Today’s healthcare market is competitive; potential patients have more choices and more information available to them than ever before. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for private practitioners. The majority of patients say they’d be willing to switch healthcare providers – it’s up to you to reach these consumers. Modern healthcare marketing techniques communicate your practice’s value, helping you reach patients, engage with them, and stand out.
That’s where these seven key strategies come in; implementing each of these marketing techniques can help you grow your practice effectively and sustainably.
1. Create a consistent brand to improve recognition and highlight unique offerings
Strategic branding highlights what makes your practice unique and why patients should choose you.
When done well, branding creates a recognizable identity which patients will remember both on and off-line. Consistent colors, fonts, and logos all help maintain cohesiveness and gain patient trust, a key element of healthcare decision-making for many Americans.
It’s not just about your website or logo – strategies which extend your brand into offline areas can be key to convincing patients to choose you. For example, giving away branded merchandise such as t-shirts, pens, or coffee cups provides low-cost ongoing advertising and helps you build patient relationships.
Deliberately constructing and maintaining a cohesive brand differentiates your practice from the competition and helps establish your niche in a crowded space.
2. Optimize your web presence for local and targeted searches using SEO techniques
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps attract more relevant, interested traffic to your website
It’s no secret that the internet is the primary source of new patient traffic. As of 2017, 97% of consumers say they use the internet to find local businesses. People are increasingly using Google searches to find both providers and medical information – more than two thirds of millennials prefer to research medical options and schedule appointments entirely online.
However, the majority of web traffic goes to the first page of results. Search engine optimization techniques can help you reach that front page for your region or area of specialty. SEO best-practices include ensuring that your website operates quickly and smoothly, is mobile friendly – over 95% of Americans use a cellphone regularly, and mobile searches already make up the bulk of online research –and targets appropriate keywords for your location and practice.
Well-targeted keywords require research and expertise, but once in place, they reach customers already looking for the services you offer: optimizing your existing content in line with specific keywords funnels high-quality, local - and most importantly, already interested - traffic to your site.
Local SEO optimization provides some of the highest returns of any healthcare marketing strategy for healthcare industries; once established, it will keep working to bring you patients over time with minimal continuing maintenance.
3. Become a visible expert in your community
Showcasing your medical knowledge both on- and off-line establishes your trustworthiness as a healthcare expert and attracts new patients to your practice.
Positioning yourself as an expert may seem easier-said-than-done, but it doesn’t have to be. The first step towards creating meaningful authority in your area or niche is to share helpful and relevant content.
Where web design and search engine optimization tools help attract traffic, content makes people want to stay on your site and engage with you. Healthcare was the third most common service searched in 2017; with so many people using online searches to find information, it’s important to meet than demand with valuable and informative content.
A productive digital healthcare marketing strategy for private medical practices often includes sharing relevant health tips, warnings, or advisories on social media or through email, blogging, and relevant articles aimed at lay-people in your target audience.
For some medical practices, this can also mean positioning yourself as an expert within your local offline community. For example, you might make yourself available to local and national news centers and online and print publications to comment on current health issues, or staff booths at local sporting events.
Bottom line: Patients are more likely to choose providers who seem trustworthy and reliable – having a meaningful information-sharing presence is key to establishing that reputation.
4. Go where customers are with social media healthcare marketing
Social media lets you engage directly with patients where they already spend the most time: online.
More than a third of the entire world uses social media, and a lot of those people are already using various social media channels for healthcare research. In the U.S., nearly half of adults use social media for healthcare decision making.
For physicians, this means that social media represents a key opportunity to engage with patients on a personal, approachable level. On top of creating a branded, informative social media presence for your business, private medical practices can also turn to social media to answer patient questions and engage with medical influencers in their area of specialty.
Social media is highly flexible, allowing you to share diverse content from videos to quizzes – multimedia content drives increased recognition and engagement, ultimately growing your practice by increasing your network.
Social media also enables two-way dialogue between you and your target audience, giving you unprecedented opportunity to understand their needs and provide resources for them to make informed decisions on which practices and doctors they seek out for care.
5. Build relationships with existing patients both on and off-line
While marketing resources are often focused on reaching new patients, your existing customer base is usually the best resource you have.
Managing relationships with your current customers is a key piece of any healthcare marketing strategy. Returning patients can provide testimonials and reviews for your practice. They also spread the word to their friends. This is powerful – people are significantly more likely to trust information coming from someone they already know.
There are many ways to help ensure a positive patient experience. For example, VA services or digital programs can help you send out thank-you cards after each appointment, both to patients and to referring physicians. You can also create email lists or even print newsletters to contact existing patients with new offers, appointment reminders, and news about your practice.
One in four patients check online reviews before choosing a physician - responding to patient concerns and following up on Google, Yelp, and other review sites is also key to establishing your reputation in the community and maintaining positive relationships with existing patients. It’s also essential to ask patients for reviews after their appointments to understand how to improve, but also as a source for testimonials, a potent form of social proof.
Even if you’re already providing top-notch care and customer service, looking for ways to proactively maintain relationships with existing patients is key to growing your patient base over time.
6. Use pay-per-click and traditional offline ads to expand your reach
Paid external advertising remains an effective way of targeting regional traffic.
Online, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising drives traffic to your website. It’s easy to target specific locations and even demographics – you can specify age, gender, and even household income. This helps you bring likely customers to your website, lowering your cost per customer brought to your practice. When well-targeted, PPC ads quickly pay for themselves.
Despite all the attention paid to online marketing techniques, traditional (offline) ads remain effective tools to market your practice to broad audiences. Mailing campaigns, billboards, and paper newsletters are all highly useful -and effective - methods of reaching patients.
The right strategy for your practice likely includes a mix of healthcare marketing strategies, but the bottom line is that paid advertising through various channels like snail mail and PPC is currently and will likely remain among the most effective methods of reaching potential patients.
7. Create events and promotions to drive engagement
In-person interactions will always be the most powerful way to convert potential customers and meet them as individuals who will remember you and what you do.
For private practices, event marketing creates opportunities to network with potential and current patients in person. Whether you design your own events or attend others’, event marketing is a key strategy to keep in mind.
For example, conducting classes or workshops can help establish your expertise and share relevant information. Throwing parties at your practice can help form relationships with your patients, and fundraising or conference-type events bring awareness of your practice and connect your practice to outside organizations.
In today’s competitive market, healthcare marketing is becoming mandatory for even the smallest medical practices. However, modern healthcare marketing strategies offer countless channels through which you can communicate the value you provide to your patients.
Even in the most crowded spaces, healthcare marketing techniques which bring you in contact with your patients both online and in person quickly pay for themselves and continue to do so down the line.
At HelloRache, we are the #1 virtual assistant service for doctors & medical professionals. Get in touch to learn more about what we can do to help you grow your practice.