Brodie Cornett

Brodie is an SEO Associate and account lead at Sagapixel. He specializes in on-page SEO and content marketing.

Digital Marketing for a Medical Practice: a Guide

Table of Contents

Digital marketing for medical practices is essential in today’s online-driven world. Traditional marketing still has its place, but advertising online has become more prevalent with the advances in technology and a public shift to spending more time on the web.

However, the planning and implementation of digital marketing campaigns can be overwhelming if you don’t even know where to start.

This article goes over how you can get started with digital marketing for your medical practice.

Why You Need Digital Marketing for Your Medical Practice

Digital marketing is essential for any medical practice’s success. The web has become a staple in people’s lives, so most businesses, including medical practices, can not get by without advertising online. Most importantly, digital marketing for medical practices gets your name in front of the right kinds of people with the highest chances of turning into new patients.

Essentially, digital marketing has become more and more important over the last couple of decades as people spend more and more time on the web for shopping, entertainment, and information. For medical practices, this means getting in front of potential patients to help them with their health concerns.

The most important reasons you need to implement digital marketing for your medical practice include:

  • More and more patients go online for answers and to find local practices
  • Online methods are cost-effective options for marketing your medical practice
  • It’s much easier to reach and directly interact with your target audience

More & More Patients Go Online

The internet is many people’s go-to sources for information whether that be a business’s location or a question concerning their health. According to Internet World Stats, roughly 69% of the world’s population uses the internet to varying degrees.

If you’re not utilizing digital marketing to advertise your medical practice, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to find potential patients.

What’s more, it’s become the norm for people to first search their symptoms on Google before actually going to the doctor. Even aside from that, they want to vet their options for medical care before making a decision. If you’re not online, you’re not establishing yourself in the minds of these potential patients.

With the internet’s prevalence in everyday use, you’re simply missing out on a huge opportunity to attract new patients.

Digital Marketing Is Cost-Effective

Digital marketing typically has a good return on investment. Most digital marketers aim for a 5:1 ratio for return on investment, so for every $1 spent, you get $5 back. Of course, different avenues of marketing have differing ROIs. Discounting that, even if you spend $10,000 on digital marketing, you should expect $50,000 back.

It’s Easier to Directly Reach Your Audience

Establishing your medical practice involves building trust with your patients. Digital marketing allows you to get in front of your target audience, that is potential patients, and interact with them.

Traditional marketing methods are more about casting a wide net and hoping enough of the right kinds of people see it. On the other hand, digital marketing is more focused; prioritizing where your target audience actually is. This may include producing content around the services your practice provides or interacting with your community on social media.

Regardless of the method, digital marketing gives you a more clear line to the patients you want to attract to your medical practice.

How to Market Your Medical Practice Online

There are a variety of avenues for marketing your medical practice online. Each comes with their own advantages and drawbacks, so you’ll need to establish which to prioritize. You can always adjust and expand your digital marketing strategy as you grow.

Planning a digital marketing campaign for your medical practice may involve pursuing multiple avenues. Typically, if you have the bandwidth, you should utilize several methods at once for the best return.

The most essential methods of marketing your medical practice online include:

  • Organic traffic (SEO)
  • Social media
  • Email marketing
  • Video content
  • Local directories and citations
  • Pay-per-click (PPC)

SEO for Medical Practices

SEO or search engine optimization is the practice of improving your placement or rankings in search engines like Google. Ranking higher in search engines improves your organic traffic which is generally considered “passive” as people click-through the links served on the results page.

Organic traffic simply refers to the traffic driven by people clicking on your links on a search engine that aren’t ads.

SEO for medical practices focuses on getting pages for your location(s) and services ranking higher in Google’s search results. This involves planning pages around the types of medical services and treatments you offer like “family medicine,” “orthodontist,” or whatever you focus on. What’s more, you’ll want to include pages for each location and area you serve to further expand your reach and visibility.

Organic traffic isn’t specifically “passive” in the strictest sense. You still need to put in the work to get a page ranking including planning and implementing the pages and maintaining those pages through possible ongoing updates. But, once the page is ranking high enough (i.e., top of the first page of Google), it’ll start driving traffic on its own.

Putting an emphasis on SEO is a good option for any medical practice. Every site benefits from optimizing their content and technical elements. There’s really no reason to not put at least some focus on optimizing for organic traffic.

Essentially, SEO for medical practices involves optimizing your website to ensure people can find you when they look up specific queries in Google.

Social Media for Medical Practices

Social media is a good method for keeping patients up-to-date on the latest news concerning your medical practice. What’s more, according to Backlinko, roughly 72% of people in the U.S. use some form of social media, so if you’re not advertising on, you’re cutting out a major opportunity for getting in front of more potential patients.

Interacting with the people in your community is a good way to connect with potential patients. Social media is an easy avenue for establishing a presence in your area.

Now, using social media as a medical practice is less about providing assistance with health-related queries and more about community engagement. What’s more, you can use your social media accounts to advertise events, specials, and tips depending on current events.

For example, a dermatologist may post on Facebook reminding people to use sunscreen during the summer to protect their skin. Likewise, this practice may interact with a local event they’re sponsoring in a small comment about the event itself. It’s little things like this that can position your business as “part of the community” which is something people usually like.

Email Marketing for Medical Practices

Email marketing typically has a good conversion rate. Getting people to sign up for email notifications from your medical practice is great for reminding them about current events and for scheduling regular visits if applicable.

Essentially, if someone signs up for email notifications, they’re already interested in your practice. Anything after that is simply providing small nudges to convince them to keep coming to your practice.

For example, a dentist may send out a reminder for cleanings. Maybe this reminder also includes some sort of special on family cleanings. The people who signed up to receive emails from this practice already showed an interest in them, so this notification may be all the reminder they need to schedule their next appointment.

Email marketing should work for most medical practices. Of course, it requires buy-in from your patients, so you may decide it’s not worth the effort and opt for a wider strategy like SEO. Just remember that emails are one of the better converting digital marketing tactics if you can get it to work.

Video Content

Video content generally keeps people’s attention more than text. Incorporating a video content strategy into your digital marketing campaign can help improve how long someone stays on your page and on your social media accounts.

Over the years, people have turned more and more to video content over text for information. As such, you may want to include videos alongside your written content for your medical practice’s website. Not only does this typically improve time on page and reduce the chance someone quickly leaves your site, it also gives you an opportunity to expand your reach.

YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world right behind Google. Uploading videos to a YouTube channel gives you a chance at driving traffic from another source back to your site. What’s more, you can use the videos from your channel on your own pages to present the information in 2 formats for the benefit of anyone visiting your site.

Even better, you can produce short-form videos for your social media accounts to align all channels with the goal of driving traffic and new patients to your practice.

Local Directories & Citations Can Drive Patient Traffic as Well

You want to ensure your medical practice gets listed on reputable directories like Healthgrades and Zocdoc. Ideally, you’ll want any directory you use to include a link back to your practice’s website. However, if you can’t link to your site, simply being present on as many reputable sites as possible will help your credibility and visibility for potential patients.

The main benefits of maintaining listings on major and local directories for your medical practice is building trust and visibility.

First off, people want to vet their options for their medical care. Usually, this means searching for things like “doctors near me” or “best family practice in [location]” in Google and checking directory like Yellow Pages, Yelp, or any of the more medically-focused sites for reviews on their options. If you’re not using these sites, your practice loses out on avenues allowing your patients to do part of the work for you through extolling your services.

What’s more, outside of trust, you want to increase visibility for your practice through these. Even if someone isn’t looking for a doctor right now, simply identifying medical practices in their area, getting your practice’s name in front of these people helps in simply putting you in their mind.

Ideally, you’ll include a link back to your website. Google uses links as votes of confidence in the linked site and also helps in cementing the information for your site. This includes your practice’s name, contact information, and address.

Essentially, you want to include your medical practice in as many reputable directories as possible for improving visibility and generating reviews so potential patients can find you.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Pay-Per-Click or PPC are the paid ads you see at the top of Google’s results page. These often get visited the most since they’re usually the first thing people see when using Google. The best part is you can target specific search queries relating to your medical practice in your campaigns.

The major benefit of running PPC campaigns for your medical practice is the ability to target specific queries. Typically, these include keywords around your practice’s name, location, and services. So, if you’re a family doctor in Philadelphia, you may run campaigns around “family doctor in philadelphia,” “philadelphia family medicine,” and your practice’s name among many, many others.

Basically, you want to ensure your ads get placed above your competitors to stand at the very top of Google’s search results page.

Of course, the downside is the continuous funneling of funds to keep your PPC ads campaigns running. Your ads will stop running if you stop allocating money into them. So, you’ll need to ensure you maintain a steady budget to keep your practice’s PPC ads running.

Ideally, this won’t be an issue as you generate more business and can even put more into your ads.

Other Activities in which You Can Engage Online to Help Market Your Medical Practice

Aside from the main avenues of digital marketing, you have a few other options for extending the reach of your medical practice online. These are good supplemental methods to use alongside your marketing efforts.

  • Answer questions on question-based websites
  • Write content for other websites
  • Sponsor community events and engage in announcements

Answer Questions

Sites like Quora give you an opportunity to further establish your expertise in your respective field of practice.

People often have questions about their health. If you make an account on question-answer sites, you can answer these questions to help people while also getting your and your practice’s name in front of more people. Answering queries in this way demonstrates your knowledge and expertise and also helps in connecting more directly with potential patients.

Write for Other Websites

You typically want to keep your best content for your own site. That said, writing articles for other websites can drive traffic you otherwise wouldn’t. Essentially, you can drive traffic through a link back to your site from a different site.

Ideally, you’ll want these articles to rank for their respective topics so they increase the chances of someone clicking through to your website as well. So, you shouldn’t deliberately put less effort into them, but you shouldn’t prioritize them over your own site’s content.

Community Sponsorships

You may also want to consider sponsoring local events. People want to know their family doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals are actually part of their community. Not only is this a good way to get your practice’s name in front of more people but it also gives you an opportunity to interact with them and build relationships.

What’s more, once an event starts advertising on their own, you can interact with them through social media. This further spreads visibility for your practice and gives you yet another opportunity to interact with the people in and around your community.

All of this leads to developing trust with potential patients which then means they may choose your practice over your competitors.

Finding a Digital Marketing Agency for Your Medical Practice

Of course, this is a lot to manage while also running your medical practice. Scheduling appointments, seeing patients, managing payments; digital marketing is just yet another thing to handle on top of everything else.

Finding a digital marketing agency to handle that aspect of your business means less work for you while you handle everything else. Different agencies provide different services, so you’ll want to pick the one with a proven track record for the avenues you feel will help your business the most.

SEO and PPC are generally a fantastic place to start marketing your medical practice online. If you want to talk with a digital marketer to get started or improve your current efforts, schedule a call with Sagapixel.

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