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The world is changing all around us. All you have to do is look at your waiting room to see exactly where most of our attention is going. We’re more attached to our mobile devices than ever before, and so healthcare marketing must also change in order to meet the demands of the digital revolution. But there’s more that goes into modern-day marketing than technological solutions. It takes a whole new approach to reach today’s healthcare consumer. Here’s what you need to create a winning healthcare marketing strategy, that gets your name out there, in 2016 and beyond.

Content Strategy

Although many physicians have yet to fully embrace the Internet era, they should probably consider getting on board. After all, sites like WebMD and Livestrong have huge audiences for a reason. People are more likely to search the Internet for health reasons than ever before, and it’s in your best interest to make sure people find you before they seek out competing physicians.

There are two main reasons why you should prioritize online content marketing. First and foremost, it’s a great way to help people. Online content is not a sales job; it’s not a way for you to make your practice look great. Instead, it’s an opportunity for you to educate current and potential patients about important health topics, some of which they might not even know about. Creating a knowledgeable community of patients will not only help those people to own their health, but it’ll also help you drum up new business.

The second reason why content marketing is so important is that it can help to establish you as an authority in your preferred niche. Distributing a large amount of content regarding a specific area of healthcare shows off your expertise in that area, and that can lead to bigger and better things for your practice. It can help you to rebrand your practice, or it can simply reinforce what you do best, which will draw even more exposure to your office.

Today’s technology allows you to distribute content in a virtually endless number of ways. You can create blog posts about the topics that are important to you and your patient load. You can also draw up infographics (here is one we recently completed for a client) with vital numbers and facts about important healthcare topics. You can make quick-reference cheat sheets for patients making their first visit to a doctor’s office. You can even record podcasts or video blogs (also known as vlogs) to really speak to people. Your means of telling your message are entirely up to you – whatever works best for you and your audience.

The best way to get your initial exposure in content marketing is through social media. The more your work is shared, the more popular your social media platforms will become. From there, you can encourage your followers to sign up for your email list, which gives you an even greater opportunity to reach people.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is exactly what it sounds like – a pain free way to handle the simple, menial tasks that are part of marketing your business. But it’s so much more than that. When done correctly, marketing automation reaches people on a personal level, helping you to reach far more people than you’d be able to with manual effort.

Let’s start with your email list, which you’ve been cultivating as a result of your content offers. Getting that email address is the golden ticket that really allows you to help people. When someone signs up for your email list, it’s the ultimate confirmation that this person is interested in what you have to say. You can use that to your advantage, in conjunction with marketing automation software such as Hubspot’s products.

Marketing automation’s greatest asset is its ability to nurture leads throughout the sales funnel. That is, your automation software can automatically determine where your list members are at based on their activity. The software then sends the appropriate email at the appropriate time. For example, someone who opens every one of your emails will get a more urgent and actionable message than someone who ignores most of your messages. Obviously, the more people you can get on that list, the more leads you can nurture, and the more people you’ll be able to convert into patients.

Another reason why marketing automation is an essential part of a healthcare marketing strategy is its ability to increase office efficiency. Whereas these questions once required the manual intervention of you or someone on your staff, you can now send out pre-written responses & helpful, informative content to patients with frequently asked questions. Marketing automation software can also take care of follow-up inquiries without wasting the time of your staff. In short, it goes well beyond what you used to do manually, but it handles these new tasks without taking away the soul of your practice.

Long-Tailed Keyword Research

Social media and email marketing are great tools for people who already know who you are. But what about the people who don’t know anything about your practice? Fortunately, there’s a way to reach those people, and that way is through the search engines.

Search engine optimization has long been a part of Internet marketing, but it’s been an inexact science over the years. Once upon a time, you could stuff your content with keywords (terms that people frequently search for) and rise up the search engine rankings. However, today’s search engines prioritize quality over all else. That’s a good thing – you no longer have to live in fear of Google’s ever-changing search algorithm. However, it does mean that you have to incorporate keywords into stellar content.

One of the problems with search engine marketing is that there are many businesses competing in the same industry, which means they’re fighting for a limited number of spaces on Page 1 of the search results for a given keyword. The good news is that you can get around this by utilizing long-tailed keyword strategy – in other words, a more specific keyword that naturally leads to your practice. This limits your interested leads to those people who could actually visit your office, which means you don’t have to waste your time pursuing patients who aren’t realistic targets.

You can utilize tools like SEMrush to research keywords and to identify marketplace inefficiencies that you can exploit. Remember, this is something you can and should do yourself. Don’t waste money on companies that “guarantee” that you’ll land at the top of the search rankings. As long as you focus on creating great content and incorporating your keywords where you can, the cream will rise to the top. And as more people find you organically, your social media pages and your email list will benefit, and so will your practice’s patient load.

The Internet is a truly valuable tool that can take your marketing to unforeseen heights. We’d like to help you achieve your marketing goals. For a free 30-minute consultation about how we can help you create a winning healthcare marketing strategy, visit HIP Creative at hip.agency or call us at (850) 359-3081.