How can a small medical practice compete with a larger practice or consortium when it comes to healthcare marketing? It’s easy to feel that the marketing budget of a smaller practice won’t stretch to any real investment in digital marketing. In fact, the internet levels the playing field. Small practices can look just as legit as larger ones — and get a chance to spotlight their benefits, too.
SEO has the best ROI of any marketing tactic, so leave the billboards to the bigger players and follow these 5 top tips for SEO for small practices.
- Focus on SEO. SEO has lower costs than cable spots and better ROI than any other strategy — but it takes time. With a smaller marketing budget, you might be tempted to try out different options. Realistically, effective SEO requires steady effort. Spend a few weeks working on SEO, switch to cable TV for a couple of months, pick up your SEO efforts for a few days, go with print ads for the holidays… you are likely to end up with disappointing results. Instead, work out an effective SEO strategy and commit to it for six months. You’ll see increases in traffic and rankings.
- Figure out where you are now. A technical SEO audit and a deep dive into your web analytics will tell you where your website is now from the standpoint of SEO. Use the information to see what works and what’s not working that well. You’ll be ready to set some goals and metrics for your SEO campaign.
- Optimize your website content. Before you start working on anything else, make sure that your practice website is optimized for search. That means that you’re communicating well with the search engines and appealing to your human visitors as well. Know who your potential patients are. Know the keywords they use to search for what you have to offer. Make sure that you have answers for their questions. And keep in mind the special characteristics that make SEO for doctors different. You’ll probably want an SEO professional for this step.
- Add fresh content regularly. A blog is usually the most practical way to keep fresh content coming, even if you don’t call it a blog. Search engines love fresh, valuable content, and so do your human visitors. High quality blogging is the single best thing you can do for your website’s SEO. Be realistic about this — you probably can’t do this cost-effectively in-house. Budget for professional web content.
- Promote your content. Fairly soon, you’ll find that your website is bringing in visitors mostly through organic search. Until then, social media and emails to your patients with links they can click will help established patients to get into the habit of visiting your website. This will also encourage people to share your posts and bring new visitors. You might be able to do this in-house; if not, invest in a good social media management service.
This is an efficient, cost-effective way to get the power of SEO working for you. Once you gain some momentum, your hard work will pay off. The screenshot below shows traffic growth for a website. Note that things started off slowly, but resulted in real growth. This website followed the basic plan outlined above.
Small practices may be tempted to try to do all these things in-house, even though your staff is probably pretty busy already. If you decide to go this route, start with an SEO strategy document to give your team a blueprint to follow. Otherwise, you’re likely to end up with a scattershot approach that won’t give you the results you want.