In these times of pandemic, and the following economic and social crisis that results from it, access to qualified medical attention has become imperative. The bright side of this? Technology. Fortunately, we live immersed in the digital era, which means that a huge quantity of data and information relative to healthcare, diseases, symptoms, and prevention measures is delivered fast and is accessible for almost anyone.
The healthcare industry is changing. Today, patients have a wide array of options in the world of medicine that they did not have in the past. Visiting the local clinic or hospital is no longer the only way to receive medical care. Informing people about different pathologies, treatments, and appropriate medicine is now possible using the Internet as a tool that counts with a massive reach.
Social networks can also be seen as important health resources. Almost 90% of adults over 30 have used social media to look for and share health information, so it’s not just a generational matter limited to the younger population.
In this article, as a part of our Hospital Expansion guide, we’ll take through what exactly a healthcare marketing strategy is, why it would be necessary for professionals dedicated to medical attention today, and which steps can be followed to set a medical practice online.
Healthcare marketing…say what again?
Healthcare Marketing. If you’ve never heard about it before…then that’s perfectly normal since it’s a breakthrough in medical services that is now in the spotlight, especially since the COVID-19 breakdown.
Don’t get us wrong. Marketing has always existed within the medical services industry, but it has never been as imperative as it is today.
Healthcare marketing is a strategy for doctors, nurses, health practitioners and providers, hospitals, and healthcare networks with the objective of communicating and delivering information to their patients or potential patients. This is a multi-channel online strategy, that puts tactics in place so that health consumers may have access to advise on prevention, health promotion, and health protection.
Additionally, this is a multidisciplinary practice because it involves professionals in communication and marketing. The goal is to educate, motivate, and inform the public on anything related to their health. And you’d be surprised about the broad range and variety of techniques that could be used to build up synergy between public health research, communication, and health behaviors.
What makes this a good idea?
A) No more misinformation
We all know that one of the greatest problems of the Internet is that there hardly is a verification of content. It’s bad enough to find wrong definitions and misquotations of economic and even political matters. But when it comes to health, it can also be dangerous.
Therefore, one of the benefits that healthcare marketing has to offer is spreading information that’s fact-based, helpful, and clear. Citing research from credible sources is a good back up and, at the same time, it helps with accountability when sharing medical tips.
B) Keep the wheels turning
Healthcare marketing helps to maintain the influx of new patients since it provides an open channel of communication to an audience searching for medical care and professional opinion. It’s a way of building trust and increases patient connections to form long-term patients. Golden rule? Successful healthcare marketing leads to successful patient engagement.
Social media and taking medical attention to a digital format are essential elements to raise public awareness about emerging health concerns, or common sense health practices. It’s a key instrument to make sure the public knows about the latest discoveries, guidelines, and issues.
C) Patient support
Did you know that almost 40% of people between the ages of 14 and 22 have used online tools to connect with others who share similar health challenges? Such a connection can mean a huge difference for someone getting treatment or learning about a disease. And healthcare professionals have already noticed.
Some researchers that have been published in the journal Surgery created a Facebook group for liver transplant patients that includes caregivers and health providers. This is just an example of how a Facebook group can be of great use as a social media platform where healthcare professionals and patients can interact.
Patients can be accompanied and educated with doctors acting as moderators, getting involved in group discussions to evacuate doubts, and addressing common questions.
D) Make communication easy
The coronavirus crisis has proven how fundamental it is to count with a consistent reliable voice in health-related matters.
Now, how can those who don’t have access to local TV programming or announcements learn about the situation? This is where a live video stream on social platforms, as well as photos, updates, and events, on Facebook or Youtube come in.
How to do it?
1) Make your own name – Healthcare branding
What is your brand about? What makes your healthcare network unique? Think of the patient as a customer.
Your first step should be defining what you’ll focus on, and the kind of attention you can provide. Make sure patients remember your organization’s name. Why should they choose you?
Direct followers to your website and public health accounts. With healthcare marketing, you can show potential patients how your practice is different than the competition, and why it’s a much better option.
2) Check the online patient experience
The next step takes empathy. Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes. How clear are the pages of your site? Is your location (or your practices’ multiple locations) accessible? Make sure that anyone with a concern is able to contact the right person quickly.
User experience is vital and you can learn from it to improve the quality of the service you’re providing. Sure, it’s important for a website to look good. But it’s not everything.
3) The technology available to consider
- Healthcare Customer Relationship Management (HCRM) Platform: a platform like this integrates patient data from many sources to help marketers optimize healthcare campaigns.
- Content Management System (CMS): it classifies healthcare marketing content
- Marketing Automation: allows healthcare marketers to automate the distributions of content to the right patients
- Engagement Center: it’s an optimized call center that supports highly personalized patient experience and integrates HCRM data to allow call center representatives to have personalized conversations to solidify the patient’s relationship with the health system.
4) Test site speed
It only takes 5 seconds to lose a prospective patient that decides to search elsewhere for the info they need if they find a slow site. Test your speed at Google’s PageSpeed Insights here and go to your web developer to figure out ways to improve your site’s speed.
5) Ask for reviews!
Ever thought of automatic reviews? They’re usually the ones that users would prefer since the options are already displayed: rate the quality of your service on a scale of 1-10, for instance. That way, for those with high scores, you can set up an automatic follow-up email asking the patient to write down a brief, more personal review.
Additionally, you can also request those customers who rated you negatively to tell you more about the aspect of your service that was less-than-satisfactory. This way, you can understand what the problem is and how to fix it.
6) Analyze the results of your marketing strategy
Study your metrics (performance analytics) through Google Analytics, to see which pages of your site are performing better, and which channels your users are coming from. Use Google Search Console to see what terms you rank for in the search engines. And use a CRM (customer relationship management system) like HubSpot to track how patients engage with your campaigns. If this all sounds too complicated and not the best use of your time, you can always find a marketing agency that does it for you. For your international marketing campaigns, we can help you out.
7) Remain compliant
Keep in mind that healthcare social media accounts are subject to very strict rules and regulations, for example, HIPAA compliance and FDA rules regarding advertising, or be ready with professional medical interpreters demanded by law. Remove any comments from your site that may raise privacy or compliance concerns.