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In 2018, the U.S. healthcare industry spent $2.84 billion on digital advertising and is expected to spend $3.14 billion in 2019. Despite that fact—and despite the fact that one in 20 Google searches is for health-related information—many hospitals, treatment centers, doctors, and B2B healthcare and medical device/equipment companies have difficulty with quality, sustainable lead generation.
Some don’t have the time, resources, or expertise to pull off a lead-generating medical marketing plan. For others, the idea of seeing patients as “sales leads” or even as service consumers seems to be at odds with that whole Hippocratic oath thing.
Regardless of which camp you fall in, this guide can help. Below you’ll find the best healthcare lead generation strategies that the healthcare marketing experts use to ethically increase quality medical leads for companies just like yours. Within each strategy, I’ve included specific tips for:
- Hospital and urgent care lead generation
- Private practice and treatment center lead generation
- Pharmaceutical, medical equipment, and medical billing lead generation
You’ll walk away with a thorough understanding of today’s digital consumer (B2C, DTC, and B2B) and strategies your company can utilize to create a steady flow of medical leads, without relying on iffy healthcare lead generation services.
Want help getting leads generated for you? Fill out the form below or contact us here and we’ll dig into your competitive landscape, providing you with invaluable insights into how to beat them at their own lead-generating game.
The Modern Medical Service Consumer
If you’re one of the health practitioners that cringes at the word “medical sales,” I have good news: The most successful healthcare lead generation strategies focus on genuinely enabling the consumer to make smart healthcare choices. The easier you make it for consumers to solve healthcare problems, the more success you’ll have.
The modern consumer is smart—they have the largest (albeit sometimes questionable) digital medical library at their fingertips, and they frequently use it to look up everything from smallpox symptoms to brain surgeon credentials. In fact, 89 percent of consumers turn immediately to an online search engine when they’re looking to solve their healthcare queries.
The Modern B2B Medical Buyer
Modern B2B marketing is different than it was 10 years ago. The lines between B2C and B2B buying have become blurred, largely because modern B2B buyers have the same expectations for companies as consumers do. They also like to do their own research, so you can quit with the cold calls. The average B2B buyer now makes an average of 12 online searches before interacting with a vendor’s website, and they are already 57 percent of the way through the buying process before they want to speak with a sales representative.
More than half of all B2B buyers view at least eight pieces of content during the purchase process, and 62 percent say they can finalize their purchase selection criteria based on digital content alone.
Tie all these characteristics together and you can see that the best way to catch the attention of the modern consumer—both B2B and B2C—is online.
Our Verdict on Healthcare Lead Generation Services: Are They Worth It?
A popular practice in medical lead generation is to purchase medical leads. We steer our medical clients away from pay per lead services because other healthcare lead generation strategies are less expensive and more reliable.
Here’s the thing with medical lead generation services: When you stop paying them, your leads dry up. This might be preferable to some smaller doctors’ offices that have a cap on how many patients they can take, but if you’re interested in steadily growing your business, you’re going to want a more self-sustaining medical lead generation strategy.
While some services that offer medical leads can genuinely grow your healthcare business, for each legitimate service there are 10 unreliable ones that could actually hurt your reputation. Even the legitimate services come with some caveats:
- You have no control over the quality of leads you get
- Number of leads is unreliable
- You don’t know how the advertising is actually done, meaning you could attach your name to some unreputable practices
The Most Reliable Sources of Healthcare Leads
The most reliable, sustainable, and inexpensive sources of healthcare leads—for any company—are:
- Your website
- Search engine optimization
- Local SEO
- Content marketing
- Paid ads and remarketing
I’ll break them down below.
1. Optimize Your Medical Website for Lead Generation
Your medical website is your main healthcare marketing asset, and it needs to prove you are the absolute best at what you do. Regardless of what medical field your company is in, your website needs to be:
- Fast – If your website isn’t fast, it won’t generate leads. Almost 50 percent of patients will hit the “back” button if a website takes longer than three seconds to load.
- Secure – You’re in healthcare, which means website security is paramount. If for some reason your medical website isn’t secure, you’ve got a problem. Learn more about website security here »
- Mobile-friendly – Your website needs to be built for mobile consumption. About 62 percent of smartphone owners use their mobile device to look up health information, and 77 percent of smartphone owners have used their smartphones to find local health services in the past six months.
- Coded for SEO – The best healthcare websites are coded in a way that makes it easy for the search engines’ software to find, crawl, and index them (see more about SEO below).
- Full of helpful content – Patients and buyers love content, and they love content that solves problems. Search engines also love content—the more content you have, the more chances you’ll have to rank for your top queries.
Website Tips for Hospitals & Urgent Care Centers
In general, going to a hospital or urgent care center is a stressful experience. If you want to influence more patients to come to yours, you need to make their visit pain-free, both before they arrive and when they’re there. Answer common questions ahead of time, like how long the emergency room wait is, or what insurance you take and how billing works. Be sure your website is welcoming and that you have profiles of each doctor a patient might see. Your website should include the following:
- Photos of your facility (bonus points for 360° video tours)
- Emergency room, urgent care wait times
- Map directions
- Online bill pay
- Messaging capabilities so patients can communicate quickly
- Doctor or specialist lookup
- Insurance and financial help guides
- Helpful videos that answer common questions
Website Tips for Doctors & Treatment Centers
To help increase patient count your website needs to have attributes modern health consumers are looking for. Approximately 89 percent of patients want easier, seamless access to their personal health records, and 78 percent of consumers say they would be interested in receiving virtual health services. Make sure your website features:
- Contact information front and center
- An option to leave contact information for email communication and updates
- Online scheduling
- Customized patient portals where patients can easily access their health data
- Online bill pay
- Online prescription renewal
- Messaging capabilities so patients can communicate quickly with providers
- Doctor or specialist lookup
- Doctor profile videos
- Options for virtual visits with health practitioners
WeBsite Tips for B2B Medical Lead Generation
When it comes to medical billing leads, pharmaceutical leads, and medical device leads, your website needs a few different components. In a nutshell, you need to enable and assist your buyers through the six tasks associated with B2B sales:
- Problem identification
- Solution exploration
- Requirements building
- Supplier selection
- Consensus creation (if your target audience consist mostly of private practitioners you can likely skip this step)
What that means is that your website needs content, visual attributes, and a structure that assists your buyers through each of these six stages.
2. Increase Healthcare Leads by Mastering the Art Of SEO
Above, we established that 89 percent of consumers turn immediately to an online search engine when they’re looking to solve their healthcare queries. There are almost 10 million online searches for doctor, hospital, and medical keywords each month. Each online search is a chance to convert a healthcare lead. Your best bet in turning those searchers into medical leads is by showing up at the top of the search results for your top queries. They way you do that is with search engine optimization.
There are more than 200 actual ranking signals, but here’s what you should focus on if you want to get your medical business on page one of Google’s search results in 2019:
- Secured sites (HTTPS vs. HTTP)
- Websites that are mobile-friendly
- Schema markup
- Webpage content quality
- Webpage content length
- Page speed
- Social signals
- Quality backlinks
- Optimized images
- Domain age
- Search intent
SEO Tips for Lead Generation
Regardless which medical field you’re in these SEO tips should help with lead generation. Make sure content on your website is optimized for these types of search terms:
- Purchase-related keywords, e.g., “buy,” “RFP,” “packages” or “quote”
- Questions, especially frequently asked questions
- Branded and competitor terms
- Contact keywords like “contact,” “call,” or “request”
- Comparison, cost, and pricing terms like “reviews” “how much,” or “cost of”
- Location-specific keyword modifiers like city, state, or ZIP code
3. Using Local SEO to Get More Medical Leads
If you’re a local doctor’s office, hospital, treatment center, or B2B company, local SEO should be your best friend.
Do a quick Google search for “your field” + “near me”. Chances are, your search results will have a few paid ads on top, and a local map listing underneath, like so:
You don’t just land in that pack of local listings randomly. It takes a good helping of local SEO. The information in Google’s local pack is pulled from a few places, but primarily from your Google My Business page. One of the first things you should do immediately after reading this is to check your own GMB listing to make sure the following is filled out:
- Your company’s categories (above, you can see it says either “doctor” or “allergist” right under the average review rating. That’s a feature inside GMB, and it helps searchers find specific needs)
- Your main phone number
- Your company’s description
- Your hours of operation
- Your address or service area
Learn more about getting to the top of local listings »
4. Create and Distribute Lead-Generating Medical Content Like Whitepapers, Ebooks, and Blogs
The average consumer—both B2C and B2B—uses the internet as a research factory. We established above that there are about 10 million online searches for medical-related keywords each month, which means you have 10 million chances to capture the attention of your target audience with content marketing. Content marketing includes:
- Blog posts
- Case study/trend analysis
- Educational games/quizzes
- Email newsletters
- How-to guides and articles
- Research reports and papers
- Trend analyses
- Website landing pages and content
Content Marketing Lead Generation tip for B2C and Direct to Consumer (DTC) Healthcare
It’s not enough to inform—you need to motivate. Consumers now have a holistic approach to healthcare, mental wellness, and lifestyle, and healthcare companies need to take note.
Healthcare marketing that zeroes in on people’s deep-seated motivations and emotional triggers — especially fear and hope — inspires action and stimulates thoughtfulness by double to triple digits, according to the 2018 Wunderman Health Inertia Study. “People act on motivation, not information, and on content that stirs both negative and positive emotions over a period of time,” said Becky Chidester, CEO of Wunderman Health.
If you want people to take action, you need to create health inertia. Moving consumers and buyers from the “think” to the “do” stage means motivating and engaging them to face personal health challenges and helping them navigate a very complex—and frequently overwhelming—financial and insurance ecosystem.
Below are the top healthcare content types for B2C and DTC healthcare lead generation:
B2C and DTC Top Content Marketing Topics
Content Marketing Lead Generation Tip for B2B Healthcare
Your job as a B2B medical company is to make the process as seamless and easy as possible. More people than ever are involved in B2B purchases—the typical buying group is comprised of six to 10 members—and you have to convince every single one of them that your medical billing, health insurance, or medical equipment company is THE one for them.
Since the average buyer makes at least 12 online searches before engaging with a company, you have plenty of opportunities to solve their problems and create buy-in preemptively. I’ll give you an example. Say your company is looking for medical billing leads and sales. Below is an example portfolio of content that will solve for each step of the buyer’s process:
- Problem identification – How to Know When Your Medical Billing System Is Outdated
- Solution exploration – 10 Medical Billing Problems: Solved
- Requirements building – 10 Things Every Healthcare Company Needs in a Medical Billing Company
- Supplier selection – How to Choose the Best Medical Billing Company for Your Business
- Validation – Case Study: Company A Decreases Accounts Receivable by 50% with With Medical Billing from Company X
- Consensus creation – Video: Why Choose Company X for Medical Billing Services
B2B Top Content Marketing Topics
5. Use PPC Search Ads and Remarketing to Capture Potential Healthcare Leads
What if you could pop up in front of a prospective patient or buyer’s face at the exact moment they are searching for your services or products? Well, thanks to pay per click search advertising, you can. Take a look at the search results below for “medical billing companies”:
Every single one of those listings is a pay per click search ad.
How PPC search ads work is by targeting specific keywords and phrases. When someone searches for one of the keywords you select, your ad is eligible to show. And guess what? A recent study by Clutch.co found that 63 percent of searchers would click on a Google ad. Of those that would, 75 percent said the ads make it easier to find the information they’re looking for.
Learn more about PPC for medical companies »
Healthcare Remarketing Ads
On average, only two percent of your website visitors will convert. Remarketing goes after the other 98 percent. If you’ve ever visited a website and then suddenly been followed by ads for said website, you’ve experienced remarketing at work.
Remarketing is one of the best lead-generating tactics out there because it engages people who already know who you are. Customers who see retargeted ads are 70 percent more likely to convert on your website.
Learn more about remarketing »
Need Help with Lead Generation for Doctors, Hospitals, Treatment Centers, or B2B Medical Companies? Trust the Medical Marketing Experts
The ultimate secret to healthcare lead generation is to outperform your competitors. People are searching the web right now for your medical devices, products, or healthcare services. Will they find YOU, or will one of your competitors beat you to them? Hundreds of companies rely on Blue Corona to help them generate more leads from the web. Want proof? Read our online marketing case studies detailing actual results we’ve produced for business just like yours, or pick up the phone and call us today at 866.280.0195!
Better hurry—your competitors won’t wait up.
About The Author: Betsy is Blue Corona's in-house Digital Marketing Specialist. When she’s not directing Blue Corona's corporate digital content campaigns she’s urban exploring with her wife, diving into the latest marketing trends, or teaching horseback riding lessons. Twitter: @educatedbets
View more blogs by Betsy McLeod