Digital marketing is considered the most important marketing method currently. But what exactly does medical digital marketing mean? Does that mean, for example, that the dentist posts photos before and after on a Facebook photo album? Will an orthopedic surgeon share a video of a patient who has just recovered from a joint procedure? Or does it mean all of the above? Let’s take a look at the history, development, and rediscovery of medical digital marketing techniques in the 21st century.
1. The Past – A Brief History of the Development of Medical Marketing
In the old days, when healers opened a clinic, they would have hung a billboard that allowed passers-by to know that they were available for work, and thus city residents could book appointments with them.
With the invention and kind of spread of the typewriter, medical marketing entered a new era and evolved to include paper and photo posters, medical marketing entered another level when advertisements spread to doctors and medical service providers in newspapers and periodicals. The use of various advertising media continued to expand and evolve, and companies began installing billboards in highways, even as promotional material – including medical advertising content – was published on buildings.
With the spread of the radio, doctors and healthcare providers had access to tens of thousands of listeners at the same time, by attending live episodes or short commercial breaks. During the twentieth century, radio ads became more advanced, and many doctors wanted to reach audiences through radio broadcasting and this is one of the evolutionary forms of medical marketing.
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Finally, after the invention of television, the audience became able to hear the broadcast and watch it, so medical marketing, whether for the doctor himself or products such as pain relievers, was transformed during this period.
Then the Internet appeared
2. The Present – Evolution of Medical Marketing Online
The internet changed the prevailing scene of medical marketing, and then digital marketing entered clinics and hospitals, where some hospitals started creating simple websites and those sites used a mix of educational and visual content to inform the public about the health care services provided by doctors and healthcare providers.
Over the years, websites have become more sophisticated through digital marketing, thanks to the development of the medical marketing field. The small clinic can now compete with major hospitals and medical centers, as clinics start marketing with their websites as a center for all advertising activities, and there are many ways to obtain basic information about the patient through the doctor’s website or the medical center such as:
- Contact Forms: In simple fields, the patient completes some information such as name, age, email, and phone number. The shorter the form, the higher the patient’s response rate and registration.
- Designing responsive websites with mobile phone compatibility to enable the patient to get an ideal experience.
- Most medical marketing sites are well designed to provide easily accessible phone numbers either at the top or at the end of the page. The doctor or medical center must ensure that it is easy to respond to potential patients.
Websites are only a simple part of digital medical marketing, as some other methods such as organic search, paid search, landing pages, and presence on various social media provide ways to help complete a successful online presence, which is reflected in the frequency of patients visiting the clinic or medical center.
First: Organic Search
Organic search is important because it is the first and easiest way for a potential patient to find physicians online. This includes using keywords and phrases of specific density on the doctor or medical center’s website.
Second: Paid Search
With paid search, ads appear in a short, three-line box at the top of the page on the right-hand side of most web search pages. To better compete with hospitals and major centers, doctors publish clinic marketing campaigns with monthly budgets for paid search. Indeed, paid research is flexible and highly effective and can target specific age groups of men or women.
Read also: How Can Physicians Overcome the Strong Marketing Competition?
Third: Landing Page
When the doctor, medical center, or pharmacy launches a specific service or product, the institution responsible for medical marketing creates a landing page. Since this page is the place where potential patients go, visitors can read a summary of the service that they may have heard about in another advertising medium. The landing page contains minimal content and focuses on one offer which is the new service for easy visitor responsiveness with minimal distraction. Finally, the patient can fill in a form on the landing page with personal data and submit it.
Fourth: Effective Presence on Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media platforms are still in a continuous increase in the number of users, as the number of Facebook users reached one and a half billion in 2016. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are considered the most appropriate social media platforms in medical marketing and clinic marketing since it can be accessed via smartphones faster.
3. The Future of Digital Marketing for Physicians
What could happen next in medical digital marketing? The future of medical marketing in general and medical digital marketing, in particular, cannot be predicted, and we must adapt to the fast-paced digital world and use new technologies that have emerged recently such as direct broadcasting from the hospital or clinic in which the doctor addresses his patients, or publish 360 pictures of the hospital or clinic to introduce potential patients to the location.
Three obstacles stand in the way of the success of digital medical marketing, the first of which is the sensitivity of the service that is being marketed, so the content published in any medium must be very accurate, whether in the medical information provided or the way it is presented because patients today need to fully understand the diseases and conditions they suffer from – and not just treatment. The second obstacle is relying on old or non-modern methods, and we now live in a fast-paced digital world, and sophisticated methods must be available to communicate with potential clients or patients which is necessary to maintain competitiveness in the future. Finally, insufficient budgets are pumped into medical advertising and using only one way instead of diversifying.