Paul M. Stubenbordt focuses his blog on what steps a practice can take to optimize traditional and Internet marketing, public relations, social media as well as non-traditional marketing tactics that can help maximize your current practice development program.

BLOG: Marketing tactics for 2019

2019 is in full swing, and now is a great time to re-evaluate and reassess your marketing techniques for your practice. With the speed that marketing is progressing and evolving, we have to make sure to adapt our approach. Here are four things your practice should be doing for marketing in 2019:

1. Mobile responsive websites

We are living in a digital age in which more and more people are browsing the internet from their smartphones and mobile devices and less from a fixed desktop or laptop. Last year more than half of the web traffic came from mobile devices — a clear sign that marketers should alter their marketing approach to be centered around mobile. The newest Google algorithm shows search results based off a website’s mobile version, so if your practice does not have a mobile-friendly website, you may be omitted from the results page (with an exception of your branded keywords). It’s not only important to have a mobile website (chances are you already have a mobile responsive site if your site is newer than 2015), but make sure your website is set up for mobile. Today, agencies actually design mobile sites first, then the desktop sites second. That’s because mobile is so much more important than the desktop site.

Here’s a quick mobile design checklist:

  • Responsive design: The website detects the user’s device type (laptop, desktop, tablet or mobile) and adapts its layout to it, ensuring an optimal viewing experience.
  • Click on phone number: Make sure your practice number is easily findable at the top of the site.
  • Test for easy navigation: Go through your mobile site on your mobile device and make sure all pages are easily found and can be easily read.
  • Site speed: This can be tested on https://developers.google.com/speed. Your site needs to be designed for speed. It not only helps with SEO, but also makes the user experience much better.
  • Do gestures work? Is it thumb friendly? As patients use your mobile site, any gestures or thumb movements should work flawlessly.

2. Video content is king

Yes, this phrase may be overused but it remains true — even more now than ever. Web content such as blog posts, social media posts, photos and videos center around the patient and stimulate interest rather than blatantly advertising to them. That being said, the best content medium for health care practices is video. Video is a great way to build patient trust and loyalty by establishing a strong connection. It doesn’t take an expert or much funds to create video content — anyone can shoot high-definition videos on their smartphone. Video can be utilized on your website and/or landing pages to help increase conversions, or on social media to generate interest and emotional engagement. Doctors can explain certain conditions and their treatments, or certain procedures and what patients can expect — as long as it remains relatable in order to avoid white-coat syndrome. The key is authenticity.

3. Personalized social media

Continuing on the engagement trend, this is what your focus needs to be when it comes to social media. Your social media presence is important, as it shows patients (and the world) your practice culture. The content you share should be unique to your practice. For example, you can post postop videos of happy patients, employee birthdays and work anniversaries, special holidays, specific offers/promotions, etc. Generic articles and blogs are fine to share here and there, but the majority of your content should be unique and personalized. This is the best way to generate patient engagement.

4. Online reputation management

Today, patients are extensively searching online for health care providers and offices and educating themselves before even picking up the phone to learn more. Patients will look to your website and search Google and Facebook for reviews on what experience others have had and what they can expect. Google search your practice city and specialty and see what shows up. Which practice would you trust? Luckily, you can help control what patients are saying about your practice by a) encouraging happy patients to leave a glowing review, b) responding to both positive and negative reviews following best practice, and c) considering an online reputation management platform such as Podium or BirdEye. These services can help you gain more positive reviews and receive feedback rather than getting a negative review.