As a healthcare professional, you already understand the importance of communicating with patients and helping them understand the value of a proactive approach to their health. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to reach patients or potential clients unless they’re in your office and you have their undivided attention. 

Whether you’re a physician, nutritionist, physical therapist, home care provider, dentist, or another type of health practitioner, you have goals for getting new patients, building patient loyalty and referrals, and reducing appointment cancellations and no-shows. All this is part of healthcare marketing, and when done correctly, it can achieve all the above results. 

We make it easy to build loyalty with patients and clients, drive referrals, and grow your center.

It’s important not only to have an understanding of what healthcare marketing is, but also to be aware of the tools that can help you get the job done. Learning more about healthcare marketing can improve your chances of hitting your marketing strategy out of the park. Below, you’ll get to know what it is and how it can benefit you.

What is healthcare marketing?

Healthcare marketing simply refers to the tools and tactics you use to increase awareness of your services, attract patients, and build patient loyalty. From simple brochures, to a website, to an email marketing program, healthcare marketing involves many different strategies with a common goal of attracting consumers so that you can be the one to guide them through their healthcare needs and keep them engaged. 

With marketing, you want to try various strategies, make targeted efforts, and assess your work to see how you can do even better. However, there is still room to attract consumers because they want personalized care that helps them feel secure in the healthcare system.

Healthcare marketing provides an opportunity to let consumers drive their care—and you can utilize it best through educating and engaging patients, bringing them to you for care, and then providing the best customer service you can so they stay loyal patients. 

This graphic from the World Health Organization (WHO) is a great example of building trust by distinguishing fact from fiction.

Why is healthcare marketing so important?

Marketing has become increasingly personalized, just like healthcare. Healthcare marketing keeps the personalization that consumers demand at the forefront of your strategies. 

With consumers more involved in their care and turning to the internet to find answers, healthcare providers must also make the transition and ensure they have an online presence. Gone are the days of word of mouth and simply trusting your physician. Now, social media, online health reviews and resources, and other such avenues give patients what they need without having to leave home. 

If you are not taking advantage of the data you already have to target their needs precisely—such as demographic or behavioral information in your existing patients’ records—you are missing out on opportunities to connect with them. 

To be most effective, marketing teams must be up to date on the latest tips and trends of the industry so that each message is engaging and effective. Some healthcare marketers do comparative analyses to understand better what works and doesn’t work for similar organizations. This can help create a stronger marketing plan. 

For the first time, convenience is trumping a provider’s credentials, and quality of care matters less than providing resources that fit patients’ lives. Unfortunately, many healthcare businesses have fallen behind when it comes to their marketing. This is mostly due to not understanding the benefits of healthcare marketing.

Benefits of healthcare marketing

When you provide individual patient experiences through several marketing channels, making sure to reassess your strategies often, you can improve your outcome.  You need to meet them where they are and provide what they expect. Then, when they start talking about their experiences and asking for recommendations, you’ll be there to participate in the conversation.

Here are some of the rich benefits of marketing in healthcare:

  • Your strategic advantage among competitors will increase.
  • You can use the data to realign your strategy and get more leads.
  • More potential patients will find you.
  • Current patients will become more engaged and loyal.
  • You can connect with more patients through more strategies.

All it takes to attract new patients to your practice is to engage your connections through meaningful experiences. By engaging them, you will see them share your info. These interactions create more visibility, which brings new patients.

Types of marketing in healthcare

Healthcare marketing can be overwhelming. Working with a marketing advisor who specializes in marketing to patients and other consumers can help close the gap. These advisors can identify the various types of marketing available to your healthcare business and help you best deliver.

For now, let’s focus on online marketing since that is what consumers are moving toward. Healthcare providers that follow the trend of moving online are being found by more people. Below are several online marketing options you can utilize. You can flesh them out more as you develop your strategy and determine what works best for you.

Website

Your website is critical to your success because it is the center of all your marketing efforts. It is the hub that many things stem from, such as your contact forms, appointment calendars, patient portals, and more. Your website is also how many people will initially find you.

Other content

You will have more content that can be on your website or elsewhere. Your blog, guest articles, e-magazines, videos, and so on are all forms of content, which is anything people access or share online. You need to make it count—it should be a resource for consumers. 

Producing timely, relevant, consistent content that your audience wants will bring more people to you. When someone sees your content and then shares it, you can gain free traffic to your website and improve your search ranking on Google. 

Email

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to reach prospective patients. It’s also another way to share the content you’ve created. By capturing email addresses via other marketing avenues, you have people who want your information, so they’re more engaged. Be sure to make them feel valued so they stick around.

Social media

Not only does social media put your content out there, but it also helps garner reviews, get email subscribers, educate the consumer, and boost engagement. That’s because you are in real-time and engaging with consumers in an interactive way. By posting healthcare tips, special events, new research, and other content, you build trust—a key factor in patient acquisition. 

However, because social media platforms often change their algorithms—how users see your content—and favor personal posts over business content, it can be hard to reach your audience without paying to promote your posts.

This table from a 2019 study shows social media channel breakdown for hospitals by network and engagement. 

Reviews

Research from Software Advice shows that 71% of patients begin their search for a new doctor using online reviews. How does this apply to your business? Being aware of reviews related to your practice, and taking the opportunity to respond to thank patients and try to resolve negative experiences, is one strategy you can implement. Your time won’t go unnoticed.

Ads

Advertising is tricky because you need to focus on putting the foundational aspects above in place before you begin paying for ads. But they are necessary, especially since algorithms have changed and made it harder to reach your audience via social media. 

Ads are a megaphone of sorts to get your name further out there—they include Google ads, Facebook ads, and more. Which one you’ll use depends on where your audience is. Google will help direct people to your website and often charges per click-through. Facebook ads can direct people to your page or website and are great for attracting the attention of your Facebook audience. 

The smarter choice for marketing in healthcare

Software Advice’s research also showed that spending just 10 minutes a week online building your brand’s presence can reduce the effect of negative reviews by up to 70%. Your ultimate goal is to be present, consistent, helpful, and engaged. 

That is how you get results. If being online is so valuable to your marketing efforts, then developing a strategy is critical to your success. 

Not only is Constant Contact the smarter choice when it comes to online marketing tools, but it’s also the smarter choice for healthcare marketing guidance. From building your website to executing an email campaign to generating awareness on social media, Constant Contact has you covered. 

We have all the tools you need to achieve the results you want and can offer guidance along the way. Get your free copy of our comprehensive healthcare marketing guide, The Download, today. Reach out when you’re ready to begin building patient loyalty and watch your practice grow.