Healthcare competition is real. Between traditional and alternative therapies, as well as an onslaught of online options and information available, patients have more options than ever before.
If you own or run a healthcare practice, you know that patient volume isn’t something you can take for granted. It’s a target to openly identify and strive toward. Having an effective healthcare marketing plan can help you acquire new patients and retain the ones you have.
If you’ve been wondering how to apply healthcare marketing ideas to your business, look no further—we’ve put together a list to get you started:
Idea #1: Think Strategically
To brainstorm marketing ideas for your healthcare business, it is important to take the big picture into account. What are your overall goals? Who are your key decision-makers? Do you have a clear brand?
Having a good understanding of the overall strategy. This includes the team who will create, approve and execute on a marketing plan, which is vital.
Idea #2: Make a Marketing Plan
Healthcare marketing ideas seldom have lasting impact unless they are backed up by a proper marketing plan. A plan will keep in-step with your organization’s mission statement and vision, it will outline the principles of your brand, an overall budget, timeline and specific tactics.
In other words, it will identify the cost and timeline for marketing tactics and demonstrate how they are part of the bigger picture.
Idea #3: Plan for Retention
As part of your marketing plan, make sure you identify specific tactics for retention. Any business owner knows, it is easier and less expensive to keep existing customers, rather than find and acquire new ones—the same is true in healthcare. As you map out your marketing plan, be sure to include a budget line for retention, whether you run seasonal contests with prizes, make improvements to your waiting room or offer discounts on medical equipment.
Idea #4: Figure Out Your Starting Point
Whether you want to improve customer retention or research how to attract new patients, a client survey can act as a powerful starting point. For your current healthcare customers, ask if they would be willing to take part in a short survey, so that you can better understand their needs and where your service may fall short.
For potential customers, who may be on your website in an information-gathering stage, ask if they would be willing to take part in a brief survey. While response rates may be low, you might gain important insight regarding your business.
Idea #5: Drill Down to Your Advantages
Of course, as you fine-tune your brand and identify your objectives through your marketing plan, you will need to have a good understanding of your competitive advantage.
Why should patients choose your healthcare services? Are you conveniently located? Does your office have a unique space? Do you offer extended hours or discounts for single parents?
If you don’t have a feature that makes your business clearly unique, it’s a good idea to create something—a distinct service or approach—to help you stand out.
Idea #6: Use Consistent Messages
Once you’ve identified what makes your business unique and how you want to communicate under your brand strategy, make sure your team uses a consistent approach. A unified brand is held together by strict guidelines.
If possible, assign one person from your healthcare team to be the keeper and regulator of brand consistency. Having one person, or a small team, approve the use of your logo, tagline and messages will make sure your brand remains firmly intact over time.
Idea #7: Evaluate and Follow Up
Perhaps the most important part of your healthcare marketing strategy is your evaluation of success. If you upgraded your website as one of your tactics, have your web leads increased? Have your customer experience surveys improved?
If you sent a promotional email to customers in your neighborhood, how many converted to new patients, as a result? Having a clear idea of which digital outreach strategy has worked will help you make decisions about where to spend your money in the future.
Idea #8: Turn to the Pros
Let’s face it, as much as you may love the idea of a tight marketing plan with strategic initiatives, your healthcare practice may be without the bandwidth to make it happen. Rather than leave business growth to chance or take a try-and-see approach to marketing, the time may be right to seek out professional support. A number organizations have extensive healthcare marketing experience and can work with you to meet your brand and budget goals.
Remaining competitive in the healthcare field takes time and intention. Part of attracting and maintaining a sustainable list of patients means reaching out to them in meaningful ways. Having a solid marketing plan, with a clear timeline, brand structure and budget, will help keep you on track over the duration of a marketing campaign. We hope these healthcare marketing ideas have helped to spark your interest in learning more about the value of a comprehensive marketing plan.