Why digital marketing is essential for urgent care practices
To attract new patients, urgent care providers must appear where prospective patients are looking for information – online. Digital marketing strategies also allow practices to retain their client base at higher levels than traditional marketing strategies to ensure consistent, long-term success.
When searching for medical information, However, they rarely move past the first page of search results. This is why urgent care practices need to prioritize their digital marketing strategies.
People often rely on search engines to help them find medical information or experienced providers to address their urgent care needs. The content on your urgent care practice’s websites, blogs, and or social media can help satisfy patients’ search queries while making them aware of your practice.
Today’s strategies go beyond a well-designed website to attract new patients. Urgent care providers should offer timely content, positive patient reviews, and digital opportunities to connect with the patients who are in need of help.
These connections are instrumental for building a trusting, authentic foundation between physician and patient that’s necessary for both patient satisfaction and long-term practice growth.
Digital marketing also allows urgent care practices to be more flexible with their strategy and be able to target their ideal patients. Unlike traditional marketing tactics, digital marketing also allows urgent care clinics to track their return on investment.
Elements of a successful digital marketing strategy for urgent care providers
Attracting patients looking for urgent care involves building a digital foundation that’s reliable and consistent. This foundation includes:
- An optimized practice website. Your medical website is often the first impression patients have of your practice and expertise. Websites should contain original, relevant content that highlights the services you offer and your diagnostic and treatment expertise. Proactive content should also answer the questions your prospective patients have when searching. In addition to top-notch, informative content, you also need a site that loads fast, is easy to use, and has optimized pages that search engines can find.
- Profiles on online or healthcare directories. With your well-designed website in place, you also need to evaluate your overall web presence. Doing a Google search of your practice name helps you find your practice profile on online directories, like Vitals, Google My Business, and Yelp, that you can update to add your hours, facility details, photos, and list of services. These details increase both your website traffic and your authority among urgent care clinics.
- Your online reputation. Your online reputation can make or break the confidence a potential patient has in your practice and expertise. Reviews are the no. 1 decision making factor among patients choosing a provider. What’s more, 69 percent of patients won’t choose a provider with an average star rating under 4.0. Frequent online reviews also help Google and other search engines realize that your practice is relevant, which may help move you higher in search engine rankings and attract patients now and in the long-term.
- Content marketing tactics. Regularly publishing timely content on your website and social media solidifies your brand and boosts your online presence. Content strategies include consistent blog posts, social media posts, and email marketing campaigns. Blogging is especially beneficial for your practice’s search ranking. Video content is gaining more momentum among prospective patients looking for answers about their health.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. With an eye on your SEO strategies, you can drive more traffic to your website. Strategies include using keywords that prospective patients search for about their urgent care needs, such as COVID-19 testing, flu, physicals, and X-rays. Your content should also feature long-tail search terms that your patients are asking, such as “when should I seek urgent care?” and “what are the benefits of urgent care services?”.
How urgent care clinics stand out with local search engine optimization
Standing out in local online searches is critical in growing your urgent care practice. Below we list a few ways you can boost your SEO ranking and appeal to patients searching online.
- Strengthen your practice website A solid website features detailed, up-to-date information about your services and highlights the expertise of your urgent care physicians and staff. Presenting the information in an easy-to-read format that proactively addresses the questions your potential patients are asking online will help you appear in results for those questions. It also builds a patient’s confidence in your practice’s abilities. Through your website, you can further showcase your practice’s experience with blogs, social media links, and opportunities for patients to communicate directly with your staff.
- Claim your directory listings Claiming online health care directories, like Yelp! and Google My Business, makes it easier for locals to find you. Since the majority of people now use the internet as a virtual phone book, you can easily increase website traffic and new patient intakes by investing your time in updating existing listings and establishing new ones.
- Manage your online reputation More than just important to your patients, your online reputation is important to your urgent care local search engine optimization strategy. Patients can leave reviews on your Google My Business profile, and your average star rating appears in Google’s Local Pack. When a prospective patient searches for “best urgent care near me,” Google only surfaces practices with a star rating of 4.0 or above.
More resources for standing out in local search
Important business listings every healthcare provider should claim
How to expand your practice brand in 2021
6 facts your healthcare practice doesn’t know about search results
The top urgent care advertising strategies
Effective advertising for urgent care practices includes paid search advertising and social media advertising. Paid search advertising helps push your practice to the top of the search engine results. Paid search allows you to target exactly the urgent care patients you’re looking for and helps you rank above other urgent care clinics in your area. You can direct people to your website to increase website traffic and your local visibility.
Creating online ads that feature key words like urgent care specialist, walk-in visits, allergies, and flu help people find you in their searches. You can also highlight urgent care specialist services such as birth control, DOT physicals, and skin rejuvenation.
In conjunction with your existing print ad or direct mail campaigns, paid social media ads help supplement your organic content and give you more opportunity to reach a broader audience. You may also try banner ads on websites are another effective way to drive more traffic to your website and give you a boost over the competition.
More tips for advertising your urgent care expertise
A step-by-step tutorial for creating paid branded medical ads
How to create successful Facebook ads for doctors
How to get started with Facebook healthcare advertising
Providing an urgent care experience patients want
People in need of urgent care have no time to waste. They are looking for experience, reliability, and convenience. In a consumer trends report survey, 80 percent of respondents said they would switch providers strictly for convenience1.
Convenience is what urgent care is all about. Potential patients who need medical attention need options, like the ability to schedule an appointment online or to visit the practice as a walk-in. They aim to avoid long-wait times and other hassles that still happen in hospital emergency rooms.
A focus of building your web presence should be highlighting the many conveniences your urgent care practice offers, such as:
- No-fuss web experience. Have a website that’s easy to navigate, loads fast, and looks clean on both computers and mobile devices.
- Online scheduling options. Provide patients with an opportunity to book an appointment at the time of their search, even outside of business hours. Online appointment rescheduling and canceling also boosts patient convenience.
- Text messaging. Giving patients flexible resources for communicating directly with your staff through texting and emails offers convenience for busy people who won’t make phone calls and who don’t want to be put on hold.
- Telehealth options. Another convenience on-the-go people need is access to their medical provider from wherever they are. Adding a telehealth platform to your urgent care practice allows your patients to connect with you directly without the hassle of the commute.
- Appointment reminders. Appointment reminders are also another effective way to streamline your business practices, ensure less wait times, and enhance your overall scheduling capabilities.
More strategies for enhancing your patient experience
The need to modernize the patient experience: 5 top tech interactions patients want
12 actionable ideas to improve patient experience
Prevent patient attrition by avoiding these 4 patient experience mistakes
Maintaining a positive online reputation
Strengthening your online reputation can help boost business from new patients and can serve as a great foundation for long-term patient retention. While not every aspect of your online reputation is under your control, there is a lot you can do to put a searcher’s focus on the positive.
For some urgent care practices, asking for online patient reviews can be awkward. However, by staying focused on providing the highest quality experience, you can keep the door open for a positive review by asking for feedback at the time of the visit.
There are also strategies you can put into place within your practice to facilitate authentic, positive reviews from your existing patients, such as:
- Enhanced convenience. Convenience is already a primary focus of urgent care. By adding even more convenience to your practice through online scheduling, automated appointment reminders, text messaging, and telehealth services, you can retain your existing patient base and attract new patients who are tired of emergency room hassles and inflexible scheduling.
- Patient satisfaction surveys. Automated satisfaction surveys allow patients to share their experience while they still remember the details. In addition to the automated surveys, your practice needs to be mindful of all sources of patient feedback, including social media posts, email, and online reviews outside of your website.
- Be responsive to feedback. There’s no better way to improve the customer experience than by listening to what your patients have to say. To increase the likelihood of a positive review, your practice needs to respond to both positive and negative feedback in a timely manner. This boosts their confidence in your values and their motivation to provide a positive review online and off.
Investing in patient satisfaction improvements increases your potential for more online reviews that bolsters the confidence search engines have in your business, so you rank consistently higher. It’s also important to have an online reputation management system that can help you monitor your incoming patient reviews, send patient satisfaction surveys, and respond to feedback directly.
More resources to better manage your online reputation
Creating and maintaining a 5-star reputation for your healthcare practice
The risks and potential rewards of negative patient reviews
4 steps to improve your Google reviews star rating
Content marketing for urgent care conditions and treatments
The content you provide to consumers gives them insight into what you’ll provide for their health care needs. As more people base online searches on the symptoms or conditions they have, they determine who to go to for help on the content they find.
Content marketing for urgent care practices is also a sound SEO strategy, as it enables you to use keywords and key phrases your patients are searching for throughout your website and social media channels.
Your urgent care practice can reach people through online strategies like:
Social media: About 82 percent of Americans are active on at least one social media platform2. Your urgent care practice should focus on creating and maintaining platforms on popular sites like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to reach prospective new patients and stay connected with existing ones.
Consistent blog posts: Creating blog content for your website that addresses both timely health issues and the specialty services your urgent care practice provides, you can build the confidence of prospective patients. Blogging about frequently asked questions urgent care patients have may also elevate your search ranking. Linking your blogs from your social media platforms further expands your online reach and marketing potential.
Email marketing: Capturing patient email addresses during your initial intake and through your website gives your urgent care practice the opportunity to provide targeted information to individuals who would benefit most.
Engaging with potential and existing patients through email can involve:
- A blog that contains details about COVID-19 testing, the benefits of telemedicine, and when to seek treatment for sore throat, breathing difficulties, and fever.
- A video featuring your urgent care staff discussing the latest trends in flu symptoms and testing in the area.
- An Instagram post that highlights the benefits of urgent care over hospital emergency rooms.
Other ideas for your content marketing strategy can include often researched urgent care topics and terms like:
- Urgent care
- Urgent care specialist
- STD testing
- Walk-in visits
- COVID-19 antibody testing
- Primary care
- Strep throat
- Lab services
- Immigration physicals
- Women’s health
- Tattoo removal
- IV therapy
- Physical exam
- Minor injuries
- PPD test
- Immigration physical
- Occupational medicine
- Weight loss
- Pediatric care
- Vaginal rejuvenation
- Sports injuries
- Physicals – all ages
- Ear infection
- Radiofrequency microneedling
- Respiratory infection
- Car accident injuries
- Skin rejuvenation
- Sinus infection
- Birth control
- Pediatric urgent care
- Abdominal pain
- Upper respiratory conditions
- DOT physicals
- Physicals and vaccinations
- Back pain
- Rehabilitation services
- Urgent care and walk-Ins
- Wound care
Creating content around these popular search terms and phrases helps people find the urgent care help they need and also builds your reliability as a trusted provider.
By staying invested in your content marketing strategies, your urgent care practice will continue to build a solid online reputation, increase its rankings in search engines, and flourish from the boost in website traffic.
Additional content marketing resources
9 healthcare YouTube channels from physicians that inspire
5 social media mistakes to avoid at your healthcare practice
How to create a business Instagram account for healthcare
12019 Healthcare Consumer Trends Report, NRC Health
2Percentage of U.S. population who currently use any social media from 2008 to 2021, Statista