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A successful medical marketing campaign begins with a purpose and ends with a new patient (or two). The process between these two points can be confusing, especially with the move from conventional marketing to Internet marketing. With Internet marketing, businesses deliver promotional messages to potential buyers through the Internet.

The healthcare industry no longer has the option to participate in Internet marketing; it has become a necessity for survival. Patients are using the Internet not only for healthcare research; they are using it to find a doctor and to schedule appointments.

Here are five ways to help you increase patients by using this important marketing strategy.

1)   Responsive Website – Your website is an extension of your practice. It is often the first thing prospective patients see and you have approximately 5 seconds to wow them. Approximately one-third of patients use mobile devices for healthcare research. If a prospective patient has a difficult time viewing your content, they are likely to bounce off and visit a site that is easier to read and navigate on a mobile device.

Responsive websites are designed to provide visitors with an optimal viewing experience. The content on the screen adapts in size based upon the type of device the visitor is using. No more pinch to zoom! Unresponsive websites are quickly becoming obsolete. Don’t let your website hold you back from acquiring new patients.

2)   Optimized Content – Not only should your website be aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate, it should also have well-written, optimized content. The content on each page is what search engines use to match searches with results. Make sure that you are using targeted keywords that are relevant to your industry on each of your website pages.

3)   Blog – Blogs have become a foundational element to a successful marketing strategy. Each blog post is a new web page that can be found by search engines. According to Hubspot, 92% of companies acquired a customer through their blog. Blogging is not just about sharing information. It is about creating original written content that resonates with a target audience and generates engagement. Engagement is what helps a business grow.

4)   Search Engine Optimization – The healthcare industry has quickly become a competitive marketplace for web searches. Getting found online comes down to having the content that most closely matches the search. The lucky sites that show up on the first page have the best chances of being viewed. In fact, 75% of users never scroll past the first page of results. If your competition has a better optimized website, they will appear higher on search engine results, edging you out.

The keywords used in your content directly affect your ability to rank well for searches. It is necessary to research keywords that are relevant to your industry and use them in all of your website content, social media posts as well as your blog.

5)   Visual Content – Visual content in the form of videos, infographics, and pictures outperform text-based content. For many, it is more enticing to watch a one or two minute video than read. One study found that the retention rate of visual content can reach 65% versus 10% for text. In order to engage your audience, it is necessary to include dynamic visual content on your website and social media channels. Extend your reach even further by sharing this content with your contacts through your email marketing efforts.

Understanding today’s patients and their needs will help you better position your practice for growth. By implementing these five tips, you increase your exposure and digital thumbprint, resulting in new leads and patients.