One of the biggest challenges in connecting with your patients is communication.
And that’s what marketing for medical practices is all about.
Healthcare issues are often complex. There are plenty of details and lots of nuances. But your patients come from all backgrounds and walks of life. They may know little to nothing about certain topics that affect their health. So, the best medical practice marketing often starts at the very beginning.
In other words, it answers the burning questions that all other businesses have to answer:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- Who do you do it for?
- Why should customers trust you?
Looking at it this way, medical practice marketing might seem a little bit humbling. But to get patients presenting themselves for care, they need to know you’re on their side. No question is off the table. And if you look at everything with fresh eyes, you’ll find more effective ways to market your services.
In other words, you need to think like your patients.
A Central Florida digital marketing agency with expertise in medical practice marketing can help.
But marketing for medical practices works best as a partnership. You’re the expert, and your marketing team translates what you have to say into communication that fits. In this post, we’ll look at some of the ways digital marketing experts translate challenging material in ways patients can relate to.
Want To Be More Appealing To Patients? Start By Looking At Your Website
Everybody who comes to your website starts with a goal in mind.
Some of the more common goals for a medical practice website include:
- Setting an appointment
- Learning about symptoms they’re experiencing
- Learning about medications they’re taking
- Finding out more about the doctor or facility
One of the easiest ways to learn how well your website design is succeeding is by trying to take care of the most basic tasks the same way your patients would. This helps you zoom in on gaps that produce friction and lead to frustrated patients. Many of those will abandon you before they even get started.
You might ask yourself:
- Is the basic information a patient might want to know easily accessible on your website?
- How many layers of pages do you have to click through to find a certain piece of information?
- Does your website work on mobile devices, such as a smartphone, as well as it does on desktop?
- Are there pop-up windows, auto-playing videos, or anything else that could act as a distraction?
When digital marketers evaluate your website, they look at it in terms of getting things done in the fastest time and with the minimum number of clicks. If you operate a small clinic as the only physician, it should take only one click to reach the page that discusses your credentials in detail.
Weigh Your Average Patient’s Expectations In Relation To Your Website
How well your website performs also depends on the specific clientele you serve.
Let’s consider some of the ways a patient’s background affects how they explore your content:
1. Economic Situation Can Make A Major Difference For Your Most At-Risk Patients
A rural clinic or one that focuses on Medicaid patients needs to design its website with their needs in mind. Low-income patients are more likely to have irregular access to high-speed internet or use their smartphone as their main source of high-speed connectivity, which is limited on a monthly basis.
Patients with financial limitations are also more likely than others to forgo preventive care or wait and see if a health complaint “goes away” on its own. With that in mind, it’s critical to organize your website so the most sought-after information is simple to find and presented in a straightforward way.
A Central Florida digital marketing agency can help you do it using modern website design.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of best practices and repeatable processes for raising your visibility in online searches. One of its principles is keyword research, where the marketer uncovers the specific search phrases and more general topics that patients like yours are searching for.
Using this research to guide what information you publish and how you organize it will make it more efficient. This is called content marketing – the development of helpful, informative blogs, videos, and other items that can help your patients to make sound decisions.
In other industries, content marketing emphasizes helping someone move from prospect to lead to customer. Would-be customers consult online content while doing their own research. While medical practice content can also support purchase decisions, its informative role is even more vital.
2. Visual Content Can Make Complex Topics More Accessible To Patients Of All Backgrounds
It was not that long ago when blog posts and other written text made up most online content.
These days, video is fast becoming the lion’s share of online traffic.
There are two main ways for medical practice marketing to simplify complex topics:
- Streamline the text itself using the principles of Plain English or a similar methodology
- Translate the text content into illustrations, video, or audio to enhance understanding
Google loves long, detailed texts, but most of your patients would like to get the information they need in 400 words or less. With that in mind, there’s a balance to be struck between content that’s aimed at prospective future patients and what is most useful to those already under your care.
The simpler a piece of text is, the better. Readability apps can help you recognize chances to switch out long words for short ones. This is essential in medical practice marketing because plain English text can help patients avoid mistakes with their medication management.
Once a text has been tailored to your audience, the next step is to turn it visual.
Video storytelling is an incredibly versatile way to communicate with patients.
Compared to text, video is:
- More likely to be understood
- More likely to be remembered
- More likely to be acted upon
Video can be used to enhance any piece of written content, whether it’s 20 words or 2,000. And when it comes to building trust and rapport, it’s the next best thing to being face-to-face. Video content helps you make a human connection even if you haven’t seen a patient in months.
Doctor-led video content is one of your most useful tools in dispelling myths around medical care.
And patients love to have video as an adjunct or an alternative to other forms of content. Just having a video present on-page can provide a more positive patient experience even if it’s not actually clicked on. Illustrations can also be helpful, especially when describing a process such as testing blood sugar.
3. Mobility, Vision, And Other Limitations May Impact Website Utilization
Search engine optimization and accessibility work together to make your website more user-friendly.
For example, digital marketers always create alt text – text that appears when you hover your cursor over an image – so Google and other search engines will know what the image depicts. But the very same procedure can help people with reduced eyesight interpret an image using a screen reader.
When making sure a medical practice website meets all the latest standards, marketers should also think about what accommodations may make it easier for the people who rely on it. Your own knowledge of the patients and conditions you treat frequently is indispensable in shaping this effort.
In many cases, this only adds a few days to the process of designing a website. But when you consider the quality of life boost it can offer for your patients, it is well worth the extra work. And little details like those help your financial stability by making your patients less likely to switch providers.
Here are some other best practices you can discuss with your marketing team:
- Video content should always include human-generated subtitles and a transcription
- Text should be relatively large and high contrast – include a “Night Mode” if possible
- Charts and graphs should be easy to understand and include a simple explanation
- “Low bandwidth” mode that pauses video and image loading should be available
These touches also help search engines recognize your authority in healthcare matters in your expertise.
4. Linguistic Background Can Make Some Text Content Harder to Interpret
Last, but not least, be aware of the linguistic diversity of your patients.
While many doctors provide documents in Spanish and other common languages, it is easy to overlook the importance of doing the same thing for your website. Basic machine translation capabilities can be built directly into a modern medical practice website so the user can switch between languages at will.
Remember that even the best machine translation can lose some nuances of meaning compared to a professional human translation. If you care for many people with limited English proficiency, consider ways to make personalized assistance available to them in their native language.
The Two Most Powerful Ways To Improve Your Website And Marketing
When you commit to looking at your website with a patient’s eyes, you can learn a great deal!
Empathy is one of the most meaningful skills any physician can bring to a relationship. With “perspective-taking” exercises like these, you not only gain a better understanding of how to market your services but also witness what patients have to navigate to resolve their healthcare concerns.
In some cases, this can be an eye-opening experience!
Still, you can get even more insight by finding ways to center the patient’s voice.
There are two big ways a Central Florida digital marketing agency can help you do that:
1. Establish A Data Analytics App To Examine How Patients Use Your Website
With data analytics, you learn how people find your website and what they do once they get there.
Used well, an analytics program provides an immense amount of useful information. It can grant you amazing visibility into each and every visit to your website. That includes how someone reached your website, what pages they looked at in what order, and how long each interaction took.
It’s a lot to untangle, but it brings the “science” into today’s scientific digital marketing.
With a few weeks of analytics data, your Central Florida digital marketing team can tell you:
- What channels, including social media or external websites, are bringing visitors to you
- Which content on your website or social media accounts is most popular with visitors
- What types of information visitors are looking for or what tasks they want to achieve
- Where they are getting confused or distracted along the way and why they’re giving up
Here in DeLand, we’re less than an hour from the Happiest Place on Earth, Disney World. It provides a terrific metaphor for how analytics data equips you to serve customers better.
When you go to Disney World, you’ll spend plenty of time in line for a ride. You know what your goal is – to get to that ride. And even though you end up standing around a lot, you’re rarely going in a straight line. Each one is designed to lead you back and forth so it always seems like you’re making progress.
Most websites are like that line: There’s one clear goal, but it’s further away than it looks.
With analytics data, your marketing team can close gaps in your content, stamp out technical glitches that can cause unexpected results, and much more. Each of these problems is small on its own, but together, they lead all too many people astray before they get to the end of the line.
In some cases, that data can even “shorten the line” by making common goals easier to reach.
Over the course of months and years, that can make a tremendous difference to your patients.
2. Find Ways To Integrate Patient Satisfaction Surveys Into Your Planning
Naturally, you always have the option of asking people what they want.
It’s easy to underestimate the value of asking. Patients often have trouble asking their doctors what they really want to know about. By opening a dialogue with your patients, you create an opportunity to foster a deeper relationship while improving the care experience for others at the same time.
Yes, it’s true that not everyone will take the time to fill out a survey. But just about everyone enjoys knowing their voice is heard. With that in mind, there are two core aspects to making these surveys work for you:
- You should issue a survey soon after a patient has actually interacted with your office
- Surveys should be designed so they are short, easy to complete, and capture relevant data
For instance, if you want to find out what people think about your front office and sign-in process, it’s best to ask them within 24 hours of a face-to-face appointment. If you need to know what they think of your website, you might email them within eight hours after they make an appointment online.
Some interactions, like reading an email marketing message or a blog post, can come with the option to start a survey at any time. In cases like these, it’ll be up to your digital marketing team to make sure they can separate out data from your patients versus information submitted by non-patients.
Use A Central Florida Marketing Company Dedicated To Knowing Your Patients As Well As You Do
Not everyone can be a doctor – and not everyone should be involved in medical practice marketing.
When designing a website or campaign for medical practice marketing, it’s crucial to be able to think like a patient. That means understanding their needs, desires, and the unique stresses they could be going through. It means using influence, yes, but also showing compassion.
You don’t want to scare or hard sell your patients. Neither do we.
From small clinics to large hospitals, alternative care to oncology, New York Ave is the Central Florida marketing agency medical practices trust to give their digital brand a caring voice. We work with clients to develop their brand, launch conscientious, fact-driven social media, and more.
Marketing connects you to the people who need you most. We help you get there.
Contact us to get started.