Healthcare marketers understand just how crucial it is to market their private practice in order to gain online visibility and reach their target audience. Marketing is an important way for you to show your skills to your target audiences. As you establish yourself as a healthcare expert, it becomes imperative to build a level of trust between your practice and your patients. Through your various marketing efforts, you can demonstrate your commitment as well as your passion for serving the community.
Like all other businesses, private medical practices must implement effective marketing strategies for accomplishing their business goals. Healthcare marketing requires inventing innovative strategies that are cost-effective, yet results-oriented, and help the marketers connect with their target audiences, increase the bottom line, get an edge over competitors, improve online reputation, promote services and increase their market share.
While there are a bunch of successful digital strategies to market your private practice, nothing can compete with a long-term approach to improving your online reputation. Most successful practices rely on word-of-mouth referrals as their biggest and most efficient source of acquiring new patients. This means, if your existing patients are satisfied with your service, they are more likely to the spread the good word about your practice and refer family and friends to you. However, in the absence of a recommendation, most potential patients turn to online reviews to find the best medical practice in their area. Ensuring your practice is listed on relevant online forums, online directories and review sites is key to driving more traffic to your practice.
With the wide variety of healthcare marketing strategies to choose from, it is normal to feel confused. Keeping this in mind, we have compiled some of the most cost-effective yet efficient marketing tricks for your private medical practice.
Highly effective healthcare marketing strategies that do not cost a fortune
1. Email marketing is one of the best choices for personalized communication. It is cheap, easy and quick. You can use it to stay in touch with your existing and potential patients. According to research by Marketing Sherpa, nearly 60 percent of respondents chose email as the preferred way to receive promotions and updates from companies with which they are interested in doing business.
Email marketing continues to be one of the most cost-efficient healthcare marketing strategies, with some sources claiming an ROI of 400 percent or more. As long as you have an excellent patient database and a steady stream of email blasts, you will be able to see a significant ROI sooner rather than later. A survey by the Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric of marketers revealed that in 2016, email marketing generated an ROI of $44 for every $1 spent, which is up from $38 in 2015.
You can send personalized newsletters and e-mailers to targeted groups and individual patients. Email marketing has also proven to be perfect for sending appointment reminders and follow-up emails to ensure your patients do not miss their checkups. Through personalized emails, you can also educate your patients about general healthcare tips, offers and discounts and updates about your staff. It is surprisingly easy to kick-start your email marketing and start attracting more patients.
2. Social media has exploded over the past decade, making it a compelling marketing channel. You can use simple tricks to boost your social media presence, such as adding social media icons to your website and offering incentives to your patients to Like and Share your social posts.
You can start by establishing profiles for your practice on popular social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Keep your profiles updated with fresh content that your target audience would like. Sharing good-quality content about your service offerings is an effective way of marketing your practice. Rich and relevant content will add value to your brand name. Good-quality content plays an important role in search engine ranking.
However, it is important to select your social networks wisely and make sure to dedicate time and effort to promote your practice the right way. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram offer various advertising options, and most of them are cost-effective. Having an active social media presence is an excellent way to stand out from the competition and build a loyal brand following.
3. A responsive website will not only add to your patients’ experience when they use your website, it will also provide SEO benefits as Google prefers responsive websites over standard websites. A website is an extension of your medical practice and a reflection of the care and expertise you provide to patients. It is important to have a website, and it is equally important to make sure that it looks welcoming and informative.
According to a study by Pew Research Center, nearly 72 percent of U.S. adults search for health-related information online. Therefore, if you want to promote your medical practice online, you will have to maintain a robust online presence. Moreover, if you are using several ways to market your practice online, all of your efforts must point to one central location – your website.
According to a Google survey, nearly 61 percent of people will leave a website if it is not mobile-friendly. So if your website is not responsive, you must upgrade it. Non-responsive websites are not likely to rank well in search engine results. In addition, do not ignore the page load speed of your website. This is because slow-loading websites are abandoned by visitors, which means lost prospects and lost revenue.
4. Patient referrals are worth their weight in gold and will go a long way for your practice marketing. If you did a great job handling a new patient’s health issue and that patient goes on to recommend your practice to his or her friends and family, you are very likely to acquire a new patient. Consider the fact that people are four times more likely to try a new brand or business when it is referred to them by a friend. So why not give your existing patients some added motivation to refer to your practice by offering an incentive?
Establishing a patient referral program does not cost much, and depending on how you plan it, might be free. You could offer your current patients a discount on their treatment in exchange for referring a new patient, or a free consultation if you are really interested in this strategy. For local practices promoting their service on a shoestring budget, an active patient referral program is the best strategy for maximum ROI and practice growth.
5. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the backbone of your digital marketing strategy. It is critical for medical practices to invest in SEO activities because ranking has become very competitive. When a new patient looks up medical practices online, you want to be one of the first names that pop up. So if you plan on expanding your online outreach, be sure to invest effort and resources into effective SEO techniques.
SEO is one of the most efficient techniques for practices trying to gain an edge over their competitors. Regardless of the size of your practice, SEO can help you attract more targeted patients and boost your search engine rankings. Patients are most likely to learn about your services through your ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).
In addition, relevant content plays an important role in search engine ranking as Google promotes websites that publish original and useful content on a regular basis. Search engines are intelligent enough to understand whether or not you are providing the relevant information. Therefore, stuffing your website with popular keywords may not work for long. Instead, when you invest your time and effort in creating genuine content, search engines will spot it and reward you with a higher ranking.
6. Superior patient experience is an indicator of how well the patient is being treated at your medical practice. Improving patient experiences can lead to an almost 50 percent increase in net margins, regardless of the size and type of your medical practice, revealed Accenture Consulting. With today’s patients actively shopping for healthcare services, patient experience plays an integral role in the growth and profitability of your practice.
Attracting new patients is important, but your marketing efforts should also involve retaining your existing patient base. After all, it is far less expensive to engage existing patients than to acquire new ones. This is why is it critical to establish strong relationships with your patients. One of the ways you can engage your patients is by keeping in touch through emails, newsletters and social networks. You can use personalized emails and social media posts to stay engaged with your patients. The more appreciated your patients feel, the more likely they are to return to your practice and recommend you to their family and friends.
It is also a good idea to follow up with new patients regularly through emails to ensure they are satisfied with your service, and if you sense a problem, take every measure possible to fix the problem as quickly as possible.
Sometimes the best healthcare marketing strategies are not strategies at all. If you can create strong relationships with your patients and reward their loyalty, they may become your greatest advocates. Patient referrals are powerful, but many practices neglect to even ask their patients for referrals. Make a point of requesting your patients to recommend your practice to their family and friends.
7. Video content marketing is gaining importance in the healthcare marketing plans of most medical practices, regardless of their size and marketing budget. Most healthcare marketers use video content to engage their potential patients and convert them into regular patients. This is because users are more likely to watch and share video content than other forms of content. The video is an excellent tool for healthcare marketers to showcase their vision, products, services and announcements for maximum online outreach.
Brand building and video marketing go hand in hand. If you are looking to improve your brand image, you need to create compelling video content that resonates with your target audience. Your video should tell your story and maximize your outreach. However, with hundreds and thousands of practices spawning every day, it is getting harder to cut through the noise and convey your message to the target audience. According to healthcare marketing experts, 2018 is the year when private practices should explore video content types to acquire new patients and improve their reputation.
The competition among private medical practices is fierce. Online marketing campaigns and paid promotions have become vital functioning limbs in the healthcare business. Before the Internet, private practices only had a few ways to market their services cost-effectively, through printing out fliers or sponsoring local events. However, now there are all kinds of opportunities out there on the Web – you just need to know where to look. So if you find yourself struggling with your revenue and budget, do not resort to cutting marketing out of the equation. Instead, find creative ways to build your brand image that do not require significant investment.
Small and mid-sized practices may find it difficult to compete against the million-dollar budgets that large practices can afford to throw at their marketing. However, this does not mean smaller or private practices cannot be successful. Operating on a tight marketing budget requires a sharp focus and the knowledge to utilize every dollar you spend. With the marketing strategies for medical practices above, you will be better-positioned to keep your practice thriving – regardless of your budget.
While it is important to have a successful marketing campaign in place, it all boils down to the quality of patient experience you provide. Your patients will notice it, appreciate it and reward you by sticking around and referring your practice to their family and friends. Incorporate these healthcare marketing strategies will help you welcome more new patients through your doors in no time.