By Danielle Longley
Internet medical marketing, digital healthcare marketing, web marketing, online physician marketing or e-marketing, whatever you want to call it, it’s more important now than ever. Internet marketing is the marketing of products or services over the Internet.
Online presence is vital to healthcare marketing. More and more American’s are turning to the Internet to do their research, comparisons and decision-making. According to a recent study done by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, in 2010 approximately 61 percent of American adults looked online for health information.
So how do you take advantage of the Internet to promote your medical practice? Start, by knowing your resources. The Internet offers a plethora of information through a vast variety of sites and search engines, but before you can decide what’s right for your practice, you need to know what’s available.
Start with a website. Your healthcare website should be geared to making your potential patient’s decision easier and both potential and loyal patient’s experience better. Content drives action. The content on your physician website should be built specifically for your target audience. Tell them a story about your services and your practice that they can relate to. What visitors to your site really want is content that first describes the problems they face and then provides details on how your practice solves these problems. To do this you need to your audience, well.
In just the past few years social media has exploded onto the scene as an affordable way to market healthcare products and services. It’s easy, convenient and continually updated. Hospitals, physicians and other healthcare professionals are gradually entering and participating in social media. Social media is extremely important for healthcare professionals because at the center of all the updates and chatter, are trust and relationships. It offers physicians and their practices the opportunity to interact with their audiences in a peer-to-peer environment, outside the exam room, and in a less serious setting. It’s essential for your practice to stay ahead of the curve through the use of social media tools including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, ICYou, WebMD, and more.
Blogging has become a way to establish your expertise. It is an informal, reliable, direct source of information. It’s an easy and efficient way to get your practices viewpoints and expertise into the market. Blog about your medical services and related topics, describe the problem and provide a solution. However, remember a blog is not a sales pitch. It’s valuable information to the client to broaden their knowledge and help them make their own decision. The less salesy and more personal you are, the more respected you will be by your readers, also known as, your potential clients. Even if the person reading your blog doesn’t need your services, chances are good that they know someone who does, or they wouldn’t be there.
To win at Internet marketing you need five things: 1. Know who your audience is 2. Know where are they online 3. Create audience specific content 4. Be a resource 5. Participate. The Internet is a two way street, that’s why it works. You can participate through updating your healthcare website or blog, responding to comments and taking part in conversations. If you have something valuable to say, say it. If you appreciate a great review a patient wrote, thank them. The more valuable information you put out there about your services and the solutions you offer, the more potential patients will find you, know who you are and trust you.
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