For a number of years medical professionals resisted the idea of advertising for physicians. As little as ten years ago professional publications often reported surveys in which the majority of doctors felt it diminished the public’s perception of physicians and was generally unnecessary.
With the advent of inbound internet marketing, doctors are now realizing that advertising for physicians doesn’t require having the look or feel of a used car lot. Professionally designed medical web sites and blogs accomplish the goal of effective advertising without assaulting the senses of potential patients. In fact, inbound internet marketing is generally perceived as a service rather than attempt to sell anything.
Here are a few basic reminders when planning your inbound marketing strategy:
Remember the Power of Well Placed Words
Graphics and web site designers can have the tendency to become enamored with their toys. They would do well to learn some lessons from movie sequels that wowed audiences with new high-end 3-D film techniques but failed to match the depth and power of their predecessors. Eye-catching graphics are important but nothing drives people to your web site or blog like consistently good content!
Remember, the reason inbound marketing works is because you have what people are already seeking. But once you are found, there are also a million reasons for them to quickly leave your site and find a source with more meaningful information. The cure for losing followers is to have relevant and fresh content.
The truth is that less than one percent of all the sites in the blogosphere account for over 98% of all visitors on the Internet. Content that is poorly written, difficult to navigate and appears dated will quickly send those hard earned visitors seeking the information they desire somewhere else. And, once lost, they may never return.
Turn New Followers into Social Network Evangelists
The simple addition of highly visible and easy to use social network buttons will multiply your efforts in creating great content exponentially. Free services like AddThis enable you to quickly see the value of adding these buttons to your blog or web site. If you provide good content and give people an easy way to share it with others, they will. AddThis and other free services like it allow you to see the “viral lift” given to your content by Tweets, Facebook Likes and other social media channels.
Along with this comes the need to create content that gives other sites out there something to link to. Take the time to become a part of the broader medical internet community. Leave comments at other sites. Become a follower of professional blogs. Join or create a group at LinkedIn. All of these provide avenues for others to point back to your content.
But it’s Still Advertising!
Of course it is. And so is putting a sign on your medical practice so people know they found the right place or putting your phone number in the yellows pages so they can call for a consultation or appointment. But, inbound marketing is so much more than either of those. With a sign or phone number you are asking potential clients to choose you without knowing much at all about you. When content becomes your front line of advertising you are given the opportunity to tell the story of your practice in a much more intimate and in-depth way than ever before.