24 Sep How to Book More Patient Appointments in a WebMD World
Today’s technology allows us to access important information almost instantly. When your patients realize they have a problem, the first thing they do is search online to solve it (i.e. treatments for leg pain, weight loss solutions, corrective eye surgery, etc.). The availability of quality information combined with its speed of access has evolved your patients into a more knowledgeable, self-aware audience before they walk through your doors.
Why Advertising to Patients Just Isn’t Enough
Marketing to self-educated patients (what we call a “WebMD audience”) requires a different kind of marketing strategy than most surgical practices are currently using. The average practice spends the bulk of their marketing dollars on local, traditional advertising. What they don’t know is that their patients are responding to advertising much differently than they have in the past. Check out these statistics:
- 84% of 25-34 year olds have left a favorite website because of intrusive advertising.
- 200 million Americans have registered their phone numbers on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” list.
- 86% of viewers skip television ads.
- 91% of email users have unsubscribed from a company email they previously opted into.
- 44% of direct mail is never opened.
While we wouldn’t go so far as to discount advertising entirely, we would go so far as to say that the results of traditional advertising are virtually untraceable. That is to say, a surgical practice could be paying the highest price for the best billboard in town, send professionally designed postcards to every home in the city, and still never know what worked and why, if it even worked at all. That’s a big problem.
The Importance of Valuable Content to Attract Patients
The best way to make the most of your marketing budget is to invest in content that is valuable to your patients. When creating content, keep in mind that what you produce only has as much value as your readers give it. If you’re unsure about what topics would interest your audience, start by thinking about the questions you are asked most frequently. For example, “How can I reduce the effects aging has on my skin?” can turn into a blog post: 10 Ways You Can Achieve Younger Looking Skin. If you’re not a fan of writing, don’t worry! Blogging is not the only way to promote your business! Here are a some other ideas:
- Videos and podcasts
- Infographics and slideshows
- Digital downloads (eBooks, checklists, apps, etc.)
- Interactive offers (self-assessments, quizzes, and calculators)
- Real time special events (interviews, Q&A, live streaming of a surgery, etc.)
Primary Content Offers (PCO’s) are an excellent way to convert interested browsers into profitable patients. The content you create is valuable and people want to hear what you have to say. In exchange for a few pieces of contact information, they can. With their contact information (that was voluntarily given), you can stay connected with your prospects, understand their buying process better, and turn them into patients.
The Benefits of Promotion
After you create valuable content, the next step is to share it! Promoting your content via popular social media networks is the most effective way to do this, because it is where your customers are. The average American spends 37 minutes per day on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media sites, making social networking the number one online activity in the United States. In fact, 46% of these web users are browsing with the intent to purchase.
While Facebook and Twitter are the most popular social networking sites, think outside of the box when connecting with your audience (because with an inbound marketing strategy, you already are!). Consider interacting with members of community forums or other online groups to answer questions and point them to your website. The more people see your name, the more likely they are to remember you. Recognition will help strengthen your reputation in the online community and as people learn to trust you, they will be open to investing in a long term doctor-patient relationship.
At Baker Labs, we value your time and we value your money. Like you, we understand the importance of a good investment and we want you to be confident in your marketing efforts. Through inbound marketing, we can re-structure your marketing budget and transform your marketing strategy into a better one. (Note: You don’t have to increase your marketing budget to get good results! Contact us to find out why.) Your new inbound marketing strategy will produce trackable results; results you can use to make informed decisions and your impact more powerful. All of this starts with content.