Branding a healthcare business can be a challenge. In such a competitive field with many businesses offering similar services, it can be difficult to stand out and make a name for yourself. But with the right strategies and execution, you can build a brand that people recognize, engage with, and eventually trust.
Our healthcare marketing professionals put together this article that details a few of the most effective branding strategies for businesses like yours. We go over what those strategies are, how they work, and a few examples of how to implement them.
Highly-Effective Healthcare Branding Strategies
The most effective healthcare branding strategies are ones that build name recognition, inspire interaction from customers, and position your business as the obvious first choice in your area. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most tried-and-true branding strategies for businesses in the healthcare industry. While utilizing just one of them can bring positive results, making all of them part of your overall marketing plan gives you the best chance of building a winning brand.
Trust is important in all industries, but when it comes to healthcare, trust is even more critical. People aren’t just choosing a product or a service, they’re choosing a provider that can drastically affect their health outcomes – often at considerable expense.
You know that your business offers high-quality service at a reasonable price, but until people become patients, it’s hard for them to know that. To help people trust your brand, it’s important to emphasize aspects of your business like quality of care, professionalism of employees, and transparency of costs and billing.
How To Build Trust With Healthcare Branding
There are a few ways to use branding to build trust in your healthcare business. These include:
- Highlight employee professionalism on your website: More than just about anything else, people want to know their health is in good hands. One of the easiest ways to communicate this is by providing pictures of your medical staff and brief bios on your website. These bios should highlight professional achievements, degrees, certifications, specialties, and experience.
- Demonstrate quality of service: Many people use technology and cleanliness as signals of the quality of healthcare they will receive at a business. Using photos on your website and social media platforms of the latest and greatest equipment in clean spaces can show potential patients that your practice is modern and safe.
- Provide pricing insights: Billing is a major sticking point for people with healthcare companies, with many surprised at the cost of their care. While it’s difficult to give exact prices for services for many healthcare businesses, providing some degree of insight into what someone might pay for services on your website and in other places can help people feel more comfortable trusting your billing practices.
Create a Positive Customer Experience
Building the customer experience may not seem like a branding strategy, but it may actually be one of the most important ones. There is almost nothing more effective than word-of-mouth at branding a company. Happy customers leave positive reviews that make your business stand out on Google and other platforms. They also may recommend your business to friends and family who then do the same.
Consider all of the elements of the customer experience for your business and work to make them as positive as possible. Look for typical pain points in the healthcare customer experience, such as billing issues, wait times, and scheduling and find ways to address them. There are many digital services that can move the more stressful interactions out of your office and online, creating a more pleasant in-office experience.
How to Create a Positive Customer Experience for Healthcare Branding
Some of the ways you can ensure a positive customer experience to create a better organic brand image include:
- Make scheduling easy: Nowadays, people want and even expect to be able to do most tasks online without having to pick up the phone. Investing in a scheduling service for your website will make it much easier and faster for patients to make appointments and improve the first step in the customer experience.
- Make billing easy: Billing can be a major pain point for customers, but it doesn’t have to be. With digital billing services, you can eliminate potential billing issues from the in-office customer experience and allow people to pay at their convenience. Some third-party providers also offer payment plan services that make it easier for patients to pay for services and more comfortable choosing your business.
Create a patient portal: Online portals where patients can ask questions, request services like prescription refills, and take care of other small tasks create a convenient way for them to interact with their provider. It allows businesses to be more responsive and patients to communicate when it’s convenient, offering the feeling of having access to 24/7 care.
Tell a Story
Every business has a story, and your story can humanize your brand and endear potential patients. Telling your brand’s story can help people identify with it and inspire powerful emotional connections.
One story you can tell is how your practice came to be and why you chose to locate it where you did. But perhaps more powerful are the success stories of patients whose lives have been improved by your practice. These stories can help potential patients see that same potential in their own lives.
How To Tell a Story with Healthcare Branding
There are several ways to use storytelling to develop your healthcare brand. These include:
- Pay attention to your website’s “about us” page: The “about us” section on healthcare company websites is often an afterthought, but it’s an obvious place to tell a compelling story about your brand. Don’t settle for cliche, nondescript information about your practice. Instead, tell the story of how you got to where you are now and why you do what you do.
- Use blogs to tell patient stories: Content is still king for digital marketing. Blogs are a great way to tell patient success stories. Use them to relay heartwarming narratives about how your care enabled a better quality of life for a patient or opened up their world. Just make sure to be careful around privacy issues and get written permission before using any identifying information or images.
- Feature video testimonies: Videos are increasingly inexpensive and easy to produce and seeing a patient tell their own story may resonate even more than when it’s told through a written blog. If you can find patients who are willing to tell their story on camera, you can produce short videos that engage better than almost any other content. You can also use these videos across multiple platforms, such as your website, social media, and even PPC ads.
Distinguish Your Brand
Unless you’re the only game in town, your competitors are probably touting many of the same value points as you are. Separating yourself from those brands gives people a reason to choose your brand instead.
To do this, you must first answer the question of, “What makes my healthcare brand different from competitors?” Maybe you place more emphasis on patient comfort than your competitors. Or maybe you use more advanced technology in your practice. This is called your unique selling proposition (USP). Find out what it is and communicate it clearly and consistently in all of your branding and marketing.
How to Distinguish Your Healthcare Brand
You can differentiate your healthcare business from your competitors in many ways, including:
- Highlight your USP in your content: Repetition and consistency help to associate your brand with certain attributes. Once you find your USP, make sure to include in your content as much as you can in natural ways. For example, if you specialize in pain-free dentistry, make that phrase and its synonyms a part of your blog posts, homepage, social media content, and other marketing channels.
- Align visual branding elements with your USP: You can use visual elements like your logo and the photos on your website and social media to reinforce your USP. With the example of pain-free dentistry, that could mean using “calm” colors in your logo and on your website, photos of relaxed patients, or even simply using the phrase “pain-free dentistry” as a tagline in your logo.
- Create a fun gimmick: People remember things that deviate from normal practices. While it might seem trivial, something like giving patients a small gift or providing entertainment in your waiting area can create a memorable impression and give them an easy thing to talk about when telling others about your practice.
Address the Needs of Your Patients
It’s important to let people know what your business offers, but successful branding is about creating meaningful connections with potential customers. Simply advertising your services and products makes it all about you and doesn’t typically speak to people directly.
You can go a step further by identifying the needs of your potential patients and addressing them in your branding. This means staying on top of changes in healthcare trends and shifting priorities, such as offering flu shots ahead of flu season or the newest round of COVID-19 vaccines. It can also mean addressing demographic needs, such as care for seniors in areas with an aging population.
How to Address the Needs of Your Patients with Healthcare Branding
Addressing the needs of potential patients in your area can be done in several ways, including:
- Invest in demographic research: To address their needs, you’ll first need to understand the makeup of your community. A marketing firm can research the demographics of your area, including age, income, education, and more. Once you get an idea of who your potential customers are, you can identify what they need from a healthcare provider.
- Stay current: new illnesses and conditions, changing trends in healthcare, and even regular seasonal changes give you an opportunity to stay on top of the kinds of care your potential patients are looking for. Keep an eye on these changes and adjust your marketing accordingly to stay relevant and ahead of your competitors.
Become Part of the Community
The pinnacle goal of marketing is creating brand affinity – or a deep emotional connection between people and your business. When people see your company not just as a business, but as a vital member of their community, they become repeat customers and often, advocates for your brand.
As a local business, you can position yourself as an established part of your community by becoming a contributing member of it. When people see that you are willing to invest in their area, they are more likely to see you as adding value to the community instead of just a business looking to make money off of it.
How to Become Part of the Community with Healthcare Branding
You can position yourself as a valued member of your community and build affinity in ways that include:
- Sponsor local organizations: Local organizations like schools, charities, and sports teams often look for sponsors to help fund their operation. In many cases, sponsors get placements on banners, t-shirts, and other places for their logos and more. Contributing money and appearing in places around town associates you with hyper-local organizations and positions your business as one that cares about the community.
- Sponsor local events: You can also sponsor events in your community for similar placements. Farmer’s markets, sporting events, and other events provide an opportunity to associate your brand with joyful activities that bring your community together.
- Highlight your community online: In addition to associating your brand with your community, you can also associate your community with your brand. A good way to do this is to share stories and images from your community on your social media platforms and websites to show that you are paying attention and that you care.
Healthcare Branding Strategies: Conclusion
There is no one-size-fits-all healthcare branding strategy that works for everyone. Your branding strategy should take into consideration the things that make your business unique, the needs of your potential customers, and your connection to your community.
The first step is gaining a good understanding of the value you offer as a business, the people who are most likely to engage with it, and how it fits into the fabric of the area around you. Once you’ve zeroed in on those aspects, you can use a variety of tactics to create a branding strategy that communicates them clearly and effectively. While this is something you may be able to do on your own, a professional healthcare marketing agency can likely maximize your results much more quickly and efficiently.