By Adrian Johansen, freelance writer; @AdrianJohanse18.
How did you first hear about your doctor’s office or primary care facility? Were you passing by and saw a sign, or was it the closest place to your house when it came time for a checkup? Chances are neither was the case; if you had a choice in your healthcare provider you probably heard about them and the quality of their work through some sort of marketing strategy.
Although many of us try not to think too much about it, every single healthcare facility we visit is a business. Ultimately, this means they are subject to the many ups and downs of running a business, which includes the need for a recruitment strategy, and a brand identity, and marketing. Hospitals, clinics, and every healthcare professional out there strive to build brand recognition and positive brand identity their patients will remain loyal to and newcomers will flock towards.
Most moderate to large healthcare facilities invest substantially in marketing strategies that are likely to build trust with patients and draw a steady stream of new patients. In 2020, healthcare marketing and recruitment are more important than ever and much of it is happening digitally. Here are some online methods healthcare organizations can capitalize on to improve their online presence and brand reputation.
Capitalize on tech gains
Technology in the healthcare industry is expanding capabilities at an astounding rate. The things that are possible — such as electronic medical records or smartwatches that send health data directly to your doctor — were only dreams two decades ago. Advances in technology, especially in the realm of big data, offer substantial marketing and recruiting opportunities for the industry.
In essence, the rise of big data has turned healthcare on its head (for the better). Within the hospital setting, it allows healthcare professionals to easily consolidate patient data and reveal potential healthcare concerns that otherwise may have gone unnoticed, greatly improving patient outcomes. From a marketing perspective, it can help identify where needs in the community may be and enable marketing professionals to more accurately design targeted outreach campaigns.
All of these tech improvements should not only be incorporated into day to day healthcare, but they should be touted in marketing schemes. Big data is making every aspect of the healthcare realm more efficient, building trust and a positive reputation — every marketer’s dream. Even further, things such as patient portals enable customers to have a safe and secure look at their medical data. One key to ensuring the data therein is secure is to stay on top of trends in healthcare cybersecurity attacks and be sure to protect against them.
Make social media a tool
Any marketing or recruitment professional worth their salt already knows that social media is a key factor in today’s modern online marketing system. By the end of 2019, over 91% of businesses were using social media to reach potential customers. The healthcare industry has been notably slow at adopting these types of platforms, but it is well on its way.
Realistically, there are few better ways in this day and age to reach people with your message. Social media is a great way to showcase all of the benefits of working as part of or becoming a patient in your healthcare office. A significant chunk of social media users trust social media as a research source for making healthcare decisions. Doctor’s offices with a strong social media presence have a profound opportunity to make a positive public health difference.
Social media along with big data can help identify demographics that are engaging with your online healthcare marketing content and those that aren’t. Likewise, it can help tailor messages to certain people who may be more at risk for certain illnesses or diseases. For example, Dr. Howard Luks uses YouTube to explain common procedures and how to avoid needing to have them.
Other doctors leverage a specific social media channel in order to appeal to that channel’s target demographic. Younger providers leverage Instagram, while providers who care for children use Facebook to connect with parents. As in many other businesses, social media can also give the public a greater opportunity to interact with your brand, which can help build a stronger reputation and brand identity.
Focus on values
The realm of healthcare marketing is unique in that more than anything trust must be established and maintained. Without it, your practice or healthcare facility is likely to struggle, while with it patients will be lining up out the door. Ultimately, this all means that focusing on value and patient-centered thinking is the key to success.
What does it mean to focus on values though? Today it means not being focused on the volume of patients coming through the door, but rather on the positivity and productiveness each patient gets out of coming to the doctor’s office. It isn’t simply about the benefits of being in a certain provider group anymore — if patients don’t feel heard or valued they won’t come back.
Helping patients to feel heard and cared for takes a little bit of a different marketing mentality. Scare tactics and guilt-tripping that are designed to make patients feel as though they need the medical system aren’t the best ways to go. Rather, create messaging that makes patients feel they are working towards preventative care and healthy lifestyles. Create opportunities for them to develop buy-in and stay engaged in their health journey.
Marketing strategies in the healthcare world are much the same as they are in any other business, plus an extra dose of empathy and reputation building. To be successful in 2020, focus on incorporating and touting technological advances that improve patient experience, and do it on social media more frequently. Finally, always work towards value-focused marketing strategies and building patient engagement in the whole process.