To get customers’ attention, you’ve got to meet them where they are. That’s just as true for vets, eye doctors, and dentists as it is for salespeople selling widgets and whatnot.

Today, “where they are” is online. In 2020, internet usage increased by about 50%, and now almost all Americans (except about 7%) are active members of the digital community. So now is the perfect time to improve your digital marketing game.

While some things may be in your wheelhouse, it’s important to remember that time is limited — especially for practice owners already juggling patient care, team management, and other obligations. Here’s an overview of some tasks you can tackle yourself and the added benefits of consulting with a pro.

1. Start with a strong foundation

Your website is your internet home base. All your other digital marketing efforts will likely lead users back here. Because it’s so foundational, your first step is to make sure your site is in good shape — or to launch a site if you don’t have one.

What you can DIY

  • If you don’t have a site: Explore domain names on sites such as namecheap.com, and investigate specialty-specific website design software and providers. For example, VetMatrix provides website and social media tools and services just for vets.
  • If you do have a site: Review your current web pages for typos, broken links, and outdated information. Update staff listings and bios, payment policies, and scheduling information. Add a link to a payment app, if you offer one. You can also visit websites of competitors for ideas on what to add to your site.

How experts can help

Web professionals can make sure your site is easy to use, suits your philosophy, and works well on both mobile and desktop devices. They may also offer add-ons like online client scheduling, email newsletters, and portal integration, so be sure to comparison shop.

  Tip  

Explore free trials of chatbot vendors. Chatbots are no replacement for the human touch, but they can answer common questions, which may increase patient satisfaction and reduce phone time for your staff.

2. Make yourself easier to find

More than 70% of dental and eye doctor patients do a Google search before booking an appointment. This is why search engine optimization (SEO) is so important: It makes it easier for people to find you online.  

What you can DIY 

  • Create, claim, and/or update your Google My Business account and Google My Business Profile, which makes it easy for customers to find you through Google search and maps.
  • Use analytics tools on Google My Business Insights to see what keywords and phrases are leading people to your site, how your photos are performing, and what’s generating the most clicks. Use this information to update your profile.
  • Send out a monthly email newsletter promoting links to specific pages and/or blog articles that include high-performing keywords or search terms. This can drive additional traffic to your site.

How experts can help

The best practices for SEO change all the time. Having a healthcare digital marketing team can help you avoid possible pitfalls and can help you optimize the content on your site, too.

  Tip  

After an online search, 88% of healthcare appointments are scheduled by phone. Make sure to coach staff on how to offer a good experience during those calls.

3. Improve your social media posts

Random blog posts and social media photos don’t attract new patients. Why? They’re not targeted enough to what clients need. Of course, there are steps you can take to grab their attention. 

What you can DIY

  • Survey patients or clients to find out which types of social media they use most: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. This can be as easy as asking during an appointment.
  • Start making simple, regular posts that include a great image, intriguing topic, and a brief and helpful message.
  • Write blog posts that demonstrate your expertise. This will also improve your standing in searches. 

How experts can help

Pros can recommend where and how often to post. They can also share templates that can make the process easier, as well as create a plan for paid social media advertising. Try to find a digital marketing team that specializes in healthcare. They’ll have insider knowledge, like how to ensure posts are HIPAA compliant.

  Tip  

Respond to online reviews in a timely manner, both to thank happy customers and to address problems or concerns. This shows you provide excellent customer care.

The actions above can help you begin to broaden your digital marketing plan almost immediately, while seeking the help of specialists when it makes the most sense for you.

Sources: Velocifox Digital, WordStream, Digital Agency Network, Healthcare Success, Healthcare Success (2), Google My Business, Smart Insights, The Balance Small Business, DialogTech, Namecheap.com, Small Business Trends, VetMatrix, Intrepy, TeleCompetitor, Pew Research Center

Resources for Small Business

Request a workbook designed to help your practice succeed.

Practice Finance Tools