Viral Marketing Ideas For Physician Offices

During SMX West 2009 Andy did a great job live blogging the sessions he attended, and a comment came through on one of the posts he did asking for ideas, or “out-of-the-box” marketing tactics that could work for physicians offices:

Creative Marketing Tactics for Physician Offices?  I would like to know of any creative “out-of-the-box” marketing tactics that anyone has used when marketing services to physician offices, medical facilities, etc.  Thanks in advance.

Here goes: The thing you must realize about viral marketing ideas in regards to any specific business is that it does not have to be a perfect match.  Services that a physician offers in itself is not the kind of content that is worthy of “going viral”.

The First Step: Research – I would suggest doing some research on some of the major social media websites like Digg, Stumble Upon, Reddit and Twitter (for starters) for stories related to the industry that may have gone popular, caused some buzz, got a ton of votes or gotten a lot of re-tweets.  Let me give you an example from Digg first.  If you go to Digg and do a search for something related to physicians, you will start to see the kind of stories that do well.  Also pay attention to the arrows.  You will notice most of the stories that have done well are in the “health” category and this should give you some great ideas for what kind of stories you could come up with.  I would also pay attention to the up and coming inside the health category.  Many times you will find amazing stories that never hit the front page of Digg, but are really link worthy and can well for the over all health of your site in regards to links.

Using Digg For Research
Using Digg For Research

Lets take a look next at Stumble Upon:  You can search on Stumbe Upon the same way – you can find it through the people that have tagged sites under “Physicians” and many other variations including health, but this again, should give you a better idea about the kind of stories that are doing well on Stumble Upon.

Research on Stumble Upon
Research on Stumble Upon

You can research Reddit pretty much the same way as the above two examples, but its more important to see the kind content that has done well on Reddit.  You will start to notice as you are doing research how certain sites refer different types of content etc.  The better of a job you do getting the specific kind of content the users like and are looking for, the better your campaigns will do.

Here is how I would research for ideas on Twitter.  I would first go to Twitter Search and again, type in my keywords:  In this screenshot I did a search for Physicians and I put arrows next to the ones that Have an RT, or R/T or r/t (retweet) means they liked it so much they wanted to share it with everyone who is following them.  This gives some kind of an indication of what people may be looking for, or what may be better content.

Research on Twitter
Research on Twitter

Second Step – Figure out to make the research work for you.  You do not want to copy what other people have done, but you can take ideas and do everything you can to come up with something that will bring value and benefit readers.  So the above Twitter example showed social networking links for physicians – what if you came up with an article talking about “The Top 10 Social Networking Resources For Physicians” this would also be great for you to explore and get better because it is your industry too, so its a win-win.


I was thinking a physicians office could really take advantage of Twitter by offering “daily tips” to keep away the flu this season, or “helpful hints” on what to do to stop the common cold, or what to do to make it end quicker.  They could also use it to promote their office by having a “$10 Dollar Twitter ONLY Flu Shot Day” or something similar.  There are so many ways to take advantage of these networks its crazy!

Once you get into this, and I mean really get into this – the ideas really will start flowing.  If you are not a great writer then you can hire someone to help you out with editing etc.  Make sure you double check everything and do everything you can to make the content your own and unique.  If you are doing this, and providing something of value it will be picked up on these sites, and people will link to it.  People link to good content – its that simple.  You just had to figure out how and what kind to get in front of them.


Think about this – I have a buddy who use to be a professional rollar-blader and has shared a story with me many times about an accident on a rail, and one of his (lets call it) “boys” got smashed and swelled up to the size of a grapefruit – Can you imagine the look on the physicians face when he saw that?  Everytime my friend tells the story I am all ears and laugh my arce off – so if this does not give you even more ideas of what you could do, then I don’t know what will??

With the proper research, you will be able to find something that will work and go viral in the physicians industry.  I hope this answers the question to the person who asked it, but if you have any other questions, or if anyone else has some ideas for this industry then please feel free to comment and share with everyone!

What Good Are Viral Campaigns, If You’re Not Making Sales?

On the 97th Floor SEO Blog where I post about viral campaigns every Friday, I got asked this questions about what good viral campaigns do, if they sell no product?  Its a fair question to the un-learned (maybe not by the type of person that asked it – proclaimed SEO) I guess.  The problem with this question is, the person asking it, is completely missing the point of why people like me are running viral campaigns.  There are many other amazing places for stories to go viral, but for the sake of this post – I am going to focus on Digg.

The Digg Effect?

If you get a FP on Digg, and it gets you so much traffic it takes your server down because of 40-100k plus uniques to your site (from what I have seen) you are bound to get noticed by someone.  So looking at your sales, and seeing none should not be alarming.  You can get crazy traffic from Digg even if your story does not make it popular.  But if it does …

You just experienced the Digg effect. What is the Digg effect?  After your server recovers –

  • People know about you now.
  • They know about your site.
  • They are going to be linking to your story. Yea Links!  We love links!
  • They are going to continue to talk about you for weeks, More Links!!
  • Other social networks may pick up your story and send even more traffic, links and saves.
  • Digg carries a lot of trust.
  • Stories rank well and push more trust to your site.
  • You get added benefits from Alexa (crazy burst, and then steady flow of traffic)

What does all that do?

It makes ranking for the keywords you want to be going after much easier, and in many cases gives you additional rankings for those keywords you want to be ranked for.  With the added links, traffic and trust now pushed to your site thanks to Digg (and this viral campaign), it makes getting ranked for the keywords you want a little easier.  You now have some authority, and will continue to build it.  Once you are ranked for the keywords you are going after – that is where you will start to see the sales come in, and finally understand why all this was worth it.

Case Study

I want to share a case study that can prove all of this, and show you the power of what Digg can do for you.  It also shows how you can make money with viral campaigns.  Almost a year ago I ran a viral campaign for a drop shipping company called Wholesale Match sharing 10 Real eBay Success Stories.  They wanted to be found for the term eBay Success Stories – and almost a year later are still ranked on Google in the top 2 of the first page for the term (as of today) check out the screen shot:

Ebay Succes Stories
Ebay Succes Stories

You can see from this next screen shot, this viral campaign has brought almost 33k unique visitors to the post since it was launched (not quite a year ago).  Believe it or not – that number is quite low, we have had other stories bring upwards of 110k uniques because of a FP on Digg.  If you go an take a look at the number of visits from other blog posts – not so impressive.  So you get the steady traffic, and they do make sales because of this.  They are a drop shipping business, and teach people how to make money on eBay – so its a no-brainer they are making money from this viral campaign.

This story probably would have even done much better but it didn’t stay on the Front Page very long because the users of Digg hate us SEO types, and anything they feel is marketing related.  There were to many haters because Wholesale Match had been making the Front Page to often I guess.  It just goes to show you that even in this type of a market Digg can stil be good for you, if your content is good enough – even with all the loser haters that abuse the system (bury) there was enough “real users” that enjoyed the article and ended up sending a lot of traffic and from the screen shots you can see the positve effect from all this!

Power of Viral Marketing Campagins
Power of Viral Marketing Campagins

The Digg story/URL itself still ranks in the top 10 (#10) of Google for the phrase eBay Success Stories, as you can see from this screen shot below: This proves there is much trust and love from Google.  it helps you get two of the top 10 rankings for a keyword that you really wanted to be found for that (from what the owner has told me) converts really well.  Remember – all this was over a year ago, so it really does work well!

Digg gets your site additional rankings in the SERPs
Digg gets your site additional rankings in the SERPs

I have just given you some insight to Digg, but there are many other powerful places that send massive amounts of traffic, links and trust to your sites because of viral campaigns that I have not explored here.


Viral Campaigns are powerful and they can make you make money.  I hope this post and case study has given you some ideas, or at least reasons why you need to be making viral campaigns a priority for 2009.  Once you really figure out the power, and the over all long term effect viral campagins have on your site, the only problem you will be left with is your ability to contain yourself from working on them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

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