Today marketing and media are essential to a brand’s growth, even for healthcare organizations. More and more people are now finding information on the web and, according to a recent report from the Pew Research Center, in the past year, more than 70% of internet browsers researched healthcare businesses. That’s why hospitals, practices, and other healthcare organizations need to update their websites, be interactive on social media and set up an online presence. If not it will be challenging to have a successful practice.
In 2014 Becker’s Hospital Review had a yearly CEO Strategy Roundtable in Chicago. During that time Richard Conn, MD and Pacira Pharmaceuticals talked about a variety of patient marketing strategies and how they can potentially help healthcare organizations grow. Here are a few points of successful marketing strategies to take away from the review:
Take advantage of information technology. There is a multitude of ways hospitals, private practices and other organizations can extend their reach over a wider client base, according to Dr. Conn. Organizations can market through targeted zip code marketing, websites, social media posting and virtual physician visits.
Show what you've got. If a practice is specialized, it should include its special offerings in its marketing practices. For example, one of the greatest advancements during the course of Dr. Conn's career are the treatments that have been made available for pain management, and the rising star today is Pacira's drug Exparel, he said. Organizations that can offer a treatment or service that is proven effective and is in high demand should be sure to let prospective patients know.
Having an informational blog is another marketing strategy a healthcare organization should consider. Not only does it make it more user-friendly, but Kuno Creative says it also gives people comfort reading about patients who may have gone through something similar.
Your blog goes hand-in-hand with a strong, user-friendly website. With 1 percent of all Google searches related to medical symptoms, and 3.5 billion Google searches, that’s 35 million online medical searches every day. Take advantage of all those searches with rich blog content that provides information on health conditions, answers to questions, quick tips and advice they can get without going to the doctor. Be sure to plan your editorial calendar around health months or other timely topics relevant to your organization.
And don’t forget, people take comfort in reading about other patients who have experienced a treatment, condition or surgery they are facing, so this can help boost your blog’s readership numbers. While you can feature testimonials in various places around your website, your blog is a great place for reading in-depth about another patient's success. Rather than short clips, blogs are trending toward featuring in-depth patient stories on their journey from diagnosis to recovery.
The Harvard Medical School blog has a steady stream of content that covers a variety of health concerns. Its navigation makes it simple to browse topics by health categories, such as men’s health or heart health. Readers can easily find the blog subscription, and engagement is highlighted by showing the most-commented blog posts.
via Kuno Creative
Healthcare Success discusses how healthcare organizations can leverage their website to maintain current patients and future patients. User experience is vital, and that includes website design, as well as other various features.
A decade ago, simply having a website was enough to impress prospective patients and help them find your brand. But now, a website is healthcare’s new front door. It’s the first thing patients often see, and if it’s not optimized for user experience, it may also be the last time a person considers your hospital or practice.
Put yourself in a patient’s shoes. If someone were to land on any page of your site, would they know your location and primary services in about 5-10 seconds? Would they be able to contact the right person quickly? Do the imagery and wording represent your average patient?
User experience is an important consideration in website design. But sometimes, designers are so focused on making the website look good, they forget to focus on the patient experience. We often find that websites need to be completely redone. However, it might help to make small changes, like positioning the “Contact Us” form higher up on the page.
If you haven’t asked for reviews Healthcare Success also recommends following up with patients who were satisfied with their visit. You can ask them to submit a positive review that would show up on the website.
Typically, patients only leave reviews when they are motivated to do so, or if they had an above average (or extremely poor) experience. Unless you ask for reviews, you miss an opportunity to feature positive feedback from patients who were satisfied with their visit. This might be difficult for your front office staff to do–and they should not be required to evaluate each patient’s level of satisfaction as they walk out the door.
That’s why we recommend automated reviews as part of any hospital or practice healthcare marketing strategy. Here’s a brief overview of automated reviews: patients use a computer or tablet at the office to rate the quality of service they received on a scale of 1-10. High scores automate a follow-up email asking the patient to leave a review on their site. Those positive reviews show up directly on your website and can potentially counteract any negative reviews left elsewhere online.
Poor scores allow the practice or hospital a chance to ask the patient to elaborate and, hopefully, reach out and resolve the issue.
Fit Small Business offers advice from various companies on what some of the best medical marketing ideas are, such as using Facebook ads to give away low ticker service for free.
Use targeted Facebook Ads to give away a low-ticket service for free to introduce more customers to your practice. Give them a great first experience to keep them coming back to you again and again. The strategy we used was giving away a free, entry-level service to introduce the customer to the practice. Then, after the customer had a good experience with us, they naturally wanted to come back to our client’s chiropractic office to continue getting adjusted. This could easily work with any other medical practice. For example, it could be a free first adjustment for a chiropractic clinic, a free teeth cleaning for a dental office, or a free checkup or physical for a doctor’s office. We recently helped one of our clients, a chiropractic clinic, generate 35 leads in two weeks by spending just $72.45 on targeted Facebook Ads. – Andrew Schutt, CEO and Founder, Elevated Web Marketing
Want to learn about another marketing strategy that works well for healthcare businesses? According to Hirsch Health Consulting, it’s physician referral marketings. See why:
Some healthcare practices and specialties do not rely on referrals from other physicians but many medical specialties certainly do.
Ultimately, all referrals, whether from patients, physicians, your own staff or any other source are based on strong relationships. Relationships need to remain active (not passive and presumed by either party) in order to thrive.
We all know how the phrase ends that starts with: “When you assume…”
Referrals from physicians and their staff come from familiarity, trust, confidence, visibility, frequency of contact, empathy, knowledge that the patient will be well taken care of and the timeliness of reports back to the referring physician.
Success in protecting current referral sources and developing new ones is a nurturing process of repeated, proactive contact, illustration of consistent value and keeping both referring physicians and their patients regularly updated on your treatment.
This process is not (or should not be) spontaneous or haphazard. It requires a structured system of commitment, planning, personnel and proactive, frequent communication.