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Digital Journal

Digital Journal, June 2016


The health industry is a bit different than other industries when it comes to content and digital marketing. Some physicians and practices have a tendency to believe that SEO (search engine optimization) marketing can only take them so far, while others have jumped in with both feet over the last few years. This can cause a bit of disruption within the medical industry, but there are several other ways content marketing shakes up the industry a bit.

1. Split Within the Industry

According to a recent study by Econsultancy, 43 percent of medical marketers do not think the digital world is effective for marketing the brand of a practice or physicians, or does not fit their current marketing strategies. However, the other 57 percent of those within the medical world have jumped into the world of digital marketing and SEO, causing a rift between practices.

Marketing within the medical community is a recently new trend. It's not similar to services such as automotive or HVAC, and it's not a retail environment where there is something being sold. It's very tough to market a doctor or practice without the advertisement of sales or other promotions, and it's also tough to claim a particular doctor is the "best," or provides the best services. Because of this, some medical marketers have gone as far to put promotions and coupons on their site, while others are going completely "old school."

2. Lack of SEO Knowledge

For the medical marketers that have jumped in with both feet, many may not have a clear idea of how SEO works, and are trying to optimize their websites by using a colleague in their IT department.

Medical marketing works best when you hire a marketing agency to optimize your webpages for you. One of the tricks behind successful SEO is to not make every webpage a neon-lighted advertisement. It's the content within the webpages that is picked up via Google's algorithm that drives traffic to your site. In fact, it is kind of tacky to have sales, promotions, and coupons on a medical site, as this does disrupt the community. Stick with the facts, and let SEO work its magic for your practice – when it's used properly.

3. Successful Marketing Practice = Successful Medical Practice

It is possible for even a small practice to grow mainly from using SEO and content marketing, into a larger practice. Not only should a practice or doctor be using SEO correctly, they should also be able to market well. (This also hints the need to hire a professional for your medical practice). It sounds awful, but it's true – when marketing in the medical field, you must simply "sell" wellness. To be successful, however, that marketing has to be backed up by results.

For smaller practices, this can be achieved by adding a weight loss clinic or dietician to their existing practice, and marketing specifically for it on the web. This smart, streamlined marketing disrupts the industry further, however, as smaller practices get left in the dust. Larger practices with good marketing skills stay up to date on all of the latest trends. Smaller practices that have not yet discovered digital content marketing (or are doing it poorly), miss out while larger practices become more and more successful. Just like with marketing in any other industry, if it's done correctly, there will be successful results. However, when it comes to medicine, many wonderful, reputable doctors are losing clientele to bigger corporations.

4. To Research or Not to Research

Another piece of successful marketing is research. Because of HIPAA laws and other intricacies, many medical businesses and practices are having a hard time gathering patient data to market successfully in the first place. This type of research is fundamental to market well. As a result, medical practices thrive that have invested in research, and other practices fall flat because they're unwilling or unsure about how to put in the extra effort.

Final Thoughts

To become less disruptive, the majority of doctors and practices must accept digital content marketing as a norm. While the medical field is an industry that's tough to market, SEO and content marketing is the future of every for-profit industry. Once more medical practices get on the same page with their marketing, we will see less disruption within the field. 

Author: Prof. Dr. Gress - Plastische Chirurgie München

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