Gastroenterology marketing has always been important for healthcare practices, but it’s especially critical now, given today’s crowded and competitive landscape. If your gastroenterology practice is in a big city, you could be competing with dozens of other practices to get prospective patients to walk through your doors.
Time-tested advertising tactics such as TV commercials and newspaper ads don’t quite cut it anymore, so how can you reach those patients? By embracing digital marketing, of course!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 61% of healthcare consumers have looked for health information online, and about 50% have visited a website for a specific health problem. It makes sense, then, to meet those tech-savvy patients where they are.
Below, learn how your marketing team can boost patient acquisition with the help of digital advertising.
Understanding the Gastroenterology Market Landscape
Gastroenterologists treat problems commonly affecting older people, such as stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder issues. If your GI practice has been avoiding online marketing because you think older folks don’t use the internet, think again.
Research says that over 61% of people 65 and older own a smartphone, and 45% regularly use social media. If you want more patients, digital marketing should be a key component of your advertising plan.
The Rise of Digital Platforms
Long ago, many gastroenterology practices reached prospective GI patients through TV commercials, billboards, and radio ads. Those methods still work to some degree, but they should no longer be a key part of your marketing plan.
In today’s digital world, gastroenterology providers should focus on online marketing to reach their target audience. Your average prospective patient checks their email several times a day and may use social media for an hour or more daily.
That means your GI practice can’t afford to ignore digital marketing and everything it includes, such as reputation management, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements. If you do, your practice could lose its competitive edge and may find its patient numbers (not to mention RVU-based payments) in constant decline.
Key Components of Effective Gastroenterology Marketing
How can GI practices send the right message to the right audience while boosting their website’s position in the search engines? Try these marketing strategies and watch your number of new patients soar.
Leveraging Local SEO
If you want more prospective patient clicks for your gastroenterology website, you can’t afford to ignore local search engine optimization. Local SEO involves optimizing your site with the right short- and long-tail keywords to give your practice a search engine boost. These keywords will help potential patients find your site when running Google searches.
For landing pages, try popular keywords like “GI treatment options in San Diego” or “gastroenterologist taking new patients in Dallas” (tailor keywords to your city, of course). The more keywords you use, the better your chance of attracting patients.
And don’t forget about your Google Business Profile (GBP). It’s free to set up, and doing so can drive impressive traffic to your site. With GBP, you can list:
- Your practice’s contact information
- Your website
- A summary of services your practice offers
- Directions to your office
- Patient reviews
- Photos of your office and staff
Utilizing Social Media and Online Advertising
Running pay-per-click Google ads can be a fantastic and cost-effective way to drive long-term growth in medical practices. Google ads are perfect if you’re unhappy with your patient volume and your site isn’t ranking highly in the search engines.
To use these ads, simply choose a keyword you want to target and place a bid. If your bid is the highest, your ad will appear at the top of the local search engine results.
It’s not quite as easy as that, of course. For your ads to be effective, you’ll need a good understanding of the buyer’s journey, including the awareness, consideration, and decision stages. You’ll want to target your ads to people in different stages of the buyer’s journey.
Here’s a quick explanation of each stage:
- In the awareness stage, users know they have a problem but aren’t actively seeking treatment. They might search for things like “stomach pain causes.”
- In the consideration stage, the user has found a solution but doesn’t know which treatment they need.
- In the decision stage, the user is actively looking for a GI doctor near them.
Healthcare providers should also pay attention to social media as part of their online marketing plan. Social media campaigns let you reach prospective patients where they are, whether on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube.
You can buy ads on all of these platforms, but advertising should be just one part of your social media strategy. Make sure to regularly post valuable insights on your social media feed, too, that will appeal to current patients and potential new patients alike.
Importance of Content Marketing
Content marketing involves crafting engaging articles, blog posts, and videos, then distributing your work where healthcare consumers hang out. You could post educational content on your website to enhance the patient experience, write guest blog posts, or make videos for YouTube viewers.
For instance, you can write about the following services:
- Endoscopic procedures
- GI X-rays
- Polyp removal
Does your practice need content marketing strategies? Try these topics to help with patient acquisition:
- When to see a doctor about gas pain
- Signs that your appendix needs removal
- Hidden meanings behind unexpected weight loss and weight gain
- Easy remedies for heartburn (and when to see a GI doctor)
Building and Managing Online Reputation
For any gastroenterology practice, few things are more important than online reputation management. Practices live and die by what online reviews say about them. Patient acquisition can be an uphill battle if your online reputation isn’t great or you have too few reviews.
Here’s how to develop a strong online reputation management strategy for your practice.
Encouraging Patient Reviews
Do a Google search for GI practices in your area, and you’ll probably see a handful with dozens of patient reviews. How many online reviews does your practice have? Having just a couple of reviews (or worse, none at all) doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
The trouble is that most patients only post on review sites when they’re unhappy with a practice. They might refer a family member or friend if they’re pleased, but getting them to leave positive reviews is like pulling teeth.
You may consider encouraging reviews through a loyalty program. For instance, when a patient leaves a review on review sites or social media, you could give them a small gift card or discount on their next exam.
Responding to Feedback
Good reputation management involves responding to both positive and negative feedback. Doing so shows potential patients that your practice truly cares.
If a patient leaves a good review, you might respond with “We’re so happy you’re pleased and hope you’ll choose us again.”
Negative reviews are a bit trickier to manage. When you get one, reach out to the patient and ask how you can make things right. That might include offering a refund or having the patient come back to see you free of charge.
Integrating Advanced Marketing Technologies
Now that you know the basics of online advertising, it’s time to learn to use technology to help with your marketing strategies. If you’re tech-adverse, don’t worry: Today’s tools are so user-friendly and advanced that they practically run themselves.
Analytics and Performance Tracking
Is your gastroenterology practice using a CRM (customer relationship management) system yet? If not, now’s the time to start. These systems keep track of all your patient data and organize it for you in one conveniently accessible database.
When you use a CRM for marketing efforts, you’ll get:
- A unified view of leads and which ads those leads came from
- A customizable dashboard that allows you to track your chosen metrics (such as how effective your email marketing campaigns are)
- Automated emails that you can send when a prospective patient completes a trigger action
- Built-in collaboration and communication tools for your entire team
Automation and Efficiency
Many of today’s CRMs come with built-in AI (artificial intelligence) features to help your staff boost productivity. AI-based CRMs can identify leads for you, analyze data in seconds, and even write marketing emails for you with a simple prompt. They can also instantly recognize duplicate data and remove it so it doesn’t clutter up your reports.
Perhaps one of the most impressive features of CRM AI is its ability to detect trends. For instance, if you have too many patients leaving your practice and don’t know why, an AI tool can pick up trends that might point to a reason.
If your practice always seems to be running short on time, an AI-based CRM is the answer. Your staff will save hours per week, freeing them up to focus on other more important tasks.
Good CRMs with AI to consider include:
- HubSpot’s ChatSpot
- Zoho’s Zia
- Freshworks’ Freddy AI (best for customer support teams)
Weave Can Skyrocket Your Gastroenterology Marketing Efforts
If your practice isn’t taking advantage of these gastroenterology marketing strategies, now is the perfect time to get started. Social media, local SEO, PPC ads, and content marketing can help you drive more patients through your practice’s doors. You’ll be amazed at the long-term benefits.
Not sure how to get started? Try Weave! Our practice management software makes running your business a snap with online review management, robust communication tools, and automated patient appointment reminders. Get your free demo of Weave now, and see how it can take your GI practice to the next level.
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