation
This is such an obvious “why didn’t we think of that” item that it’s almost painful to include it on this list, and it seems so obvious in hindsight. Quite simply, one of the best ways to start a conversation with visitors to your site isn’t with a call-to-action to get them to pick up the phone or write an email (though those are great methods)… …it’s to provide a chat option on your website. Calls and appointments can be daunting for patients exploring their options, especially if they’ve just got a quick question. Giving them a means of asking a question on their own terms gives even the most lukewarm of leads a way to get some information without worrying about feeling self-conscious.
5 – Rethinking Contact Forms
With the above note in mind, how much thought are you putting into your contact forms? A generic “contact us” form doesn’t really provide a ton of value for your practice, not to mention your patients. Consider taking some time to rethink and re-develop your contact forms to better assess a patient’s needs. For example, forms that auto-populate based on an initial selection at a dental clinic can help hygienists and dentists get patients the treatments they want that much faster. Imagine this: a patient with a toothache but otherwise healthy teeth lands on a dental clinic’s site. They like what they see and immediately turn to the contact form, indicating they have a toothache. Another field could ask them when they last visited the dentist, or how frequently they get their teeth cleaned. All this can help steer your patients to the treatments they need that much faster.
6 – Observe, Assess, and Retarget
You’ve put your inbound marketing strategy into play, you’ve assessed the data… now what? Let’s back up a bit first: did you put Facebook and Google Ad pixels on your site? These can help track users who’ve visited your site, giving you valuable retargeting data you can put into action. Retargeting users who’ve already engaged with your site or brand opens the door to new opportunities. You can create ad campaigns that are a bit more direct than usual, as your audience is already primed for a follow-up. Keep in mind, these tips aren’t the be-all, end-all of inbound marketing for the healthcare industry. If you’re looking for a new, creative, and effective method for promoting your practice or clinic, these tips are a great way to get started. Of course, if you’re ever in doubt, you can always reach out to the team at SEO TWIST—we’re happy to help you get the results you’re after!