Urgent care marketing will always have strong demand, but how can you ensure that patients choose your center over a different urgent care center?
While location certainly has some pull on a patient’s decision, your marketing and service quality also impact where a patient chooses treatment.
In fact, many patients have symptoms for days or weeks before ever considering going to an urgent care clinic.
During this time, they are likely Googling their symptoms and doing research online. Therefore, it’s a perfect opportunity to get your brand name in front of them and begin nurturing them.
So what is the most efficient way to get in front of your audience? Here is a guide to some of our proven marketing strategies that help urgent care facilities attract more patients profitably.
Conducting customer research may not be the most obvious first step to a marketing strategy for your urgent care, though it is essential to attracting new patients. So next time your patients are checking out, ask them what they liked and didn’t like about the experience. Learn about why they chose your urgent care practice over all the other practices.
To conduct patient research, you can send out surveys using a tool like Google Surveys or attach a paper copy to the patient intake form.
You can also ask your doctors and physicians what patients complain about frequently and compile a list.
Over time, you’ll start to hear themes about what they like (and would prefer to change) about your service.
You can then use this feedback to improve your services and create a more targeted marketing message for your urgent care. In addition, you can learn how patients typically find you (through Google, live events, etc.)
Now that you know what patients like and don’t like about your service and how they typically find you, improve the patient experience.
If you don’t improve the patient experience, your clinic will generate bad press and reviews. In addition, you may have patients enter the waiting room and quickly leave. Either way, it will be a waste of your marketing budget to bring these people to your clinic.
In addition to making requested adjustments from your customer research, here are a few things you can do now to improve the patient experience.
First, educate your staff on the importance of patient experience. They will likely shape the patient’s perception of your urgent care practice.
This checklist can help:
Other common patient complaints are unrelated to the care center’s experience and are instead related to your processes. In fact, in a study of 400 one-star reviews for urgent care facilities, the most common complaint was billing.
For example, can you improve the financial experience by implementing a better billing system?
While these may not be simple and easy fixes, improving the patient experience will allow you to see a larger ROI on your marketing spend as the average patient visits an urgent care facility every 8 to 9 months. Therefore, your ROI will increase significantly if you can reduce churn.
Now that you have a stellar service unmatched by the other urgent care centers nearby, let your customers do the marketing for you.
To do this, generate more reviews. About 77% of patients begin their search for a healthcare provider by looking at online reviews. In addition, the Harvard Business Review says that about 48% of patients claim other patient’s physician ratings and comments influenced their choice of doctor.
To generate more reviews, the first and most essential thing to do is make it easy for people to write a review. For example, create clear instructions on your website (with screenshots) detailing how people can write reviews.
Ask patients to fill out reviews on Google and Facebook. You can also include Healthgrades, Vitals, and other medical review websites.
In addition to making the process simple and painless, you can ask care providers to encourage patients to leave a review. Another hack is to leave a designated monitor or tablet in the waiting room for review writing. Leave the screen open to the review instructions page, and let patients know that it is there.
Doctors and physicians can also ask patients to leave reviews. Though it is illegal to bribe for reviews (positive or negative).
Finally, be sure to respond to all reviews from patients (positive or negative). Leave a phone number for negative reviewers to call. This will demonstrate to readers that you are willing to work with these people despite a negative review and will do the same for them.
Wait times are a key consideration factor when patients choose a facility. So make it as easy as possible for patients to find wait times online. Ideally, your wait times should be pretty good now that you have improved the patient experience. However, even if they aren’t perfect, it’s still best to make them easy to find. Patients will often choose the facility that makes them readily available.
Here’s an excellent example of an urgent care center’s live wait time metrics.
This is also a great way to show patients the best hours with the shortest wait times.
Most people in need of urgent care don’t have time to sit down on their computers and research care facilities. Instead, they will probably pull out their phone and Google for help.
Therefore, it’s essential to have an optimal mobile experience.
For example, patients should be able to find all pages in just three clicks without an overwhelming navigational tab. It’s also important to keep in mind that these likely patients have different search intents than desktop visitors. Provide critical information such as wait times, and online check-in prominently on the homepage.
This will help you better organize your mobile website by providing key information about the most popular pages and where users become frustrated and bounce. You can also source a lot of this information in Google Analytics, though it’s a little more difficult and less visual.
Given the nature of an urgent care facility, almost all of your patients will be local. Therefore, your Google local profile will be one of the most essential aspects of you urgent care marketing strategy.
Start by updating any photos of the inside and outside of your building, and be sure that the name, address, hours, and phone number are accurate.
Once you know that all of that information is accurate, the next step is to ensure that all of your citations are accurate (and filled out). For example, if you have a Yelp listing, it should also have the same name, address, hours, and phone number as your Google Local listing.
You can use a tool like Bright Local to automate this process and find new citations.
New citations will help Google see that you are a local company and improve your rankings.
Improving your Google Local profile is an important step in ranking on Google. However, it will provide minimal assistance if your website isn’t optimized. Your competitors also have their Google Local profile and an optimized website.
Therefore, it’s important to optimize your website with basic search engine optimization (SEO).
The first step in SEO is ensuring that your website is secure and provides a great customer experience.
Am I using HTTPS instead of HTTP?
Does the page load quickly (under 2 seconds, preferably under 1)?
Can I find each page in less than three clicks?
Is there any duplicate content?
Are there any 404 error pages?
Are there any indexing issues?
Once you know that you have a sound technical foundation, the next step is to optimize for your core keywords. For example, if you treat burns, back pain, UTIs, and more, make individual pages for each illness you treat. Given that you probably treat many different kinds of illnesses and injuries, look at the most common and profitable cases your clinic receives and start by creating pages around those issues.
This marketing strategy will help you generate more targeted search traffic for relevant illnesses you treat at your urgent care.
As you’re creating these pages, you can use a keyword research tool like Ahrefs to see which keywords related to the condition have the most search volume.
For example, if you’re targeting urgent care UTI, the best keyword to target would probably be Urgent Care for UTI, as it has the highest volume.
You can also use the questions tab to search for other long-tail keywords to include on the page.
Once you’ve built an outline for the page, do a quick Google search for the keyword and make sure that your page is more in-depth, useful, and has a better user experience than the one that currently ranks first.
From there, you can build relevant links to these pages by reaching out to websites that might need a resource on urgent care for UTIs.
Guest posting on relevant blogs, such as Mommy blogs and female health and fitness blogs, is another great way to build relevant links to your page.
Now that you have a strong website, the next step is building your brand presence through content marketing. While most people that hurt themselves and immediately want to receive care typically won’t extensively research their condition, others will wait hours, days, or even weeks, before attending an urgent care clinic.
During this waiting period, they will research things like, “when should I go to urgent care for back pain.”
Topics like this are excellent for attracting bottom of the funnel visitors, though another option is to interview past patients to write a case study of their treatment story.
This not only helps patients identify with the condition/symptoms, but it also proves the credibility of your treatment center as it shows off how you helped treat them.
Here’s an example of one:
Another way to attract more patients to your urgent care clinic is by leveraging social media marketing. This will keep your clinic top of mind, and when patients do need help, they will go to you. It also increases your credibility as a clinic if you have an active social presence.
So what can you do to obtain more followers?
Livestreaming is one of the best ways to earn a social media following quickly for a few different reasons:
Social platforms like live streaming, so they give you more organic visibility
Livestreaming builds a more personal relationship with your audience (engage in comments live)
You can live stream to multiple social platforms at once
The Livestream can also be repurposed as video content and chopped up into smaller videos
Another great way to improve social media engagement is by partnering with other brands. By cross-promoting, you’ll have access to their audience, and they will benefit from access to your audience.
The best way to maximize these kinds of partnerships is by ensuring that your partner has the same target audience and a similar audience size.
For example, you could partner with a local health and fitness influencer to unlock a new audience.
With every post, always respond to comments and make it a very personal experience. If it seems more like a brand than a human talking, you probably won’t get much engagement as these are social platforms designed for human connection.
If you drive ads to your website before ensuring you have an awesome service and strong website, you’ll likely have many people who bounce, which will waste money on clicks that don’t convert.
However, once you have all of those things in order, running paid ads is a great way to earn relevant traffic quickly.
The two best channels marketing to start with are Facebook and Google because they hold the majority of the urgent care clinic target audience. You can start by running Google ads to locations keywords such as “Urgent Care Atlanta.”
Ahrefs also provides extensive PPC information, and you can see what your competitors are targeting:
If you decide to run Facebook ads, you can use the Facebook Ad Library to see what ads your competitors are running and how their funnels are structured. You can also see older variations of their ads to learn what they have tested and which ads were the winners of each test.
Here’s an example from MedExpress:
The ads that have been running the longest are likely the most successful ads, so when you look at them, analyze:
What the landing page looks like
Look through four or five of your competitors’ ads and note any similarities before running your own.
Again, your target audience is local, so think about how you can become more involved in the community. For example, is there a local soccer game you can sponsor? Are there any schools that need a speaker? Can you sponsor an event for fitness, such as a 5k or marathon?
Donating to local charities is another great way to increase brand awareness, though be hands-on with every donation to maximize your brand awareness and community involvement.
For example, rather than just handing over a check to a high school soccer team and giving out pens at a booth, think about how you can sponsor a scholarship. Notice that a scholarship is much more impactful and will have parents and students talking about your brand for longer?
This also creates a more humanized brand image that parents and students will remember.
Another great way to generate more patients is by partnering with other local primary care physicians. In many cases, primary care physicians are happy to refer patients to urgent care centers for various reasons. A study by the Mercy Health System of Southeastern Pennsylvania showed that:
42% of patients need access to care outside of regular hours due to work schedules
39% of patients were unable to schedule a check-up appointment within the same month
39% of patients were unable to make an appointment over the phone due to high volume
Therefore, it’s easy to see that an overworked primary care physician may prefer to partner with an urgent care center to reduce volume and please patients.
In addition, many primary care practices are unable to provide the care that patients need. For example, if the patient needs x-rays, most primary care physicians would have to refer the patient elsewhere. In many cases, this is a hospital. Though because hospitals are much more expensive, a physician would likely prefer to refer the patient to an urgent care clinic because it’s cheaper.
To build these relationships, consider scheduling breakfast meetings with local primary care physicians. These tend to work very well because they aren’t behind schedule yet and finally have some time to think about what you’re saying.
While all of these strategies work, taking action on them today is essential to success. If you don’t think you’ll have time to take action on them, consider hiring an experienced urgent care marketing partner to help you out.
A marketing partner will help you execute these strategies and provide expertise to minimize mistakes.
So what should you look for in a marketing partner?
The first, and perhaps most essential element to look for in a marketing partner is industry expertise. First, someone that has already helped another urgent care center through these challenges will know what resonates with your audience.
Essentially, you are paying for knowledge that they have earned working on someone else’s dime. Therefore, you’ll be able to achieve success much faster.
In addition, they will know about healthcare laws like HIPAA compliance which could cost thousands or even millions of dollars.
Another key is to be sure that the agency you select is full service. Marketing strategies don’t work in silos, so choosing a paid ads agency and an SEO agency will lead to a disconnected marketing strategy.
Choosing a full-service agency also gives you a lot more flexibility to reallocate marketing spend depending on your needs.
Finally, is the partner communicative?
For example, do they respond to your calls and emails within 24 hours? Will they provide weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly meetings? Will they charge extra for additional phone calls/meetings? How closely will they work with your team (for example, participating in marketing department meetings)?
Having a communicative partner is essential to ensuring that your in-house team and agency work together smoothly and all campaigns align.
It also enables your in-house team instant access to professionals to brainstorm ideas with and seek advice.
Today’s patient is more informed and careful than ever before, so having a compelling marketing message and strong branding presence is essential.
While implementing these strategies may seem like a daunting task, start with customer research and then work your way down the list.
If you have any questions while creating your marketing strategy, feel free to reach out to one of our experts today to help you brainstorm and strategize.
By choosing Stodzy Internet Marketing to market your Urgent Care, you will know that your online efforts are in good hands. From developing your branded website and managing your SEO to keeping up with your social media and e-mail list, our specialists will be there for you every step of the way. Whether you’ve been promised quick results in the past only to see your website traffic tank or you’re opening a brand new Urgent Care center and don’t know where to start, Stodzy knows how to help you reach more patients and grow your business. Contact us today at 800-761-1426 to get the process started with a free site audit and consultation.
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