Gone are the days when patients would ask a doctor for a referral and make a phone call to get their appointment set up. Now, patients head to Google to search for information on illnesses, providers, and healthcare organizations.
What does this mean? Your organization needs to consider how prospective patients want to access information online — and that involves so much more than setting up a website.
Only about 28% of healthcare organizations have a content strategy, but 66% of people online search for healthcare information.
Source: The New York Times
If you aren’t staying current with digital marketing for your healthcare organization, you may be missing out.
Patients expect educational articles, social media updates, and provider profiles from your content. It can be challenging to keep up with current healthcare marketing trends, but knowing a few marketing terms may help.
Here are 15 digital marketing terms to add to your vocabulary.
Reach Your Audience
Your content needs to reach audiences, and this can be done through posting your own strategic content or through patients sharing and creating content about your organization.
1. Earned Media
If a patient gives a great recommendation on Yelp or if the local newspaper highlights a new program your organization launched, you earned attention without extra work or money.
2. Shared Media
When someone shares your content, such as a blog article or Facebook post, to their friends or followers, it’s called shared media. It can gain you more views and, hopefully, more patients every time your content is shared.
Increase Your Exposure
It helps to know who your ideal audience is, where they look for information, and how they search for it.
3. Target Audience
Before you create content, you have to know which patients you want to reach — your target audience. Different target audiences need different types of content and platforms to access it. For example, retirees looking for diabetes management and college students wanting the same information may look for the content in very different places.
4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
People don’t always (and often don’t) land on your website pages by typing in the URL. Google, the most popular search engine, uses search engine optimization (SEO) to try to make an educated guess about what the user is trying to find when they type in a few words.
Keywords are the words and phrases you use in your content to ensure your target audiences see your content in their search results.
A free or paid keyword search tool can show you what keywords you should be using, and how high those keywords are ranking.
6. Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is when you overstuff your content with keywords to fill a made-up requirement. This is exactly what you don’t want to do when creating content. Natural writing, great titles, relevant content, and headings with keywords will reach your target audiences better than content unnaturally stuffed with keywords.
7. Content Strategy
Content strategy is a plan that identifies how you will use your content to reach your business goals. It lays out what already exists on your site, what should be created, and why. If you don’t have a content strategy, it’s like having all your bags packed, your car gassed up, and no GPS signal — a surefire way to not reach your destination.
8. Engagement Rate
The engagement rate tells you how much your audience is interacting with your content. For social media, this means they are sharing, commenting, or liking your content. With websites and other content, your audience may be booking appointments or leaving comments.
Use The Right Content Type
You can have great information, but if you don’t deliver it in an interesting way on the right platforms, your patients will never see it.
9. Visual Content
Visual content — such as infographics, videos, and pictures — rules in the online world. Many people read on their devices, which makes long form text-based information less effective than image-based content.
Visual content engages your audiences across all their devices and is helpful when they are short on time.
10. Video Content
Video content includes any kind of videos you include on your site. Some organizations create videos on platforms like TikTok or YouTube and then share them to their social media channels or simply upload videos directly to their website.
11. Interactive Content
Interactive content gets your patients to do something — take a quiz, read an e-book, or click on an interactive infographic, such as a map.
Measure Your Success
There’s only one way to know if your content strategy is a success: Do some measuring.
After you update your website or post social media content, you will want to see how well your content is performing by using your website or social media management tools. This is called analytics.
13. Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
A SERP is the page of results you’re given when you enter a search into Google. Google knows which results to display by looking for information on your website as well as your page URLs, images, and content. You’ll want to make sure your website is optimized so you show up in patients’ search results.
14. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The click-through rate tells you how many people selected the link they’ve seen. For example, if there’s a Facebook ad, the rate is determined by dividing how many people clicked on it by the number of people exposed to the ad.
15. Bounce Rate
Someone may click on your website or link, but if they hop off of it without doing anything else, you could end up with a high bounce rate. Analytics will tell you if patients are interacting with your webpage by clicking on a link to another article, taking a quiz, or making an appointment.
Digital marketing is always evolving — and so is its terminology. Just as you stay on top of marketing trends, do your best to keep up with new digital marketing terms that might impact the way you create and promote your healthcare content.