The ABCs of Content Marketing for Healthcare
Do you know that one in 20 Google searches is for health-related information?
Or that 47% of Internet users search for information online about doctors or other health professionals?
As a digital marketing agency servicing medical institutions, we noticed that the following pages for clinics and hospitals have seen a significant share of online traffic:
- “About Us” pages, especially information on the medical or dental professionals
- “Patient Information” pages
- “Diseases” pages highlighting the different illnesses or conditions treated at the centres
From our experience (over 11 years) in interacting with medical and dental practitioners, we noticed too that more and more patients are doing their own online research before making the first call or paying the first visit to a clinic.
What should your medical or dental practice do to ride on these trends?
Introducing Content Marketing
To make it easier for your patients to find you online, you should consider embarking on Content Marketing. One of the fastest growing marketing strategies in both the business to business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) world, content marketing forms a strong foundation for all other digital marketing efforts.
So what does content marketing mean?
Well, according to the Content Marketing Institute…
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
Typically, the types of online content may include anything and everything which you read, listen to or view on your device. Examples include the following:
- Website or blog articles
- Social media posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram
- Images and illustrations
- Emails and e-newsletters. These are normally sent to a focused group of members who have opted-in to receive them.
- Presentations (normally on a platform like Slideshare.net)
- White Papers
- Podcasts (these are like online radio channels)
Content Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
To boost your content marketing efforts, it is highly recommended that you conduct some initial keyword research using a tool like Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Considered a part of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), keyword research helps you to determine which combinations of words or phrases your patients are using to find your clinic or practice on a search engine like Google.
Some of the common keywords which you may wish to consider in your website content are the following:
- Layman-friendly medical terms (eg cancer instead of oncology, fractures instead of orthopaedic)
- Brand names that are popularly used in healthcare (eg Panadol)
- Names of doctors and specialists
- Locations of clinics (eg in Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre)
Educate Your Patients
Due to the guidelines established by most healthcare regulatory entities such as the Singapore Medical Council (read our eBook to learn about SMC’s guidelines here), healthcare marketing needs to be carefully considered. Hard selling approaches like “Before” and “After” photos, patient testimonials, and other related areas are frowned upon.
What then should your medical or dental practice do?
Consider providing content which helps your patient to make an informed decision about his or her medical condition before, during, and after treatment. This may include diagnostic conditions of an ailment, common symptoms, “dos” and “don’ts”, as well as aftercare habits and practices.
Showcase Your Credentials
As your patient’s bodies are literally at the mercy of your hands, it makes sense to reduce their fear and increase trust in your medical and dental expertise.
This is especially important for medical specialists who treat more serious conditions. In such cases, showcasing your expertise, knowledge and experience becomes critically important.
Beyond including your educational qualifications and professional accreditation, you may wish to also share some of your experience in handling different patients. For instance, you could relate how you’ve worked on a particularly challenging case due to the patient having multiple health complications.
Provide Useful Content Post Treatment
Effective patient care doesn’t just occur at the point of treatment. What happens after the treatment procedures can be just as important in ensuring a better recovery.
That’s not all.
Communicating with your patients after their treatment demonstrate that you care about their long-term well-being. This helps to strengthen physician-patient relationship and could lead to better outcomes.
Some of the useful content which you can provide are as follows:
- How your patient can maintain and improve his or her health
- Short, medium and long term habits and behaviours to adopt
- Possible side effects or changes that he or she may experience
- Medications to take or to avoid post treatment
Thanks to the advent of modern technology, some of these types of content could be automated (read more marketing automation here).
Building an Online Care Community
Providing information alone may not be enough if you wish to strengthen and sustain patient relationships over the long term.
The best way to do so online is to build a community. This can be achieved through starting a Facebook page, Twitter account or even a forum on your website.
There are many benefits in starting an online community for your practice:
- You can provide regular updates on your clinics and the types of treatments available
- Your receptionist or other non-clinical staff could help to answer common patient enquiries and concerns. More complex ones could be escalated to the doctors and dental professionals.
- You can share insights on the types of cutting edge medical treatments and practices which your practice is involved with.
- You can provide a human face to the clinic, and help to reduce the perceived barriers which could exist between you and your patients.
While it is fairly easy to start a Facebook page or an email list, maintaining it with regular useful content requires a fair amount of work. As a busy medical professional, it may not make sense for you to personally handle every patient enquiry or situation.
Thankfully, there are specialised agencies out there which you can outsource such services to.
Ready to Embark On Your Content Marketing Journey?
Now that you’ve read about what’s involved in content marketing for your medical or dental practice, the time has come for you to reap its benefits. Take stock of your current online assets, and see how you can use content to draw patients, provide better patient care, and improve the profitability of your clinic.