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The other day, I sliced open my thumb while chopping vegetables. It definitely needed stitches.
So, I did what any modern consumer would do—I grabbed my phone and with my good hand Googled “urgent care center near me.” Three urgent care centers popped up in my phone’s Google’s map listings—I chose the one with the highest reviews and shortest wait time, got in the car, and off I went.
My buyer’s journey is not unique, at least not anymore. When patients need urgent care, they go online to find it, frequently from a mobile device. Take a look at this:
There are almost five million online searches for urgent care keywords per month. Of those five million, 74 percent happen on a mobile device.
This consumer shift to the digital realm has made digital marketing in the healthcare field is more important than ever. Urgent care is an immediate need, and 89 percent of consumers first turn to an online search engine when they’re looking to solve their healthcare queries. I sure did when I needed urgent care.
If you don’t know how to grow your urgent care center with digital marketing, here are five of the best urgent care marketing strategies that will help grow your center and attract more patients.
1. Make Your Urgent Care Website Fast and Mobile Friendly
How can I make my Urgent Care Center grow using mobile Website design?
Pull up your urgent care website on your smartphone. Is it optimized for mobile? It should be—62 percent of smartphone owners use their device to look up health information, and 82 percent of smartphone users use a search engine when looking for a local treatment center or health facility. Not only that, but according to Google, 77 percent of smartphone owners have used their smartphones to find local health services in the past six months, and 79 percent of them say they’re more likely to revisit and/or share a mobile site if it is easy to use.
If you want to grow your urgent care center, start with mobile. Begin optimizing your site for:
- Content – Check that the structured data on your desktop site and mobile site are consistent.
- Internal linking – Increase your opportunities to drive stronger conversions with user-friendly internal linking, presented in a mobile-friendly format.
- Page speed – Studies show that 40 percent of users will abandon your site if it takes three seconds or longer to load. Optimizing your desktop and mobile page speed is a best practice.
- Hosting – Having a high-powered server allows your site and its pages to be properly scanned, indexed, and then ranked to appear in Google’s search results.
- Speed – Patients need to see something happen on your website within three seconds of landing there. If it takes longer, almost 50 percent will hit the “back” button.
As more people shift from desktop to mobile devices to find health services, users who have a negative experience on mobile are more likely to go somewhere else—research by Klein & Partners revealed that 11 percent of visitors to a hospital or health system say their website experience created new, negative feelings about that brand.
Basically, if your site isn’t geared up to be mobile-responsive after 2018, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to maximize your business growth.
2. Grow Your Urgent Care Center by Getting It On the Map
How can I make my Urgent Care Center stand out?
One of the key success factors for urgent care centers is that they’re easily found online. Have you ever tried driving somewhere new without a map or GPS? Unheard of! So why would you ask patients to find you without giving clear directions? And here’s the thing: when people need directions to your urgent care center, they will most likely use a “near me” search. Since 2015, “near me” searches for health-related services have more than doubled.
An estimated 71 percent of small business owners do their own digital marketing, instead of leaving it to experts (2017). Unfortunately, this means only a few businesses are following Google’s best practices to get on the front page of local listings and show up in the local pack.
If you aren’t showing up in local listings, patients can’t find you—and your urgent care center will suffer.
Google’s local pack refers to the top 3 local listings that appear when you enter a search for ”urgent care near me” or browse for local services. Making it into the local pack is crucial for driving awareness and organic clicks to your website and for beating out local competition.
To get in that local pack you need to create a compelling Google My Business profile. Building your GMB profile can grow your center’s perceived authority, improve its online visibility, and give people clear instructions on how to find and contact you.
We highly recommend that one of the first things you do after reading this is optimizing your urgent care center’s GMB listing. Specifically, check for:
- Your company’s categories (above, you can see it says “urgent care center” right below 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
Once you have set up your business profile on Google, there are a few other steps you can take to grow your presence and authority online. For example, you can select product categories on your Google My Business page, which tells Google what to associate your business and services with, or you can add review schema to your site, which can help your site appear more prominently in search results and drive higher traffic.
3. Invest in Video Marketing for Healthcare
If your urgent care center doesn’t have any videos, you need to catch up. A video is 50 times more likely to rank organically in the search results than text pages, U.S. internet users currently spend an average of 15 hours each week with digital videos, and Cisco predicted that video will even make up 82 percent of all internet traffic in 2021.
Not only that, but healthcare is a prime industry to use video because of how visual and critical it is. Here are a few videos your urgent care center should leverage:
- Facility welcome videos: We know that 83 percent of patients visit a hospital’s website before booking a treatment or procedure, so welcome them! I loved learning that my doctor’s facility was a family business run by him and his wife—it calmed my nerves and increased my confidence that they’d take care of me.
- Physician profile videos: It’s nerve-wracking to go to a random urgent care facility because you don’t know who the doctors are. Having profile videos is a great way to introduce and humanize your physicians, and also allows you to shine a spotlight on your doctors’ accomplishments.
- Patient review videos: Reviews are a big deal, especially in industries like healthcare where the stakes are high. For example, in the past 2 years, videos with the word “review” in the title had more than 50,000 years’ worth of watch time on mobile alone. Yes, it can be hard to grab your patients to ask them for a video because urgent care is, well… urgent. Solve for this by sending follow-up emails asking for reviews. If they give you a glowing one, ask if you can get it on camera.
- Procedure and treatment overviews: Chances are your urgent care facility offers a lot of services and procedures. Calm nerves and explain complicated processes through videos.
- Educational videos on commonly asked questions or medical conditions: “Should I go to urgent care or the ER?” “How much does urgent care cost” “What are symptoms of strep throat?” These types of questions are ones that can be easily answered in the form of videos. Building out your YouTube page with these types of videos will not only make you the go-to authority but also clear up any confusion about your services.
4. Incorporate Email Into Your Urgent Care Marketing Plan
Many urgent care centers are now offering health services usually reserved for a doctor’s office, like flu shots and check-ups. But how are previous patients supposed to know you now offer these services? There are a few types of emails you should definitely be incorporating into your urgent care marketing plan:
- “It’s Time For…” reminders that inform patients when they are due to get stitches removed or have a follow-up appointment
- Request a friend referral
- Latest health news and expert commentary
- Announcements about the latest technology in your office
- Seasonal tip sheets
- “Stay Healthy” guides
5. Focus on Data-Driven Urgent Care Marketing Strategies
How do I Grow my Urgent Care Center?
What is the current patient perception of your company? Do you know if your intended growth rate is realistic? Are you using digital marketing correctly to capture your ideal customer segment?
Asking yourself these types of questions can be overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be. At Blue Corona, we’re able to increase rankings, organic traffic, calls and web forms, as well as sales—all due to having a conscious, data-driven strategy.
- Put in the research – One of the single most disastrous digital marketing mistakes urgent care centers make is not using data to drive their decision-making. The right tools—such as Google Analytics—can help you to monitor the success of your digital marketing strategy and make changes appropriately.
- Adjust your current digital marketing plan – With data at your side, you will be better able to write data-driven content, optimize your site for conversion rates, and drive more web leads. Because SEO and digital marketing trends are constantly changing, it’s important to stay on your toes and observe what is working right now for you and your competitors.
- Prepare for the future – These days, it seems Google is always one step ahead with updated algorithms, new ranking factors, and improved methods to optimize your site and improve your digital marketing strategy. To prepare for the future of digital marketing for business growth, set aside time to develop a strong digital marketing plan that you are comfortable revisiting and adjusting continuously as new updates and insights develop.
Welcome to Urgent Care Marketing and Advertising in 2019
Digital marketing is a fickle beast, and you may never truly master it before it changes again. When it comes to growing your urgent care center through digital marketing, one of the best words of wisdom is to see it as a continuous, iterative process.
As you pay more attention to how patients find your center online, the quality of experiences they have while they browse your site on desktop or mobile, and what the data tells you, you will begin making better strategic decisions that can attract more patients in 2018.
For all your digital marketing questions, Blue Corona is your resource for navigating the waters of small business growth in the digital age. To learn more about digital marketing for your business today, drop us a line.
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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