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Healthcare Marketing

Updated: August 31, 2020

Running a medical practice without proper healthcare marketing in 2020 can be disastrous. No matter where your clinic may be, from New York to LA, developing an effective marketing strategy with healthcare marketing experts is the best way to make your business grow.

New patients are crucial to the success of your practice, and healthcare marketing guarantees a constant stream of new patients contacting your team daily. Make the switch to full-time healthcare marketing and avoid the possibility of your competitors outgrowing you online.

In this article, we discuss exactly why healthcare marketing has never been more important than right now. We answer the questions: what does healthcare marketing entail, what are the tools and strategies required, and what is everything else you need to know to begin your first or best healthcare marketing campaign yet.

Why Healthcare Marketing Is Absolutely Necessary In 2020

Today’s healthcare industry is more sophisticated and advanced than ever before. Clinics and healthcare providers now have the latest equipment and technologies to provide the best care possible, and patients have higher expectations now more than ever.

Simply put, the healthcare industry evolves at a pace many doctors and clinics can’t match without the help of a strong healthcare marketing strategy. It’s no longer enough to keep your training, techniques, and equipment up-to-date; doctors also need to consider their healthcare marketing, and how it can be made more cost-effective and customer-centric.

Here are some reasons why healthcare marketing is now a necessity:

1) The world has gone digital

Digital world concept image

Before the internet, doctors and clinics could grow their business with just their reputation and patient word-of-mouth. Their main source of new client acquisition came from referrals, from other doctors and satisfied patients.

But the mass adoption of the Internet has changed the healthcare landscape. Healthcare providers that refuse to go digital find themselves losing patients to clinics who advertise online. Here’s why:

  • Patients are now totally aware of all healthcare providers in their area. They can assess and compare all available healthcare options: 5% of all searches on Google are health-related
  • Patients are less likely to ask for healthcare recommendations from their primary care physicians and their personal networks; instead, they are more likely to ask help from Google, meaning natural word-of-mouth is no longer as effective
  • Since patients use Google to find new clinics instead of asking their doctors and friends, this means that healthcare marketing is now more important than a doctor’s reputation

2) General consumer behavior has changed general patient behavior

Consumer behavior concept image

The digital world has changed general consumer behavior. This means patients have different expectations when it comes to all services they use, including healthcare provider services. 

Healthcare marketing ensures that your online image is just as professional and intelligent as your real-life image. With an experienced digital team by your side, you can ensure that your reputation and expertise are properly reflected online. And patients notice and appreciate this effort.

Some of the expectations patients now have include:

  • Being able to connect with their doctor and healthcare practice across multiple channels
  • Being part of a transparent online community that works to retain and grow their long-term loyalty. One study found that “media richness had a strong, positive, and direct effect on brand loyalty
  • Being given timely and relevant content through online outreach across social media, newsletters, and emails

While it may seem unnecessary for healthcare providers to invest so much in their online presence, the extensive role of online activity has trained patients to trust businesses with active online platforms over those without.

This includes clinics and the general healthcare industry. Millennials are actually much likelier to switch practices than previous generations, with an estimated 43% of US millennials changing doctors every few years.

3) Online and virtual services make growth limitless

Money growth concept image

Healthcare organizations have traditionally never had to worry too much about growth. Your number of patients is limited by the number of working hours in a day. As long as you keep a full schedule of patients, you can consider yourself a success.

But the online world and the rise of telemedicine over the last few years means that growth possibilities of a local healthcare provider and healthcare practice are endless. Here are some of the reasons why growth potential is much higher now with telemedicine:

  • Telemedicine allows doctors to save time between appointments, allowing doctors to treat more patients throughout the day
  • Telemedicine makes it easier for patients to book appointments and meet doctors, meaning they are likelier to become more active
  • Telemedicine still has much room for growth, with one study finding that 82% of Americans still haven’t used telemedicine services. Growth over the next few years will be the most significant change in the healthcare industry in decades

With a proper healthcare marketing strategy that aims to maximize upward growth, your clinic could multiply your overall patient count several times over.

Core Aspects of Modern Healthcare Marketing

So what are the core aspects of modern healthcare marketing for healthcare marketers to get best results? Modern marketing healthcare practices should revolve around the following principles:

  • Healthcare Customer Relationship Management: Also known as HCRM, this type of platform uses the clinic’s existing database to optimize multichannel healthcare campaigns to maximize outreach to your audience. This improves customer service, patient experience, patient engagements, and encourages loyalty and long-term relationships.
  • Marketing Automation Strategies: Marketing in healthcare means getting the most out of automation software, or working with an online marketing team that can develop content distribution and engagement plan activities. They can develop automatic triggers that react to patients depending on what they do. These can be used together with a healthcare marketing strategy through email, social media, and other paid campaigns.
  • Content Management System: Also known as CMS, this kind of software lets you build healthcare marketing content and integrate it with your HCRM to align your content strategy with your marketing strategy. Digital marketing efforts that combine content and distribution across multiple channels can help you get the most out of your budget.
  • Patient Engagement Center and Marketing Pipelines: Marketing for healthcare requires a patient engagement center where patients can interact to learn more about your clinic. This can be done online, over the phone, through text, and more.

What Makes Good Healthcare Marketing: Tools and Techniques

Healthcare marketing tools that healthcare marketers used can be complicated, as they generally require years of digital marketing experience to understand. Here are some tools that healthcare marketers use to grow any healthcare provider’s online presence:

Web Design and Development

web design and development illustration

No respectable marketing efforts begin without a focus on web design and development. Your online platform is the core of your online presence. An active social media presence can’t replace the value of a professional, fast, and beautiful website.

Patients expect a flawless experience when they visit your page on whatever device: computer, tablet, or smartphone. Speed, navigation, content, call-to-actions; all of these and more will influence whether patients schedule their first or next appointment.

Ads and Analytics: PPC, Facebook, Instagram 

Ads and Analytics_ PPC, Facebook, Instagram concept illustration

So many of us spend so many hours per day on social media, making it one of the best places to reach new patients through online ad campaigns. Digital marketing teams work on optimizing ads to maximize ROI.

Your digital team should utilize marketing strategies that get the most out of PPC marketing (also known as paid search marketing, search engine marketing, and pay-per-click), Facebook ads, and Instagram ads. They should also have the expertise to perform analytics to make every campaign better than the last.

Reputation Management

Reputation Management concept illustration

Did you know it only takes 1 to 6 online reviews for a potential patient to form an opinion on your health practice or clinic? So what do you know about your online presence? What are people saying about your health medical practice on all the platforms? No health care marketing strategy is complete without time spent refining a business’s online reputation. 

With an amazing health system digital marketing team like PracticeBloom, you can get your reputation under control before it gets out of hand. This means monitoring the reviews and discussion around your medical practice, and developing the right reputation digital marketing strategies to improve the way your healthcare services look.

Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing

Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing concept image

There’s a lot more to social media marketing than sending out funny Tweets and publishing weekly blogs. The difference between an average social media junkie and a professional digital marketing team with customized marketing strategies is the difference between zero organic visitors and too many of them.

Healthcare marketers study everything around your clinic to gain the necessary insight and make the proper adjustments to boost your site’s rankings. This means utilizing all relevant information: site navigation, information architecture, WordPress security, word count, and more. We use data scientists to engineer the most cost-efficient SEO and social media marketing strategy possible.

Call Tracking

Call Tracking

Marketing is all about results, and results mean calls. A professional health marketer team should equip your business with patient call tracking, so you can analyze your marketing strategy.

Even the top New York healthcare practice cares about their call numbers, and they analyze their call data. Calls are more important than web leads, with caller retention rate being 28% higher than retention rate from the web.

Health system marketing teams understand the importance of tracking every patient and their call, and helping your health system staff push those numbers higher while making each patient call count for more.

It’s all about maximizing the patient experience, and the patient experience is all about that first call.

Main Challenges In Healthcare Marketing and How to Overcome Them

Healthcare marketing isn’t as simple as creating a beautiful website and expecting patients to book appointments. The healthcare industry has become oversaturated with too many practices and clinics with their own websites. These days, creating a website is the bare minimum to healthcare marketing. 

With telemedicine, video conferencing, and remote health system consultation gaining a major foothold in the digital age, you aren’t just competing with other clinics in your area. Patients can now choose from clinics from all over the world, and if they have better marketing, patients might never consider your services.

But coming up with the best healthcare marketing plan isn’t impossible. It begins with understanding the challenges specific to the healthcare industry, and finding solutions to overcome them.

Here are the most common challenges when marketing online in the healthcare industry:

1) Incorrect Targeting

Incorrect Targeting concept image

Traditional marketing believes that casting the widest net possible is the best way to get the largest audience. But this simply doesn’t apply to modern consumer behavior. 

Healthcare is a broad field with multiple disciplines involved. Each health discipline involves a specific skill set and expertise. Modern patients are looking for hyper targeted clinics that focus on one thing and nothing else because specialization generally means high expertise. Amongst the many choices of clinics, patients tend to choose those which address their specific concern.

If you run a podiatry clinic, your marketing plan should target clients who have foot and ankle ailments. If you operate a chiropractic clinic, target patients with chronic back pain and spine alignment issues. Understanding your target market or best patient group and hyperfocusing on them are the first steps to creating a healthcare marketing campaign that works.

2) Outdated Marketing Tactics 

Outdated Marketing Tactics concept image

The general internet is savvier than ever before. Your patients can see through attempts at upselling unnecessary services and overbearing sales talk. These days, effective healthcare marketing should focus on authority building and value proposition. 

Your relationship with your patients doesn’t start when they walk through the doors. With an online presence, your relationship with them begins the moment they click on your website and visit a page or read an article. Modern consumer behavior is predicated on heavy research and individual assessment before they contact your sales representative.

It’s not that ads are no longer important; it’s that content is now just as important as ads. The content you publish, the words on your website, the reviews you have online; all these contribute to your clinic’s image. Cultivating that image through trust-building assets is the foundation of effective healthcare marketing and building loyalty with every patient.

3) Insufficient Budget

Insufficient Budget concept image

Healthcare marketing is a complex organism with different internal processes. These processes include targeted ads, setting up landing pages, producing valuable content, and showcasing a beautiful and functional website. Too many business owners believe that you only need one or two marketing aspects for a perfect campaign.

It doesn’t work this way in healthcare marketing. To drive real results, you need to invest in every single aspect of your healthcare marketing campaign. If you don’t do it, your competitors will, with healthcare global advertising expenditure expected to rise 3.6% this year to an estimated $36 billion.

The good news is that ROIs are well-defined and immediate. Good healthcare marketing agencies provide monthly reports on your progress. ROIs aren’t immediate -- they usually take about 3-6 months before you can see the first results -- but reputable agencies will always provide a clear status to help reframe your expectations.

Making the Most of Your Healthcare Marketing Strategies 

Coming up with a patient strategy is just one aspect of healthcare marketing. Here are some tips on how to maximize your resources and achieve optimal results with every marketing campaign: 

  • Find And Focus On The Best Channels 

Different patients respond to different channels. If your target market responds best through email instead of text, consider funnelling all your resources onto email marketing. The idea of hyper targeting doesn’t just apply to your patients - it should also apply to how you utilize your marketing channels. 

While presence on multiple social media platforms is helpful in establishing ubiquity, running multiple ads on Instagram, Facebook, and Google Adwords simultaneously can easily waste your marketing budget.

Instead, run analyses on each platform to determine which social media platform receives the most traffic. Choose the platform with the most engagement and focus all ad spending there.

  • Personalize When You Can 

Modern patients don’t just prefer personalization, they expect it. With tools like CRM and email management platforms, it’s easier now more than ever to deliver that touch of personalized service. 

But personalization in health care doesn’t stop at mentioning their names on emails or remembering their last appointment. This also includes creating sequenced campaigns and delivering content appropriate for them.

For instance, a new patient who just signed to your newsletter won’t need the same resources as a patient who has already undergone a treatment. Keeping the content relevant to your patients’ health care needs will make every interaction feel more special.

  • Design Marketing Techniques With Objectives 

A disconnect among upper level management, health care professionals, and marketers could bring down marketing initiatives. Firstly, healthcare marketing campaigns should work in favor of your professionals. That means adopting new technologies, services, and tools that will accommodate the influx of traffic and new appointments. 

Keep in mind that not all marketing campaigns are created equally. Campaigns that are driven by brand awareness goals focus on building the brand and promoting the clinic. This may focus more on value proposition instead of opportunities to sell. On the other hand, sales-driven techniques are typically ad-heavy and utilize email and text messaging campaigns to increase bookings and drive profits. 

While it’s possible to launch these campaigns simultaneously, taking the time to build your practice or clinic from the ground up is the best way to make sure that all bases are covered effectively. With a strong presence, it might not make sense to stick to brand building. Talk with your team to align your marketing efforts with organizational goals.

What an Effective Strategy Looks Like 

Health care marketing campaigns vary on a per clinic basis; not all practices have the same marketing needs. However, there are fundamental elements necessary to guarantee a campaign’s success.

Listed below are some ways we’ve maximized results in the past as a healthcare marketing agency:

It Starts with the Website

website concept image

At PracticeBloom, we implement healthcare marketing strategies from the ground-up. Clinics, practices, and similar institutions in the health care industry are usually too busy to design beautiful websites. Common issues involve having an outdated design, a confusing and clunky interface, bad copy or no copy at all.

Healthcare marketing begins with a beautiful site - one that your patients want to visit. This embodies your brand and what you stand for as a clinic, and sets the tone for all your content.

High-Quality Content Marketing 

High-Quality Content Marketing concept image

Having a beautiful site isn’t enough. Publishing top-quality SEO content designed to rank well on search engines boosts your site ranking, making you visible on targeted keywords. 

In return, searchers looking for specific services (“colonoscopy in NJ”, “colonoscopy visit”, “do I need a colonoscopy”) are funneled to your site. Even if the reader’s intent isn’t to book an appointment, having your site as a viable resource puts you on their radar. When it’s time to book, a patient is more likely to make an appointment with a clinic that helped them understand the topic instead of a different clinic.

Targeted Ads and Social Media Campaigns 

Good healthcare marketing agencies believe in the power of organic traffic. But to drive even faster results, they spend their time creating targeted ads on social media or any other channel relevant to your clinic or practice. 

Think of content as the lure and ads as the bait; it’s the final piece of the puzzle that gets your patients to bite on an offer. Marketing for a patient is different from marketing for the average consumer. Including specific offers in the call-to-action (book a free chiropractic adjustment; get $100 off your podiatrist visit) is guaranteed to get the bookings to create significant returns on your investment. 

Successful ads are driven by two crucial factors: targeting the right audience and creating a hyper targeted message. Knowing the demographic that needs to hear your messaging the most is key to success when it comes to paid marketing.

Let Your Practice Bloom with PracticeBloom

At PracticeBloom, we have turned healthcare marketing into a science. Using a combination of proprietary SEO tricks, email and content marketing, and smart ads on social media and Adwords, we give your practice or clinic the boost it deserves.

Learn more about what we do in our case studies section. Schedule a quick call with us to learn more about what makes PracticeBloom the choice healthcare marketing agency in NJ and beyond.

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