The healthcare industry is always evolving, including the way patients find and choose facilities and providers. That’s why it’s critical to focus not only on the ways you connect with your patients, but also the healthcare marketing strategy behind these connections to ensure you continue delivering on their expectations.
Patients have more options for healthcare than ever before, so it’s critical that organizations position themselves as a viable option to meet patient demands and connect with patients where they already are — on social media, search engine results pages, and the email inbox.
Here’s what you should include in your healthcare marketing strategy — and why you need one in the first place:
Why Plan a Healthcare Marketing Strategy?
There’s a common saying in medicine: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Doctors emphasize taking preventative measures to avoid bigger medical problems in the future.
Applied to healthcare marketing, this means that you’re taking the necessary steps to ensure a healthy patient volume before you really need to.
Even if you’re satisfied with the number of patients you have and the revenue you’re generating, your numbers could change in an instant. Patients may move, find another provider, run into insurance issues, or a number of other reasons that drive them away from your practice. When this happens, it’s critical to have a robust marketing strategy that will help you rebuild your numbers. Otherwise, you risk becoming desperate for business and start cobbling together an ineffective strategy.
In short, a healthcare marketing strategy is a valuable investment in your business. It not only helps you grow your organization but also gives you peace of mind that when patients leave, new ones will be ready to fill in the gaps.
5 Components of a Good Healthcare Marketing Strategy
Here are five of the most important components to include in your marketing strategy that can help you scale with an evolving healthcare industry:
1. Deliver Consistent Patient Experiences
When it comes to healthcare, expertise in the industry is par for the course. Your patients can’t tell one white coat apart from the next, but they can tell a difference in how they’re treated, how quickly you respond to their needs, and how easy you make the entire process for them.
You might not associate the patient experience with marketing, but the two have a lot to do with each other. How your patients experience your company says a lot about your brand, and this could be enough to tip the scales in your favor or send your patients to your nearest competitor.
Healthcare facilities should lean heavily on the aspects that make them unique, whether it’s being a family-friendly office, offering convenient hours, or being the facility that knows every patient by name versus account number. Whatever makes you stand out in their minds, be consistent in using it in your marketing. This helps you become widely known for what you do well and what patients can count on every time they call or visit.
2. Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
Patients are increasingly relying on internet searches to find healthcare providers in their area. The best way to connect with them on the search engine results page is to optimize your website for local searches.
More than 45% of all Google searches are looking for local information (like healthcare!), and more than 50% of local searchers call or visit a location that same day. Using the right keywords and following SEO best practices can help you land on Google’s coveted first page of results and be front and center when patients are looking for a provider.
3. Invest in PPC Advertising
If you’re not as skilled in SEO or don’t have the means to invest in it, you can “skip the line” and invest in paid advertising. Pay per click (PPC) ads are paid advertising that puts you at the top of the search results. These ads are laser targeted to specific search terms and local audiences, and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
4. Collect and Share Patient Reviews
Patient testimonials and online reviews are digital gold for healthcare facilities. Studies have found that a whopping 84% of consumers trust reviews just as much as a personal recommendation from a family member or friend. They’re direct insight into other peoples’ experiences with your practice and gives them an idea of what they can expect with their own experience.
However, most patients will not make the first move to provide you with an online review or feedback, but 70% of consumers will be happy to leave a review if you ask them. Healthcare organizations should be proactive in asking each patient for a review on Google, Facebook, or other online channels that other patients can read. In addition, you can also request a testimonial to use on your website.
Many healthcare facilities have automated the review collection process to save time and hassle for both sides. This helps to remove the guesswork and having to remember to follow up with patients. With the right tools, you can set up workflows to automatically email patients a certain number of days after their office visit to ask them for feedback or direct them to your online review sites.
5. Don’t Neglect Former Patients
Many healthcare organizations get so caught up in attracting new patients that they fail to remain connected with former or existing patients. However, you probably also know that it can cost anywhere from 5 to 25 times more to acquire a new patient than market to a current one, so it’s also financially savvy to keep in touch with your entire patient base.
Prior patients already know what to expect from the healthcare service you provide. If they’ve had good experiences with your organization, they may be more likely to refer other patients to you. Studies show that nearly three out of four consumers feel that word of mouth marketing is a key influencer in purchasing decisions.
There are several ways you can include current and former patients in your marketing strategy:
- Follow up with patients after an appointment
- Send out handwritten birthday cards or holiday cards
- Include them in special offers, coupons, health fairs, events, and anything other communications that can help you maintain a relationship
- Invest in a reactivation campaign each year to get former patients back on your appointment calendar
The more proactive you are in reaching out to patients, the more likely you can stay top of mind and continue delivering value outside of the examining room.
How Companies Can Streamline Healthcare Marketing with LeadSquared
Creating and sticking to a healthcare marketing strategy is made easier and more realistic with the right tools, and LeadSquared can help. We’ve designed our platform to help companies put marketing activities on autopilot, manage the patient relationship from end to end, and even integrate your call center into your database so you never miss an opportunity to improve the patient experience.