Forty-eight percent of healthcare providers say that bringing in new patients or clients is their primary goal for growth.
Looking forward to the next five years, 67% of practices expect a shortage of qualified staff, leaving them with little to no bandwidth for marketing. Implementing marketing initiatives requires time, resources and effort that most practices simply don’t have.
By following ideal marketing practices, healthcare providers can leverage limited staffing resources and track the return on investment (ROI) for future planning. This strategy helps practices find the right balance between new patient acquisition and staff shortages.
How do healthcare practices maintain and manage a strong digital presence?
Maintaining and managing a strong digital presence can be time consuming and expensive for many practices. But when it comes to healthcare marketing and new patient acquisition, consider what marketing activities you can reasonably get done in a day and their ideal practices. Find what works best or comes easiest to your staff and then build out from there.
Slow and steady is a better approach than biting off more than you and your team can chew. Keep reading for four ideal practices to apply to the mediums and channels your clients engage with. Whether it’s email marketing, digital advertising, social media or traditional print, these best practices apply across all marketing efforts.
Practice #1: Create an “Ideal Patient Profile”
If you don’t know who your ideal patient is, then how can you get the right marketing message to them? Take some time to brainstorm a profile for your practice’s ideal patient. Creating a handful of these profiles will help you understand where you should focus your time and energy.
Practice #2: Meet your patients where they are
Don’t waste time on a marketing channel that your audience isn’t using. Meet your patients where they’re at! If the Ideal Patient Profiles that you outlined trend younger to Gen Z, then TikTok could be the marketing channel for you. If you find your best patients are community-minded and looking for social interaction, then Facebook is a great place to explore. Patients who tend to do their own research and ask a lot of questions can also be reached through the Google search ad network. Take what you learned when building a patient profile and find out where those patients live, both on and offline. This will stretch your marketing dollars and make the precious time spent on marketing more efficient and beneficial.
Practice #3: Patient-centric marketing language
Try out a variety of messages and see what resonates with your target audience. Make sure they’re simple, direct, easy to understand and most importantly, all about them. Keep the focus on your patient and their story. If you have to talk about your practice or services, make sure it’s about how they’ll benefit from your solution, not about how great you are. They already know you think you’re great, show them why!
In your marketing content, try using language that is:
Make patients the “hero” of your marketing narrative. They’re coming to your clinic to solve a problem in their lives, so communicate that you understand their needs and how you can meet them. Patients are entrusting their health in you and they need to know you have their best interests in mind.
Focused on quality of care
Practices need to differentiate themselves by expressing the level and quality of care the patient will receive if they choose their practice. It’s what keeps current patients coming back, and is what prompts the positive recommendations that bring in new patients. Make sure you’re communicating the standard of care patients can expect when they step into your office.
Many practices we surveyed try to use language that communicates the solution or end results of their products and services instead of focusing on the pain points they’re experiencing. Acknowledge that you understand their struggles and tell them what you’re going to do about it.
Simple and direct
The practitioners we spoke to expressed the importance of keeping marketing messaging and language simple, direct and to-the-point. While it’s important to communicate accurate and transparent information, practices try to use language that is not overly technical or scientific as they want to communicate information in an easily digestible way for patients.
Practice #4: Batching content
Often, healthcare providers post to social media during short periods of downtime. Maybe it’s while drinking their morning coffee before the next patient check-in or at the end of the day when the office is closing up. Rather than rushing to get content out during these free moments, encourage staff to block out an hour or two to focus on creating batches of content every few weeks. Dedicating a consistent amount of time will help with creativity and create a better outcome than the piecemeal approach. A two-hour block on a Monday can allow a staff member to create content that will last you a few weeks. Leverage scheduling tools to passively post content to varying channels on specified days so you can focus on the patient experience until the next batching session.
How do healthcare practices track ROI?
For practices across all sectors, tracking marketing efforts often does not go beyond asking new patients how they heard about the practice. While some practices are currently paying an outside party to track their marketing data, most have a low awareness of how to measure their marketing efforts and ROI, 29% of practitioners find tracking their marketing efforts very or extremely challenging. Many admit that they don’t have the time, resources or general knowledge of how to track marketing data and turn that data into useful and actionable information.
Start by setting objectives for what you want your marketing efforts to achieve. Work back from these objectives to understand how many clicks, form captures or views you need to convert a prospective patient. Identifying the right metrics will indicate whether you were successful or not. Most website, email and social media platforms have built-in analytics and tracking. Go to the knowledge bases on Google, Facebook and your email marketing platforms to learn where to find the data you‘re looking for. Talk to your website developer about the metrics you value most and ask for a dashboard or weekly report to get a clear picture of website traffic.
So, where should you go from here?
There’s so much to learn when it comes to finding the best marketing strategy for your practice.
The key is to make sure what you’re doing aligns with patient needs and values. At Ally Lending, we’re always looking for ways to support the businesses we serve. Many practices we spoke to say they could use more support from the third-party lenders they work with, beyond financing options. That’s why we pulled together a Healthcare Marketing Playbook to equip you with the tools you need to thrive in the competitive healthcare industry - because we’re all better off with an ally.
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.