The most common mistakes in online healthcare marketing

Tracking the performance of online healthcare marketing is important: to measure the financial return, and to confirm the assumptions made about the content and ease of use of the web site.  With the high degree of specialization in the marketing data generated, and the rapid evolution of best practices, practices should engage with a partner to get great results.

Mistake #1 – Not tracking the effectiveness of marketing campaigns

Marketing is not inexpensive, and it is critical to measure the success of your website and campaigns.

Practices should be tracking:

  • The number of patients who visit your website and what they look at
  • The number who request an appointment
  • The number who actually come to their visit
  • The revenue from these patients

A marketing system that is tied to your practice management and patient relationship systems can give you these metrics so that you can target your medical marketing most effectively.

patients searching for doctors has almost doubled in a year
Patients searching ‘doctor near me’ on Google, has almost doubled to 120,000 searches per month, in less than a year.

Mistake #2 – Losing the patient at “Hello”

Appearing at the top of the search results is only the first step. Here are other essential keys to acquiring another happy patient:

Ensuring your practice and all its doctors have numerous 5-star reviews on multiple review sites – patients really look at these.

These are easy to achieve with a comprehensive post-visit satisfaction campaign.

Your site should have helpful, welcoming information so that patients know you are accessible and available.

Information about insurance, hours, directions and of course services

Most importantly – making it easy to request or schedule an appointment.

Patients need to be able to schedule appointments 24 x 7. This is accommodated using online forms (as an alternative to portals, since portals only help chronic existing patients) and an after-hours live-voice service tied into your scheduling system. See the graph below which shows how patients are looking to schedule after hours.

patients search 24 x 7 for doctors
From Google, patients search 24 x 7, even when a practice is closed.

Mistake #3 – Relying on a search aggregator for new patients

For many practices, this seemed like a great option: in return for a monthly fee and leaving some slots open on the schedule, they will steer some patients to the practice. And it worked! But here’s why this should not be your ongoing strategy:

  • You only receive a tiny fraction of the patients who are searching for the practice
  • Your brand and reputation are diluted, and lost if service is cancelled

The practice gets regular appointments through the service. But so too are all the other doctors paying for this service. To appreciate the patients you are missing out on, here are some stats for the average monthly searches in the US, in Google only:

  • 165,000 Dermatologist near me
  • 40,500 Family doctor near me
  • 74,000 Pediatrician near me
  • 33,100 Knee replacement
  • 14,800 Cardiologist near me
  • 823,000 Urgent care near me

While this is national, there are hundreds in most cities.

The solution is to promote your own practice, using proven search-engine optimization techniques (SEO & SEM). There are no shortcuts to this – it takes a full-fledged website and digital marketing campaign to achieve, but it is within the reach of most practices with a modest marketing budget, and combine that with patient-friendly online scheduling options.

Learn more about how patient experience streamlines patient communications and scheduling, while tracking online healthcare marketing efforts, doctor reputation and cost justification.