In the past, marketing a medical practice meant building up your website, then using a variety of other platforms to connect people back to your website: social media, ads, etc.
While all of these platforms can certainly still enhance your ability to market to patients, it’s becoming more important than ever to focus on building up your website and making it as strong as possible. You may not have complete control over what you can do with your ads on different platforms or how you can share information and interact with patients on social media. However, you do have a lot of control over what information you present on your website and how you present it.
Why It’s Difficult to Be on Every Platform
While there could be potential benefits to having a presence for your practice on all of the different online advertising and social media platforms out there, there are also a lot of potential drawbacks.
First, you have to consider costs. While social media profiles typically don’t cost any money, any ad campaigns that you run will cost you, whether it’s paid search ads, display ads, or sponsored social media posts. Online ad costs can vary depending on your location, competition, and how often you want the ads to run, but have the potential to get very expensive. Plus, the more that other practices run online ads, the more it will cost you to get prime placement for your ads.
Also, while social media platforms may not cost you money if your office handles the management of your social media, it will definitely cost you in time. It’s not enough to simply have a profile on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and post every now and then with a link over to your website. If you want to be successful with these platforms, you have to actually engage with your followers. It takes a considerable amount of time to not only plan effective posts that will keep your followers interested and engaged, but also follow up with all of the comments that you get. For this reason, we typically don’t recommend practices get on social media unless they have the time to put into it, or the budget to pay a marketing company to manage it for them.
The Case for Strengthening Your Website
The goal in having an effective online presence for your practice is to get in front of patients who are searching for a doctor online. Maybe you don’t have the staff or the budget to spread your marketing efforts out over all these different platforms. However, that doesn’t mean you should do nothing, either. If you only have the time or the budget to invest in one aspect of your marketing, you should invest in your website.
Whether free or paid, you have a limited amount of opportunities with other platforms, and you don’t have complete control over the experience. With your website, you do have control. You can customize the experience on your website to fit patient behaviors and meet their needs. If you aren’t getting as many appointments you would like from your website, you can keep making changes to your website until you are happy with the results. You have much more freedom to guide and improve the experience for patients than you do with other platforms.
Google has made a lot of changes over the years that have made it more difficult for medical practices to market themselves online. The local pack in search results has shrunk. Google is serving up more information in the search results, so in some cases people no longer have to click through to your website. While this may sound like it’s pointless to even try to keep your website up, hear us out.
Moz reported that in a study they did of Google’s local pack, 75% of the businesses listed also had websites ranking on the first page of organic search results. How do you get your practice’s website to the first page of organic search results? You continue to improve it over time by adding good, original content, improving the navigation experience, and keeping up with the latest technology standards.
Even though it has become increasingly difficult to get patients from search results to your website with all of the ads, local packs, review sites, and zero-click results, having a strong website increases your chances of showing up in those results.
Our goal here isn’t to discourage you from running online ads and setting up social media profiles for your practice if you really want to. However, before you invest your time and money into these efforts, it’s important to prioritize your website. There are a lot of outside factors that you can’t control when you market your practice, but you do have control over the information and experience you provide via your website. In an increasingly competitive online landscape, that can make all the difference.