[Part of a continuing series.] The Internet has dramatically reinvented how prospective patients find their way to the front door of your medical practice. “Traditional” healthcare marketing options—newspaper or magazine ads, radio/broadcast, PR, outdoor advertising—all continue to have an important place and useful purpose in your marketing plan.
But in many situations, the mix of tools has, rather logically, shifted to emphasize online and content marketing for two basic reasons:
The Internet and healthcare delivery share a sense of immediacy. When an individual is concerned about a medical or health issue, the Internet is an instantly accessible resource, that’s as close as the ever-present mobile device. Answers or information are in their pocket right now.
Most consumers look online for healthcare information. Conservative estimates put the number at 80 percent (or more) of the time people look online first. Fish where the fish are swimming.
Simply put, prospective patients are using the Internet and it only makes sense to meet them there. And that’s where and why content marketing works to attract and deliver inbound, new patient calls.
By definition, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. [Content Marketing Institute]
Content marketing provides medical group practices, hospitals and others with the “marketing perfect” opportunity to deliver useful, timely and vital information to a prequalified consumer; instantly and immediately.
Timely, visible and shareable information…
To be effective, your content—the valuable and relevant information—needs to be online and “discoverable” in advance of the consumer’s online search. This means your content marketing strategy will overlay your online presence, including your:
- Robust and information-rich website
- Regular blog posts, PR and articles
- Multi-faceted social media visibility
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising
- Directory and local search systems
- Video and visual content
For content marketing to be effective the over-arching rules dictate that information and resources be:
- Authoritative, accurate and high quality
- Updated and refreshed regularly and consistently
- Attention-getting and useful
Finally, content marketing drives inbound prospective new patients when it is interesting, compelling and engaging. The objective is to begin and foster a trusting relationship between patient and provider. Benefit-laden information (not sales) attracts interested and qualified visitors who ultimately become customers.
Watch for upcoming articles about using inbound marketing and related topics in this series. And click through here for these articles in our free marketing library:
- Secrets of Engaging, Contagious and Sharable Content
- 7 Counterintuitive Tips: Creating Content that Actually Means Something
- Why Content Marketing is a Natural Fit for Healthcare