Why Ethical Marketing Matters

Why Ethical Marketing Is Important for Dental and Medical Practices

It’s no secret that technology has changed the landscape of how people make decisions about the goods and services they elect to consume. The internet has empowered patients everywhere to become more educated and proactive about their healthcare decisions, creating a need for information that can, in part, be fulfilled by customized web content—a vital component of your online presence that serves as an opportunity to both strengthen patient education and broaden your patient base. In developing memorable content that will reflect positively on your practice, there’s a fine line between demonstrating your commitment to excellence and overzealously promoting your services in a manner that raises eyebrows. Fortunately, navigating this distinction is just a matter of using effective and ethical healthcare marketing practices to highlight your unique strengths.

Marketing your expertise is an essential part of growing your practice and engaging with current and prospective patients, but there are ways to communicate the value of excellent care and positive results without resorting to “black-hat” advertising strategies. For medical and dental practices—whom people hold to the highest standards of moral conduct—a comparable code of ethics in one’s content marketing strategies is imperative.

What Is Ethical Marketing?

At its core, the purpose of healthcare marketing should be to inform and enlighten the public about the different services that can help them reach their treatment goals. Conveying this information in an ethical manner while increasing conversion rates simply involves demonstrating your competence without resorting to underhanded marketing tactics, such as: denigrating other professionals in the industry, creating misleading or false expectations about the potential results, plagiarizing another practice’s content, or using deceptive language to promise an outcome that you cannot deliver.

Is Ethical Marketing Profitable in the Long-Term?

As an extension of your practice—as well as your character—the content on your website, social media posts, and advertisements should be crafted with authenticity and integrity. Ethical healthcare marketing seeks to provide helpful information about a product or service without playing upon a patient’s insecurities, anxieties, or emotional vulnerabilities. Consumers have an acute sense of whether certain advertising strategies feel questionable or shady, and the same is true for patients researching their treatment of interest.

From a more technical standpoint, although “black-hat” tactics are designed to provide a quick boost to your search engine rankings, they can actually work against you in the long run. Google releases periodic algorithmic updates that are designed to penalize unethical marketing strategies, often resulting in websites that employ these tactics being pushed down in the rankings or hidden altogether. This can be difficult to recover from, and the temporary boost is almost never worth the long-term consequences. Ultimately, not only do unscrupulous marketing strategies obliterate patient trust, but content that seems dubious, dishonest, or like an exact duplicate of information found elsewhere on the web usually ranks poorly on Google and does little to establish your credibility.

How Can Web Content Act as a Form of Public Service?

As a healthcare professional, patient education and empowerment are oftentimes important parts of your day-to-day work. Put another way: when a prospective client comes in for a consultation, you want them to leave your office feeling comfortable, confident, and well-informed about both the procedure(s) they are interested in and your ability to provide the results they desire. The same principle applies to your website and social media content. In the digital age, most patients begin their search for a provider online. Robust website pages and an active social media presence—when combined with an ethical approach to content development—can be invaluable for getting patients through the door. It also helps to establish you and your practice as a knowledgeable and authoritative presence on the web, which further promotes brand awareness.

So how do you plan out content that serves as both promotional material and a public service?

Ethical Marketing Is a Win-Win Situation

When medical and dental marketing is honest and helpful to consumers, the result is mutually beneficial for both patients and doctors. Those seeking treatment are able to make a well-informed decision about their care while maintaining positive regard for your practice. What’s more, your endeavor to provide useful material to patients without pressure or deception will reflect favorably on your reputation, Google rankings, and the dignity of your expertise. In emphasizing why a prospective patient should entrust you with their health, safety, and appearance, this integrity can speak volumes.

Do you have questions about ethical and effective content, email, and social media marketing? The healthcare marketing professionals at Rosemont Media have answers. Reach out to our team today to learn more about how we can take your online presence to the next level.

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on October 9, 2018.

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