Webtek founding partner Justin Crawmer recently sat down with the Private Practice Workshop’s John Clarke to discuss whether digital marketing is worth investing in. The two looked at it from the healthcare angle, particularly where therapy practices are concerned.
Clarke started the conversation by explaining how difficult it is for smaller practices to compete against corporate interests. Corporate entities enter the field with plenty of financial backing. Their resources allow them to dominate the paid ad side of things. Smaller, individual practices do not have the same resources.
As a result, smaller practices often have a challenging time building consistent practices with solid patient loads. Add to that the natural effects of patient attrition and smaller practices are at a decided disadvantage. Digital marketing may be the best option to level the playing field.
Focusing on the Patient Journey
As an SEO expert with significant expertise in healthcare, Crawmer explained that the key to leveraging digital marketing in healthcare is to focus on the customer journey. Analytics data shows the vast majority of clients looking for therapy services start their search by investigating a condition.
They search for information about things like depression, anxiety, or PTSD. They also tend to research conditions with the additional tag of ‘how to feel better’. Crawmer also mentioned that 25% of all healthcare searches start with a condition search, so this phenomenon is not limited to therapy.
Attracting New Patients
Crawmer’s opening comments made it clear that the primary goal of healthcare SEO is to attract new clients. That being said, the idea is to structure SEO around the way those clients use the internet. It is about knowing what they want to know, how they go about finding out, the search terms they use, etc.
Keyword Research for Healthcare SEO
As Justin and John continued their discussion, they eventually landed on the topic of keyword research. Generally speaking, companies like Crawmer’s put a lot of effort into keyword research to identify those keywords likely to be most effective in reaching a particular audience.
John explained how clients who search a phrase like ‘EMDR therapist San Francisco’ already know what the ‘EMDR’ acronym means. Leads that come from such targeted searches tend to be stronger than leads produced by general searches.
Crawmer agreed, then went on to explain customer intent. Keyword research helps SEO managers better understand customer intent and then craft content around it. His company uses a variety of keyword tools to that end. But even without those tools, therapists can come up with excellent keywords just by paying attention to how their patients speak and the questions they ask.
The Importance of Contact Information
Justin and John briefly talked about the importance of contact information on a therapist’s website. A therapist could go to great lengths to ensure that the practice’s latest blog post appears in the number one position on Google SERPs. But if the site doesn’t give potential patients a way to contact the practice, an opportunity has been lost.
Including Calls to Action
Anyone familiar with marketing knows how critical the call to action (CTA) is. In the healthcare setting, actions come in many forms. Some people will make a phone call if encouraged to do so. Others want to download printed information. Still others are looking to make an appointment.
Crawmer pointed out that healthcare sites need to offer a full variety of CTAs based on customer personas. He also mentioned a particular tool his company offers called the ‘Webtek Header’. It is a CTA element that remains at the top of every page of a given website. The user can visit different pages on the site – and even scroll up and down – and the header will remain at the top.
Webtek offers this tool as part of our digital marketing services. It is a fantastic CTA tool that provides a consistent way for visitors to take action no matter where they are on their particular journey.
Questions and Answers
The last half of the podcast was devoted to answering questions sent in by viewers. For example, one of the questions was how therapists can make their websites stand out. Crawmer explained that it’s important to emphasize specialty, keep discussions of modalities to a minimum, and highlight the professional nature of the office. Keeping the website up to date and ensuring it is mobile friendly also help a lot.
A follow-up question about keyword research came in. Crawmer answered by turning back to popular Google tools. Needless to say, it is important to sign up for Google Analytics to utilize those tools.
There is more to the podcast than what was summarized here. If you operate in the healthcare space, particularly if you run a small practice, the information John and Justin provided is invaluable to helping you compete online.