In today’s day and age, where information is only a click away, patients rely on search engines to look up symptoms or book an appointment. With potential customers getting inundated with content and advertisements, how can you make your business’s presence felt? How can you captivate the interests of readers and convert that interest to paying clients? The answer lies in effective healthcare marketing.
Healthcare marketing has certainly evolved over the years, and it’s today more sophisticated than ever. Keeping this in mind, this article will introduce you to the basics of healthcare marketing and then talk about creating an effective healthcare marketing strategy.
What is healthcare marketing?
Healthcare marketing is the amalgamation of all the marketing strategies employed by medical suppliers, healthcare providers, and insurance agencies to boost their brand awareness. This includes online and offline content, videos, social media pages, etc. It’s a multidisciplinary activity that requires the collaboration of different teams like marketing, public relations, customer care, and content writers.
Marketing in the healthcare industry: What are the benefits?
Healthcare marketing is integral to the success of your business, irrespective of whether you’re a small clinic with only a bunch of physicians or a bustling multi-specialty hospital housing the latest advancements in healthcare. Some of the important advantages of healthcare marketing are:
Boosting your patient base
Like any business, customer acquisition and retention is one of the biggest objectives. Healthcare marketing helps to increase your reach and can hence help attract more patients. You’re able to better engage with patients this way.
Increasing referrals to the practice
Your brand awareness has a direct correlation with new patient referrals to your growing practice. The more the number of physicians and surgeons that are aware of your local practice, the higher are the number of patients that get referred to your establishment in return.
Promoting important medical services
Healthcare marketing makes use of social media and video sharing platforms to promote the services offered and list down the accomplishments of the healthcare personnel that works for you. The benefits are twofold. One, it lets your patients know a certain doctor’s capabilities. Second, it’s a big ego boost for the healthcare professional getting features and lets them know that their work is being appreciated.
Improving upon overall patient experience
With the use of modern healthcare marketing strategies, patients can now stay engaged with healthcare professionals all day, every day. Knowing that their doctor is only a ping away keeps them at bay. With a ton of resources made available online, patients continue to educate themselves on a particular disease and try to stay healthy. Reviews lets organizations know what is working and what isn’t, giving healthcare organizations like you a chance to improve upon services and work on identified lapses.
Ramping up the reach of your healthcare establishment
A well-planned marketing campaign can help your organization’s message reach the masses. Healthcare marketing has opened up avenues to attract new patients and keep them engaged with well-researched content.
Healthcare marketing also means that you’re constantly keeping track of your user metrics. Tracking user data and its careful analysis can yield valuable insight into the marketing efforts that are paying dividends and what can be done to optimize it further.
Establish yourself as the thought leaders in healthcare
Thought leaders are essentially people who’re well-versed in their field of interest, so much so that they’re capable of giving away advice to others. So, it might be a smart move to involve your physicians in your marketing initiatives. For instance, Orlando Health came up with an innovative video series featuring their core group of medical and paramedical personnel who talk about their experience working for the organization and the types of health conditions that they’ve encountered.
A patient watching this is convinced of your expertise and dramatically increases the chances of them picking you over a rival practice.
Marketing and healthcare: Devising an effective healthcare marketing strategy
With the healthcare industry growing more competitive than ever, a smart healthcare marketing strategy that optimizes lead generation is the need of the hour. These strategies will look to create a more patient-centric space, placing the needs and demands of the patients above anything else. So, throughout the rest of the article, we’ll be looking at the most effective strategies and supplement them with relevant statistics and real-life instances. Here are some key strategies for medical healthcare marketing:
Evaluate your existing healthcare marketing strategy
Begin by performing an audit of all your existing services and marketing channels. Look at avenues that have historically worked for you and examine key areas where you could improve. Keep track of your target demographics- their ages, their gender, their occupation, and, more importantly, their socioeconomic conditions. This is referred to as a patient persona in the world of healthcare marketing.
A focused approach like this helps you to structure your advertising efforts around the key audience. For instance, if your analytics reveal that your target audience is aged between 18 and 25, consider investing in targeted advertisements on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Maintain consistent branding
Patients today are faced with multiple choices to choose from, given the boom in data generation and storage. So, why should they choose your business among so many other establishments? This is where having brand awareness comes into play. There are a number of components to a brand. We’ll take a closer look at some of them here.
- Logo– A good logo is instantly recognizable and helps you to stand apart from your rivals. So, when you’re designing your own logo, try to keep things simple and incorporate images that customers are more likely to identify. Let’s take the stethoscope, for instance. It’s almost exclusively associated with healthcare professionals. If you specialize in cardiology, then include a heart in your logo. So, even a layman doesn’t have to think twice about what your company does. Try to keep the design simple and use neutral colors that are easy on the eye.
- Tagline– A tagline aims to summarize what your organization aims to do in a single sentence. Think of Pfizer’s tagline, “Working together for a healthier world.” It conveys relevant information and makes your business seem trustworthy. So, before drafting your tagline, think of what you want to convey to your customers.
- Mission statement– A mission statement is a statement that lets your customers know why you’re in business and your objectives. Latch on to a proposition to differentiate you from the rest of the competition. This could range anywhere from your holistic approach to medicine to shifting focus onto patient-centric medicine.
Now that you have all the necessary tools to start with branding, make sure that the logo, tagline, and mission statement remain the same across all your marketing material. This includes your website, social media pages, banners, pamphlets, and all other promotional material.
Building your own website
A functioning website is the single most important component of a healthcare marketing strategy. It can provide valuable information to your customers about the kind of services that you offer. You can include details about the latest equipment that your establishment houses or the treatment methodologies you’re making use of to treat a patient. A query bar can help you engage with a customer personally, giving you the best chances of turning a prospect into a paying client.
Given the umpteen resources in our hands, it’s not all that hard building a website. WordPress offers excellent solutions to businesses looking to create a basic website for their everyday needs. If you don’t want that hassle, there’s always the option of hiring freelancers to do that work for you.
But remember to make your website mobile-responsive. More than 52% of searches can be traced back to mobile phones. So, having a website that isn’t compatible with phones could mean it’s effectively excluded from all search results. Google’s latest algorithms only show up results based on whether your company has a mobile version in addition to a web version.
Content is well and truly king! Your customers are always looking for something new to learn. This could be about the latest medical advancements or simply tips for maintaining a healthy diet. Your content will function as the bridge between the physicians and patients. This principle applies to whatever segment of the healthcare fraternity you belong to.
For instance, let’s assume that you’re a wellness clinic located in a densely populated locality. You could start by researching the most commonly encountered illnesses in and around your surroundings.
Incorporate that into your content and make use of tags and keywords to increase the likeliness of a search engine displaying your content first. This naturally means that there’s more user traffic directed towards your website. When customers like something you’ve written, they start sharing it among their friends and family, giving your brand awareness a big boost.
The different categories of content that you can make use of:
- Blogs– A staple of today’s SEO-focused content writing. Research the type of content that works well with your target demographic. For example, if your customer base is predominantly middle-aged women, you can write about alternate methods of contraception or ways to maintain vaginal hygiene. Try to include as many inbound links as you can that lead a reader to a different page on the website which contains information about the services you offer. Maintain a conversational tone while drafting such blog posts. They can make you seem approachable.
- Long-from writing– This is your chance to provide in-depth information about a particular topic of interest to all your readers. Try to avoid too many medical terms and simplify the matter at hand. Remember that you aren’t writing for your peers who’re well-versed in healthcare practices, but for individuals who haven’t had formal training in medicine.
- E-mails– You’ll have to keep in mind that you’ll be writing for two different sections of people. One kind is the loyal customers who’re already familiar with your organization. Newsletters are an excellent way to keep them in the loop of all that’s happening within your organization. On the other hand, for newly acquired customers, you can send snippets of your blog posts or articles to get them interested.
- Copywriting– This includes writing for marketing copies, websites, descriptions of products/services offered, etc. Though often neglected, it’s an important component of your healthcare marketing strategy. Remember that this is the content that draws in customers initially, so they turn into frequent visitors of your website. So, it’s imperative that copywriting assume the same importance as blog posts or technical write-ups.
Just like blogs, well-produced videos can make you seem less intimidating, which can be a big hindrance to patients seeking out help or asking questions. In fact, some patients can experience a heightened sense of anxiety during a clinic visit to such a severe extent that it leads to a rise in blood pressure. This phenomenon is appropriately named White Coat syndrome.
YouTube’s a great place to broadcast your original content. It’s not just a video-sharing website anymore but, in fact, the second largest search engine on the Internet, second only to Google. YouTube’s search algorithm processes over 3 billion searches in a single month. With upwards of 100 hours of video being uploaded every minute, YouTube is one of the largest media libraries ever assembled. So, how can you make the most of YouTube? Here are some useful tips:
- Optimize the site settings
Set up your channel with links to your website or other social media pages. Constantly update your contact details with the right phone numbers or email addresses. One wrong entry could be the difference between landing a potential client and wasting an opportunity. Get creative with thumbnail design and try to incorporate your brand. This helps viewers associate your company with the content being produced.
2. Research to understand customer preferences
Before you can start producing videos, you need to be aware of the type of content that seems to be doing well within your key demographic. Pay attention to the kind of videos that your competitors are putting out and look into the view count. Look out for keywords and related search terms, and make sure to include that in your videos.
3. Take complete advantage of character limits
Most creators are happy to add a relevant description, a catchy title, and maybe a couple of tags with their video. But, there’s so much more you could do. For instance, the character limit to a video description is 5,000. You could pretty much fit an entire long-form write-up in here. It’s extremely unlikely that your viewers are going to go through your entire description.
Realistically, it’s not meant for them but rather intended to appeal to the search algorithm that picks up on focus keywords and semantically related words. You could also end up including hashtags to increase your visibility as well. The same rules apply to playlist descriptions that have the same character limit.
4. Keep up the engagement
The comment section on YouTube is a great place to engage with your customers in real-time. They feel like their concerns are being attended to satisfactorily. Conduct live polls on your community page and reach up to them for genuine feedback. This helps your viewers feel like they’re part of a close-knit community, where they can voice out their opinions without the fear of getting shut off mid-sentence.
Trust and consumer loyalty are some of the most valuable commodities for any business, more so for the healthcare industry. Close to 50% of Internet users look up information about their doctors or health professionals before scheduling an appointment. One bad review can drastically bring down your reputation. So, how can you ensure the utmost customer loyalty?
Start by offering them the best service possible from your end. Maintain a calm demeanor while talking to your customers. You’re in the hospitality industry, after all. Address their concerns to the best of your abilities and ask them to leave behind a good review if they were happy with the overall services.
Follow up on your patients using email and leave behind a subtle reminder to rate your services. If you do end up with a bad review, try contacting them and ask them what aspects that they’d like to see improvement in.
Pay per click display ads
We do know that an overwhelming group of people depend on search engines and web resources to obtain all the information they need about a certain clinical condition. So, why not use that knowledge to your benefit.
Pay-per-click advertisements are essentially paid spaces that appear on the search results when a user types in a related term into the search bar. When they click on the advertisement, they’re directed to your website. The good thing is that you’re only required to pay when a customer clicks on it.
But, throwing more money isn’t going to secure you a top spot in the listings. Instead, search engines like Google make use of an entirely automated system called Ad Auction. Like an actual auction, you’re bidding on the terms that you want to trigger, referred to as keywords. The application then determines your Quality score by assessing your keyword relevance and the quality of your landing page.
All of this put together determines your Google Ad rank, which is the position in which your advertisement is listed. So, the obvious method to optimize returns through pay-per-click ads is to perform prior keyword research to ensure that they’re closely related to the search term.
When you own a local establishment, it might be profitable to start thinking about location-based SEO. Most patients find it inconvenient to drive to a far-off location to consult a doctor. So, a large percentage of your customers are going to be from the same locality as you’ve set up a clinic in.
Keeping this in mind, try to include location-specific keywords in all your marketing campaigns. They could read “Best orthopedic clinics in Phoenix, Arizona,” for instance. Extend the same to all your social media posts by geotagging your content that lets your followers where your business is located.
Meanwhile, if you’re a doctor who’s looking for more clients, Google My Business is worth looking into. This SEO searcher is specifically meant for members of the healthcare fraternity to manage their online presence. There are definite methods to boosting your listing to ensure that Internet users see your name first rather than a fierce rival. So, how can you make the most of Google My Business? Fret not, we’ve got the answers for you.
- Furnish accurate contact details and be sure to update them
- Pick the right category to specify the niche that you specialize in (radiation oncologist, ENT surgeon, etc.)
- Add in the relevant information. The first few lines should convey all the necessary information regarding your practice. It should tread something along the lines of John Doe, an orthopedic surgeon from Atlanta
Targeted digital advertising
Data aggregation and analysis has transformed paid digital advertisements to a powerful tool for businesses trying to maximize their reach. With a multitude of social media platforms to choose from, it can be a daunting task to pick the right one for your business. So, in the next section, we’ll be looking at some of the most popular advertising channels in hopes of simplifying the process.
a) YouTube ads
Like we’ve said before, the potential of YouTube as a video advertising platform has grown leaps and bounds over the years. There are primarily two main options that businesses utilize to advertise their services. They are:
- Display ads– These are the type of ads that pop up in the middle of a YouTube video. In-video overlay ads appear as pop-ups in targeted videos. On the other hand, the location for standard banner ads can be specified using relevant search terms and keywords.
- Video ads– These ads are a better deal because you’re only expected to pay when a viewer watches the advertisement. While in-slate video ads appear at the beginning of a video, in-stream ads appear in the middle of a video. Now, producing content for in-stream ads is no easy task. Since most customers are likely to skip the ad after the obligatory 5 seconds, it’s up to you to make sure that you captivate their attention to get them to watch the entire advertisement. Understand whom you’re making the ads for before you get started. Tease them by giving a part of the information in the beginning and ensure that your viewers are learning something of value in that short span of time.
b) Facebook ads
With more than 2.8 billion monthly active users, Facebook can serve as a platform to connect with your audience. If you’re wondering about the different types of ads on Facebook, here’s a short guide:
- Image ads– these are the simplest type that only requires you to post an image with the relevant text and a link to your website. It’s what is usually recommended for businesses that are getting started with the platform. Make use of catchy text and a stylized font to grab the attention of users by their eyeball.
- Video ads– this type requires a bit more effort but is great to showcase your team in action. They generally end up appearing in Stories or News Feed.
- Poll ad– Facebook allows you to insert a poll into your video and image, but currently on the mobile version. This type of ad is great for customer engagement. An example would create a quiz about the symptoms of iron deficiency anemia, a condition rampant among women in their 20’s to 30’s. Participants would be told of their scores and be provided with a link to your blog to articles in case they want to learn more.
- Carousel ads– come with the benefit of attaching up to 10 images which can be used to showcase the different services your establishment offers. For instance, if you’re in a clinical laboratory, the images can be used to display an array of clinical tests from simple blood work up to sophisticated radiological investigations like MRI or CT scan.
- Lead ads– these types of ads are designed to make it easier for users to contact you for information regarding the content you’ve posted. They’re an excellent way to grow your sales funnel.
c) Instagram ads
Instagram boasts of an excess of 928 million users, so it can be a handy tool for any social media marketer. The common types of ads on Instagram are:
- Story ads– These types of ads appear between stories and can be a fun, innovative way to advertise your product with eye-popping video effects or trendy face filters. You also have the option of adding a swipe-up button that takes a user directly to your website.
- Photo ads– These ads feature an image of your product, so be sure to high-quality images. Try to include photos from different angles and one where your product is functioning.
- Video ads– Great way for viewers to see your product in action and can last up to 60 seconds. But we’d advise you to keep them short and concise.
- Carousel ads– Similar to the ones we’d discussed earlier. They allow you to upload a series of images
d) LinkedIn ads
Specifically meant for working professionals, these ads will have to be a bit more formal. The various types of ad formats on LinkedIn are:
- Sponsored content– These types of ads appear in the user feed and can be in an image or a video format. This type of format can help your brand reach a significant number of motivated individuals and help strike up long-lasting relationships with them.
- Message ads– These types of ads pop up in messaging where a user spends the most time. This type of format appears a lot more professional than cold mail to a prospective client.
- Dynamic ads– These types of ads offer the additional advantage of customizing your ad space according to your needs and priorities.
Monitoring healthcare marketing strategies
Coming up with an effective healthcare marketing strategy is only the beginning. You’ll need to constantly keep monitoring how your marketing efforts are doing in terms of lead generation. This will give you an overall idea of what’s working and the key areas you need to be doing better. Use this information in the next round of digital campaigns and keep repeating this cycle until you reach your goals. There are plenty of tools to help you in this time-consuming process.
- Google Analytics to find out trending search terms and identify the terms that are missing from the content you’re producing
- Google AdWords to track your PPC campaigns
- Call-tracking systems to examine how well your front desk is doing
- Customer relationship management system to identify how your content is tracking among your key demographics
- Google’s PageSpeed Insights to test out your website speeds
You’re not just tracking your sites but also the websites and social media pages of your rivals. This gives you an insight into what your competitors are doing in terms of marketing efforts so that you can always stay a step ahead of them.
Improving upon your front desk’s responses
Your healthcare marketing strategy is only as good as your front desk personnel. All your efforts will go to waste if they’re incapable of adapting their behavior according to the changes you’ve enforced. So, hold training sessions to help them familiarize themselves with your marketing strategies.
From small-scale establishments to larger corporations, all businesses involved in the healthcare industry are seeing a massive shift in how customers are engaging with a business. Traditional advertising methods aren’t going to cut it anymore. A robust healthcare marketing strategy is the need of the hour. With data sciences growing at an unprecedented pace, there’s a huge amount of potential in newer marketing avenues. It’s now up to companies to use this knowledge to their benefit and use them to significantly boost their brand awareness. Only adapting to changing times can get you ahead in today’s always evolving marketplace.