The ABC’s of Digital Marketing

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By: David P. Schmiege
By: David P. Schmiege

Over the past ten years, a prominent Internet presence has become one of the most effective tools available to medical practices specializing in vein care to get their name in front of consumers seeking a provider for vein care treatments. Not only has digital marketing become an important resource, it has also dramatically changed the marketing landscape, quickly replacing print ads and direct mail. Understanding digital marketing is fundamental to taking advantage of the many possibilities available on the Internet to capture the attention of consumers seeking vein care treatment and to build name recognition for yourself and your medical practice.

Looking back, the Internet started primarily as a source of information. In 2015, the Internet is a driving force in commerce. Patients seeking medical care for various ailments can now sit down at a computer, tablet or smart phone in the privacy of their own home and research physicians and medical practices. In fact, chances are good they might look at a variety of sites rating physicians. Physicians are learning quickly that patients are showing up for their initial appointments well versed in treatment options available to them, as well as armed with information relating to the physician’s clinical training and online reputation. With the information age, patients are often hungry for information and anxious to make an informed decision. Easily available patient information is no longer something nice to have – it is expected. Consumers now expect more, demand more, and they will find the clinical information that they need.

To maximize your potential and really achieve success, your digital marketing campaign has to be holistic and integrate all types of digital marketing. An integrated marketing campaign will allow you to tap into all areas of the digital sphere. From organic searches to social networks, a well-integrated marketing campaign will result in higher traffic, increased brand awareness, customer loyalty and more! 

If you’re looking to succeed in this digital era, it’s time to integrate your marketing efforts. Develop and implement a strategic campaign that works symbiotically with your other marketing initiatives to achieve your goals. Following is a description of all facets of digital marketing.  


 

SEO 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important tool to help your vein practice be found by search engines on the Internet. SEO campaigns are important to help you develop an online presence.  Web developers use a term called “organic growth”. In other words, you want your site to claim a top position on the first page through link building, not a paid position. When your web site or online content is found on page one by using content containing relevant keywords, you are claiming valuable online positioning. Not only does organic growth allow you to attract more traffic with a solid top position on search engine results pages (SERPs), it also means that you don’t have to rely solely on pay-per-click marketing campaigns to be found easily online.  By actively combining SEO efforts to increase search engine rankings with your other online marketing initiatives, you will gain visibility and maintain consistency in your marketing message.

SEO campaigns will need to be ongoing and continuously refined. Keyword research of your competitors and monitoring of your search engine rankings will help identify what needs to be done next to optimize your web site and online content for better placement on search engines. By developing online content utilizing vein specific keywords, to social media and relevant blog posts, SEO is your long-term strategy for maintaining long-term visibility on search engines.  SEO requires continuous effort and dedication or you may see your rankings plummet over time.

 

PPC

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a preferred strategy to increase traffic to your website while you build your SEO rankings organically. A pay-per-click marketing campaign allows you to focus your online marketing efforts to your desired audience. Strategically designed pay-per-click campaigns utilizing vein-specific keywords (varicose veins, spider veins, restless legs, deep vein thrombosis, etc.) will put your practice in front of patients seeking immediate vein care treatments. Using optimized landing pages with content that is highly related to vein disease search terms, you will increase your chances of turning visitors into patients.

 

Social Media 


Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) is perhaps the newest tool available in online marketing.  In fact, most medical practices are uncertain about social media and its impact in medical marketing. Social Media is not a promising way to achieve more patient consultations or more traffic, but it has a major impact on your overall online visibility and your ability to reach new patients and connect online.  
In recognition of the growing importance of social media, Google updated its ranking algorithm in 2012 to include social signals.  This means that the more active your practice is on social media platforms, the better page rank your website will have in organic search.  

When it comes to creating your social media strategy, it’s important to embrace the various platforms and still keep your focus around your brand and overall goals.

 

Email Marketing

Email marketing is an undervalued tool when it comes to online marketing to existing patients of your practice. A regularly scheduled email newsletter targeting patients and/or referral physicians will alert centers of influence about new vein treatments or specials, community events, staff promotions or clinical recognitions. 

Keeping in touch with your patients and referral physicians is made easy through email marketing. From offering helpful advice or new information, email marketing can be an effective patient communication portal. By offering valuable information, you can keep your practice at the forefront for repeat patient visits while giving you an instant uptick in website traffic.

 

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the process of creating valuable, relevant content for the purpose of building your authority online.  By writing and posting relevant content through various online initiatives, you effectively strengthen practice branding and increase overall brand awareness.  This is crucial to establishing your vein practice as an authority in your service area and your physician(s) as clinical experts in vein disease.  

Clinical case studies, blogs, newsletters, physician video introductions and patient video testimonials are just a few of the various content marketing strategies that can engage and attract potential patients, as well as help maintain your current patient and referral physician relationships by increasing respect and loyalty for your practice.  Content is a driving force behind the Internet and social media. The more content that you can develop and post online, the more visibility and authority you can build for your vein practice.

 

Mobile Marketing

Smartphone users account for approximately 55% to 60% of all mobile web visitors.  The number of mobile web users is expected to surpass the 1.8 billion mark during 2015. With statistics like this, it’s hard to ignore the growing importance of mobile marketing. As mobile technology becomes more sophisticated and the number of smartphone users grows, it’s crucial for your vein practice to create and maintain a mobile marketing presence. Equipped with a mobile website, you can improve user experience for better overall interactions.  You can even go further and integrate your other marketing campaigns to your mobile presence, such as targeting your pay-per-click campaigns to mobile devices. 

Mobile technology is here to stay.  Not integrating a mobile strategy into your overall marketing scheme would be a huge missed opportunity that leads to declining overall visibility and market share.  


 

Analytics

One of the most important Internet tools for any business owner is web analytics. Regardless of what your 2015 marketing plan includes, web analytics offers a wealth of marketing intelligence that can help guide your overall marketing efforts.  
Web analytics can provide you with raw data that can help you understand visitors’ behavior to help you fine-tune your website and campaigns for maximum ROI.  Whether it’s a pay-per-click campaign, a new vein treatment or the announcement of a new practice location, analytics can provide you with valuable data to help you make intelligent decisions about your marketing strategy.  Recent updates in analytics means even more data to digest for a comprehensive view of your online presence and strength. 

Analytics provides you with insights regarding web traffic origin and sources, visitor behavior, visitor interest, engagement and much more.  It’s also an unbiased way to grade your marketing efforts.  This collection of valuable data gives you the competitive edge and is the best tool to drive the decision-making process for maximum results.  Recent updates to analytics have resulted in added sophistication and are a clear sign of the growing importance of analytics in marketing decisions. 

Analytics is the brain for any digital marketing strategy.  Understanding and using this information actively can result in maximum results.

 

Summary

An integrated approach to Internet marketing is the most intelligent way to achieve success for your medical practice.  Creating a holistic marketing strategy that includes SEO, pay-per-click, social media, email marketing, content marketing, mobile marketing and content analytics is the most efficient way to structure and drive your 2015 online marketing efforts.  

An integrated online marketing strategy is also the simplest way to maximize the impact of all of your marketing efforts.  By having each and every different marketing initiative deliver a cohesive message, you gain from the added visibility on multiple channels, growth in authority and overall reach both on and off the web. Intelligent marketing begins not with one single idea but many ideas working together to produce the desired results.  Likewise, a cohesive integrated marketing approach to digital marketing can make every moving part of your marketing campaign more successful.  Keeping up with the latest trends and understanding the various roles different marketing tools play is essential for staying atop of the game and ahead of your competitors. 

When planned correctly and skillfully, a comprehensive digital marketing strategy will have an exponential impact on your marketing and business goals.

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