Regardless of your views on healthcare reform, there’s one thing that everyone can agree on: In 2018, health care is a business. For years, the majority of physicians relied on insurance companies and personal referrals to drive their businesses. Marketing wasn’t considered necessary to grow their practices and, in fact, could be perceived as unprofessional.
Times have changed, and while most medical professionals understand the importance of marketing to drive their business growth, they’re only just scratching the surface on digital marketing. In today’s competitive landscape, where everyone is competing for the same patients, doctors need to be where patients are — and that’s online. But how can they navigate this space? Is it just a website or do they need to be on social media? How can they get more exposure online? These are a few of the questions doctors ask me every day.
The truth is, the internet has changed the way we communicate and how we search for things. This includes our health care questions and providers. Even if a patient finds a doctor through an insurance company, they’ll still Google them and read patient reviews in addition to visiting the practice website before deciding to schedule an appointment.
In fact, research shows that more than 50% of people search online for information about treatment options or to learn about health concerns or care providers, and 77% of patients use a search engine before booking an appointment with a local healthcare provider. This means it is imperative that every medical practitioner have a digital marketing strategy that enables them to differentiate themselves and their services from other local providers.
Creating a digital marketing plan can be daunting for anyone, especially if you aren’t familiar with the full range of channels that are available today — from websites and social media to email marketing and online advertising. To help clear up any confusion, here are five misconceptions about digital marketing in health care, plus some tips on first steps to using digital marketing to promote a health care practice:
1. Digital marketing costs too much.
First, to do a like-for-like comparison, you’ll need to look at the cost per thousand impressions (CPM), which is the advertising metric that measures how many dollars it costs to reach 1,000 people.