Similar to any other business, healthcare organizations are slowly embracing robust marketing strategies for accomplishing both their short and long-term objectives. A majority of these medical practices implement an amalgamation of various marketing strategies to get an edge over competitors, boost their cash flow, advertise products and services, increase market share, enhance their reputation and venture out into new markets.
The healthcare industry is undergoing a drastic change as patients’ expectations and needs have accelerated. In 2018 alone, US healthcare providers alone spent a staggering $2.84 billion on digital ads, a jump by 13% compared to the figures in 2017. The cost for a healthcare lead is approximately $286 and healthcare marketers are willing to pay more for each lead.
Even if you’re satisfied with your current patient volume, the figures above should propel you to build a planned medical marketing strategy so as to keep your organization at the forefront.
Here are 15 simple ways by which you can achieve this feat:
- Design your website with clients in mind
Have you ever invested money into interior decorating, cleaning services and landscaping for your facility? You must have done that since first impressions matter the most and patients don’t want to be treated in a debilitated place.
And your website is similar to the exterior of your building, and patients will lay their trust based on its looks and the way it functions. In a recent report, 48% of respondents cited the design of a website as the main factor in deciding the reliability of your business, with users forming an opinion within 0.05 seconds once your page loads.
A survey by CWD discovered that 89% of patients want seamless and easier access to their personal health records. The same report stated that 78% of consumers were interested in receiving virtual healthcare services, with virtual healthcare visits jumping to 71% in 2017 from 54% in 2014.
Patients also want to book your services online as online booking is becoming a great necessity.
After analyzing all the statistics and trends, an ideal healthcare website should have most of the following:
- A healthy supply of videos and other forms of helpful content
- Online scheduling
- Online bill pay
- Customized portals where patients can get access to their healthcare records
- Renewal of online prescription
- Messaging capabilities
- Emergency wait rooms
- Virtual visit options with healthcare providers
- Build a responsive website
A responsive website is a mobile-friendly website that is designed to function on a tablet or a phone. Such a website functions on any device, and appears the same way on a particular device as it would on a computer. According to Google, 61% of users will not possibly return to a site on a mobile if they face troubles while accessing it and would instead visit a competitor’s site. A responsive website is the norm in today’s web design industry, but besides that, it’s something search engines are looking for while crawling your website to determine your rank.
As of March 26, 2018, Google has launched new algorithms for search results in the form of mobile first indexing. In other words, Google has decided to show search results based on the mobile version of the website versus the web version. So if your healthcare organization doesn’t have a responsive website, it will effectively be eliminated from all search results except for your branded keywords.
So it’s crucial to make your website responsive, and even if you have one, ensure that the imagery and content continues to load properly on all hand-held devices.
- Utilize video marketing to attract new patients
Video marketing is the number one channel for healthcare marketers to increase awareness and build trust around their business.
There’s very little that can be pitted against video content; that’s why TV ads have been the holy grail of marketing in the past. It also shows why YouTube has turned out to be so successful now. Keeping this in mind, healthcare marketers should try to make their messages short and informative by posting them as videos.
Get great stuff out there and its performance with time will speak for itself. You can use these top 10 tools for creating videos that rock. Encourage every member of your marketing team to document anything that could be of immense value to your prospects.
A tangible of video marketing is Orlando Health. They have an awesome series of YouTube videos where practitioners talk about who they are, their work experiences, and also how different medical conditions can be treated.
- Invest in search engine optimization
Search engine optimization is very much alive and it greatly matters for healthcare organizations-83% of patients visit a hospital’s website before booking a visit, and 89% of them turn to a search engine when they’re looking to solve their healthcare queries. Besides, “near me” health-related queries have doubled since 2015.
There are two key places where you need to rank better-the local pack and organic search results.
A local pack is a group of 4 to 5 business listings that can be seen above the organic search results. On a hand-held device, it’s the only thing users see without scrolling down.
A quick search with the term “allergists near me” reveals the following:
The information in the local pack is primarily pulled from your Google My Business (GMB) page. We recommend you to check for the following on your GMB listing:
- The categories of your business, which helps patients find specific needs
- The description of your business
- Your contact number
- Your location
When someone talks about general SEO, they are indicating organic search results. In order to rank well organically, you should be seen as an authority in your field by producing highly relevant and optimized content.
Here are some tips to help you:
- Your site has to be optimized for SEO. This indicates it should be fast, secure, mobile friendly and have the right schema.
- Create content driven by your patients’ requirements. Instead of ranking websites as a whole, Google ranks pages individually. This is why you need to create optimized content (including landing pages, blog posts, email newsletters, press releases and Ebooks to name a few). And for that you need a proper content distribution plan.
- Target the right keywords relevant to your industry. Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest are some free and reliable tools to help you in this regard. Just enter your seed keyword and choose your city. Next hit “Enter” and you’ll get loads of suggestions that can be used in your content.
- Have links pointing back to each page on your site
- Try getting backlinks from high authority websites
- Manage your sitemap or site index
- List your site on GMB
- Submit your site to Google
- Invest in customer-touch points and multichannel initiatives
Remember that your patients are omnichannel. So you should plan your healthcare marketing initiatives accordingly. From contact forms, online chatting and a prominent display of your contact numbers, the main objective is to reduce online friction and encourage patients to easily get in touch with your business through all possible channels.
Whether it’s chat bots or text messaging or even the most basic chat options that show up on your site, there are a whole lot of multichannel techniques that healthcare marketers should consider implementing imminently. Anything that offers an exclusive user experience and boosts engagement paves the way to the success of a healthcare marketing campaign.
The greater number of touch point options you can provide on your website, the more refined will your customer experience be, and therefore your engagement rates. Note that every user is unique and while some may love to engage with chatbots, others may prefer heading straight to your Facebook or Twitter page to engage with your brand.
Having a landline number, which is one of the simples options can be a huge benefit. Keep all your channels open and appreciate the choices of your customers.
- Focus on wellness
Leveraging wellness as a talking point in your campaigns will align the objectives of your business with what prospects care about. And it will score your some brownies in the form of earned media and great PR.
Wellness is one of the trends rocking the healthcare industry currently. Consumers are greatly drawn to the concept of living healthier lives and although many healthcare organizations are already creating content about wellness, hospitals will now have to step up the game in the space too.
Crafting content that helps your prospects live healthier and better lives is a wonderful way to build a powerful impact on your niche. Blue Cross Blue Shield, created uproars when it announced giving away Fitbit wristbands at throw away prices to their members.
It’s best to think of wellness as a social endeavor that should be aligned with your marketing efforts to entice the health conscientious population if you plan to muscle in on the sector.
- Consistent Branding
You might be thinking that your expertise and credibility in general will set you apart from the rest. But for a patient, one white coat looks similar to the other.
The first step is creating a brand is to figure out what it’s all about. What’s unique about your organization that makes you stand out? Is it your family-friendly office or the way you handle your patients? Or is it the spa-like environment you have? Delve into each of these factors and you’ll be surprise to find at least one factor that makes your team unique. This factor is something that helps patients remember you.
The next step involves posting content that makes you unique consistently on your website, social media channels and industry journals. By doing so, not only will your online reputation increase, it will also position you as an expert in your industry.
- Use social media like a pro
When done correctly, social media can significantly improve a healthcare brand’s affinity, engagement on the web and long-term user retention. Healthcare marketing is one of the most neglected sectors where social is hardly used. Many marketers struggle to implement effective strategies that are in line with their business goals. However, some sectors fare well. These include plastic surgery, dental, chiropractic and physiotherapy.
The use of social media in healthcare marketing is basically lifestyle based; however, this shouldn’t refrain you from using it if your product or brand doesn’t fit into the category. That said, you can still gain a ton of followers with engaging posts, exhibiting your content and thought leadership to your audience and build strong brand awareness.
Posting photos, events or updates is something many healthcare marketers rely on. Although this can be an effective strategy, it shouldn’t be your only go to method. Rather, invest in paid social media, which is perhaps a better way to reach the right people even if you aren’t connected. Paid social media is more than clicking on the “Boost Post” button that appears whenever you post something on your business page. It’s a terrific way to gain traction and acquire new patients.
- Use advanced analytics and AI
Advanced analytics coupled with artificial intelligence can propel healthcare marketing initiatives to get in front of the right audience, with the right product and at the right time. All healthcare marketers should now consider leveraging on advanced analytics and artificial intelligence for getting customers online.
Using analytics and AI is nothing something new, but for many firms wanting to make a splash, it could be a fantastic change. By using an ordinary tool like Google Search Console, you can easily understand consumer behavior. You can get a lot of information about your target audience by their behavior, search terms, user activity and also by studying user heat maps. This will help you optimize your campaigns with time.
With user trends easily available, this is the best time to jump in the bandwagon of AI algorithms and have a better understanding of your users.
- Personalized email marketing
More than 90% of adults want better email communication from their physical care provider. Considering that email checking is the first thing 66% of people do as soon as they wake up, healthcare marketers should focus on this third most influential source of information.
Below are few types of emails you should focus on:
- Appointment reminders
- Request a friend referral
- Expert commentary and latest health news
- Seasonal tip sheets
- Announcements about the latest technology in your office
- Reminders to patients when they are due for a checkup or follow-up
Healthcare marketing is tricky but it has turned out to become easier than ever before. When used wisely, these strategies can help healthcare providers, suppliers, insurers and advocacy groups to attract new patients and boost awareness of their healthcare business.