Health Care Marketing: 20 Tips & Strategies
Medical practitioners today function in a fast-evolving world and especially while trying to attract and retain patients. Additionally, the ever-changing social media world often necessitates the implementation of marketing strategies. Remember, a lot of information is now available online and patients seeking medical assistance surf through websites to get qualified medical practitioners and facilities. As a medical practitioner, you can therefore not ignore having an online presence. This goes a long way in helping you evocatively promote your services and consequently help you attract and retain customers.
You might be thinking that all this isn’t necessary since you already have a large base of established customers. However, think of the many reasons that can make your customers to easily shift to your competitor. You can just stop there; remember your competitors are always improving their marketing strategies to stay ahead of you. However difficult it could be, you need effective health care marketing strategies to remain relevant in practice. There are many marketing strategies you can use to market your practice including the use of social media, search engines, blogs and many more.
What is an effective marketing strategy?
Basically, a health care marketing strategy entails all the methods you will put in place to market your practice. Though employing a marketing strategy is often viewed as an expense, it is, on the contrary, an investment since it helps grow a business. An effective marketing strategy should be well planned and also well budgeted too. It could be quite costly but worth it in the long-run. Additionally, it should be long term.
Just as most medical practitioners state it, it is better to prevent than cure. Invest in a health care marketing strategy and patients will flow to your business, ignore it and you will find your patients’ database empty with time. Take a close look at the following marketing strategies that will assist you.
1. Create a responsive website
A responsive website usually adjusts automatically to different screen sizes. This means that whether one accesses the site on a computer, mobile or a tablet, their experience is the same. Nowadays, it is very common in web design. Additionally, search engines occasionally look at this feature while determining one’s ranking. Generally, responsive sites function best for mobile users and Google always prioritizes businesses that have responsive websites. This means that having such a site will also put you ahead of competitors without these sites. However, you should always make sure your website content always loads effectively on all mobile devices.
2. Test your site loading speed
Ensure that the page loading speed is fast enough not to affect user experience. Constantly test your page loading speed using techniques such as the GTMetrix, this generally measures speed by combining information from other speed measuring tools. You can also measure speed by using the load impact, whereby one inputs the URL in the screen box to measure speed.
A recent study has shown that most patients are not willing to access sites that have a slow loading speed. Just a five seconds delay can cause a patient to turn for help to another website. You can increase your page loading speed through various methods including; minimizing redirects, minifying files, reducing image sizes and minimizing HTTPS requests.
3. Update your website regularly
If your website always contains outdated information and patients can’t access the information they need, they might get frustrated and look for another website with relevant information. Ideally, you should have content management software that makes it easy to constantly update your website content. If updating content is difficult for you, you may hire a web developer to update your website. Additionally, you must always ensure that your website is in line with the latest technology. An old website may not have all the necessary functionality standards. This can result in patients’ frustration and make you have a low ranking in search engines.
4. Incorporate email marketing
This entails communicating to patients through emails. You may use emails to send appointment reminders, newsletters, inform patients on health tips and upcoming events. This is usually an effective mode since it allows you to keep communicating to patients even in times when they do not come to your office. This practice enables practitioners to maintain a good relationship with these patients and also reach more patients. Customers who are satisfied by your services will always share those emails with other patients who might be in need of similar services.
5. Improve your Search Engine Optimization(SEO)
After setting up a website, you must also ensure that it is friendly to search engines. SEO is the tool that will make you get top ranks in the search engines. It comprises of various elements that can ensure that search engines give your website a rank based on keyword searches. These elements include the on-page and off-page factors. On-page factors entail all factors on your website and you have control over them.
Off-page factors entail all external factors that you have no control over for example website links. With the on-page factors, you can either improve your ranking for keywords by either adding keywords to title tags or creating content that contains the keyword. However, repeating a word multiple times on your website does not always guarantee you a top rank. You must ensure that the right keyword is used. Additionally, the use of the keyword in your content must not appear to be inappropriately used. To effectively improve your SEO you can work with an expert in that field.
6. Create substantial website content
Ensure that you create quality and educative content to the audience you are targeting. Quality content is a common determinant in SEO ranking since it helps determine if you are an expert or knowledgeable in your field. Additionally giving quality content also makes patients trust you. Ensure that your content answers all frequently asked questions that relate to your field. Giving smart answers to such questions helps you educate the readers and they, therefore, trust you and view you as an expert in your field. You should also ensure that your content is informative and shows exactly how your services are unique and different from your competitor’s services.
7. Incorporate video marketing
Utilize video marketing to give testimonials from previous customers. To make it stand out, ensure you feature happy and interested customers in your video. Additionally, ensure that your video content is educative and interesting enough to catch viewers’ attention within a very short time. You can put your video on YouTube; here you can reach a wide market. YouTube is also a search engine and can also play a role in your SEO ranking.
8. Use social media platforms
The world has really evolved and most people use social media platforms to communicate. Sharing information about your services on social media platforms helps you access a large market. Additionally, it can help you access patients globally because the information is widely shared by users of these platforms. You will need to have platforms like a Facebook page, LinkedIn page, and a twitter account. This is where you share educative content, whether original or from other sources. Also, ensure you have sharing buttons in your platforms to allow readers to share your content.
9. Find out the strategies in other industries
You find that stiff competition in the healthcare industries might force competitors to use almost similar marketing strategies and ideas. However, you can choose to be different and unique by seeking inspiration from a non-related industry. Ideally, look at the strategies being used in the manufacturing, entertainment, and retail sectors. This can give you insights on how to effectively market yourself and also be different from your competitors. This will obviously give you a competitive edge.
10. Give your patients a platform to market you
If you only allow them, your patients can help you create a network. You can do this by allowing them to give feedback after receiving your service. Such feedback allows you to identify your weaknesses and in turn make changes to curb them. Giving patients such a platform also makes them feel part of your business and can thus market your services to other viable customers. Additionally, you can create videos whereby you feature testimonials from patients who have benefited from your service. This gives a platform for them to praise your expertise and can, in turn, increase your customer base.
11. Create a brand for your practice
Creating a good brand helps patients to easily recognize you in various platforms such as social media, your website, blogs, and an advertisement. Create a brand by choosing a logo, color scheme and have a practice name that stands out and is unique compared to other practitioners. A good brand name must include the most unique thing that makes patients to always remember it. Additionally, ensure your branding is consistent in all health care marketing strategies; this makes it easier for patients to know information coming from your business. To make your branding effective, it is vital to hire the services of a branding company.
12. Ask for referrals
Ask for referrals from other medical practitioners in your practice. This is a great and cost-effective method that allows you to have more patients. You can either get a referral partner in your area of practice or network with practitioners from different specialties. For example, assuming you are an optician and your colleague who is a gynecologist gets a patient who needs the services of both an optician and a gynecologist, that colleague can refer that patient to you. To have a steady flow of referrals, you can also adopt a paid referral system whereby you pay so as to have referrals from other practitioners.
Additionally, doctors may create a doximity profile to also get referrals. Doximity is a platform in which doctors share information on how to handle difficult cases at work and also enables them to give referrals to each other.
13. Utilize traditional marketing methods
You can use traditional media such as television, radio, newspapers, and billboards. Ensure you have a media buyer who can make good decisions on your behalf and ensure that your advertisement reaches the right audience at the right time. You must always choose your option right. For example, you can forego putting up a billboard that might only be seen by people in a small area but has a television advert in a channel that appeals to a huge population of your target audience.
14. Follow up patients
This is a strategy in which you follow up patients after having had an appointment with them, to know if they are doing okay. Ideally, ask them about their health situation, family or even send them personalized get well soon cards. You may also send them emails to remind them of medical appointments. This is usually a good strategy to maintain a relationship with them and this can make them recommend you to other patients.
15. Make use of PPC adds
Pay-Per-Click advertisements (PPC adds) are advertisements that are paid for, so allow a site is put on top of search engines. However, before using this method, you must ensure that your budget can give room for payment of this service. This is because the service might be quite expensive.
16. Ask for patients reviews
Always ask for reviews. This gives you an opportunity to get positive feedback from satisfied customers. This feedback is featured on your website automatically when using automated reviews. Doing patient reviews could be quite challenging for front desk staff thus it is advisable to use automated reviews, including the use of tablets and computers. In addition to asking patients for reviews, medical practitioners may also access review sites such as HealthGrades to know how patients view their services. In these sites, former patients usually leave their reviews regarding the quality of services offered by practitioners and patients seeking medical services often look at these reviews before deciding on the medical facility to attend.
17. Follow up with negative patient feedback
It is usually very discouraging when people give a negative opinion about your service. However, always ensure that you follow up that particular patient and assure them that you are working to solve the problem. Also, inform them when you completely resolve the problem. All this helps you maintain a good reputation. Maintaining a good reputation is an effective health care marketing strategy since it attracts more customers.
18. Track your marketing strategy
You must constantly monitor the benefits you gain from the marketing strategy in terms of the Return on Investment. Also, adjust your marketing budget yearly based on the activities you want to engage in that particular year. You can monitor your strategy by using customer relationship management systems. This enables you to know how patients are involved in your campaigns. Additionally, you can also monitor your strategy by using google analytics. This helps you know your ranking in search engines.
19. Audit your front office staff
Incompetent front desk staff can completely ruin a good marketing strategy. Poor services from your staff can make you lose opportunities and money. It is vital to do a thorough audit on your front desk staff not forgetting that they give the first impression about your business to incoming patients. An audit helps reveal information such as; mishandling of calls, inability to market your service, misinformation about your services and poor customer service. To have a fruitful health care marketing strategy, you need well trained front desk staff.
20. Be an authority in your practice
Patients will always remember practitioners who have established themselves as an authority in their practice. A medical practitioner may become an authority through the following ways:
• Always stay updated in both technology and in your practice, you must always ensure that you adopt recent technology. For example, nowadays, social media platforms are commonly used for marketing. In such a case, you must always ensure that you set up all these platforms and use them to acquire and retain customers. Also ensure that you always update your website, keep updating it constantly to increase its functionality standard.
• Doing interview to share expertise and advice with patients, whether it’s doing a health segment or being interviewed on areas related to your field, making a TV appearance helps you become an authority in your field. This is because it gets your name and expertise in the public.
• Feature in medical journals. Getting yourself published in medical journals makes people aware of your great expertise in your specialty. Bearing in mind that medical journals are usually research-based and have deep health insights, featuring in such journals gives you an authority in your practice.
Know the current challenges and issues within the medical field and talk about them in your blogs. This is a great way to increase traffic to your website and maximize your health care marketing Strategy.
The medical field has become increasingly competitive and this, therefore, makes it very necessary for medical practitioners to adopt effective marketing strategies to stay ahead of the competition. Using online marketing strategies such as the use of websites, social media platforms, video marketing and many more are very vital for medical practitioners as it helps them get access to a larger audience. This article has given an in-depth discussion of the various health care marketing strategies that a medical practitioner can use to stay relevant in their field.