Having a good online presence through a well thought-out digital marketing strategy is a necessity for all practices wanting to stay relevant in an ever-changing digital market. Here are 3 reasons why this is so:
1. Increased Patient and Referrer Accessibility
Digital Marketing plays an important role in giving patients a space online to find information, ask questions, and look for answers – even outside of business hours. In the digital age where patients are looking for information at all hours of the day, it is important to have useful content about your practice readily available, regardless of when it is needed. As the internet and social media continue to increase in popularity, more patients will be going online to do research before deciding on their healthcare provider. With online searches being the first step in a patient’s decision making process, practices cannot afford to miss out on the power of having an online presence, especially when your competitors are probably doing the same.
This also frees up your reception team from phone or email inquiries, allowing them to focus on face to face communication with patients. For specialist practices, having an effective online presence also helps you to be discovered and network with peers and referrers.
2. Educating Patients
Publishing content online that is related to your practice’s area of specialty and which features your professional expertise will help you to establish your practice as an industry leader, and a thought leader to both patient and referrers. Your website and social media are great platforms on which you can be established as the go-to in the community for important and reliable information online related to your niche.
Outbound digital marketing like print and email newsletters can help to educate your patients and referrers by giving your practice the ability to share information with targeted patients and followers, reducing the need for them having to seek out this information online. This provides your practice with the ability to ensure that the information received is accurate, as well as provide patients with key clinical updates, in addition to other relevant information. Most importantly, it is an effective and easy method to disseminate information at a much lower cost than traditional methods.
3. It’s Cost-Effective
Digital marketing encompasses a wide variety of activities that can be used as cost-effective ways to market your practice. Social Media Marketing is done by posting on the various social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc) and can be done organically (not paid) as long as your content is interesting and relevant to your target audience.
On the other hand, Content Marketing, which includes (but is not limited to) publishing e-newsletters, blog posts, webinars, and whitepapers, can cost very little to make or produce, yet achieves the long-lasting effect of positioning your practice as an industry leader. Lastly, Keyword Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which involves purchasing advertising space for related keywords or optimising your online content to improve your rank on search engines, can help your practice be found by the right people who are already interested in your services.
As we conclude this blog post, it is important to remember that while great things can be achieved through the use of digital marketing, practices in Australia need to adhere to the guidelines set out by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) on what can and cannot be done. For more information on AHPRA’s advertising guidelines, take a look at our infographic here.