The healthcare industry can be a tricky thing when it comes to marketing. There are many privacy laws, rules, regulations, and limitations that restrict what a healthcare organization can and can’t do.
The disruption of digital and rapid introduction of new technologies has, and will continue to, employ seismic changes for how healthcare organizations attract, retain, and communicate with patients. The transparency of the internet has made companies more vulnerable than ever. With honest reviews, competing practices, and tons of information readily available, patients don’t just want more value from their healthcare provider – they expect it.
So how do you harness the power of digital to attract more patients? We’ve got a few things for you to try:
Create patient personas.
When building patient personas, it’s critical to think like your patients. What do they care about when selecting a medical practice like yours? What are the common frustrations or annoyances they frequently experience with healthcare professionals? Perhaps it’s the level of pain they experience during a surgical procedure, or it’s the wait time during appointments. It’s vital to understand their frustrations so you can identify how your practice can tailor an unforgettable experience to their needs. (Bonus: Interviewing your patients or administering surveys always result a gold mine of information that can lend valuable insights to guide your digital marketing efforts.)
The types of questions to consider are: What are their frustrations with current medical providers? What medical concerns bring them to you? What type of insurance do they have? What is going on in their personal lives? If you need a little more help on how to make sense of all that information once you have it, we’ve written a post on how to create and apply user personas.
Adopt new technology to make the lives of your patients easier.
Patient security and confidentiality, as well as delivering the highest quality care possible, has remained at the forefront of continuous technological advancements. However, despite the rapid introduction of innovative software packages, many healthcare organizations don’t proactively leverage these new technologies to improve the overall patient experience.
The challenges and frustrations outlined in the patient personas should drive the decisions for your practice’s technology investments. For example, if your patients voice frustration regarding your appointment scheduling process, consider implementing software that allows them to book appointments at their convenience.
A single innovate offering can be the critical difference between a positive patient experience and a negative one. Remember, after appointments, patients are spreading the word about their visit. Nearly 50% of patients recommend family, friends, and colleagues to contact the same facility, while 12% post reviews on social networks. Make sure your practice delivers an experience that is unforgettable.
Create educational, meaningful content.
Search engines are the new yellow pages. According to Google, 77% of patients conducted research on search engines prior to booking an appointment with a provider. Another staggering finding was that patients considered digital content to be the key to decision-making from a combination of resources prior to booking an appointment. They visited hospital sites (83%), health insurance company sites (54%), health information sites (50%), and consumer-generated reviews (26%). (Source: Google)
Websites are critical to patient decisions when selecting a healthcare provider. Creating valuable, meaningful content will help your site rank so that prospective patients can find you easily when conducting research.
However, the purpose of content creation goes beyond search engine rankings. Educational content helps build trust and establishes authority for you and your practice. It also helps user find you; most users start with non-branded term in the early stages of research. A whopping 41% of searches began with symptoms or healthcare departments, 38% with conditions and diseases, and 6% with treatment and procedures. The end result? Nearly half of these patients ended their search path on a branded term. You have the answers to their questions, concerns, and frustrations. If your content is available to address their needs, they’ll be more likely to book an appointment with you over the competition.
The federal restrictions and regulations of healthcare marketing can leave you feeling less-than-inspired to try something new and innovative. There are several ways to reach new audiences, generate leads, and incite engagement by using video marketing, social media, and compelling campaign messaging. Healthcare has so many different emotional facets readily available for marketing. It can be fun, exciting, sad, frustrating, confusing, and more. When you know how to channel these emotions into a campaign, the results can be powerful.
Try mixing up the types of content you create by explaining complicated procedures with video, answering frequently asked questions with a rich blog article, or delivering important statistics in a beautiful infographic. Your patients will appreciate your expertise and the convenience of your content.
If you’re needing some inspiration to get the creative juices flowing for your organization, check out these 8 brilliant healthcare marketing campaigns.
Craft an ongoing communication strategy.
Communication should never stop at the door. It’s important to follow up regularly with your patients by providing helpful information about their health, tips for post-procedure care, appointment reminders, check-ins, and so on.
Map out their typical engagement with your practice to identify touch points. Remember those personas we talked about earlier? Refer back to them often to outline the different journeys for each patient in order to create email content they’ll actually want to read. By maintaining contact with your patients, you’ll be able to provide more personalized care and an experience they won’t forget.
For information on what not to do in your healthcare practice’s digital efforts, and how to overcome common healthcare marketing challenges, read this article or watch the video on our blog.