The number one rule of healthcare marketing is to know your patient – and the fact is that patients are shopping for healthcare differently than before. Empowered by the internet and mobile technologies, today’s patients are making decisions about the care they receive long before stepping foot in an exam room. The consumerization of healthcare has become inevitable, and providers must embrace these changes or risk getting left behind.
With the right medical marketing services and advice, your organization can curate an enjoyable and valuable medical experience that keeps patients informed and encourages them to assume an active role in their health.
Here are three marketing opportunities you should be taking advantage of now:
1. Jump on the wellness movement.
In 1948, the World Health Organization prophetically defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.” In the past few years, this outlook has expanded from a niche audience to become a mainstream phenomenon. Patients are increasingly focusing not only on levels of sickness, but on levels of health. The surge in popularity of fitness tracking devices, health apps and foodie movements shows that people are constantly looking for ways to be healthier overall.
Healthcare marketers can tap into this desire by making their websites reliable sources of wellness information. This not only includes medical information, but stress-management techniques, tips for healthy eating or even workout routines. Updating your website regularly with meaningful content and integrating your posts with social media channels will allow you to maintain a closer and more meaningful relationship with patients on a daily basis.
2. Use your own resources to promote programs throughout your practice.Every day, countless numbers of people pass through your practice’s doors – from physicians, staff and volunteers to patients and family members. Though most organizations gear nearly all of their marketing resources towards untapped audiences, consider grabbing the attention of those who are already familiar with your practice by promoting programs or treatment options that patients may not already be aware of. Doing so will increase trust in your brand and inspire word-of-mouth referrals.
Instead of showing cable programming in waiting areas, play videos about your practice and specific services. Wall graphics in exam rooms can serve the same purpose. Use owned media to send messages and create lasting impressions in any public space. Waiting rooms, exam rooms, bathrooms, cafeterias and elevators can all be used to generate exposure and strengthen your brand.
3. Use email marketing to target specific groups of patients.
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach an audience. The wildly successful Agora online marketing model is based on the premise that online marketing works best when:
- You have a person’s permission to contact him or her.
- You have already established a relationship with that person.
- You offer something of value beyond the offered service or good.
Although regular newsletters are a highly effective marketing tool for any business, using more targeted messaging to communicate with specific groups of patients can lead to even better results. For instance, many patients that haven’t come in for preventive care visits, which are covered by insurance, simply forget that they are due for an appointment or don’t make time to call. Sending an email and offering a quick, easy way to schedule an appointment online can significantly increase office visits.