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For healthcare professionals, the days of hanging your shingle and waiting for the ravages of flu season to bring in a steady supply of patients is over. Like every other business model out there, the healthcare field, from community clinics to famous national brands, finds itself in flux as it adjusts its marketing to reflect the expectations of an increasingly technologically adept and mobile patient pool.

Healthcare consumers today are as likely to google your practice from your parking lot as they are to google your reputation before they even pick up the phone to schedule an appointment. Your content marketing must therefore not only demonstrate relevance to the end user but also deliver it in digestible morsels and on-the-go.

With that in mind, what are the best strategies for healthcare organizations, doctors, and physician practices for marketing their services?

The following list may sound like industry buzzwords, but they are content and social media best-practices:

  • Quality content
  • Authentic engagement
  • Brevity, brevity, brevity
  • Mobile access

Relevance and the Art of Quality Content

Organic content. An increasingly jaded shopping public is at the heart of the move toward organic and relevant advertising and content. With a constant barrage of images, messages, and sound bites from billboards, radio commercials, and even from elevators, we tend to tune out the noise of incessant advertising.

Quality over quantity. Engaging customers and potential customers in a meaningful dialogue means placing quality over quantity, which translates into providing genuine service and eschewing the delivery of canned commercial messages that people purposefully ignore.

Relevant resource. Today, most consumers turn first to the Web when seeking out answers to health-related questions. Accordingly, under the right circumstances, the Internet is the ideal platform on which to build a public relationship based on the most private of matters. Perhaps it is the anonymity afforded patients as they explore what ails them before committing to potentially expensive treatment options; regardless, by featuring salient and actionable advice on a variety of helpful topics, your site becomes the go-to resource for trusted medical information.

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image of Karolyn Raphael

Karolyn Raphael is president of Winger Marketing, a national integrated marketing agency with a focus on public relations. She's the developer of a proprietary tool, the Integrated Marketing Action Plan (iMAP), which focuses businesses on aligning marketing and business goals.

LinkedIn: Karolyn Raphael

Twitter: @KarolynR