There is no one definitive strategy that works for every practice, and it may take a little trial and error to find what works best for you. But if you’ve resolved to take steps to improve your marketing results, it can help to find out what’s likely to be the most immediately beneficial.
In that spirit, we created a short list of basic tips, in the hopes that a few of these can help you get started-or act as a tool for assessing your current position.
1. OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE
If you plan on reaching new patients through your newly designed and developed website, make sure you invest the time and money into SEO, as well. Do your research and select a company that employs “white hat” strategies and tactics, and your return on investment should be desirable. Content marketing is also huge in terms of website ranking, as Google looks favorably on websites that push out fresh, relevant content on a consistent basis.
2. DO MORE VIDEO
Video is projected to claim more that 80% of all web traffic by 2019. Video ads now account for more than 35% of all online ad spending!
3. CULTIVATE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
Focus your efforts on building your personal brand online by creating content regularly on industry specific topics and getting published in industry journals. You can self-publish your content through LinkedIn’s blogging or posts section along with other social platforms. This will not only build your reputation through Google search results (Google yourself and see what pops up), but also position you as an industry expert, which is invaluable in healthcare, where your reputation and credibility are everything.
4. CREATE CUSTOMER FOCUSED CONTENT
Publish quality content that answers their questions. Try to keep your content as relevant and valuable as possible to help establish trust and a connection with your readers. As always with content, the more authentic, the better.
5. DELIVER ON BRAND PROMISES
Unlike just a couple of decades ago, today’s patient is now also a healthcare consumer, more willing to take control of their personal health and responsible for an increasing portion of the finances related to their care. This means that patients are much more deliberate in evaluating potential providers than they once were. They’re also now less likely to remain with a provider if they’re not pleased with the overall treatment they’re receiving. Failing to deliver on promises set by brand communications will only serve to drive away potential patients in favor of competitors that will better meet the patient’s needs.
6. ENACT A STRONG REFERRAL PROGRAM
When patients are satisfied, they will be happy to encourage their friends and relatives to choose you as their hearing healthcare provider. However, they are unlikely to do so unless they are asked.
A strong referral program must be highly organized and thorough--it's essential to having measurable goals to meet each month. For example, consider creating an oversized referral card, developing a system for the regular distribution of the referral card, establishing a measurement criteria and tracking progress of said referral card, marketing your referral program, and following up on all referrals to thank the referring patients.
7. GO FOR INTERACTIVE CONTENT
For 2017, health care marketing will shift towards more interactive content where the reader has to make choices that influence the outcome of the content. You’ve already seen this with quizzes and tests which were the most shared pieces of content in 2016. In 2017, however, this will go further and delve into interactive videos and blog posts. When readers have a direct impact on the content they are more engaged and this increases their brand recall.
8. IMPLEMENT A FORMAL PATIENT EXPERIENCE
There is no question that the number one way to grow a medical practice is through developing exquisite Patient Experiences (PX) that result in positive comments on influential social networks. It turns out that patients do not have a clue when it comes to clinical efficacy. What they do know to the depth of their soul is, rather or not they loved the human experience that they received. Studies show that when a practice goes from a five-star to a four-star rating on health grades, Yelp, Google or other rating sites, it can be the difference between bankruptcy and massive practice growth.
The take away here is that most practices do not have a Patient Experience strategy that looks at all the touch points that patients will experience throughout their practice journey. Gain insights about what your patience love and hate, create a comprehensive and formalized patient experience strategy and you will lead your market in growth.
9. MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE IS RESPONSIVE
Make your website adheres to responsive design principles. At MedBiz Media, we've found that a baffling number of healthcare related searches are on mobile devices-- and an astounding number of medical websites are not optimized for mobile. Not only does it make it easier for potential patients to actually use your website, it provides SEO benefits as Google gives well executed responsive websites bumps over those that aren’t.
10. KNOW YOUR COMPETITION
For medical practices, as for other types of marketers, it’s key to fully understand specifically who they are attempting to influence and, then, to understand as much as they possibly can about their target audience so they can identify the best channels to reach them and the best messages to influence a positive decision. They need to do this in consideration of their competitors, as well. In healthcare direct competitors are obvious–e.g. other providers offering the same types of services. But considering indirect competitors can help to create more compelling messages. For instance, indirect competition in healthcare can include searching for information online, asking “mom” or “grandma” for advice, or avoiding care altogether. Consider competition as “any available alternative” — or anything that will keep your prospect from choosing you.