By Peter Do
There are some highly effective, but elementary marketing tools in your healthcare promotional toolbox. They’re fundamentals, but they shouldn’t be overlooked. These tips, tactics and ideas deserve this spotlight reminder of the hardworking fundamentals. Some are low cost, while others…well, not so much. But done right, all are highly effective contributors to success.
Think of this as a reminder checklist. Every marketing plan update should account for these first and best healthcare tips and techniques. Of course, for everything you do, begin with a plan—although not everything on this list has a place in every plan.
External signs produce the highest Return-on-Investment. Perhaps the most obvious tool is easiest to overlook, but a well-placed and highly visible external sign has a tireless work ethic. Quality signage is worth the investment. Because it will attract new business for years, this enduring marketing tool delivers measurable results.
Referrals require a system for success. A steady stream of inbound professional referrals occurs because an actively maintained system inspires the patient flow. Similarly, an active flow of patient referrals occurs when satisfied people are asked to refer friends, family and others. Professional and patient referrals do not happen magically and spontaneously.
People buy happiness, not healthcare. Forget about whatever product or service you think you want to sell. Instead, present the solution that delivers happiness to your target audience. Nobody shops for a surgical procedure. What they want is pain relief and wellness. Identify and characterize their need, and show them the solution and how they will benefit.
Become the one-and-only. The essence of recognition and branding is in differentiation. When the public thinks of you as their only resource for a solution, you stand head-and-shoulders above the competition. How do you distinguish yourself as unique, different and better than any other option?
Give something to get something. Among the tools of persuasion, the concept of reciprocity grabs attention and opens a mutually beneficial exchange. Devise a unique and free offer—perhaps a consultation, a special report or ebook, or an initial trial. Offer this in exchange for joining an email list. People who accept something feel a strong need to return a favor.
Your front door is digital. Virtually every patient journey begins or includes Internet search. Patients search for authoritative and relevant content. They read the physician and practice reviews and recommendations by other patients. Your digital presence becomes your reputation. And ultimately, a patient’s selection of a provider or hospital is strongly influenced by what they find online.
Your Internet presence is local, mobile and convenient. Nearly all prospective patients have a smartphone at their fingertips. So it’s not surprising that Google and other search engines demand web information to be small-screen friendly. What’s more, visitors want to quickly find resources nearby and conveniently located. Google My Business, as one example, is a free and easy-to-use tool to manage an online a local presence via Google search and maps.
Healthcare marketing doesn’t have a universal template or instant results…
Be prepared to include these fundamentals, but every plan is unique to the situation that it serves. The circumstances, audiences, competition and dozens of other factors require a marketing plan with custom strategies, tactics and budget.
Even the most creative plans do not produce instant success. And that’s why marketing always includes a means to quantify, measure and track results, and to calculate an accurate Return-on-Investment (ROI).