By Emily Linthicum, Social Media Manager
Are you looking to increase your patient base? Are you tired of spending money on traditional marketing strategies and seeing very little results?
If your answer to both of these questions is yes, you might want to consider an approach that is more relevant to the digital world we live in today: Inbound Marketing.
Inbound Marketing is the exact opposite of outbound marketing, which includes billboards, TV spots, direct mail, and radio advertising. All of which are becoming outdated thanks to the internet. Potential patients are skipping through commercials, listening to satellite radio, and not opening about half of their “junk mail”.
The modern approach, inbound marketing, instead focuses on what potential patients are viewing these days, the internet and social media. Rather than trying to find your potential patients, inbound marketing lets them find you through engaging and creative content like EBooks, blogs, podcast, infographics, and social media sites. The best part is inbound marketing doesn’t cost nearly as much as traditional advertising platforms!
Physicians and medical professionals can benefit greatly from inbound marketing. The following ideas can help increase your patient base and create positive referrals to your office, as well as gaining trust and respect from current patients.
Instant gratification: Consumers want answers fast, especially if it is something related to their health. Physicians can use inbound marketing to give their patients the answers they are looking for within a time efficient frame. For example, a practice can set up an FAQ page or even create a social media account with constant contact to their patients. This will make patients comfortable, which in return creates great recommendations to your practice. Patients can rely much more on answers coming from their physician’s office as opposed to answers coming from an arbitrary website online.
Inform others: Physicians can use inbound marketing to inform the world on important health news and information with a snap-of-a-finger or in this case, a click of a button. Patients would love a weekly blog coming from their physician’s office regarding health warnings, allergy information, current shots to consider and other health related content.
This will raise awareness on important health information and it’s coming from an expert that patients trust. In return, patients will share this new information in casual conversation, which may result is a potential client realizing that their practice doesn’t take the time to do such a thing and might want to switch to a physicians office, like yours, that cares more about their patients.
Also, informing patients on current health content will teach them information they maybe didn’t know about before. For example, if there is a specific shot that is recommended this year, a patient will learn about it through the blog and might schedule an appointment to come in and get the shot. This in return, increases patient appointments which overall leads to larger revenue to the practice.
Free Advertising: If nothing else, why not take advantage of the free advertising that is offered through social media sites. Not only does this reach a very large audience, but it’s something that these individuals on checking on a daily basis. In 2011, 47% of adults in the U.S. used social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace. This number continues to grow everyday.
This means social media sites are the top news source, ranking above newspapers, radio, and print publications. It sounds irrational not to reach out to almost half the population of adults through a free advertising channel. A physician’s office can set up a LinkedIn or Facebook account that highlights the physician’s education, which means a lot to most patients. Physicians can use Twitter to tweet about important health information. Patients seek physicians that care about their health, and reaching out to them through these sites results in daily interactions with patients that will help to build better relationships.
Lastly, using social media sites only increases your practice’s visibility, which raises the chances of a potential patient seeking a new physician to find your name.