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Marketing 101 – Tips to build awareness and reach new patients

Many healthcare staff in the sectors we support are tasked with marketing their clinic, despite their limited bandwidth, training or lack of interest in the topic. In fact, 67% of practitioners say they’re the ones responsible for marketing, even though it’s not in their job description. 

But patient acquisition is the key to growth, and someone has to do it. The more efficient and effective your strategy, the less time you’ll spend on marketing, meaning more time with your patients. The question is, what marketing efforts are the most effective in healthcare? We’ll outline which tactics other healthcare providers are successfully leveraging so you can determine where to focus your team’s time for the biggest benefit to your practice.

Marketing approaches used in healthcare

Healthcare providers use a variety of approaches to marketing, with a focus on either building awareness or attracting new business.

Building awareness

Content focused on building awareness is often overlooked because tracking ROI is difficult. However, the more aware your target audience is about your practice or services, the more top-of-mind you are when they need or want to seek out a service you offer. 

Practices utilize Instagram to target younger demographics with educational and promotional content, while Facebook is where educational and promotional content can reach middle-aged and older clientele. For example, to build awareness about an amazing teeth-whitening service, a dental practice might post before and after photos showcasing those pearly whites. 

Websites are also a great way to build brand awareness. Patients visit websites to gather information and begin building trust with your practice, so it’s important to ensure the information they’re looking for is there. Showcase content like service descriptions, a “Meet Our Team” page and testimonials from past clients. Look for ways to not only promote your reviews but collect them too. Don't be afraid to ask for them, the more the merrier! 

More importantly, prospective patients should be able to easily find where they can book an appointment. Showcasing contact information is very important considering 93% of providers say clients book over the phone. If it’s not over the phone, patients book through the website or another online service. Look for ways to leverage online tools that make the booking process seamless.

Attracting business

It is crucial to find a balance of brand awareness and lead generating content. Some content organically blends the two, like timely seasonal promotions. For example, MedSpas and others in the cosmetic industry could promote a special package deal during the popular wedding season. 

During a lull, practices can put more energy and money into marketing efforts to draw in more business. Digital ads on social media and Google are a great place to target audiences and generate more leads. Effective search engine optimization (SEO) efforts will improve your site's visibility on search engines and increase traffic to your website. Practices should seek an SEO expert to review their website and recommend keywords, titles, descriptions, headlines and URLs that make it easier to find through an online search. Practices with one-off services that struggle with return clients can utilize retargeting through texts and emails to bring past clients back. Use information about their past visits to identify other services they might be interested in. 

These tactics can also be utilized to bring in clients for a newly hired practitioner or generate business for a new service your practice is offering.

Where practices see the most marketing success

Whatever your sector or your marketing approach, our research identified a few channels that boast strong ROI and deliver the results practitioners are looking for when they set out to market their clinics.

Word-of-mouth network and referrals

A positive word-of-mouth referral or review is as good as gold in the healthcare industry. Prospective patients need to know they can trust you with their most valuable asset: their health. And the best way to reassure them they can is through the social validation of your other patients. Of course, your clinic is going to speak highly of itself in social media posts. But potential patients want to know that you deliver such great service that your current patients can’t help but recommend you. Provide best-in-class care, and your patients’ experiences will speak for themselves.

Digital marketing channels

For most practices, digital and social media marketing is an integral part of their strategy: 72% of healthcare providers say that it’s one of their top marketing channels. Digital marketing is the best way to meet your clients where they are: online. A consistent social media presence and email marketing campaign lets you target your desired demographics, foster two-way relationships with your audience, and stay in touch with your clients outside of the office. A consistent digital marketing strategy also lets you track your audience engagement so you can anticipate ebbs and flows in patient traffic – learn more about targeting and tracking your audience with our Healthcare Marketing Playbook .

Networking events

Networking events can be valuable for making connections with other healthcare workers and are well-received by many practices. They not only provide educational value but help build referral networks, which translate to new patients. Fostering strong relationships with other professionals in your sector can help connect you with new audiences.

Discover more industry-leading marketing practices

Many practices we spoke to say they could use more help from the third-party lenders they work with, beyond financing options. To support you, Ally Lending pulled together a Healthcare Marketing Playbook to equip providers like you with the tools to thrive in the competitive healthcare industry - because we’re all better off with an ally.

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