We’ve looked at five compelling reasons to consider medical practice content marketing as a way to capture patient interest and drive more referrals and traffic to your website.

But what this article didn’t capture is the “why” behind this phenomenon. That is, “Why is content marketing a good idea for medical practice now?”, and “What has changed that we can attract new patients via content marketing?”

These questions get to the heart of what’s happening in the medical marketing field. And the simple answer is that patients are now, more than ever, seeking health information, recommendations, and referrals online.

The “New” Patient Behavior

In the past, medical practice content marketing wasn’t even invented. The traditional patient model relied heavily on personal referrals or referrals from other doctors. Prospective patients would learn about health conditions and get recommendations for a doctor or specialist through their personal network of friends, family members, and coworkers.

In 2015, however, 87 percent of adults use the Internet, and 58 percent of adults own a smartphone. This adoption of technology means that the majority of adults have access to unlimited information at home and on the go. And 72 percent of these users use the Internet to look for health information.

72 percent of adults that use the Internet look for health information online.

Why These Website Visitors Are Great For Your Practice

It’s not just that prospective patients are searching for health information online. After all, we’ve all spent a few minutes reading about a health condition on WebMD or The Mayo Clinic website, and it didn’t lead to a particular recommendation for one doctor over another.

But in reality, only 13 percent of Internet users start their search on a health website. The majority of the rest of them -- 77 percent of Internet users -- started with a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

The implications of this behavior are revealing. Whether prospective patients are researching information for themselves or on behalf of someone else, they often seek information on specific diseases and conditions, treatments and procedures, and doctors online.

And if they’re searching for information online, it only makes sense that your practice deploy medical practice content marketing in order to show up in those search results.

Connecting Patients With Physicians

Now, don’t let these numbers convince you that your practice isn’t valuable to your patients. The majority of adults still get their information, care, and support from a doctor or health care professional. But these numbers should inspire you to consider medical practice content marketing as a viable and effective marketing method to attract new patients to your practice.

People turn to the Internet when they have questions. The best way to make a connection with new patients is to answer those questions on your website, where you have control of the message and can turn the casual web search into an appointment.

And if you can develop your content marketing strategy to let your patients know that you want to share your knowledge and help them achieve the best possible quality of life, you’ll stand out from the crowd.

Of course, the benefits of content marketing run far deeper than search engine optimization. Medical practice content marketing can help you set the right tone with your patients and position yourself as a source of information and expertise. It can also help you reach more people and fill your calendar with new patients, directly impacting your bottom line.

If you haven’t already, we strongly encourage you to consider what a content marketing strategy could do for your business.

(All statistics come from PEW Internet Health Fact Sheet unless otherwise noted).

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