Your Guide to Healthcare MarketingPosted: August 18, 2022 - By Health Dev
What Is Healthcare Marketing?
Healthcare marketing is marketing that helps healthcare professionals and organizations attract and retain patients. Effective healthcare marketing educates and engages patients at all stages of their healthcare journey. Patients who are activated and engaged have better outcomes than those who aren’t, so an important part of healthcare marketing involves providing patient education in an accessible format.
How to Create an Effective Healthcare Marketing Plan for Your Practice
A healthcare marketing plan should outline your specific marketing strategy and the specific steps you plan to take to achieve it. Your healthcare marketing plan will be your guide for your marketing efforts over a period of time and will include the information you need to know if it’s been effective. Here are the steps you should take to set up your healthcare marketing plan:
Take a Look Into Your Competitors
Before you start putting together your healthcare marketing strategy, take a look at your competitors and see what’s working for them and what’s not. You don’t want to copy them exactly, but you want to understand what they’re offering. You may get some good ideas about some effective strategies. However, even more importantly, you need to be able to differentiate your practice from theirs.
Analyzing your competition will help you refine your unique selling proposition (USP). Your USP is what sets you apart from others in the same space. It’s why people should choose your practice. It could be your friendly and accommodating office staff, or the extensive patient education channels you provide.
Identify Ideal Prospective Patients
Your ideal patient profile will help you formulate an effective marketing strategy for your practice. By clearly defining their age, income, family situation, leisure activities, work situation, and wellness habits, you can more clearly address their pain points and target your services at them. You may think your service is for everyone, or, if you’re a specialist, everyone with a problem in your area of specialization, but marketing directed at everyone is marketing directed at no one.
Your marketing efforts should be directed toward your ideal patient. Your marketing plan will focus on creating a targeted message that addresses the pain points of your ideal patient.
Create SMART Goals
Your healthcare marketing plan should be tailored to help you achieve your professional goals. Do you want to increase awareness of your practice? Maybe you want to grow your email list or focus on increasing the number of positive patient reviews. You can’t focus on everything at once, so choose two to four goals to work on. Once you accomplish those, you can add more.
Setting vague goals won’t help you get the results you want. Your goals should be SMART:
- Specific: Make your goals narrow and focused, not broad and general.
- Measurable: Include key performance indicators so you’ll know if you’ve met your goal.
- Attainable: Your goals should be reasonable.
- Relevant: Set a goal that will move your business forward.
- Time-based: Set an end date so you’ll have a definite time frame for achieving your goal.
Develop One or Multiple Marketing Strategies
Decide what marketing strategies will be most effective for meeting your goals. You may want to focus on one strategy or use a combination approach. Take each goal and list the steps you need to take to achieve it. This will not only help you plan your action items but also help you determine if the goal is truly realistic. This part of the plan will be the step-by-step guide that will direct your efforts.
5 Strategies for Healthcare Providers to Consider in Their Marketing Efforts
There are a lot of different marketing strategies you can choose to execute your plan. The best fit for you will depend on where you are currently and what you want to achieve. Some of the most effective strategies are:
Use Google Ads to Target Your Potential Patients
Every day, people perform over 3.5 million Google searches. There’s no doubt Google Ads can be a great marketing option for healthcare practices. However, due to the nature of healthcare, concerns about patient privacy, and the standards of healthcare marketing, there are additional restrictions you have to follow when advertising with Google.
There are certain phrases you can’t use, certain phrases you have to use, and some products you can’t advertise at all. You can’t re-target healthcare services with Google Ads. Although it can be a worthwhile investment, make sure you understand the guidelines for using Google Ads before you use them.
Invest in an Omnichannel Approach to Create Multiple Customer Touch Points
An omnichannel approach focuses on your overarching brand message regardless of the channel. The emphasis should be on providing a clear, consistent message directed at your target audience. An omnichannel strategy ensures your brand messaging promotes the healthcare consumer experience across all channels in a way that improves your patients’ experiences, whether they are interacting with you on a social media platform, on your website, or through your emails.
An omnichannel experience is triggered by your patients’ actions, which lets your patients decide how they want to engage with you. When they have a choice, your patients will be more activated and engaged in their own healthcare as well as have a better healthcare experience. Omnichannel marketing means you need to be prepared to market on a variety of different channels while maintaining consistent messaging.
Social Media Platforms
Healthcare social media marketing is one of your most important strategies, particularly if your target audience includes Gen Z or millennials. You can connect with your patients in an environment where they feel comfortable using social media. A wide variety of informative and engaging content can be distributed via social media. Although you should establish a presence on all of the major social media channels, you can focus most heavily on the ones your target audience uses.
Content Strategy of Educational Content
Content marketing is a great fit for healthcare practices. Creating strategic outreach objectives with meaningful educational content for your online channels benefits you and your patients. When you’re creating healthcare content marketing, start by focusing on your audience. Your goal with content marketing is to deliver value to your patients and establish your practice as an authority.
Tailor your content strategy based on the channel where you’ll publish it. The same content can be repurposed for various channels. You may publish an article on your website, a video on YouTube, and an infographic on Instagram. The information in your content can be the same, it should just be presented in the way that’s most effective for the medium.
Avoid self-promotion in your content marketing. It can come across as self-serving and insincere. There’s no harm in including a call to action (CTA) somewhere in your content, but the primary purpose should be to provide value to your patients. Content marketing is a long-term investment. You shouldn’t expect to see quick results. Over time, you’ll build up a library of educational material for your patients.
It’s important to be consistent with your content marketing. Try to sustain a regular publishing schedule, although you don’t need to publish daily. It’s better to publish weekly or even monthly if that’s a pace you can sustain. A neglected blog damages your authority.
Email marketing is still one of the most effective marketing channels you can use. It can also help drive patient engagement for better outcomes. Unlike social media platforms, you own your email list. Additionally, your patients want to hear what you have to say and will benefit from it.
Automated systems make it easy to segment your contacts based on different characteristics, such as health issues, demographics, or age. You can group your email contacts into different categories to send out educational materials that are tailored for their specific medical conditions. Once they’re in your system, you can trigger automatic emails that can be sent at specific intervals or based on triggering events.
For example, when a patient makes an appointment, you can send an email that lets them know how to prepare for their appointment and what they can expect. If your patient receives a new diagnosis, you can send informative emails that provide tips for dealing with their illness.
Invest in Healthcare Marketing Technology to Streamline the Marketing Process
Take advantage of AI and automated technology to improve your healthcare marketing strategies. In addition to automated email marketing campaigns, you can use healthcare marketing technology to perform tasks like:
- Tracking and analyzing phone calls for patient satisfaction
- Monitoring reviews to manage your reputation
- Chatbots and live chats to engage patients when they visit your website
- A customer relationship management (CRM) database to store your patients’ information and preferences
- Appointment reminders and confirmations
- Mobile app enrollment
- Online scheduling
Put Your Online Reviews on Your Website for Social Proof
Most patients begin their search for a medical practice with Google. Most patients check reviews before they decide on a healthcare provider. Reviews from satisfied patients provide social proof that will reassure prospective patients. Healthcare can be a scary topic for many people. Knowing that others have had a positive experience with you can give your prospective patients the confidence to trust you.
Healthcare reviews show up on the first page of Google, so monitoring your reviews is an important part of your healthcare marketing plan. Your patients may not think of leaving a review, so you should incorporate asking for reviews into your after-visit interactions. This can be as simple as sending a text after an appointment with a link to leave a review.
Use SEO Strategies to Target Valuable Search Terms
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important part of any digital marketing strategy. No matter how great your content is, if your prospective patients can’t find it, they won’t benefit from it. SEO involves targeting specific keywords with your content in order to rank higher on the results pages of search engines. Some SEO techniques are intuitive, such as creating high-value content.
Others are not as obvious if you aren’t familiar with SEO. Some techniques have to do with the structure of your website and some have to do with its performance. A good SEO strategy should include the following:
- Title tags on the back end of your site that specify a title for each page
- Description tags that show up on search pages
- Page loading speed
- Mobile responsiveness
- Keyword meta tags that are only visible to search engines
- Alt tags that provide alternative text for images
- Anchor text links that are relevant
- Use of H1s and H2s in your posts
- A sitemap that’s visible to visitors and search engines
- Updated content
The Benefits of an Effective Marketing Strategy
An effective marketing strategy has many benefits for your practice and your patients. Building a consistent brand to engage with your patients across multiple channels will help you retain patients long-term and improve your patients’ loyalty. Your marketing plan will also help you attract patients in a competitive environment, drive qualified leads, and generate revenue.
In addition to benefiting your bottom line, a marketing strategy will also help your patients stay engaged with relevant, timely, and personalized information at all phases of their healthcare journey. Your patients will be more activated, empowered, and in control of their own health.
Find the Tools To Help You Market in the Healthcare Space
A healthcare marketer has unique challenges compared to more traditional types of marketers. Using tools specially designed for the needs of the healthcare industry can provide a significant advantage in your marketing efforts. Demandforce has the digital tools you need to attract new patients and retain your current ones. We provide everything you need to optimize your practice in one easy-to-use platform.