Patients have more choices than ever when selecting a healthcare provider. For healthcare practices, the days of being successful on reputation alone are in the past. So how do you differentiate yourself and ensure a steady stream of new patients through your doors?
That’s where a winning healthcare marketing strategy comes into play. Today, we’re going to take a look at what goes into establishing an excellent medical marketing strategy, and share some actionable tips you can start using today to drive awareness, engagement, and ultimately, new patients to your practice.
What is Healthcare Marketing?
While the healthcare field presents many unique challenges, marketing for doctors offices is similar to marketing any other business. Healthcare marketing encompasses outreach and communications with the goal of driving awareness and new patients.
Depending on the size of your practice and your goals for growth, your marketing strategy may be simple, or highly sophisticated. Large practices and medical groups typically engage in a mix of mass outreach and highly targeted marketing efforts which are managed by a third-party marketing agency.
The agency tracks the success of marketing campaigns against the practice’s key performance indicators to ensure their strategy is achieving an acceptable return on investment.
Today’s agencies are more flexible than ever, enabling them to work with businesses of all sizes. This flexibility makes it much easier for smaller practices with limited marketing budgets to take advantage of state-of-the-art marketing initiatives.
Areas of Healthcare Marketing
Today, there are dozens of different types of marketing that businesses engage in to drive awareness and new business. Fortunately, not all of them translate well to healthcare. Below, we’ve covered the most important aspects of marketing that translate well to the medical field.
Outbound marketing efforts are the aspects of your strategy that involve cold outreach, such as television and radio ads, print ads, and mailers. Outbound marketing is an excellent way to establish a new practice or build brand identity.
In the 21st-century, a successful healthcare marketing strategy must include a diverse mix of digital marketing initiatives. More consumers than ever are turning to the internet to do research and make purchasing decisions. It stands to reason that meeting those customers where they’re searching for a business like yours is a great way to drive business.
SEO or search engine optimization is one of the most critical digital marketing methods for healthcare practitioners. We could spend hours discussing the virtues of SEO, but we’ll try to distill it to its most basic function for the sake of brevity.
In short, search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website to increase its visibility in relevant searches.
There are many ways to optimize your site for SEO. Providing quality content, making sure your website is mobile-friendly, and using relevant keywords within your content are some of the most critical ways to ensure your search presence is in order.
PPC or pay-per-click advertising piggybacks off of SEO, and it’s an excellent way for a practice to put themselves in front of users searching for a doctor in their area.
You’ve probably noticed when you use Google or Bing to search for something, that the first results you see are advertisements for businesses relevant to what you searched for. These are PPC ads.
PPC ads can be an incredibly effective tool for driving new patients to your practice, and they work on two fronts.
The first front is driving awareness. Whether a search user clicks your ad or not, they’re still being exposed to your business.
The second front is driving new business. When a prospective patient clicks on your ad and visits your site, that represents a person in your area who’s searching for a new doctor. With that intent in place, these prospective patients are much more likely to walk through the doors of your practice.
With this advertising, you’re only charged when a prospective patient clicks on your ad. The cost of a click varies depending on the competition in your area, and depending on your market, a click can cost $5 or more.
PPC ads are an excellent way to market your practice, but you’ll want to carefully optimize your campaigns to ensure that you aren’t overpaying to acquire new customers.
Many practices overlook social media because they don’t think it’s necessary to help them achieve their marketing objectives. At the advent of social media, that may have been true. Today, social media is proving that it drives consumer healthcare decisions. Savvy practices are leveraging social platforms to drive new patients through their doors.
Not every social platform translates well to the medical field. While TikTok and Snapchat aren’t ideal places to plant your flag, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are all excellent platforms to establish a presence on, and they can drive organic traffic to your website, and ultimately, your practice.
Social media sites also offer robust advertising platforms that can target your ads to the ideal prospective patients in your area according to whichever demographics you wish to target. Advertising on social media is often an effective and affordable way to supplement paid search campaigns.
Tips for Establishing an Excellent Healthcare Marketing Strategy
There’s a myriad of ways to effectively market your practice to begin driving new patients to your practice. We’ve compiled a few can’t-miss tips for improving your medical marketing strategy below.
- Optimize For Mobile – A website that doesn’t function properly on mobile devices can severely hamstring user experience, cost you a higher ranking in search results, and leave potential patients with a negative outlook towards your practice.
- Build an Authoritative Brand – New patients are more likely to seek out a practice with authority in their field. Write for medical publications, highlight your achievements, and promote positive reviews of your practice to raise your brand awareness and overall consumer opinion.
- Solicit Reviews – Reviews are one of the most authoritative examples of social proof. Ask your patients to review your practice on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other social hubs. A whopping 90% of consumers in a recent survey said they use reviews to evaluate a new physician.
- Use Personalization – You have a wealth of demographic information in your patient records. Whenever you’re sending marketing emails or mailers, be sure to personalize your content to provide the personal touch that’s often missing from healthcare marketing.
- Leverage Your Social Presence – Nearly half of consumers say their decisions to use a specific medical facility or practice are influenced by social media. Establish a strong presence on social sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube to win these prospective patients over.
- Content Marketing – Create useful and engaging content for use across your brand platforms. Your content can be repurposed for your website, social pages, and even print advertising.
- Work With Other Practices – Referrals are critical for many practices, and specialists in particular. Reach out to other offices in your area to discuss patient referral opportunities.
- Track and Analyze – Carefully track each of your marketing channels and analyze which channels are working best for you. Prioritize your resources towards the channels that are delivering the best ROI.
Healthcare marketing is the most effective way to drive new patients through your doors and grow your practice. But, marketing effectively takes a great deal of time and resources, and many doctors and healthcare professionals simply don’t have the bandwidth to dedicate themselves to marketing their practice.
That’s where the help of agency professionals like Forward Push comes in. If you’re ready to discuss how you can leverage your website, social media presence, and targeted advertising to drive new customers to your practice, contact us today for a free consultation.