A With 77% of all Americans owning at least one smartphone, and spending on an average 5.6 hours a day on digital media, doing activities that include researching and getting acquainted about different healthcare related conditions that they may have developed, it is imperative for medical practitioners to reach out to them before they are contacted by their competitors. So, if you haven’t started yet because of your reluctance on investing in digital media, just go through this article. In the article, I’ll provide answers to all your queries about how digital marketing can help your practice expand. Here are the 5 ways digital marketing is helping health care businesses: #1. Providing Reach To Your Niche Audience Since majority of patients are seeking information about your practice online, that’s where digital marketers are reaching them. As per Google, 77% of patients go to a search engine for information before they book an appointment with a hospital or clinic. SEO and SEM experts ensure with their right marketing tools and techniques to keep your website’s search rankings high so that your prospective patients can reach you whenever they search for a medical care near their location. Online healthcare marketing also makes it possible for you to reach every person in every house of your locality. Marketers perform a deep study on the data related to online activities of the patients in your locality and analyze this data to understand their actual needs. Based on their study, they target them with the right content and a link to your website. This way you can reach your niche audience at the time of their need so that whenever they search for a medical care in their locality, you are not left behind your competitors. #2. Influencing Users’ Thoughts and Actions in Your Favor Digital marketers use content as their strategy to influence the thoughts and actions of your patients in favor of your brand. Free, valuable, informational, educational, and oftentimes entertaining blogs, videos, infographics, etc. related to the pain points of the patients have the potential to engage and influence them for keep asking for more. Quality content is liked and shared by more users. It helps in increasing your brand’s media visibility and provides a competitive advantage to you. Other benefits that content marketing (which is a part of digital marketing) provide are: a. Establishes your brand as an online authority b. Improves your search engine rankings c. Grows an audience of brand advocates d. Lowers your paid advertising expenses e. Increases your leads and conversion One interesting fact about content marketing is that a very small portion of your content usually generates most of your traffic. Only 4% of them drive almost 85% of your website’s traffic. It again emphasizes here the importance of the quality content. #3. Helping them manage their online reputation Reputation management isn’t just about getting positive scores and great reviews but it’s more about building a trust factor among your patients that whenever they are hit with a health condition or if somebody asks them for a reference, only your brand’s name pops into their mind. That’s possible with online reputation management (ORM), which digital marketing offers as a part of its service. With online reputation management system, marketers keep check on what your patients are talking about you online. They try to mold even the negative conversation in a way that can turn your unhappy patients into one of your most loyal patients. And with 72% of patients using online reviews as their first step in finding a doctor, it’s needless to say about an impressive online presence. Here are benefits of having an ORM system for your medical practice: a. It assists you in marketing your practice through your satisfied patient’s word-of-mouth advertisement. b. It gives your patients a voice and allows you to know what they really think about you. With honest feedback, you can better analyze the areas where you need improvement. c. Your prospective patients get to know more or read more about your service through your existing patients’ reviews and ratings. ORM also makes sure that your brand is shown in good light to your new patients. d. It allows you to communicate with your patients outside the practice. You can reply to their reviews when it suits you. It will also let your patients know that you’re taking care of their needs seriously. Ultimately, the ORM provides patients a higher trust about your brand, and to you, it provides chances to improve on your service, increase profitability, and lower the risks of getting your brand in bad light. #4. Engaging your audience and building your brand’s trust With a large chunk of US population sharing health related information and educating each other about their own experience with their physicians, you can’t just sit back and ignore the discussion. When used as an ideal platform, social media can increase your practice’s visibility, connect directly with the target audience, and influence their opinion about your practice. Here are the benefits you can get from social media management: a. Provides a richer customer experience to your patients through increased interaction with them. b. Builds your brand and its credibility by providing additional exposure to your practice. It also boosts your website traffic which also helps in increasing search engine ranking. c. Gives you an opportunity to identify and improve on the problems that your patients may be facing with your service but are not telling you about it face-to-face. d. According to Hubspot, marketers found out that spending as little as 6 hours a week on social media can boost your website traffic significantly. The doctor-patient relationship is what western healthcare system stands for, and with patients continuously evolving with social media, it’s imperative for physicians to evolve with them, or get left behind. #5. Increasing conversion through paid advertising Digital marketing isn’t just about soft marketing techniques that focus on influencing the users’ thoughts and actions, but it also provides paid search as a more aggressive option, instantly boosting your website traffic and increasing conversions, if that’s what you want. Paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) is a model of internet marketing that is used to direct traffic to website. The advertiser (you) has to pay each time one of their ads is clicked by the user. It’s opposite to SEO where you get your visits organically in a comparatively long time. It benefits you by increasing visibility of your service to your most relevant user. PPC ads are also customized according to the age, sex, occupation, location, and different health problems of your prospective patients. Unlike other traditional forms of advertising, the PPC advertising spend can be fully controlled and kept highly targeted for providing a greater benefit through your ROI. Conclusion The concept is simple – you can communicate with your consumers only when you reach them where they hang out most of the time. With people, adult or old aged, spending their time on the internet searching, studying, and sharing about their health condition and their experience with their physicians, you can’t miss the opportunities of digital marketing by sitting back to all of it. So, don’t just sit back and do share your views on this in the comments section below!