Building a multilocation healthcare business expands your reach, patient base, and profit margin.
But, these benefits come with several unique marketing challenges.
The good news? They also come with remarkable marketing opportunities.
In this article, I identify several common challenges and how to overcome them with effective marketing strategies.
Multilocation businesses typically prioritize revenue cycle management, billing, coding, collections, and other cost-cutting methods.
While these are undoubtedly important, many fail to consider that a comprehensive marketing strategy can offer a significant competitive advantage and the power to drive substantial growth.
Here are some of the most common challenges of running a multilocation business and how to overcome them with strategic, data-driven marketing.
If each location runs its own marketing strategy—you're losing time, money, and resources. You’re also delivering confusing and disjointed messages to doctors, staff, patients, and referring doctors.
A multilocation marketing plan requires careful consideration of the unique needs and characteristics of each location while also maintaining consistency and alignment with your overall brand messaging and marketing goals. It must address these key areas
Here are a few elements to consider when building your plan
As you develop a marketing plan, articulating your guiding principles is essential for maximizing efficiencies, improving the patient experience, and driving growth and profitability.
These principles also set brand expectations with new acquisitions as your business grows.
Brand architecture defines the relationship between the parent brand and each location (and their unique offerings). An established brand architecture ensures your brand stays organized across locations while giving each the flexibility to adapt to their local market.
Multilocation businesses have several options when it comes to choosing a brand architecture
No matter which architecture model you choose, every brand that knows what they stand for has
Creating and promoting consistent messaging across all locations and channels is essential for building and maintaining brand equity, trust, and loyalty among your patients, doctors, and staff.
Consistent messaging can also help improve operational efficiencies by streamlining marketing efforts (saving time and money!), improving employee training, and increasing brand recognition among patients.
For example, how do you want to handle inbound inquiries? Do you want phone inquiries, emails, texts, and form submissions to continue going to each practice, or would you prefer to have them re-routed to a centralized call center?
Regardless of the ownership structure, it’s important to remember that doctors are a highly influential force in any hospital or practice.
As your healthcare brand grows, getting continuous doctor feedback, buy-in, and cooperation on your overarching medical philosophy is essential to its success.
Everyone within the business must remain flexible and cooperative to ensure a smooth transition. To do this, provide doctors with a clear outline of internal and external benefits following the acquisition:
When doctors and physicians are aligned with your integration plan, getting buy-in and cooperation from all stakeholders (e.g., clinical and administrative staff, employees, suppliers, and patients) will be a much easier task.
As with any organizational change, there is a period of uncertainty and unrest. Support your doctors and physicians by building a people-first culture that makes your staff feel valued and delivers a consistent patient experience in each location at every transition phase.
Here are a few benefits of creating a culture of buy-in:
There are several things a multilocation healthcare brand can do to retain patient volume, even if they’re currently experiencing a decline.
Start by taking steps to improve the patient experience. Help patients feel valued, listened to, and respected. For example, you can start by providing convenient and accessible services (e.g., online appointment booking, telemedicine services, and mobile apps) and minimizing wait times.
Understanding the unique pain points of your local audiences, improving internal operations, building a structured communication strategy around alleviating their fear, uncertainty, and resistance, and managing their perception will be well worth your time and effort.
Also, your front office staff is crucial in assuaging patient uncertainties. Prioritize training for front office staff and those dealing directly with patients so that they can respond positively and persuasively to questions and concerns.
Multilocation businesses need on-point healthcare marketing services catering to all brick-and-mortar locations—not just one. This ensures each that location gets the appropriate attention and online coverage to adequately inform their communities about their products and services.
Here are a few questions to consider
There are also several things you can do to ensure your practices rank high in local search results
Multilocation healthcare brands must consider and cater to their unique search engine optimization (SEO) challenges to improve visibility, target local patients, improve the (local) patient experience, and increase traffic (leads and conversions).
Here’s what you need to do:
To do that, businesses must implement a multilocation SEO strategy requiring a skilled healthcare SEO agency. Along with various technical tasks, multilocation SEO includes local SEO practices for each location to enhance its visibility and credibility using consistent and accurate information. Tactics may include
A strong doctor referral program is essential for increasing patient loyalty and supporting word-of-mouth marketing, which can drive long-term growth for the brand.
Recruiting, hiring, and training a team of physician liaisons can be essential to help your business grow through doctor referrals.
What’s more, you can and should leverage your physician liaison “on the ground” strategies with “air war” content and B2B digital marketing strategies.
If you’re short-staffed in one or more locations, analyze the current compensation package and workplace culture before recruiting physicians, nurses, and physician assistants. A robust recruiting strategy is essential to adequately address workforce shortages, maintain quality of care, keep up with demand, stay competitive, and build your brand reputation.
While many doctors, physicians, and nurses want to do what’s best for their patients, they also want a lucrative compensation package and an organization that shares their mission, vision, and values. By developing an effective recruiting strategy, you can attract and retain top talent and ensure your multilocation healthcare brand provides high-quality care to patients. A healthcare recruiting strategy may include
When marketing several locations, it’s important to consider the unique offerings at each (e.g., competitive outreach, levels of care, service offerings, priorities, specialties, providers, etc.) and build programs that can accommodate where they are now and where you want them to be in the future.
To ensure growth and success, it is crucial to create a unique marketing program for each office that follows branding and messaging guidelines and supports their individual growth needs and goals.
Tactics may include
When it comes to local search, having a well-designed landing page for every location is crucial for dominating local search results.
Whether patients need a primary care physician or specialist, they often search for nearby health facilities. An SEO-optimized location page helps search engines rank your local businesses based on their proximity to user searches and present them to relevant audiences.
Online reviews are one of the top three ranking factors for local search.
Encouraging patients to share feedback on their experience and developing a thoughtful response strategy can significantly impact your search engine ranking. Google's algorithm values patient reviews and greatly influences whether someone clicks through to your website.
The best way to manage Google reviews for multiple locations is to create a Google Business Profile (GBP), which offers location management functionality. To add multiple business locations, your business must first verify a primary GBP listing, then each location can be individually created, edited, updated, and managed.
Local directories make it easier for people in your community to find your business, products, and services. These directories can also help boost your local SEO strategy by increasing the online visibility of each location and building high-quality links back to their pages.
Add each practice location to these directories to improve your online presence and increase brand exposure to local searchers
Combining the local SEO strategies above with comprehensive paid and organic search strategies that differentiate your businesses with location-specific keywords can help move your locations into the highly coveted Google Local Pack.
Leverage the skill, experience, and expertise of physician liaisons and providers to grow your business and create more opportunities with referring doctors in your area.
Once you build a primary Google Business Profile and add your practice locations, you can easily track and examine analytics for each using Google’s Looker Studio. This free tool lets you easily connect to various data sources (Google Ads, Analytics, and social media platforms), view data by locality, and share insights with stakeholders.
This data also provides crucial insights into location performance (e.g., total page visits, form submissions, phone calls, or other crucial conversions), allowing businesses to identify where additional optimization or different SEO strategies are needed.
Building and maintaining an effective marketing strategy for a multilocation business is challenging. However, with the right tools, tactics, and support team, you can streamline challenges of all sizes, outpace your competition, grow brand recognition, and increase revenue.
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