By Kathy Roy Gaughran
Senior Marketing Strategist
Marketing for healthcare organizations is changing—fast. But when you’re absorbed in the world of healthcare, it’s tough to know what’s going on in the world of marketing healthcare. Strategies that worked just a few years ago might not work today—but then again, many tried and trued methods continue to be successful for certain medical practices, hospitals, and healthcare organizations.
Not sure which healthcare marketing tactics to tackle next? We’re here to help. Our expert recommendations follow below…
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Strategy: If you’re just starting out…
Certain strategies when marketing for healthcare organizations take time to build out. If you’re trying to build your brand and make your name known in the community, it’s not going to be easy or fast. Ranking in the organic search results can take months or even years. In the meantime, you need to find some way to attract patients now.
There are a few ways to get your foot in the door today:
- Build a landing page for digital advertising to use while you build out your new website.
- Use targeted paid digital advertising to reach prospective patients searching for your services on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and more.
- Establish your local presence by claiming your business on Google My Business, Yelp, and other local directories.
- Ask for reviews from satisfied patients to establish your organization in outside review sites.
Strategies: If you’ve already built an organic online presence…
There are two primary ways to build up an online presence organically (without using paid search or display ads). SEO (search engine optimization) is the art and science of getting healthcare organizations to rank at the top of Google’s results. Another way of organically building a digital presence is by posting on social media sites like Facebook.
But this can only get you so far. Organic social media rarely attracts patients, and eventually, your competitors will catch up to your SEO rankings. The only way to stay ahead is to consider other options.
- Dive into paid advertising (with the help of a specialist).
- Consider traditional media options. Market research can help you determine what works and what doesn’t work in terms of your area and target demographic
- Invest in staff training to make sure your front desk is actually converting calls.
If you’re largely physician referred…
If your organization is largely physician referred, direct-to-consumer marketing tactics might not be your best bet—at least not as you build up your presence in the first crucial years. Physician referral building strategies include…
- Going beyond the basics to keep the referrals you already have. Don’t just send a gift basket from time to time—find creative ways to stay top-of-mind with your referring physicians and prospects.
- Even if you have few inquiries outside of referrals, you need a website—plain and simple. Referred patients still check your website to gain peace of mind, as do potential referring physicians.
- Hire a physician liaison to maintain relationships and build new referral sources.
If you’re targeting a younger audience…
Remember, the landscape of healthcare is constantly changing. People of all ages expect more from the healthcare experience, and a younger audience will have done their research before calling. If you want to compete with others targeting a younger patient base—if you simply want to improve the experience for everyone—here are some strategies that work:
- Have a marketing-smart, easy-to-use, clean and modern website.
- Make it easy for people to schedule an appointment online.
- Build up a presence on popular review websites.
- Consider paid social media advertising.
If you’re targeting an older audience…
Many people believe that targeting an older audience means using the traditional methods of advertising—mailers, daytime TV, etc. We’re here to tell you that these methods do work, but so do some of the strategies you might consider to be “younger.” The majority of people over the age of 55 have a social media presence; you just have to know where to reach them.
- Base traditional media marketing strategies (like TV, radio, etc.) on careful research of your target demographics.
- Use social media advertising, targeting those in the age range and communities you serve.
- Focus on the patient experience—older generations may be used to the status quo, but that doesn’t mean they’re willing to put up with slow website loading times, misleading call-to-actions, and other confusing website features, as well as long wait times in the office.
If you already have enough patients…
Think you don’t need marketing to keep a steady flow of patients? There’s no way for you to guarantee you’ll maintain that patient flow forever! Marketing for healthcare organizations can serve as a backup plan—even if you are content with your current volume.
You don’t want to wait until the waiting room is empty before you worry about bringing in new patients.
- Optimize your website using SEO strategies (search engine optimization) to rank at the top of Google, Bing, etc.
- Use a review automation system to automatically request reviews from happy patients—without extra strain on your staff.
- Train your staff to follow best practices to ensure that calls are converting and patient volumes remain steady.
Healthcare Success can help you achieve your goals. Contact our team of talented healthcare marketers at 800-656-0907.