As the healthcare industry continues to rapidly evolve, with the intersection of digital advancements and changing expectations of healthcare consumers, healthcare marketing has become increasingly important in facilitating connections between medical professionals and their desired audience.
Gone are the days when merely offering quality services sufficed; today’s healthcare consumers demand an experience that mirrors the innovation seen in other industries. As hospitals, health systems, and medical practices compete for attention., a well-crafted healthcare marketing strategy becomes indispensable to stay competitive and relevant.
In fact, 63 percent of consumers received care from a non-traditional provider in 2018, such as a retail or walk-in clinic, virtual care provider, or outpatient hospital, highlighting the urgency for healthcare entities to adapt and engage with their audience effectively, according to Mercury Healthcare.
This article delves into the topic of healthcare marketing, exploring essential strategies to attract and retain modern healthcare consumers. From building a distinctive and trustworthy brand to harnessing the power of virtual care experiences, we unlock the key elements that ensure success in this dynamic realm.
What Is Healthcare Marketing?
Healthcare marketing is a specialized form of marketing that focuses on promoting and enhancing the services offered by a healthcare business to its consumers. Its primary objectives revolve around patient acquisition, patient engagement, and improving the overall patient experience.
This strategic approach enables healthcare practices to establish meaningful connections with their target audience and foster lasting relationships. At its core, healthcare marketing aims to showcase the value and benefits of a healthcare service or organization to consumers. It involves creating compelling campaigns and communication strategies that resonate with the needs and preferences of the target audience.
Benefits of Healthcare Marketing?
Increased Patient Acquisition: Healthcare marketing strategies help attract new patients to the practice. By showcasing unique services and expertise, medical practices can stand out from competitors and expand their patient base. Effective medical marketing campaigns improve brand visibility, attracting potential patients seeking specific healthcare solutions.
Enhanced Patient Engagement: Engaging with patients is essential for building lasting relationships and fostering loyalty. Healthcare marketing enables practices to connect with patients through various channels, including social media, email campaigns, and informative content. Meaningful patient engagement leads to better patient satisfaction and retention.
Improved Reputation and Credibility: Effective healthcare marketing can enhance a practice's reputation and credibility within the medical community. Positive patient reviews, testimonials, and informative content establish the practice as a trusted authority in the field. A strong reputation encourages patient referrals and boosts the practice's overall image.
Targeted Advertising for Efficient Resource Allocation: Healthcare marketing allows practices to target specific patient demographics and geographic locations. By tailoring advertising efforts to reach the intended audience, practices can optimize their marketing budget and improve the return on investment (ROI) of their marketing campaigns.
Patient Education and Empowerment: Healthcare marketing plays a pivotal role in educating patients about various health issues, treatments, and preventive measures. Informative content and videos empower patients to make informed healthcare decisions, increasing their involvement in their own health management.
Adapting to Digital Marketing Trends: Embracing healthcare marketing enables practices to adapt to evolving digital marketing trends. Patients increasingly rely on online platforms and search engines to find healthcare providers and medical information. An online presence and engaging digital content ensure that practices remain accessible to their target audience.
11 Healthcare Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Practice Exponentially
1. Build a Patient-Centric Website
A patient-centric website serves as the digital front door of a healthcare practice, offering a window into its services and values.
An essential aspect of healthcare marketing, a user-friendly healthcare website provides a seamless experience for visitors, making it easy to navigate and access relevant information.
It should showcase services offered, highlight the medical team’s expertise, and provide clear calls to action for appointment scheduling or inquiries.
By investing in a well-designed healthcare website, healthcare organizations can make a strong first impression on potential patients and foster a positive perception of their practice.
Furthermore, incorporating patient reviews on the website can significantly influence a visitor’s decision-making process.
Research has uncovered that 59% of Americans find patient reviews to be very important or somewhat important when choosing a physician.
Positive reviews and testimonials instill trust in prospective patients, assuring them of the quality of care they can expect from your practice.
2. Implement Healthcare SEO for Your Website
Simply having a website is not enough to attract an audience. It is important to implement healthcare search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to improve your online visibility and achieve higher rankings.
To attract patients who are searching for specific treatments and conditions, medical practices and organizations can optimize their website content with relevant keywords and create informative, valuable content.
This will help them appear higher in search results and increase their chances of attracting organic traffic to the website, making the practice more discoverable to potential patients.
A healthcare SEO business can provide a focused approach to enhance the practice’s online presence, making it easier for patients to find and engage with their desired healthcare services.
Take for instance this case study for Nepenthe Wellness Center by Omnicore. Nepenthe Wellness Center was having issues generating more organic leads and receiving online visitors. But once they partnered with Omnicore, the company revamped their SEO strategy, and they saw significant progress in a relatively short period.
Within just six months, Nepenthe Wellness Center experienced a remarkable +533% increase in organic traffic, a testament to the power of effective SEO implementation. Moreover, the overall volume of ranking keywords witnessed an astonishing surge, escalating by a staggering +4611%. This phenomenal growth in website visibility translated into a substantial influx of potential patients finding their way to the wellness center’s online platforms.
See also: 6 Benefits of Healthcare SEO
3. Manage Reputation and Reviews to Build Trust
A survey by Bright Local revealed that 86% of 1,124 US-based consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and believe they are a reliable resource when choosing a new physician.
When it comes to medical treatment, prospective patients want to see if other patients suffering from the same ailment were able to get relief from the healthcare provider, and if they see others like them had a good experience, it will help instill credibility for potential and current patients.
Over the last 2-3 years, patient reviews have become even more important as general consumer behavior has changed and digital adoption has increased.
As a healthcare professional, you should encourage patients to leave reviews on platforms like Google Business Page (GBP), as it can significantly impact your practice.
Not only it will help convert more patients but will also help improve the Business Profile’s ranking on search results in “Map Pack”, helping attract more patients.
However, managing negative reviews is equally essential; responding to feedback constructively demonstrates the practice’s commitment to patient satisfaction and can help mitigate potential concerns.
4. Maintain Consistent Healthcare Branding for Trust and Recognition
Consistent healthcare branding is a powerful tool for building patient trust and recognition. A strong and recognizable brand instills confidence in patients, assuring them of the practice’s reliability and commitment to quality care.
By maintaining consistent branding across all touchpoints, from the website to social media and marketing materials, healthcare organizations reinforce their identity and establish a lasting impression on patients.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there has been an estimated 63-fold increase in telehealth use since the beginning of the pandemic.
This shift towards virtual care makes consistent branding even more crucial as patients seek reliable and reputable healthcare providers in an increasingly digital landscape.
A cohesive brand image conveys professionalism and reliability, fostering patient loyalty and encouraging them to choose the practice for their healthcare needs.
Above is an example of a brand guideline that we design as part of our web design service that includes a brand palette, fonts, and patterns, that will be used across various online and offline touchpoints e.g. website, social, video, signage, clinic, etc.
5. Use Google Ads for Targeted Advertising
If there is one healthcare marketing strategy that cuts above the others, it is Google Ads. It is also a go-to channel for practices that want to fill their capacity quickly in the short term.
Google Ads is a valuable platform that generates high-quality leads due to its ability to pay only per click, precise geotargeting with zip codes, and the option to show ads only to patients searching for specific services by typing in keywords and phrases e.g. dentist near me.
This targeted intent allows healthcare practices to get in front of patients who are ready to take action. As a result, these leads tend to require fewer touchpoints and are more qualified, increasing the likelihood of conversions.
By tailoring Google ads to the right audience, medical practices can optimize their marketing efforts, reducing wasted ad spend and maximizing conversions.
A case study by Omnicore on Dermed Clinic’s website showed how effective SEO can be in conjunction with Google Ads. Dermed Clinic was facing challenges with soaring cost per lead, which was straining their marketing budget and hindering their ability to achieve a favorable return on investment. Their previous keyword strategy proved ineffective, resulting in reduced visibility for their ads.
Recognizing the need for a strategic overhaul, Dermed Clinic sought the expertise of Omnicore. Omnicore’s first step was conducting meticulous keyword research, identifying the most relevant and high-performing keywords for the clinic’s services. Armed with this data, Omnicore crafted compelling ad copy that resonated with the target audience, enticing them to take action.
The results of the Google Ads campaign were nothing short of impressive. The carefully crafted ads reached a vast audience, generating a remarkable 43,880 impressions. This significant increase in brand visibility laid the foundation for Dermed Clinic to connect with potential patients actively seeking their specialized services.
6. Capture and Utilize Patient Email Addresses Effectively
The collection and effective use of patient email addresses offer numerous healthcare marketing and communication benefits.
When healthcare organizations collect clients’ email addresses with their consent, they gain a direct and efficient channel for sharing important updates, health information, and marketing campaigns.
Personalized email communication fosters patient engagement and strengthens the patient-provider relationship.
By sending tailored content, such as appointment reminders, health tips, and relevant news, healthcare organizations demonstrate their commitment to patient well-being, increasing patient satisfaction and retention.
7. Engage Patients through Social Media Platforms
Social media has become a formidable tool for healthcare practices to connect with patients, disseminate health-related information, and cultivate community.
These platforms offer an interactive space for healthcare organizations to share valuable content, engage in meaningful conversations, and address patient inquiries promptly.
As patients increasingly seek healthcare providers aligned with their values, social media enables practices to showcase their ethos and mission.
According to a Harvard Business Review, 64% of consumers have “genuine common values” as the main influence on their relationship with the brand
When healthcare businesses use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it will enable them to establish a distinctive identity, fostering connections with patients who resonate with their philosophy.
This engagement bolsters patient loyalty and extends the practice’s reach as satisfied patients share their positive experiences, attracting potential patients seeking a similar connection.
8. Create Compelling Video Content for Patient Engagement
Incorporating video content into healthcare marketing strategies holds remarkable potential for patient education and engagement.
Compelling videos can distill complex medical concepts into easily digestible narratives, enhancing patient understanding of health issues, treatments, and preventive measures.
As reported by sources like Houston Chronicle and PatientEngagementHIT, patient education is a cornerstone of enhancing the patient experience.
In this present day, where information consumption is visual and interactive, videos become potent tools for imparting knowledge and fostering patient empowerment.
Healthcare practices can employ videos to address frequently asked questions, explain treatment procedures, or share personal patient success stories.
These videos not only enrich patients’ understanding but also humanize the practice, fostering a sense of empathy and trust.
Furthermore, aligning video content with patients’ values can significantly impact their decision-making process. Research from Small Business Trends indicates that 71% of consumers prefer buying from companies that align with their values.
By incorporating videos that showcase the practice’s commitment to patient care, ethical practices, and community involvement, healthcare organizations can resonate with patients who share similar values.
This resonance fosters a deeper connection and a higher likelihood of patients choosing the practice for their healthcare needs.
9. Establish Authority by Publishing Informational Content
Publishing authoritative and informational content is a potent strategy for healthcare organizations to establish themselves as trusted resources.
Consistently delivering high-quality content through blog posts, articles, or whitepapers showcases the practice’s expertise and commitment to patient education.
Google plays a pivotal role in this strategy, as informative content optimized for search engines ensures the practice is discoverable by patients seeking reliable medical information.
As patients turn to Google for answers, a healthcare organization’s well-crafted content can guide them toward informed decisions and position the practice as a trusted advisor.
10. Leverage Traditional Media for Wider Reach
In expanding their patient base, healthcare practices must recognize the enduring power of traditional media channels such as television and radio.
While digital platforms dominate the marketing landscape, traditional media remains relevant and effective, especially in reaching a broader audience.
Television advertisements hold a significant strategic advantage in captivating audiences through visually engaging and emotionally impactful content.
Healthcare organizations can leverage this medium to communicate essential information about their services, values, and commitment to patient care.
On the other hand, radio offers a cost-effective means to reach local communities and target specific demographics.
Audio-based ads can be strategically placed during relevant programs or times of day to reach potential patients in their cars or at home.
Healthcare practices can use radio to consistently reinforce their branding and message, strengthening their position as a trusted medical resource.
11. Target Referrals to Expand Your Patient Base
Healthcare advocacy is of utmost importance in the modern healthcare landscape, as it directly influences patient loyalty and the growth of healthcare organizations.
According to Accenture’s report, “Elevating the Patient Experience to Fuel Growth”, two-thirds of U.S. consumers are likely to switch healthcare providers if COVID-19 is poorly managed.
This statistic underscores the critical role patient satisfaction and effective COVID-19 management play in patient retention.
Word-of-mouth referrals have been a powerful tool for attracting new patients since time immemorial, and in today’s digital age, their impact has been amplified significantly. Encouraging satisfied patients to refer others can lead to an exponential expansion of a healthcare organization’s patient base.
The 2020 report by Accenture further highlights that an estimated 64 percent of U.S. patients may switch healthcare providers if their current one fails to meet their expectations for managing COVID-19-related issues
To leverage the potential of word-of-mouth referrals, healthcare practices must prioritize patient experience and satisfaction. Practices can cultivate a community of loyal patients who not only stay with the organization but also share their positive experiences with others by providing exceptional care and services. These satisfied patients become brand advocates, actively promoting the practice among their social circles and digital networks.
Google and online reviews play a vital role in shaping consumers’ decisions. Satisfied patients are likely to leave positive online reviews, bolstering the practice’s reputation and credibility. Such reviews, coupled with targeted efforts to encourage referrals, attract potential patients who are actively seeking a reliable healthcare provider.
A robust referral network contributes to building trust and confidence in the practice. When patients recommend the practice based on their positive experiences, it enhances the organization’s credibility, leading to exponential growth.
Yes, there are potential HIPAA concerns with remarketing in healthcare marketing efforts.
Remarketing, also known as retargeting, is a digital advertising strategy that displays targeted ads to users who have previously visited a website but did not take the desired action, such as making an appointment or completing a form.
While this approach can effectively engage potential patients and increase conversion rates, it must be executed carefully to ensure compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
HIPAA, a federal law in the United States, safeguards individuals’ protected health information (PHI) and sets strict guidelines for how healthcare organizations handle and disclose patient data.
Healthcare providers must adhere to HIPAA regulations to protect patient privacy and maintain the security of their sensitive information.
The 4 Ps of healthcare marketing are fundamental principles guiding effective marketing strategies. They help healthcare organizations develop compelling campaigns for their services and treatments.
The “Product” refers to healthcare offerings, while the “Price” involves balancing cost and affordability. “Place” focuses on accessible healthcare delivery, and “Promotion” uses digital marketing to reach the target audience.
Healthcare providers can connect with their audience, ensure value, and stand out from competitors by defining unique services and meeting patient expectations. Price transparency is gaining importance as patients seek affordable care options. Accessible healthcare services, including telehealth, play a vital role in reaching patients.
Utilizing advertising, digital marketing, and social media, healthcare organizations can communicate their messages effectively and build meaningful relationships with their audience.
Successful healthcare marketing faces several unique challenges arising from the complexities of the healthcare industry and evolving patient needs. Key challenges include strict regulatory compliance, handling sensitive patient data securely, effectively communicating complex healthcare services, meeting changing patient expectations, addressing low health literacy, coping with intense competition, working within limited budgets, nurturing physician referral networks, and countering healthcare misinformation.
Adhering to HIPAA and FDA guidelines while conveying the value of healthcare services is a balancing act. Maintaining patient privacy amidst digital interconnectedness is essential for building trust. Communicating medical information clearly is crucial, considering patients’ proactive engagement in their healthcare. Addressing low health literacy requires using simple language. Competing in a crowded marketplace demands innovative marketing approaches.
Limited budgets necessitate cost-effective strategies. Cultivating strong physician referral networks is vital. To counter misinformation, healthcare marketers must prioritize accurate and evidence-based information.