Today’s consumers expect healthcare experiences as digitally advanced and centered on their needs as those offered by any other service industry.
To remain competitive, hospitals, health systems, clinics, and all types of medical practices must evolve to meet changing patient expectations. Otherwise, these practices risk falling behind and going out of business. If you don’t provide patients with instant communications, online services, immediate appointments, quick insurance processing, inviting spaces, and other things they expect from service providers, they can easily search online for a business that does.
Here are 11 ways to improve your medical marketing strategies and provide patients with the experience they expect today.
1. Use Consistent Branding to Increase Awareness
When it comes to healthcare practices, one white coat looks a whole lot like another.
It’s critical for medical services to create brands that make them stand out from competitors and build trust with prospective patients.
Start by determining what’s unique about your healthcare business.
Is it the way you treat patients?
Is yours a holistic practice?
Do you specialize in families and/or children?
Do you treat a specific disease or condition?
Maybe you offer a comforting spa-like environment.
Take whatever makes your operation unique and position it as central to your brand. Include it in your practice name, tagline, website, and every aspect of your business.
Making a brand promise will help people clearly understand what you do and know that you do it well. This makes them more likely to patronize your practice and recommend you to others.
2. Experience Your Own Patient Experience to Improve It
What’s it like to be a patient at your practice?
If you’re not sure, it’s time to find out.
Experience it as a patient would from beginning to end.
Website: Is it easy to learn about your operation, the people who work for it, services offered, insurance accepted, and get answers to common questions?
Appointments: Can you make appointments easily online or over the phone?
Services: Do you offer all the services your patients want, both virtually and in-person? (If you’re not sure, ask them!)
Paperwork: Do you make it simple for patients to document their personal, insurance, and medical information or do you use disjointed old-school systems?
Waiting experience: Is your waiting room comfortable and enjoyable? Are appointment times respected?
Treatment areas: Do patients have a good experience when treated? Could it be better?
Consultations: Do you have pleasant spaces to meet with patients and their families, or do you do it in a cramped, messy office?
Communications: Is it easy for people to contact you when and how they want?
Any hiccup in your patient experience gives people a reason to check out another practitioner.
3. Update Your Website to Deliver a Better Digital Experience
When was the last time you updated your website?
If you don’t remember, it’s about time.
People today expect full digital functionality across all devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Your website should be easy to navigate and provide information in formats patients prefer, including blog posts, videos, images, and illustrations. It must allow patients to do everything they want online, such as chatting, booking appointments, inputting information securely, having confidential consultations, and more. Finally, it must be search engine optimized so prospective patients can find you.
Seem complicated? Work with a web designer and developer that specializes in healthcare practices. They can advise you on consumer expectations and build a site that meets them. It could be the best investment you make in your practice.
4. Leverage Targeted Paid Social Media to Promote Your Healthcare Business
People post about their healthcare issues to keep friends updated and ask for help and support. Social media platforms track this information, making it possible to target people who may have a condition that your business can help resolve. This could be a great way to provide helpful information to people who need your services while introducing your business to them.
5. Use Google Ads to Raise the Profile of Your Practice to People Searching for Your Services
Google Ads are the promoted listings that appear at the top of Google search results. They can make your business more prominent than those of your local competitors.
It’s relatively easy and inexpensive to get started with Google Ads.
Select Google Ads when you’re signed into your Google account, then follow the step-by-step instructions. Begin by submitting a link to your landing page or website. Google will scan it and recommend keywords you may want to bid for, along with suggested ad headlines and body copy possibilities. You can accept what Google offers up or write your own. You can then launch your ads, making changes to improve performance over time. (Google regularly recommends things you can do to earn more and better quality clicks.)
If you want to get started with Google Ads but don’t want to spend the time and energy learning and managing it, our team is here to do the heavy lifting for you! Our Ad Campaign Manager service might be a perfect fit for you.
6. Set Up Your Google Business Profile to Optimize Your Presence on the Search Engine
Your Google Business Profile (GMB) provides the search engine with the information needed to feature your business in search results and on Google Maps. If you haven’t already, get your free GMB account and follow the steps to set things up correctly. If you already have a GMB account, optimize it to get more prominently featured on the platform.
Our in-depth guide explains how to optimize your GMB account. Check it out.
7. Ask for Ratings and Reviews from Satisfied Customers
Your patients ARE your customers. Asking them for online ratings and reviews is now standard practice for businesses in the healthcare sector.
People value the opinions of people like them. They’re far more likely to respond to a five-star rating and fantastic review from a patient you helped than a standard ad.
Come up with and implement a process to request reviews from satisfied patients. Follow up with text messages or emails linking to your review platform (make sure you use a HIPAA-compliant one.) Provide complete instructions on publishing reviews to make it as easy as possible. Alternatively, you can look into automated software platforms that make getting, managing, and responding to reviews streamlined and straightforward.
A single review from a pleased patient could be the most potent and productive form of marketing for your healthcare business.
8. Always Respond to Online Criticism to Gain Control Over It
Even the best-run healthcare operation leaves a client or two unhappy. If you receive a negative review or comment on Google, a business rating site, or social media post, respond to it immediately. Explain that you’ll do everything possible to make things right and encourage the person to contact you. Doing so shows that you really care about your patients, even the displeased ones. It’s a great way to turn a negative into a positive promotional experience. Just make sure your responses are HIPAA compliant.
9. Ask Other Practitioners for Referrals to Find New Business
Other medical professionals could be significant sources of new business for your practice. They likely have patients who need healthcare services they can’t provide, but that you can. Make it a point to ask other healthcare workers for referrals. Start with former classmates and others in your network. Connect with new people at conferences and events to identify new sources of referrals. Make it a policy to return the favor to show your appreciation.
10. Become an Authority in Your Area of Medicine to Build Credibility
When it comes to their health, people want to work with top practitioners. That means becoming an authority could help earn you a lot of business. Publish papers or other content on your area of expertise. Share the results of the research you do. Make yourself available to be interviewed by the media. (Becoming active on sites like HARO — Help a Reporter Out — can help find interview opportunities.)
Becoming an authority and building your media presence could bring in a lot of business.
11. Track Your Marketing Success
You must constantly monitor how your medical marketing tactics and strategies are paying off.
Are they bringing in more revenue than you spend on them?
Are you seeing an increase in the number of clients you serve?
Are you experiencing an increase in revenue year-over-year?
These are all signs that your marketing is working, and you should continue your promotional efforts. If things don’t seem to be paying off, don’t give up on marketing. Instead, try new tactics until you find ones that work.
Also, make it a part of your call center operation to ask new patients how they heard about you. Keep a record of their answers. It will help you understand what’s bring in new business and what’s not.
For more information on how to get the most out of your medical practice marketing, contact our team to get started making your marketing work for you!