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There may always be a need for printed materials such as practice capabilities brochures and patient information sheets. In some small, rural markets across America and in certain health specialties, there is still a place for Yellow Pages ads, too. There are still places in America where people don’t own or use computers. But the greatest potential for new marketing opportunities today is on the Internet.
Over 110 million Americans routinely search the Internet for all kinds of health information, services and support. To reach your share of this enormous audience, you need an effective Internet presence. Your first basic necessity is a well developed and designed functional website that communicates your unique brand, benefits and services to healthcare consumers. Your website should be easy to navigate, easy to use, easy on the eyes and sufficiently interactive to engage visitors.
Your second basic necessity is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Without good SEO, your website will languish in obscurity, unnoticed by the people you most want to reach. Invest in good SEO and your rewards will be worth every penny.
Beyond your basic online marketing necessities
Once you have an effective website and good SEO, you should consider tactics that will make your site “sticky” or hard to leave. Offer visitors some variety with an interactive e-brochure they can marvel at and download, an e-video (think YouTube) they can learn from or a blog they can add their own comments to. Add social networking links and more interactivity through FaceBook, YouTube and Twitter.
Can’t find expert healthcare online marketing help in you area? Maybe Practice Builders can help.
Is your practice in a position to flourish when the economy returns to health? Your answer will depend on your marketing efforts during the downturn and the strategies you’ve put in place to help you grow and prosper during the recovery.
During difficult economic times, many practices are either forced to cut their marketing budgets, or do so by conscious choice. But this puts you in a difficult position because you may lose market share or have to make up the difference as the economy improves.
The important question is whether your practice will be able to prosper when the economy begins to grow again – as it ALWAYS does after a downturn. Your success will depend on your marketing tactics and strategies – what you have done during the downturn and what you have put in place to win new patients and referrers during the recovery.
Your success will depend on your timing, too. Now is the time to establish your marketing plan for recovery – brand your practice, formulate strategies and tactics, make media choices and justify your investment—so you are ready to enhance your strategic marketing plan when you have more marketing funds to invest.
Keep in mind that you will not likely be able to return to your old ways of marketing. Your patients and referral sources are much more likely to look online first for new services and providers. Today, the demand for marketing accountability and measurement is stronger than ever. The days of guessing how your marketing is doing are long gone.
The wisest course of action – particularly if you are less than web savvy – is to partner with a marketing firm that, in addition to traditional marketing, understands Internet marketing and the value of newer trends such as social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.). They can help you choose the right mix of targeted online pro¬grams to complement your traditional marketing efforts, and they offer measurability, ROI information and evidence to support their marketing choices.
Enable your healthcare practice to emerge from the downturn in a strong position to win new patients and referral sources. Call 800.679.1262 today and ask how the experts at Practice Builders can help you and your practice market most effectively for the recovery
Results from Practice Builders’ June 2009 Economic Survey are now available, and you will find some revealing information on how you and your fellow practitioners are weathering the current economy. Plus, you’ll find comparisons to our March 2009 and December, August and April 2008 surveys that show how the landscape has changed.
Among the results you’ll find are:
1. Continued decrease in practitioners reporting “No change” in their practice during the recession
2. What your colleagues and competitors are doing to handle the recession
3. What percentage are increasing their marketing to compete
4. How many of your colleagues and competitors are closing their practices