Which Digital Marketing Channels are Best for your Practice?
From emails to banner ads to social media marketing, digital marketing has come a long way since the first marketing email appeared in inboxes in the late 1970s. These days there are several digital marketing channels that healthcare practices can use to connect with potential patients. With all these options, the decision of which channel to use can often be quite daunting. Here’s a look at how to determine the best digital marketing channels for your practice.
Know your audience
The first thing you need to look at when selecting the best digital marketing channel for your practice is to figure out who you are trying to provide care for. This involves doing research on who your potential patients are, where they live, what kind of treatment they are looking for, and what kind of content they interact with online. There are a number of online consumer research tools that can help you identify potential patients to market your practice.
Know the different channels
The next step is to know what online marketing options are available to you. While the list of options is long, there are six main channels, each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses, that are most popular with online marketers as they have proven to be the most effective. Here’s a look:
Website and Content Marketing
Your website and the content that appears on it form the cornerstone of your online presence. It has become an extremely popular tool, and it’s easy to see why. An estimated 78% of consumers prefer learning more about a company via articles than ads, while 70% feel that organisations who publish custom content are actually interested in building a relationship. There is the added benefit that patients can familiarise themselves with the treatments and therapies you offer before they visit your practice.
Exactly as it says, email marketing involves sending emails to potential patients, including newsletters, special offers, or medical information they might find useful. It is one of the oldest, yet still effective digital marketing channels, with nearly 90% of marketers considering email marketing to be successful.
Social Media Marketing
According to statistics, there are more 3.2 billion people on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Thus social media has become a very popular tool to engage with patients, either organically (replying to comments, posting content, etc.) or targeted advertising. If done right, it can be extremely effective in spreading the word of your practice. In addition, promoting wellness, with more than 70% of users who’ve had a positive experience with a business recommending the brand or business to their friends or family.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is the practice of creating online visibility by optimising a website in such a way that it achieves the top spot in results when searching for a particular topic online, such as ‘medical practice in my area’. Research shows that almost 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engine results, showing just how important it is to appear at the top of the search list.
Similar to SEO in terms of improving visibility on search engine results, paid search involves advertising on health-related search result pages when people search for certain keywords (such as healthcare, medicine or treatment). There are different types of paid search advertising models, the most popular of which is PPC, or pay-per-click.
With the proliferation of smartphones, more and more people are using their phones to access the internet, in fact, recent research suggests that 80% of internet users own a smartphone. People rely on their phones to check their symptoms and look for healthcare options while they are on the move. This makes mobile advertising an essential addition to any digital marketing campaign.
Know your goals and objectives
With so many digital marketing channels, it can be quite daunting to decide which to incorporate into your digital marketing strategy. However, having clear healthcare goals and objectives of what you want to achieve through your digital marketing efforts, will make choosing the right channels much easier.
Know the costs
One of the key considerations when choosing suitable digital marketing channels is cost. Each channel has its relevant cost. While some digital marketing can be done for free, it can be extremely time-consuming. The time spent you could’ve been spent on caring for your patients and other aspects of your business, does not justify the cost-saving. With this in mind, you should consider outsourcing your digital marketing to an agency specialising in the digital marketing field.
Set your budget
Understanding the costs involved with running a digital marketing campaign, allows you to draw up a budget. The great thing about digital marketing is that you don’t have to have a massive budget to get results. You can start small and increase your investment as time goes by. It’s important, however, that you manage your expectations. A small budget campaign might not bring you the same results as a bigger budget campaign.
Choosing the best digital marketing channels is critical for creating an effective digital marketing campaign, and businesses often call upon expert agencies to help them make these important decisions. Whether you choose to employ experts or do it on your own, choosing the right channel can help you make more informed digital marketing decisions.