Medical Practice Marketing In The Real World

marketing onlineMarketing in today’s world can often seem overwhelming. With the technological advances of the last decade and consumers becoming savvier than ever, how can a medical practice genuinely engage with current customers and meet their needs, while also attracting new customers?

The healthcare industry has been undergoing some sizable shifts of late as more and more consumers elect to choose a health care provider outside of their employer. What does this mean for medical practice marketing, and how can you make your brand stand out from the rest?

Here, we look at the changing landscape of medical marketing services and help to sort fiction from fact when it comes to marketing for doctors.  We also help you to understand how to set realistic expectations for marketing campaigns.

1. Understand your customers

Consumer behavior has radically changed with the introduction of the Internet. Nowadays, most patients are completely comfortable using a variety of digital channels such as websites, portals, email, smartphone apps and social media. But the key to providing value is really understanding what your patients want from digital healthcare and working out the best way to give it to them. Research suggests that what patients expect is simple – fast and easy access to information, integration with other channels, efficiency, and access to a “real person” if they can’t find what they need via digital services. Above all, it should improve some aspect of healthcare delivery. Don’t be afraid to ask your current customers what they want, and assess your competitors to see what type of services they offer – is there anything you can implement that fundamentally adds value for patients?

Bonus Tip: Consult all the resources available to you to get deep insights into what your patients want. You may already have the capability to successfully implement a new service that satisfies patient needs.

2. Segment your services

A good way to assess where to place your marketing efforts is by segmenting all your services and considering which ones are worth investing in according to your customer needs. For example, do your patients want an easier way to schedule appointments? A simple application could satisfy this need while also attracting a new wave of patients.

Would your patients benefit from a personalized email informing them of the newest technologies or services? If this is the case, consider investing in an email marketing system that offers this capability.

Bonus Tip: Look holistically at your practice and then strategically decide which areas of your business are worth investing the time and resources.  By doing this, you are positioned to start any new activity with realistic expectations.

3. Embrace and integrate online channels

First, make sure you have a strategic website that appeals to your audience. It should be easy for customers to find what they need, including basic information such as the address and phone number of your practice while also providing educational content that helps to build credibility and trust amongst your audience.

Be sure to create quality content that with relevant keywords that align with your search optimization efforts. The healthcare industry has a unique opportunity to educate consumers and provide insights on particular health related issues or topics. If there are common questions that your customers ask, address these on your website. Provide appropriate information and continually add new content to help position your practice as an authority and expert in your field.

Bonus Tip: Get the basics right first – a great website with great content that is search engine optimized will help your practice stand out amongst the crowd. Don’t think that it is necessary to ‘go big’ straight away with a comprehensive offering of every single service. Start small and focus of delivering things well and build from there. It’s much better to continually add services as you go along – this way, you can listen to customer feedback, make any adjustments and identify areas for improvement.

Medical practice marketing is an ongoing and evolving process with digital healthcare radically changing the way practices can interact with patients.  While there can be some “quick wins” that generate momentum and attract new patients, it’s important to remember that a long-term marketing strategy will ultimately generate the longest-lasting results. Be sure to sit down and have a clear idea of the direction you want to go in and identify which marketing activities and new technologies can help take you there.  

Gretchen Kalthoff is a writer and marketing specialist for MWE. She is an expert in healthcare marketing and health IT with a special interest in increasing patient engagement through social media and healthcare technologies.

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