Healthcare Digital Marketing

Tackle Healthcare Pay-Per-Click Conversions through Digital Marketing

Beat the Healthcare PPC Wormhole

Digital marketing in the healthcare industry is crucial in a time where 1 out of every 20 google searches are health related, but running a successful pay-per-click (PPC) campaign is challenging. Without advanced techniques, health care companies will waste their money on ad space by failing to get seen.

Digital marketing for hospitals is specifically challenging. Below we have outlined exactly why your hospital may be struggling in the PPC department, and listed a number of tactics to help you beat the PPC healthcare wormhole.

(Are your hospital’s digital ads being blocked? Get around ad blocking today.)

Digital Marketing For Hospitals: Challenges

There are a number of reasons why digital marketing for hospitals using PPC poses challenges:

  1. Medical information is sensitive: You have to be careful with your ad word choices with strict HIPAA privacy laws in place.
  2. Retargeting: a recent adjustment of Google’s policies prohibits health care facilities from remarketing themselves.
  3. Competition: Because of the above retargeting restrictions, staying visible on search engine result pages (SERPs) is incredible important, but keywords are highly competitive (and expensive).
  4. Knowledge Graphs: In an effort to provide more correct medical information, and panicked patients, google has implemented knowledge graphs (certified medical information) that takes over the right hand side of SERPs.

All of that considered, there must be a way to effectively use digital marketing for hospitals with PPC.

Contact Information

Is your contact information readily available for other businesses and patients to view? Check, check, and check again! This is critical for your PPC plan. A patient searching for hospital care digitally is most likely in need of services sooner than later. Having your contact information positioned clearly can set you apart from competitors. Be sure to set up call extensions, location extensions and sitelink extensions to your ad. This makes for a larger ad, and is known to contribute to higher rankings on SERPs.

Contact information is the number one way to gain conversions, so place it on every landing page. If it’s hard to find your phone number, and easy to find a competitors, you will most likely lose a potential patient.

Mobile Marketing

Going mobile is imperative. If contact information is a key factor for a PPC strategy, so is going mobile. Contact information involves communication, and if you need fast contact, you have to call. Using your phone to find and contact a hospital makes it simpler. If your hospital is mobile, a potential patient simply needs to click the number that pops up on the Google page to call you.

Be sure you are tracking your Adwords performance by specific devices. Pay close attention to what mobile campaigns are and are not working. Make your bid adjustments accordingly.

Know Yourself

Finally, understand your target audience. Determine what your patients are searching for the most. There are many types of patients to consider for a hospital. Are your patients generally looking for urgent, emergency care? Are they searching hospital options knowing they will be in for a long term stay? Do your patients even know what they are looking for at all?

Step into the patient’s shoes and consider what you would search for if you were them. Think of triggers that grab their attention that you can then incorporate into the text of your PPC ads. Knowing what sets you apart from your competitors helps you create a PPC campaign that stands out

Interested in learning more about using PPC for your hospital’s digital marketing strategies? We specialize in using dedicated PPC campaigns to boost results for hospitals looking to gain an edge in the paid digital space. Contact us today.

Healthcare Marketing: Do You Know Where Your Hospital’s Digital Ads Are?

Many web ads bought through digital ad exchanges are appearing to no one and some are even appearing on sites with objectionable content.

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Those digital ad exchanges appear to be a great deal.  You provide the information concerning whom you want to reach and they’ll take your digital ad and place it across a wide range of websites that will deliver the audience you are seeking.  You provide the ad and they do all the work.

But now research is indicating that your ads are not appearing where you might think or even want your ads to appear.  Comscore  conducted research to see where digital ads are actually appearing and the results were alarming.  The research was conducted on behalf of twelve major brands including Ford and Kellogg.  The results reported by Jeff Roberts in paidcontent.org indicated as much as 31% of the 1.8 billion ad impressions purchased by these companies were not seen at all.  The ads were shown to non-humans – bots or spiders that induce a web page to display an ad.

In addition, 72% of all their ad campaigns resulted in brands having their ads placed next to questionable content.  Sites dedicated to pornography, piracy or malware.

This is not to say all digital ad exchanges are bad.  It’s just to point out there are risks involved in placing digital ads across multiple sites with ad exchanges.  Unlike radio, TV or print advertising, with digital advertising it’s hard to know exactly where your online ad appears.

For healthcare marketers, it’s safer to stay with purchasing ads on high-traffic local sites, like the local newspaper or television websites.   But even these local media companies are now partnering with ad exchanges to offer behavior-based buys across a wide range of websites.  So we must be careful and understand as much as possible about where our ads will actually appear.

It’s all part of the development and evolution of digital advertising.  There’s a lot of big numbers thrown out, even by reputable local digital sites.  But sometimes it’s difficult to have great confidence in some of those numbers and in the way they are presented by ad reps.   As the digital advertising industry develops, hopefully more precise and reliable results will be provided which will increase our level of confidence in online advertising.  In the meantime, we must be as careful, and as thoughtful as possible, in evaluating digital advertising options to make sure our ads are actually being seen by human beings and within a context that’s appropriate and suitable for our healthcare messages.  

Healthcare Marketing: Improve Your Hospital’s Search Rankings

Improve your hospital’s search rankings by improving your hospital’s website content and navigation. 104011192

Below is an article by Marty Reardon that appeared in MarketingProfs that gives very sound advice on how to improve both your SEO ranking and your website experience.  There are ten very helpful pieces of advice that healthcare marketers can use to improve their hospital’s website.

10 SEO Tips to Improve Your Search Rankings–and Your Website

SEO, when done well—with quality in mind—doesn’t just help increase your search rankings; it also improves your entire website from the viewpoint of search engines as well as your visitors. And that, rather than a cheap shot at fooling search engine algorithms, should be the ultimate aim of your SEO campaign.

So here are 10 tips that won’t just knock you up a few places in search results pages for a couple of months; rather, they’ll help turn a visit to your website into a better experience and help your site to naturally grow in popularity.

Tip 1: Create incredible content

The most important aspect of your website—and the most important part of all your optimization efforts—is your content. You can’t get around that fact in the long run, even with the best of SEO tricks. And why would you want to? You can fool the search bots for a while (and less and less with every passing year), but if your content is of low quality, nobody is going to visit your website or share with the world what you’re offering. 
 
Good content, on the other hand, will be eventually be widely read and widely shared by others, often on their own websites, creating excellent link-building opportunities for your website (see Tip No. 5).

Your site’s content must be well written, informative, as unique as possible, and free of excessive keyword use intended solely to garner search spider attention. If your content is genuinely informative and written for the niche it’s serving, it will already have the keywords you need.

Update your content frequently to focus on the latest information in you niche.

Tip 2: Pick a comfortable niche

Your blog or website can deal with extremely general subjects, but that will make your work a lot harder. General-interest websites have to deal with stiff competition from some very powerful and well established players.

Sticking to a niche, on the other hand, limits your audience but also limits your competition. You can write more authoritatively on your subject, and you can more easily generate a reputation for reliability among a much smaller but more loyal circle of readers.

The important thing is to research the keywords that are most searched for in your niche and use them wisely in your Web pages. You should also keep well abreast of new developments in the field.

Tip 3: Carefully research keywords

We’ve noted the danger of using too many keywords, but that does not mean you have to deliberately stop using them; on the contrary, keywords are still vital for SEO.

Compile a well-researched list of the most commonly searched for keywords and phrases in your niche by using tools such as Google’s Keyword Tool; once you’ve got them sorted out, scatter them strategically throughout your content, your headlines, and your sub-headers. Just make sure you don’t overdo it by using them to the point that text flow seems unnatural.

Tip 4: Stick to SEO-friendly URLs

You should also optimize all of your website’s pages at a basic level. Start by ensuring that every page of your website has a distinct and SEO-friendly URL that describes what the page is about in a few words. For example, if you have a page about cooking steak, instead of <www.myawesomesite.com/tips/item4?=45756>, convert your URL into something like <www.myawesomesite.com/tips/grilling-the-best-steak>. That is much more search engine friendly.

Tip 5: Use tags and meta descriptions

You should create concisely informative meta descriptions of all your Web pages with the keywords for that page appearing in the description; you’ll have 150-160 characters to fill. These meta descriptions are likely not use by Google any more for ranking, but they’re useful in attracting attention from human readers in the search results page, so use them anyway.

Also include title tags for every important page of your site. These need to fit within 70 characters and should offer very quick descriptions of the individual pages they represent with at least one or two page relevant keywords within them. Make these friendly to human readers, don’t just list keywords.

Tip 6: Don’t forget image attributes

You likely have content-relevant images on your website or blog; those images offer an excellent SEO boosting opportunity thanks to image search features on Google and other engines. However, search spiders can’t analyze images well if related text is not included—though they do consider the name of the image file (e.g., “cavalier-king-charles-puppy.jpg” is better than “sidebar-image.jpg”).

Therefore, you need to create brief HTML description tags for each image you post amid your website content. These tags should consist of a quick description of what the image is of or what it relates to in your content.

Tip 7: Build internal links

Internal link-building is an on-site SEO tactic that consists of creating a well-organized and thorough link structure among your own website’s pages. In other words, as many pages as possible should be connected to each other in a hierarchical or web-like connections of in-page, text-based hyperlinks.

Pay particular attention to creating connections between your main pages and your homepage; do so via menu objects or by placing the links right into your on-page content.

Another helpful internal link-building feature is a sitemap, which has the benefit of also helping search spiders index your site better and faster.

Tip 8: Build external links

External link building is a different animal: You need to encourage the creation of backlinks to your site from other websites; that is, links on other sites lead back to relevant content on your own website pages.

If you want to build external links successfully and without resorting to black hat tactics, you’re going to have to dedicate a lot of time to posting links to social sites, finding guest post opportunities that allow you to publish links back to your website, leaving plenty of informative guest comments on other websites in your niche, and syndicating your RSS feed (if you have one).

(Try to ensure that those links are not “nofollow.” Links with a nofollow attribute are ignored by search spiders as a valid backlink in the sense that your site doesn’t receive “credibility points” from the search engines. You can still get visitors as a result of those links, however, because people will click on them and end up on your site.)

The process of building backlinks is slow, but it eventually pays off to create some really good SEO.

Tip 9: Enable social media sharing

Enable as many social media sharing options on your website as you can. Install buttons for all the major social sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and others on every important page of your website. With these buttons, your readers can spread the word about the valuable and interesting content you have to offer; eventually that content can find its way to other websites and so lead to some quality backlinks.

Tip 10: Avoid using Flash and images as text

The search spiders that index websites read only text on websites and are, for the most part, incapable of analyzing Flash or image files. So, in general, stay away from both as content mediums. Do not use Flash-based site navigation tools and stay away from creating content text that is in image form.

In the case of Flash navigation, the search bot won’t be able to click through to index the pages the flash navigation links to, leaving parts of your website without indexing. In the case of image-based text, any useful information and keywords you put there will be invisible to the search engine.

Stick to site browsing code like jQuery or CSS and create purely text-based written content.

Healthcare Marketing: TMI Volume? No.

Research shows that consumers think the amount of information available to them from the plethora of choices is considered just right.

It’s truly the Age of Information.  Information abounds everywhere, from so many sources and in so many formats.  We’ve never been bombarded with as much information as we are today.  And many have suggested the “always on” media environment has overwhelmed audiences and is creating antisocial social media addicts.

In addition to the almost unlimited amount of information available online, there are now an average of 72 hours of video uploaded every minute on YouTube, over 340 million tweets per day on Twitter and over 50 million blogs on Tumblr.  It would be easy to assume consumers are just overwhelmed by all the seemingly limitless amounts of information that is now available.

Bianca Bosker, writing for The Huffington Post cited research conducted by the University of Michigan from 7 focus groups to determine the consumer’s psyche and ability to adapt to the barrage of information that hits them each day.

Surprisingly, the study found the participants felt empowered and enthusiastic about the volume of information available at their fingertips, rather than overloaded.   Only about 13% felt a sense of overload and that came most commonly from people who had elementary internet skills. .  However the participants did not provide a strong endorsement for Facebook and Twitter stating the quality of information, not quantity on these sites could be a turnoff.

Published in the journal “The Information Society”  the research indicated, rather than being overburdened, the participants enjoyed the range of information available online.

Here are some other findings from the study

  • Television is still the most popular media source followed by websites.
  • However they were frustrated with the sensationalism of TV
  • Many preferred getting news from online bloggers rather than news anchors
  • Over a quarter of the participants had some negative feelings about social media
  • Many are annoyed by what they consider as the minutia of people’s lives fed to them through Facebook and Twitter

For healthcare marketers, it’s good to know consumers want information.  They are seeking information to make their lives better.  If we provide information that’s useful and helpful and consumers will welcome it.  In fact, they expect it.  However we must be careful not to annoy them with information that’s considered trivial or self-serving.

Healthcare Marketing: Media Consumption has Shifted in Politics too!

For the two political conventions TV viewership was down and social media usage was up.

The recently completed Republican and Democratic political conventions revealed the dramatic changes occurring in media usage.   Television viewership plunged, depending on the night, from 25-40% from 2008.  And according to Nielsen the television audience was decisively older with very low number for viewers 18-34.  There were ten times more viewers 55 or older than 18-34.

But on the other hand, social networks and online saw a dramatic increase from the conventions just four years ago.  Several news organizations offered live streaming feeds online and both parities saw significant traffic on their respective YouTube channels.   The two conventions have also been one of the most talked about events of the year on Facebook.  But even there, the audience trended older.  Twitter was perhaps the biggest winner among social media options.  Where information is shared in increments of 140 words or less, Twitter only registered 365,000 tweets between the two conventions in 2008.  But this year the Republican convention alone drew 5 million tweets.  About 14,300 a minute during Romney’s acceptance speech, according to Beth Fouhy of the Associated Press.

These numbers just confirm what is obvious.  Media consumption is dramatically changing.  Now consumers are not tied to their living rooms and a TV set for news and information.  With laptops, tablets and smartphones, consumers can gather information wherever they are.  On demand.  Media consumption occurs anyplace online access is available.  And the information is often gathered by consumers in small increments of time and bits of information and not necessarily long format like a 3-4 hour convention coverage on television.

For healthcare marketers, it doesn’t tell us that traditional media is no longer effective, but that we must consider and explore other non-traditional mediums to be relevant and reach a broader audience.  And that is especially true if we want to reach the younger audience.  Only a few healthcare organizations have a marketing staff large enough to have a presence everywhere but every organization should be active in one or two.  Choose the one(s) that could be most effective for your brand and for which you can develop a good competency and consistent use and go for it. 

We might not have learned much from watching and listening to the conventions on whatever medium we used to consume them, but one thing we did confirm is that consumer media consumption is indeed shifting.  And we must embrace it.