Do you run a hospital and want to get patients? If YES, here are 7 result-oriented digital marketing strategies for hospitals, clinics & healthcare centers.
Competitive advantage is a business asset, resource, process or ability that’s very hard to copy or buy, and provides a beneficial edge over competitors in your industry. Experts classify competitive advantage into three categories: cost leadership, differentiation and focus.
In this modern and digital world, no matter what line of business you choose to venture in, you’ll need to flourish at digital marketing, providing online customer experiences and creating mobile friendly websites and apps. Have it in mind that without these, it will be very hard for your business to gain an edge over your competitors. In this modern age, consumers shop around for healthcare services and delay or cancel elective procedures.
Why Seek for Patients Online With Digital Marketing?
Also, the population in general is healthier and living longer. While there is still a high percentage of the population with chronic illnesses, younger consumers typically don’t seek out hospital services unless they are sick. For hospitals, this simply means fewer patients, and fewer procedures means less revenue.
This in turn has created the need for hospitals to advertise, seek out and motivate consumers to patronize their services. Now, hospitals are in competition with and losing money to other hospitals and patient care facilities. They are also losing money because the consumer simply decides not to seek care at all due to costs.
With this reduction in hospital revenues, we’ve witnessed many hospital consolidations and closures — hospital chains are buying out independent hospitals and community hospitals have closed. Academic hospitals that always thought their brand and reputation would help them stand out and get business are now finding out the hard way that they are not getting the traffic they used to, even in their world-renown specialties.
These factors have added enormous pressure on hospital marketing departments to locate and attract more patients and convince existing patients to come back for more services. Digital marketing in the healthcare sector does not only allows marketers to target specific patient sets, but also helps establish and groom relationships with existing patients.
This has yielded better campaigns, better ROMI, and increased patient engagement. Just like marketing organizations in other industries, hospital executives now understand the growing competition and are now holding their marketing departments accountable for metrics other than the number of responses to a direct mail campaign.
Research has shown that digital marketing tactics can give healthcare marketers those metrics they are now expected to have. In the past, hospitals did not need to find patients the way other industries needed to find customers. So, the marketing departments in many hospitals did not need to do anything particularly targeted. But things have changed; hospitals are now vying for patients based on both costs and quality of care.
7 Result Oriented Digital Marketing Strategies for Hospitals
Note that the healthcare industry is always pursuing the next technological advancement. Whether it’s a new, improved treatment, a ground-breaking facility or the expansion of physician specialties, healthcare organizations are always working to provide a higher level of care for patients.
The healthcare industry unlike many other industries serves a broad audience. With today’s consumers becoming more dependent on apps and websites, the need to improve on digital marketing is fast becoming a necessity.
In fact, patients are relying on websites at an increasing rate to make healthcare decisions. In this modern age, it’s becoming very important for hospitals to stay on top of digital marketing and keep their organization at the forefront of change—even online. Further explained below are few ways to use digital marketing as a competitive advantage for your hospital.
1. Create an Easy-to-Navigate Website
Have it in mind that your hospital’s website serves as the face of your digital market and also your hospital. It typically is the first impression your facility will make and it plays a strong role in a patient’s decision to choose your facility or go elsewhere, so you want the user experience to be as easy as possible.
Chances are if someone is on your website, they are looking for answers for themselves or a loved one and may want to find what they’re looking for quickly so they can take action. Also note that patients, not only those in your location, already are looking online for health information, so make sure your website is patient-focused and easy to use.
2. Create an Informational Blog
It’s very important to state that your blog goes hand-in-hand with a strong, user-friendly website. With 1 percent of all Google searches relating to medical symptoms, that’s 35 million online medical searches every day. Consider taking advantage of all those searches with a rich blog content that provides information on health conditions, answers to questions, quick tips and advice they can get without going to the doctor.
Always make sure to plan your editorial calendar around health months or other timely topics relevant to your hospital. Also have it in mind that people take comfort in reading about other patients who have experienced a treatment, condition or surgery they are facing, so this can help boost your blog’s readership numbers.
Although you can feature testimonials in various places around your website, your blog is a great place for reading in-depth about another patient’s success. Instead of short clips, blogs are trending toward featuring in-depth patient stories on their journey from diagnosis to recovery.
3. Establish concrete SEO Attributes
It can be easy to create the best-looking, most informative and excellent website, blog posts, emails and videos, but how relevant can they be if they’re not being found? Note that through the process of search engine optimization (SEO), you can grow the quality and quantity of organic traffic by placing your content on specific keywords your patients actually would use in their searches.
For instance, if you’re a hospital with several service lines, you’ll want to do some keyword research with a tool like SEMrush or the HubSpot keyword tool to find out the best-ranking keywords to use on each page.
Also you will want to look for what keywords are currently driving traffic to your website, as well as your competitors’. By making use of these results, you choose a keyword that has a lower difficulty score (so it’s not as difficult to rank for) with a high search volume.
It’s very necessary that you create your content based on this keyword, and work it into your copy. To optimize a page around a particular service line, you need to include it in the page title, H1, meta description, URL, alt image tags and within the body copy of the page.
You can create content around that same keyword and related subtopics and link back to that page. Although keywords are very important, but they must sound natural within the rest of the copy. Avoid overuse of the keyword phrase on the page; Google will penalize you for “keyword stuffing” if your phrase appears too many times. While you want the words within the copy, quality content is still king.
4. Content Marketing
Indeed, it’s impossible to build a successful SEO strategy without the right content. To succeed in today’s developing healthcare industry, hospitals need to constantly produce new content that not only gets them found but also enables them to capture leads.
Right from blog posts to social media updates, videos, eBooks, webinars and more, you need to create content that will get you found online using the same search engines and social media channels that your target audience uses to learn about the healthcare services and products they use.
Note that this content, when organised and placed correctly, will improve your search engine rankings and attract new traffic to your website, as well as groom and nudge leads throughout the sales funnel, hopefully encouraging them to visit your practice or hospital for their healthcare needs.
Note that when content is well organised, it attracts and sustains people’s attention, holds their interest, and successfully prompts them to take a desired action, such as clicking on a “Next” or “Learn More” button, picking up the phone to call your hospital or practice, or purchasing your healthcare equipment, supplies or insurance.
5. Resourceful Emails
Agreeably, patients always want to search for information, but email is a way to be a step ahead. What if the information was in their inbox before they had to even look for it? Note that by sending out an email newsletter at least once a month, you’ll continue to educate patients by providing them with fresh content they can apply to their own health.
Meanwhile, the secret to doing this successfully is to provide your email database with a variety of information to best capture your audience’s interest.
Leverage email personalization and segmentation based on a recipient’s interests and needs so they’re receiving information relevant to them. Consider sending out a video, a current blog post or provide industry news that will give readers information on various topics. Always make sure you plan these ahead of time so they are timely according to what’s going on at your organization or in the health industry.
6. Videos That Educate and Inspire
Note that patients or rather audience increasingly are leaning more toward visual content. Industry report has it that one-third of online activity is spent watching video. If you can get your physicians on camera speaking about their area of expertise, it inevitably will add to their credibility and capture an audience that is out there looking for the expertise your physicians have.
Watching a doctor in a video describing a condition or procedure can make a patient feel more at ease about what they’re experiencing, especially if they’re seeing that physician for treatment.
Indeed videos can make a patient feel as though they’ve already met the physician and heighten their comfort level by seeing their facial expressions, mannerisms and even hearing their voice. Just like creating a blog, another appropriate place for testimonials is in your video resources.
The only thing better than reading about another patient’s experience is getting to see it in action through video, and hear the doctor, patient and family members describing the experience from beginning to end.
Without doubts, video is a powerful tool; the lighting, music and story structure work together to draw out emotion when telling the story in ways a blog post can’t. These elements can evoke feelings of passion, hope, courage, fear and many others that the written word alone can’t capture.
7. Making use of Social Media Strategy
If your hospital doesn’t leverage the vast opportunity on social media, you’re missing a huge opportunity to connect with your audience. Social media is an excellent promotional tool when used right. Report has it that over 60 percent of social media users are most likely to trust social media posts and activity by doctors over any other group.
So plan your posts wisely—make sure they are written ahead of time and offer a variety of content on your page. A social media presence expands your reach to patients.
While it’s hard to compete on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where many companies have established a strong leadership position over many years, you can win big by focusing on new platforms. Thus, keep your eyes open for emerging social media channels that are relevant to your audience and make sure to build a strong presence there ahead of your competitors.
8. Become a thought leader
Thought leadership is the pinnacle of digital marketing, when it’s actually achievable! If you create and execute the above tools correctly, you’ll have a massive chance at positioning your business as the point of reference for your buyer personas, content creators and media around the world. Note that this will result in the formation of a loyal audience and brand ambassadors that will be promoting your brand and solutions for you.
Needless to say, by becoming the perceived industry leader and leveraging the power of networks and referrals, you’ll be growing sales figures as well. Have it in mind that once you achieve thought leadership, it could easily become one of your most important sustainable competitive advantages.
A solid digital marketing strategy for your hospital is most effective when it is managed in a streamlined way, where each component is in sync with one another, rather than soloed. Aside regularly meeting with your team about your marketing strategy to discuss changes or updates, strive to align and connect these elements through a content management platform.
It will provide you with the platform to track the performance of your efforts as a whole and identify areas for improvement. In fact, many healthcare organizations already are managing their digital marketing efforts on HubSpot or other similar platforms.
Note that doing so helps them review previous efforts, and makes planning their future strategies easier. Indeed, platforms like HubSpot can support your marketing endeavours through their continual updates to help you better serve the healthcare industry and the users you are working to attract.