Healthcare marketing, like most other forms of marketing, aims to boost growth, attract customers (patients), and improve awareness in the marketplace of what a provider is able to offer. It helps inform people about advancements in medicine and medical practice, health insurance, and other health-protecting services.
Healthcare marketing facilitates relationships among doctors, hospitals, medical centers, patients, and other stakeholders. It uses a combination of branding, advertising, and promotional tools to interact with others in the marketplace or community. The aim of most agencies including healthcare marketing agencies is to build trust, obtain feedback, and gain new patients.
For many healthcare organizations, marketing is a crucial and integral component of growth, specifically, sustainable growth. Without healthcare marketing, the influx of new patients would decline significantly. Even super-loyal ones might eventually opt for other providers, especially if they have effective marketing professionals.
In the healthcare sector, marketing professionals focus significantly on scientific innovations and studies when communicating with members of the community. Their strategies are drawn from fields such as communication, public health, and promotion as well as marketing. All these have provided a framework for healthcare marketing.
Healthcare marketing today:
- Educates, informs and motivates people on public health.
- Integrates the traditional marketing field with theory, research, and practice.
- Is a framework that guides marketers on how to design campaigns and communicate to design better health interventions and projects.
According to Practice Bloom, healthcare marketing today has become a sophisticated and highly competitive business.
Online healthcare marketing
Today, most patients are looking for healthcare services online, i.e., either seeking out websites or exploring social media networks. Social media and the Internet are reshaping the way people search for healthcare providers. When surfing online, we rely on and to a certain extent trust the search engine results we get on Google, Yahoo, Safari, Firefox, etc.
A recent survey reported that approximately 54% of patients searched for data about doctors online. This percentage is going to be significantly higher by the end of this decade. This means that doctors with strong online exposure are likely to get the most patients.
If, your practice, clinic, or other type of healthcare organization is not attracting many online clients or patients, you need to dramatically change your healthcare marketing strategies or opt for a healthcare marketing consultancy.
Target the right audience
When launching a marketing campaign, make sure you aim it at the people who need you the most. In other words, you need to target your marketing and advertising efforts. This is also the case today in medicine. Gone are the days when one doctor treated all diseases and symptoms.
Patients today want experts in their field. If I have a skin complaint, I will search online for a skin specialist dermatologist or a clinic that specializes in skin conditions.
A scatter-gun marketing approach will bring in disappointing results. When targeting social network sites, make sure they are in line with your specialization. If you are an obstetrician, you will get a much better ROI by focusing on, for example, Facebook sites that attract pregnant mothers. Obstetricians specialize in pregnancy and childbirth. A psychiatrist, on the other hand, should target mental health sites, self-help groups, forums, etc.
Cost-effective marketing strategy
Costs are not the same for every type of medical practitioner. Unlike traditional practices which have the same budget for different fields of medicine, marketing strategies are practice-specific. In order to get the best results, you need to find the right tools. You must also make sure you find a marketing agency that specializes in your medical field.
The agency should know not only how to create promotional campaigns, but also how to improve your website, especially regarding SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which involves improving where your website appears in a search result. For example, if I have a dermatology website, I want it to appear on the first page of Google when somebody searches “skin conditions” “skin treatment” or “skin doctors.”
If your site appears on the first page of a Google search result, your SEO is very good. Appearing on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th pages will only bring in a fraction of visitors to your website, compared to the first page.
The demands of patients are forever changing. To meet those demands, medical organizations must only select methods and tools that manage to do that. This requires continued upgrading of your services and also how you approach your patients. The practitioner should know what their patients are looking for so that they can serve them better. This will also lead to better offerings in the future as well.
Traditional marketing techniques do not work well in today’s online world. The medical practitioner needs to make the consumer or patient feel that there is real and direct communication. This is possible through social media networks.
Improved online reputation
To ensure long-term success, branding or your brand name is essential. Your brand is your image plus your personality in the marketplace. It is how consumers, competitors, and other stakeholders perceive you.
Everything you say, and do, your slogans, logos, and what people say and write about you, determine what type of brand you have. Your brand is what makes you stand out in a crowd of competitors.
It is crucial that you focus on enhancing your brand or on your brand management. Getting a super brand name can take a long time; even decades. However, how you go about improving it will determine how quickly you get there.
Branding is not simply related to advertising or how you sell your service. In the healthcare sector, it is all about your pre- and post-treatment care, patient engagement, and the value-for-money experience. Patients must come out feeling that the whole experience was worth the time and expense. You also want them to have the best experience possible because your best salespeople are your satisfied customers – they will send other patients your way. Angry and unsatisfied patients who write about you online, on the other hand, will undermine your growth plans.
Healthcare marketing – the digital world
Digital marketing strategies are crucial, partly because your competitors have probably embraced them. They use them to quickly analyze their patients and their needs.
Since the advent of the Internet near the end of the last century, how we work, study, rest, play, and deal with our health problems has changed significantly. E-commerce, for example, already accounts for a greater volume of business transactions than traditional commerce in some countries. It won’t be long before this becomes the norm in every nation.
Regarding today’s medical practices, Practice Bloom says the following on its website:
“Outdated ‘all-in-one’ management systems are a thing of the past. The future is combining a “stack” of technology to perfectly suit your medical practice’s specific needs.”
Perhaps a more relevant term than ‘healthcare marketing’ today might be ‘online healthcare marketing.’
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