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Healthcare is one of the most regulated markets in the US, meaning that there are tight controls on what practices can and can’t say in an attempt to promote themselves and their businesses. In a world where COVID-19 is still a very real threat, patients lack the same trust they once had about their safety within medical practices. In the competitive world of healthcare, competition is rapidly growing. Currently, In the US there are over 750,000 companies in the health care sector, and it looks like patients are running out of patience. According to research, 43% of millennials are likely to switch (medical) practices in the next few years, and 44% of gen X are likely to switch primary care physicians in the next 3 years.  Finding new and creative ways to engage with patients has become increasingly important, especially if your practice is to stand out amongst the rest.

Strategy and Tips for Healthcare Marketing

Here are some key strategies and tips in healthcare marketing that will help you shine, so that you can focus on providing quality services to patients.

1. Creating Digital Touch Points

Traditionally the only way to communicate with the doctor is by either visiting them in person or by calling over the phone. Patients are no longer happy with the forms of communication they had in the past and are demanding increased digital touch points, in the forms of texts, online and social media.

  • Texts

Younger generations are more digitally connected than ever and engaging with them on platforms where they are comfortable is a must if healthcare practices want to keep their attention. Texting platforms are an excellent form of 2-way communication between the practice and the patients and can keep patients engaged throughout the course of their medical journey. It can create a secure and comfortable forum for communication between parties and allow for constant updates on appointments, or private time-sensitive news.

  • Online

The online experience is crucial to any service sector company, and it’s no different for healthcare organisations. Ease is the name of the game; websites need to be optimized for user experience. Patients need to know everything about your medical practice; what it does, where its at, what time its open until, who to contact – all within the first few seconds of being on the website.

Patients need to be able to make bookings to see doctors online, without needing to sit in long waiting cues over the phone to book an appointment. With increased dependence on mobile devices, ensuring that websites are optimized for a phone, or a tablet is pivotal. Its not like it was in the early 2000’s where people were willing to wait for 30 seconds for a website to load, in the age of a decreasing attention span, people want things instantly.  Responsive websites lead to a better patient experience.

  • Social media

Research shows that 1/3rd of consumers use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for health-related matters, highlighting the importance of Social media strategies within healthcare marketing. Social media provides the opportunity for patients to get insight into the kind of clinic that you run. This first impression is crucial to persuade patients to come to you, it can also increase brand awareness and generate leads as social media posts can be shared and seen by wider communities. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook allow people that see your page to send messages and communicate. When these channels are monitored and responsive, it creates another touch point for patients.

2. Paid Ads

In the digital age, people tend to use the internet as a main information source especially when it comes to medical issues. Utilizing services like google is a must if your healthcare practice is to stand out from the rest. Every minute there are 70,000 health related searches through google, meaning that there are 70,000 potential opportunities to convert patient leads. Engaging in paid ads on google is a highly effective marketing strategy that can boost your practice’s website to the top of the search results. This can help in reaching new patients that previously hadn’t heard of your clinic, and as a result increase the standing of your health care practice.

3. Reviews / Video Testimonials

According to Software Advice, 90% of patients use online reviews to evaluate physicians. Having a positive online presence is a great way to convince prospective patients of the quality care that you provide at your clinic. This could be done by educating patients and letting them know how important google reviews are to your practice and asking them to fill in a google review after their consultation.

Another important thing to note is that, not every patient is going to leave a good review about your clinic no matter how good the service was. So, it’s important to engage with poor reviews and follow up with patients to fix their concerns. Websites like google reviews allow responses to patient feedback directly on a public forum. This can be reassuring for people looking at reviews as they see that your healthcare practice is actively listening to the concerns and working to fix issues. Clinics could also create video testimonials, as it allows potential patients to see the experience of real people that are happy with your services.

4. Utilizing Traditional Media

Getting your health care practice in front of news eyes is a fundamental way of increasing reach.  To do so one can leverage traditional media platforms such as radio, television, and billboards. By utilizing strategic placement of advertising on television and radio stations, you can grow the brand awareness exponentially. These platforms, while catering to a general audience, can be narrowed down by having advertisements play on local stations, for example if your clinic is in New York, then have ads placed on a New York radio station and have billboards around New York. Getting in touch with an experienced media buyer is a great way of ensuring that ROI is maximized.

In an increasingly saturated sector such as healthcare, ensuring that your organization stands out is pivotal to the businesses success. Creating digital touch points that allow for communication of private and time sensitive information, producing an optimized website to ensure a smooth user experience, using social media to your advantage and using paid ads and google reviews are all crucial to building you brand awareness and developing trust between the clinic and the patient.

Integrating these strategies into your marketing collateral will help you stay ahead of the competition and drive awareness to your brand. If the Internet is King, then traditional media is Queen, and utilizing traditional media platforms to increase the reach of your clinic is a step to improving the chance of your success.

Image source: ShutterStock (1797119743)

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