Healthcare marketing is unlike any other genre of marketing. Studies have shown one out of every twenty Google searches are health-related. Healthcare marketing campaigns have the ability to potentially change or even save a life. Not only does this show the important demand for healthcare services, but the opportunity to expand traditional, status quo, marketing strategies and tactics.
“With great power, comes great responsibility.” The power dynamic has flipped, we are now operating in a consumer hungry and consumer controlled era. With the healthcare industry changing, at an unprecedented rate, patients’ needs and expectations have set the bar high. It is crucial for your healthcare marketing strategies to align with the solid mission and core values of the healthcare organization you are representing. Above all else, it is most important that your marketing efforts meet the need of the patients seeking treatment.
Today’s average consumer has more information, options, and convenience to meet their needs and the catch…. it’s literally and figuratively in the palm of their hands. How can you build your brand to stand out above all the other healthcare options? How can you build trust and a connection with individuals seeking medical services? How can you establish security, through online marketing, in your healthcare organization? When utilized, in conjunction with one another, these 6 healthcare marketing strategies can help produce quality leads for your business.
Establish Your Mission and Implement Consistent Branding.
The purpose of healthcare marketing far surpasses monetary value. The true goal of marketing your healthcare organization is to build your brand and to be of service to patients in need. The best way to connect patients with your brand is through establishing a mission that sets your organization apart. Successful healthcare marketing is contingent upon representing a responsibility for the people who are cared for at your facility.
The implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act has provided patients with more readily available access to health insurance and healthcare providers as well. This has made it possible for local family practitioners to have the ability to compete with well-established hospitals. As the competition increases, so has the opportunity to develop a presence outside the realm of traditional word of mouth referrals.
Your mission should be consistently clear in demonstrating HOW your organization impacts the lives of those in need of your services. Once your mission is clear, you can begin to connect your patients with your facilities on an emotional level. Seeking healthcare services can be a seemingly daunting task. What is unique about your facility? What separates your white coated employees from the next? Establishing a mission centered around purposeful values and personalization can be then carried over into any marketing strategy successfully.
Build an Appealing and Easy-to-Navigate Website.
Websites typically serve as the welcome mat of your business, especially in the healthcare world. It’s the first impression your company will make on the individual seeking treatment. According to a survey, conducted by Pew, a little over 75% of people begin their search for healthcare information online. For a more tangible perspective, roughly 50-90 million users seek medical services, service providers included, on the internet.
If a patient has landed on your website, usually the individual is searching for the appropriate provider to assist in their medical needs as quickly as possible. There is a sense of urgency that follows your average healthcare search and the more user-friendly your site is, the better.
Call to Action (CTA) – A prospective patient is looking around on your site, what would you like for them to do? Do you want the individual to book an appointment? Fill out a contact form? Do you want them to call your number? Whatever action you want the visitor to take, make visible calls-to-action throughout your entire site. Education, through a simple “learn more” button, is a key way to ensure patient engagement. Offering information on medical conditions and treatment options eliminates anxiety and establishes trust.
Patient Portals – Convenience is key. Keeping up with the times, consumers thrive on convenience. Most online portals give patients the opportunity to schedule appointments online, view test results instantly, make payments, have access to medical history, and even request prescription refills online. Patients gain a sense of of ownership over their own wellness and an open communication is established through patient portals. Overall, online portals encourage patient engagement.
SEO: Hyper-targeting Healthcare Marketing – Search engine optimization continues to be the most effective marketing strategy. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” The search algorithm is designed to provide to top three most relevant and highest quality sites to best suit the searcher’s inquiry. The ultimate goal is to have your healthcare organization’s website to to appear in that listing. 60% of people conduct a general search online without exposure to other options. 3 out of 4 people never scroll past the first page of results.
Consistently publish relevant and original content – Providing valuable and relevant content for your website can contribute to setting your brand apart. People are searching for information on medical conditions, treatment options, and even current event covering innovative medical advances. The goal is for your website’s resources to provide the information researched. Valuable and credible resources establish trust and can ultimately result in someone choosing to seek treatment at your practice. Above all else, your search ranking can improve drastically from content alone.
Build your backlinks – Backlinks are links on other web pages that link back to your website. Other websites would link back to your website for citing an article/blog and may even link directly to a resource. Every backlink is a vote of confidence, increasing your credibility within the search engine ranking system. The more relevant and informational your resources are, the more backlinks your website will receive.
Hyper-target your keywords – Search engines analyze keywords in each individual search in order to provide the most relevant content. Within the healthcare marketing world, the spectrum for keywords is broad. It is important to hyper-target your keywords to ensure relevance and accuracy for what terms are most appropriate for your website. Google is one of the most commonly used search engines. Google Keyword Tool is a free research aid to help determine the most popular terms.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will the benefits of SEO manifest overnight. There is a science behind optimizing keywords, organic link building, and producing the most effective content. We have implemented an in-house SEO team because it is an intricate process, one that requires skill, knowledge, and overall experience. Keeping up with the frequent algorithm changes and mastering the art of SEO is a full-time and beneficial task. When executed properly, SEO is an effective marketing strategy used to increase brand recognition and traffic to your website.
Invest in Healthcare PPC
Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a guaranteed way to boost the visibility of your practice or healthcare organization. Pay-per-click means the advertiser only pays “per click” on the ad. This specific marketing strategy is hyper-targeted, meaning the more specific your bid on keywords, the better. PPC marketing is a great way for your facility to gain more online real estate, while the consumer is navigating through the search results page.
Specify your keywords. – Healthcare marketing presents many challenges, but none as tedious as complying with Google’s language restrictions. Medical information is highly regulated and protected through HIPPAA. It is not impossible to navigate through these protective barriers. It is crucial for your facility to be well educated on and to comply with the industry’s regulations. Once you understand the parameter’s, specificity is key. Build your campaign around terms that resonate within your community. PPC allows your marketing to target the most specific of demographics, which can be extremely beneficial in expanding your outreach.
Align your content – Content will be included within your PPC ad. It is vital that the content, you write for the ad, mirrors the words on the landing page. This page is the final destination of the traffic created by clicking on the ad. The goal is to have a direct call-to-action, contact information, and clear message on your landing page. Similar to SEO, there’s a certain expertise and understanding when creating a successful landing page. Essentially, you want your keywords to entice the link. Google is constantly analyzing consumer searches. Monitor the performance of your PPC program and modify your landing pages and keywords as often as necessary.
Optimize your social media marketing
The digital population is increasing worldwide, at an unprecedented rate. More specifically, a recent survey revealed 3.3 billion are active social media users. Social media has become a platform for not only, social communication amongst the masses, but it also serves as a source for news/current events. From a healthcare marketing standpoint, this is great news. Many clients search for recommendations and even healthcare providers via social media. Facebook is the largest and most used social media platform. Targeting mobile usage, Facebook has captivated mobile users meaning there is a huge benefit to social media marketing.<
Build your community – For healthcare marketing purposes, social media can increase patient engagement, establish trust, and improve the overall credibility of providers. One study showed that 57% of patients chose their PCP based on social media presence alone. 60% of doctors agreed that social media improved the overall quality of care for their patients. Facebook likes can somewhat account for your general following. The goal is to maintain constant contact with your followers and outreach to the masses. This can be achieved by posting links to resources, blogs, and any content on your website. Thus, directing more visiting traffic to your website. Think of your social media community as it relates to a local community… engagement, trust, resources, and announcements can help increase web traffic.
Expand the presence of your brand
Your online community is the gateway to expanding the presence of your brand. In order to extend your reach, outside of your community, give the people what they want. Sharing content covering hot topics like meditation, preventative medicines, and healthy living will increase relevance and peaks the interest of your audience. Another useful healthcare social media strategy is aligning current seasons with current events. For example, consider flu/cold campaigns in the winter and healthy habits/weight loss around New Years. The goal is for your social media posts to be as engaging and current as possible. Strict regulations protect patient privacy, therefore steer clear of individualizing medical advice via social media. Instead, use your social media platforms to engage your audience, and the masses, with tips, healthcare news, and announcements.
Personalize your marketing strategies
UC Health chief marketing officer, Manny Rodriguez, stands firm behind the principle of putting the patient back into the center of healthcare marketing. Manny was in remission from leukemia and perhaps his experience propelled his unique perspective:
We’ve gotten away from the fact that what we do is about the patient,” Rodriguez told AdAge. “I don’t want to be a healthcare marketer; I want to be a consumer marketer who is marketing to patients.”
Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the oldest and most effective healthcare marketing strategies. Long before the digital era skyrocketed, patients relied upon the trust found in word-of-mouth testimonials. Humans find more credibility in the somewhat tangible experiences of others over the random stranger advertising their personal business. Personalized emails, patient reviews, video testimonials, and community engagement/advocacy are some of the best ways to personalize the relationship between your facility and your patients.
A recent study revealed that 66% of people check their emails, as soon as they wake up and over 99% of patients want better communication with their doctor. It’s no coincidence that merging the two is beneficial for healthcare marketing. Promotional emails should be a common strategy. These types of emails serve to inform your patients of special promotions your facility is offering. Appointment reminders and “it’s time to” emails serve in maintaining constant contact with existing patients through encouraging overall wellness. Weekly or monthly newsletters should also be sent out via email. Be sure to include any new services offered, seasonal hot topics, and any upcoming events in your newsletter.
Reviews and Testimonials
The goal of healthcare marketing is to convince your consumer that they need the service you are providing. Testimonials and patient reviews are organic and beneficial additions to your marketing strategy. The influence of organic patient reviews can be the difference from a person choosing your practice over your competitor’s. Quality customer service equals quality reviews. Video testimonials provide greater insight into your practice. Potential patients are more likely to visit your facility after watching a video and more likely to spend more time on your website with a video. Developing your reputation, increasing brand awareness, and trust can be directly influenced through unbiased testimonials and reviews.
Get plugged into your local community. Participate in career day and science fairs at your local public schools. Joining your local chamber of commerce is one of the best ways to get involved in network marketing. Offer sponsorship for a local 5k fundraiser that is campaigning for a cause. This is one of the best ways to show you have invested interest in the wellbeing of your local community.
There is no “one strategy fits all” within the world of healthcare marketing. These marketing strategies work together as one well-oiled machine. Evolving with the times and consistently engaging with patients spill over into creating visibility and establishing trust. Whenever possible, be present and extend the hand of helping a patient in need. The payoff is long worth the reward. All of these strategies work together with the main functioning purpose of helping other people and growing your business.