Applying a solid multiple channel internet strategy to your Practice
I have watched with interest some debates of late pertaining to suitability of the Internet as a marketing channel for our industry. Particularly debates centred around social media and it’s power or indeed lack of power for marketing. Social media, in all it’s differing guises and platforms, will not necessarily connect you directly to your Patients. Although some platforms such as Facebook may give you a higher opportunity than others to do that.
So with that in mind, why would you get involved, why should you spend any of your rather pricy time on it as a strategy? Because touching Patients or prospective Patients through social media is not the goal. If you do manage to do that and it is rare, well done. Social media as a strategy is deployed to support and bolster your main Internet marketing channel, your website. Your involvement with Social media is actually to bolster your organic search returns on the keyword phrases that you wish to target. Therefore giving you higher page view rates on your existing website.
The strategy for this is consistent and combined backlinks to your website through social media sites. However in order to undertake that campaign the backlinks have to be to content of worth. That is content that is actually worth reading, that is of value to somebody who is your prospective Patient. It is this content that will contain the keyword phrases that they will be searching for. I recently undertook an experiment with my own blog that proves the point to a certain extent.
I decided that I would like to test how high I could come on the organic search rankings for the search phrase “Commercial Strategy in healthcare”. I posted some blog posts and undertook a cross channel campaign to promote those posts. I was at the top of the search rankings for a while but I have slipped to second. Interestingly enough though I am also third and fourth. Following a combined strategy like this allows you to be ahead of the game when it comes to Internet search rankings.
Do not fool yourself in anyway, being up there on the organic search returns is imperative to your continuing business well being. However that is only half the battle, when your prospective Patient or their motivator/researcher clicks on your link, you want them to be impressed by what they view. So what elements do you need to deploy to really leverage this commercial strategy in your Healthcare Practice,
- A well designed clean and informative website
- An attached blog or news page with regularly updated content
- Content that addresses the keyword phrases that you wish to capture
- A multiple channel social media strategy to promote the content
Each of the facets of this strategy are intricate and rely on each other for best results. They need to be well thought out and well executed in order that they deliver maximum returns to your business. One of my customers is following this strategy in Ireland at present and is getting excellent results. Their website is quite impressive, it is clean, easy to navigate and attractive. They are leveraging a lot of different elements to drive search returns and more importantly engagement and conversion.
Because that is what we are striving for, conversion of leads to sales. They also use an online shop for consumables to drive their loyalty scheme and data collection. It also funds the website and their other Internet marketing channels to a certain extent. In this way you can drive not only engagement but also your sales funnel and indeed your sales. Of course just gathering the data is not enough, the key is then how you use that data, that though is for a different post.
We have had a Facebook pages for a few years now (website since 1997; http://www.SalemAudiologyClinic.com), and it has helped quite a bit. The continuous posting of content has significantly increased our online presence. If you do a search for “Salem Oregon Hearing Aids”, we’re always on top of the organic listing and usually towards the top of the right-hand pane as well. We normally are the first listed for the Google Places search as well.
While we do post quite a bit of original content, we have also contracted with a local company, http://whirlocal.com/, that has created a system that automatically posts content to our FB page as well as generate content for other social media programs like twitter. I’d highly recommend them if you think you would have too much trouble keeping your content fresh.
Where I DO have trouble is with my own blog. I find it easier to check others and post comments than to do it myself. One of these days I’ll have the discipline to get on the ball with it.