Digital marketing is now essential to every organisation. Medical practices or healthcare companies are no different.

A 2013 report by the Pew Research Centre found that 72% of internet users look online for health information. In the same year, a study by campaign group Wholegrain Goodness discovered that Britons are more than twice as likely to search online for health advice as they are to consult their doctor. 

More and more people are seeking information on the web, so health professionals and brands need to establish a strong online presence.

Here are seven ways in which marketing and media strategies can be applied to boost brand recognition and profitability in the healthcare industry.

Optimised blogs and website

Forget the Yellow pages, Google is where we go to find companies which meet our needs. These days you can literally type “breast enhancement” or “chiropractor” and there’s a list of local services. Search engines will even provide the most authoritative professional within a 10-mile radius. But what do we mean by “authoritative”?

Google ranks pages based on two key metrics:

  • Authority – a measure of how many people share or link back to the content
  • Relevance – content which relates to keywords users type in to find you

Websites and blogs that create relevant content which is then shared across the web, are deemed as authoritative.

One doctor who is marketing herself by creating highly relevant and authoritative content is Dr Wendy Sue Swanson, of Seattle Children’s Hospital. She started the blog Seattle Mama Doc to give childcare health advice and share her professional journey. She has developed a social media network of more than 26,000 Twitter followers and she’s been featured in TIME magazine’s Best Twitter Feed list. 

Social Media and Referral Marketing

Research by DC Interactive Group discovered 41% of people would choose healthcare based on its social media reputation. People will share a positive or negative experience at a hospital or with a specific doctor or nurse. But social media can be used in lots of different ways for the healthcare industry.

Philips Healthcare, for example, created the Innovations in Health LinkedIn group to facilitate discussions and build credibility to connect with their target audience of healthcare professionals. The group attracted more than 100,000 members worldwide and helped them establish expertise in their field.

Video Marketing

Mobile isn’t the only way to get creative with a medical marketing strategy. Online video can be a pivotal component of hospital research and awareness. The Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Pink Glove Dance video is a great example of how a simple idea can increase awareness and bring customers your way. Staff choreographed a dance sequence to Pharrell Williams’ song Happy as their entry to the Pink Glove Dance contest, which started in 2009 to raise funds for breast cancer research - in 2014 they won.

Mobile Marketing

More and more health practices are becoming mobile savvy. Sk:n Clinics was able to reach its target audience through a mobile marketing campaign that resulted in a 42% increase in calls from people enquiring about the company’s products. A click-to-call mobile campaign drove potential customers to the website to fill out a form requesting a free consultation.

Sk:n understood its audience was constantly on the move, so the best way to reach the company was by having a consultant call them directly after they completed the form.

Pay Per Click Advertising 

Paid adverts through Google Adwords, LinkedIn Ads, and Facebook local ads are a time-saving and cost-effective way to gain more patients, referrals, and recognition. Your budget can be controlled by setting a maximum spend.

Geocentric’s 2012 report ‘How Health Consumers Engage Online’ revealed that Google processes more than 1 billion search requests daily. 80% of internet users look for health information online and 44% of those are looking for doctors, while 81% of people click on a sponsored link when seeking health information.

Targeted Email Marketing Campaigns

More than half of doctors and other healthcare providers use email as their main form of customer communication. So an email marketing campaign is a must, if your brand doesn’t want to miss out on a huge chunk of its customer base. It’s also important to optimise emails for mobile devices so they’re easily readable on the go. 

According to researchers MedData, 75% of physicians use smartphones and tablets for professional reasons, and checking email is the top reason for using these mobile devices in the workplace.