In the 90s, when the idea of “generating traffic” was first introduced, there was a mass explosion of companies you could pay to bring you traffic. Some people paid per visitor, while others paid flat monthly fees for a minimum traffic guarantee.
There were multiple problems with this method, including the fact that the traffic wasn’t first qualified. In other words, the traffic didn’t consist of a targeted market, but rather anyone and everyone – including bots.
You probably know that generating website traffic isn’t a magic solution for getting more patients. Traffic is only helpful if it includes people from your target market. In the healthcare field, it’s not easy to generate targeted traffic en masse because most marketing companies don’t have the experience to understand how to reach potential patients. Despite the fact that almost everyone uses healthcare, not everyone is your target market.
Think leads, not traffic
A simple change in mindset and intention will make the difference for your healthcare organization, whether you’re running a small practice or a large one. You’ve got to stop thinking about potential patients as “traffic” and start considering them “leads.”
“Traffic” consists of faceless, nameless visitors you know nothing about. Leads, on the other hand, are individuals you know a little bit about that have been intentionally selected and driven to your website. Your leads may have been selected based on their location, age, businesses they frequent, and even content they’re interested in. They also may have filled out a survey indicating they’re interested in your type of healthcare services.
Lead generation also serves appropriate content
Lead generation isn’t just about creating a mass flow of potential patients to your website. The other half of the equation involves sending your leads to the right content. No matter how perfectly you target your visitors, your content will determine whether they bounce or convert.
General marketing agencies tend to send even well targeted traffic to general pages, or they create content that tries to hard sell the visitor too soon. According to one specialized healthcare marketing agency, a big mistake general agencies make is sending all traffic to the homepage. When people search for phrases like, “do I need a root canal,” the agency says “they should be directed to an informative page, not a page that only hard sells them for an appointment.”
The person searching for a phrase like the one above is still in the research phase. They’re not ready to make an appointment yet. This type of visitor is a good lead, and must be nurtured from where they are. In other words, this visitor needs to be served content that educates them on what a root canal is, and why they might need one.
Be intentional when managing your own PPC campaigns
With healthcare ratings on the decline, the way you generate leads is more important than ever. People remember their marketing interactions with brands, and you don’t want anyone to feel like they’re being spammed.
Make sure all of your PPC ads (paid ads) are relevant to the market you’re targeting. Avoid publishing ads that are misleading or vague, just to generate traffic.
Unbounce offers a detailed guide on how to create effective lead capture pages with appropriate rewards (lead magnets). This guide offers tips on how to maintain the continuity of your messages when someone clicks through to your content.
The article highlights the importance of continuity: “When someone clicks a CTA they have a level of intent that must be matched when they arrive at their destination. For example if they clicked on an ad for used pickup trucks, and they arrived at the homepage of a used car business where there was no direct mention of pickup trucks, immediately the message match has been broken and they will feel like they have made a bad click.”
Qualified leads make for an efficient follow-up
When your leads are qualified and appropriately segmented in your database, you have the power to reach them wherever they are. For instance, you can send a different newsletter to people in the research phase than you would send to people who are looking for a provider to book an appointment with. The former newsletter would take an educational approach, while the latter would take a sales approach.
Qualified leads should make up the majority of your paid traffic
All paid traffic – and traffic intentionally generated for free – should be made up of qualified leads. You can communicate a specific marketing message to qualified leads, and that specificity is how you’ll successfully convert those leads into patients.