Due to the rising health concerns among people, especially the younger generation who turn to the internet for health-related information, there is a demand for doctors and medical professionals to promote themselves through Digital Marketing and address these inquiries.
Google reported that 1 in 20 searches were health-related. This means that roughly 70,000 people make medical and healthcare related searches on Google per minute. With so many people constantly looking for information, medical practitioners need to have a well-established Online Portfolio where they can share information based on their learning and expertise.
Table of Contents
- Why Doctors should consider Digital Marketing?
- Is digital marketing for doctors a necessity?
- Limitations in the Digital Space for Healthcare Industries
- Digital Marketing Strategies for a Better Reach
Why Doctors should consider Digital Marketing?
Nowadays, Hospitals and Institutes in the Healthcare Industry are promoting themselves through extensive blogs and engaging Social Media Profiles. However, most doctors and medical practitioners do not have their own online medium where they can interact with people on a one-on-one basis. In fact, a study by Patient Gain states that only 4.3% of the doctors and physiciansuse Digital Marketing Strategies for promotion. Given that there are so many medical professionals out there, this number is surprisingly less.
Is digital marketing for doctors a necessity?
The answer is yes. Some people in the healthcare industry work in multiple places. In such cases, having a dedicated online presence can help people identify their areas of specialization, the hospitals that they work in and their consultation hours. This also helps the doctors gain the trust of their patients because a separate, clear and well-drafted online profile looks more legitimate than a single page description on a Hospital’s Website. Since numerous Doctors practice in the same department, Digital Marketing can help doctors distinguish themselves from other Health professionals.It also adds value, showcasing them as a veteran in the field.
Limitations in the Digital Space for Healthcare Industries
With stricter advertising policies in place, it is difficult to directly promote or run ads on certain topics in platforms like Google and Facebook. This means that Doctors have to be precautious and take extra efforts before executing their Digital Marketing Strategies. However, there are a bunch of other options that Doctors and Medical Specialists can consider to step up their Online Marketing game.
Here are some strategies through which Doctors can enhance their profiles through Digital Marketing Techniques.
Digital Marketing Strategies for a Better Reach
Gone are the days when people used Newspapers and Yellow Pages to look for doctors to consult. With Google becoming a popular Search Engine, people now turn to Google to search for medical professionals. As per a report by Google, 77% of the patients google their doctors before making an appointment. Hence, there is a need for people in the Medical and Healthcare industries to have a strong presence on Google for better reach and footfalls. Here are some strategies that can be implemented to help this cause.
Interactive Blog Website
Doctors are always looking for ways to interact with the public and give them needful awareness on healthcare. One such way to showcase your expertise in the subject on a single platform is to have a well-designed, user-friendly, easy-to-navigate Blog Website. Writing blogs consistently will help you with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), ranking you higher in search results. A good blog website will also get more people approaching you for consultation, looking to utilize your services.
If you are a doctor looking to start blogging, find the questions that your patients may have and try answering them through your blogs. The more questions you can answer, the more patients start connecting with you. This can later convert into footfalls through direct consulting or referrals. You can also embed videos into your blog since Google Algorithm prioritizes blogs with videos over regular blogs with respect to ranking.
Let us look at a Medical Blog Website called drmikesevilla.com that is run by Dr. Mike Sevilla. Dr. Mike is a family physician who is currently practicing in Ohio, USA. He calls himself a personal doctor for all age groups and is considered to be the first point of contact for his patients to address their health-related concerns.
When we open his Blog Website, we immediately find all the pages of his website listed below, along with his social media profile links. This makes it easier for us to navigate across the different sections of the website. Now,let us have a look at the blog page on his website.
Reading through his blogs, we can find his prime focus to be about health-awareness and tips to lead a healthy life. We can also see how he has addressed commonly asked questions within the blog, using simple language to connect with his audience.
Dr. Mike also writes blogs on topics for different age groups. From kids to adults, he addresses problems specific to their lifestyle. Another Digital Marketing Strategy that Dr. Mike Sevilla has implemented is embedding his videos that relate with the blog topic, increasing his chances of ranking higher.
Google My Business
Google My business (GMB) is a free tool that lists businesses based on user’s search intent and location of the business. For Doctors and Medical Practitioners looking to implement Digital Marketing on the various online forums, Google My Business is a great way to start. Having a complete and verified GMB profile can list you on Google’s Search Results and Google Maps, when people are searching about you or your services.The process of creating a GMB account issimple and only requires a couple of minutes. Google My Business also has a review feature, where patients can write reviews about their Doctors post consultation and rate them on a scale of 5.
As a doctor, it is a quite hard to convince people since everybody is extra-cautious when it comes to their health. With so many spam accounts and sites on the internet, having a good GMB account with reviews will make you look genuine online. As a matter of fact, a survey conducted on patients showed that 26% of the patients who had made appointments had taken the decision after reading the reviews of their respective doctors.
Let us look at the case of Dr. S. Ayyappan and how he has used Google My Business to establish his presence online. Dr. S. Ayyappan is a famous Chennai-based Surgical Oncologist who also runs a foundation called ‘Madras Cancer Care Foundation’ with few other doctors. On typing his name in the Google Search bar, his Google My Business Profile appears on the right panel of the search results.
His GMB profile predominantly shows three things: A link to his website, His reviews and ratings and his contact information. You can also find the route map to his location, by clicking on the Directions link. Before consultation, say if somebody wants to know if he is credible, they can click on the Google Reviews hyperlink or scroll further to read all reviews.
Now, let us see where the ‘Website’tab takes us. On clicking the tab, we are directly taken to his Website – chennaioncologist.com
The website looks neat and displays all information about Dr. Ayyappan and the hospitals he practices in. The website also displays detailed information about the areas of his expertise.
Through his website, we can understand the experience that he has in the field. He has also listed his Qualification, the Memberships he holds in various Organizations, the Publications that he has worked on and his work experience in the website. This adds more credibility to his online portfolio.
If you search for specific people on Google, you will mostly find sites like JustDial and Practo (in the case of doctors or medical professionals) on the first page of the Search Results. These sites will list the profile of the person searched for and their contact information. They are called Directory Listings. Having a listing on these Directory Websites can list your profile in the top of the results.
Directory Listings Sites have high SEO value. This means that patients searching for you, based on proximity, have a good chance of seeing your profile over doctors whose profiles are not listed in any Directory Site. Therefore, having your profile listed in multiple Directory Listings can result in a better visibility and reach.
Let us assume that somebody in Chennai is looking for a Cardiologist. They would probably type“Cardiologist in Chennai” in the Google Search Bar. Due to the SEO value of Directory listings, Google would start displaying Medical Directory sites, listing Cardiologists in the Chennai region. These sites also have their own forum for reviews and ratings that people often use as parameters to make a decision.
Directory Listings show results based on proximity. Since the searcher had typed Chennai in their query, the listings only show Cardiologists in the particular region. You can also filter and sort the results based on cost, working hours, location and ratings. This shows the need for Doctors and other Medical Professionals to have themselves listed in multiple Directory Listings.
Engaging Social Media Profiles
How necessary is it to have a social media profile? Very necessary. As per Demi & Cooper Advertising and Interactive Group, 41% of the people reported that Social Media had affected their choice of a doctor. This shows how Social Media savvy our current generation has become. Can medical practitioners engage with several people on a one-on-one basis simultaneously? The short answer is yes. With advancements in technology and the growth of social media platforms, doctors can now do live webinars, interacting with multiple people at once. Why is this important? Well, when you address health-related issues, people can instantlyresonate with you. Your audience will immediately think about the people they know who are going through the same problem that you are addressing. Consequently, they will share your work to the ones they know, making you reach to a larger audience.
As doctors, you do not have much free-time. This is why Digital Marketing through Social Media is a great option, since it requires very little time. This can include Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp Business accounts or even Snapchat. You can post content on-the-go, no matter where you are. Provided, you have access to the internet. Posting Stories regularly on Health-related Trivia, Medical Updates and General Awareness can make your Social Media accounts more active and engaging.
A Research Study conducted by MediaBistro revealed that 54% of the patients are more comfortable seeking advice from communities online to better treat their health and body problems. Doctors can use forums like Quora and Facebook Medical Communities where people are constantly posting questions. Quora recognizes users based on their activity and their answers and ranks them accordingly. By adding your medical credentials and answering questions relevant to your niche, people are more inclined to request you to answer their questions.
Let us look at the online portfolio of Dr. Ashwin Vijay PR, an Orthopaedician and Health-care Entrepreneur with over 20+ years of experience in the field. He currently runs his own Orthopaedic centre ‘Ojas Ortho’ and has also worked with various athletes. His encouraging and engaging Social Media profile has won him 186K followers on Instagram and 617K followers on his Official Facebook Page. Let us take a closer look of his presence on both these platforms.
When we look at his Facebook Official Page, we find multiple videos grouped under different playlists. We also find a short description about him on both sides of the page, along with a link to his website. We can see the other sections of the page on the left-side panel including posts, photos and community. The number of likes and comments that each video has received shows that the engagement rate is relatively high.
Dr. Ashwin Vijay also has a very active Instagram page. The very first thing we notice is his excellent use of Instagram Story Highlights to segregate his stories based on their genre. His Instagram posts are both entertaining and informative. On his page, we can find IGTV videos of his interviews, pictures and posts about health tips, his awards and people he interacts with. The most highlighting and attention-grabbing posts on his profile would have to be his motivational videos. They are the ones that receive maximum engagement. It can clearly be seen that most of these videos are recorded on-the-go, mostly in his car or room.
Multi-platform Digital Marketing Strategy
Having an online presence in multiple platforms and forums can also rapidly boost your visibility on the internet. For example, if Doctor A only has a Directory Listing online and Doctor B has a Blog, a GMB account, a Directory Listing and Social Media profiles on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, Doctor B would be ranked over Doctor A. Through continuous cross-promotion of your content, Google’s Algorithm identifies and verifies all your profiles to display them to relevant searchers.
Cross-promoting and repurposing existing content can also increase chances of ranking higher on search results. This requires less time and can grab attention to a single piece of content on multiple platforms.
To understand the concept of Multi-platform Digital Marketing, let us again look at the case of Dr. Ashwin Vijay. By promoting one profile on another platform and repeating the process for all his accounts, he was able to get his entire online portfolio listed on the first page of Google Search Results for the keyword “Dr. Ashwin Vijay”.
This is the power of Multi-platform Digital Marketing Strategy. Implementing this ensures that no matter which link a user clicks on, they are led to a profile that belongs to Dr. Ashwin Vijay. This is also a great way for doctors to promote their own clinics, which they solely administrate.
Dr. Ashwin also has a verified Google My Business (GMB) account that has over 50 genuine reviews. The GMB profile links to a map of his location and his website. His website looks elegant with a neat layout and loads very fast.
The website’s sitemap makes it super-easy for users to navigate across the website. We can also see that all of his Social Media handles are displayed on the footer, thereby promoting his other accounts.
With the growing population and equally growing health concerns, people are constantly looking for solutions to their health-related problems. It has become more of a necessity for Doctors, Practitioners and Health-care Professionals to invest little time everyday to address the concerns raised. Online presence through Digital Marketing is also a great medium to interact with people from all around the world, bringing people with similar problems together as a group. A few doctors who have already gotten onboard with this process have seen a massive increase in their footfalls.
Although the use of Digital Marketing Strategies in the Medical Industry is currently very low, the case studies discussed above show how effective these strategies can be if executed properly. If you are a doctor reading this, wait NO MORE. Start your Digital Marketing journey NOW!