Do you run a hospital or clinic but lack ideas to grow your hospital? If YES, here are 20 best marketing strategies on how to get clients to your practice.
The healthcare landscape is getting more competitive on a daily basis, and any healthcare establishment that wants to get ahead of others must make marketing a priority.
While hospital marketing may not have a direct impact on patient care, a well-executed marketing strategy is just as important to the success and growth of a hospital as the human resources and accounting departments, because without patients, you wouldn’t need those departments in the first place.
If you are really serious about increasing your customer or patient base as a hospital or clinic, then your marketing strategies need to be top notch. You need to effectively maximize every strategy that is available to you.
Here are some workable marketing strategies that can help your hospital or clinic attract and sustain the number of patients it needs to grow and become established.
20 Best Hospital & Clinic Marketing Strategies to Get Patients to your Practice
- Develop Patient Experience Strategy
There is no question that the number one way to grow a medical practice is through developing exquisite patient experiences that result in positive comments on influential social networks.
It turns out that patients do not have a clue when it comes to clinical efficacy. What they do know to the depth of their soul is that they loved the human experience that they received. Studies show that when a practice goes from a five-star to a four-star rating on health grades, yelp, Google or other rating sites, it can be the difference between bankruptcy and massive practice growth.
Most practices do not have a Patient Experience strategy that looks at all of the touch points that patients will experience throughout their practice journey. Gain insights about what your patients love and hate, create a comprehensive and formalized Patient Experience strategy and you will lead your market in growth.
- Physician liaison
To effectively market you hospital or clinic, you need to create, maintain and grow a powerful physician liaison program that generates and protects referrals and admissions. Physician Liaison and Physician Relationship Management (PRM) programs are increasingly vital to organizational planning and business development.
- Focus on What Drives Response
An effective marketing strategy starts with clear marketing objectives. Are those objectives clear, understood and embraced by everyone? Or are there competing influences?
What your website looks like is important, but not more important than the message it carries. While animated slideshows and graphics are alluring and can be used effectively, they can also distract from the message if not executed strategically. In addition, they can’t take the place of powerful messaging… or make up for poor, inadequate or absent messaging.
All your web communications, websites included, need benefit- driven language, sales-oriented copy, motivating content, direct calls to action and more. These things drive more response than just focusing on communicating your advanced features.
- Brand Differentiation
Create and maintain a branding message that is meaningful to the public you serve. The key concepts are that your branding clearly distinguishes “who you are and what you do,” and that it has impact with the audience, not just your internal stakeholders.
- Genuinely Follow-up with Your Patients
Medical marketing is tricky territory. Talking about diseases that the practice solves isn’t really fun content for most. Moreover there’s tons of information already available on the net.
The best way then for a medical practice to market itself is by taking care of its patients, and doing that to the best off their ability. If the patients are happy, you are sure to get a positive word-of-mouth, and that’s the best possible promotion anyone can have.
Create a digital follow-up program. Segment patients according to the disease and treatment they received. Schedule emails for getting monitoring feedback, informing them of health tips they must follow, post their last visit, reminding them of upcoming appointments, etc.
- Budget Priorities
Marketing resources have their limits, and there’s never enough budget to do everything. The first and best use of resources will focus on those hospital service lines that have the organization’s top priority. This means that you need to focus your marketing efforts more on areas that give you more patient visibility.
If you tend to get more patients from physician referrals, then you should allocate more budget funds to it and starve the other areas. If you are doing well in Facebook, then you may have to focus your marketing efforts there.
- Cultivate Your Personal Brand
Focus your efforts on building your personal brand online by creating content regularly on industry specific topics, and getting published in industry journals. You can also self-publish your content through LinkedIn’s blogging or posts section along with other social platforms.
This will not only build your reputation through Google search results, but will also position you as an industry expert, which is invaluable in healthcare where your reputation and credibility are everything.
- Communicate Internally
Unfortunately, marketing is something of a stepchild in many hospitals. The concept and purpose are often misunderstood by both opinion-leading doctors and executives. It is vital to constantly communicate with your internal audience and let them know what you are doing, why you are doing it and what results you are achieving. This is a larger issue than mere politics, career advancement or survival. For your marketing to have a chance to be effective, you have to have internal support.
- Create content that truly serves your audience
It’s easy to get caught up in your website design, SEO, and social media, but the thing that you should always come back to is: Are you creating content (video/blog posts/resources) that actually improves your readers’ health?
A lot of healthcare practitioners fail at this by talking about themselves, their credentials, and their work. In your marketing efforts, you are supposed to talk about your patients, their symptoms and struggles. You should then create the best content on the web to address their health concerns. Focus on that, and everything else will follow.
- The SEO and PPC Golden Opportunity
A huge and largely untapped marketing and business development opportunity for most hospitals and clinics is the effective use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) online advertising. The purpose is to drive visitor traffic to well-designed landing pages on your site, or in some instances to micro-sites. Simply having a website is not a silver bullet. Online marketing requires professional planning and execution for it to yield the desired result.
- Patient Experience and Safety
Work closely with executive leadership to help optimize patient experience and to promote safety. This should be the priority of everyone in the hospital or clinic because, first, it’s the right thing to do, second, they influence reimbursement, and third, it creates a better product.
Among the often-quoted 4Ps of Marketing (Product, Place, Price, Promotion), the first and most important “P” is not promotion, but product (or service). Identify your product/service, and then communicate them internally and externally. If you are able to get more people to know about your service, then know that your marketing strategies are effective.
- Leverage Your Patient Base
Your best prospect is always a satisfied customer. Look for opportunities within your patient database, including family, friends and visitors to showcase this. If you have products or service to promote, it is best you start with the audience you have at hand, and those are your patients. Internal signage, internal video, mailings and other tactics are excellent options to carry your message to your existing patients.
- Invest in Community Health
In August, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services allocated $169 million for community health programs associated with the Affordable Care Act. By embracing this paradigm for hospital marketing, hospitals can both help community members and improve mindshare.
Look to form partnerships with community stakeholders such as elementary schools and elder care centers. You should base your outreach program on health concerns important to the community, such as improving access to care, increasing preventive services, managing chronic conditions and offering behavioral health programs. This will help you increase your reputation tremendously in your community.
- Strengthen your content marketing
With 80% of Internet users searching online for answers to their health questions, it’s in all parties’ best interests for hospitals and clinics to increase their content production.
Cleveland Clinic has been an early adopter of content marketing. The healthcare provider’s Health Hub is an online center for health tips and news, physician blogs and expert Q&As.
The biggest mistake in content marketing is to create content that your target audience may not connect to or that does not portray your hospital as planned. Most content writers focus on creating sales-related and promotional content.
Such content offers only little or no value to hospital patients. Do not forget, your target audience is smart enough to identify and classify promotional content from informative content. Consequently, it is an attempt to sell your services and glorify your hospital brand that may make the potential patient abandon your website.
Whether a hospital wants to increase its email marketing conversion rate or improve the click-through on its website, content is the key. All you need to do is to create unique, useful and engaging content for your target audience. When a valuable piece of content is created, your readership will grow. This will gradually increase your viewership.
- Publish relevant, quality content that answers their questions
The thing with healthcare marketing is that it can seem like more of a challenge getting your content found. The best solution here is to create regular, quality content that answers the questions patients are asking, and also to create more customer-focused content on your website, rather than just talking about your own products or services.
These days, consumers are doing their own research, and it’s your job to help them do that – especially with something as sensitive as healthcare, where they want to know the facts before speaking to someone. Try to keep your content as relevant and valuable as possible to help establish trust and a connection with your readers.
- Focus on after sale
Skilled marketers focus on making the sale, but great ones know that what happens after the sale is just as critical. This is an important lesson for marketers. In most organizations, marketers focus most of their energy on the lead-up to the sale.
This is because, essentially, salespeople and marketers are judged on sales numbers and their sales pipeline. Identifying potential clients, contacting them with the right message through the right channel, and closing the deal, is a typical sales routine. However, what happens after the sale is just as important. Because most potential patients depend heavily on word-of-mouth.
They call their family and friends and look up online reviews in order to learn more about your hospital. And in those environments, what you did before attracting the patient to your hospital is not important at all. They want to know what happened after a patient visits your hospital.
It is critical to map your marketing strategies against each touchpoint in the patient’s journey. Surveys are certainly an effective way to keep in touch with patients after the consultation, and they can provide valuable feedback. Regardless of what strategy you choose, your goal should be to equip current patients with the information they need to help sell your services to their family and friends.
Most marketers spend most of their budget on telling. However, recent research has uncovered some surprising insights about what customers value most while purchasing a product. It is listening. Listen to your patients and hear what they have to say.
Do not just assume that your product will fit everyone’s needs. So, are you listening? It is about time you introduced some fresh elements into the marketing mix. To begin with, you can design a questionnaire.
You can consider visiting current and potential patients, without any “promotional” agenda, and try to gather intelligence and build interpersonal relationships. However, if in-person visits do not sound like a good idea with your customer list or budget, you can plan a similar survey in a virtual environment.
- Don’t neglect offline media
Why is it that TV, print, and outdoor media still works for the healthcare industry? It’s because everyone has different media preferences, and oftentimes consume both offline and online media before making a decision. So it seems that offline media is still effective after all. In fact, with the right approach, it can be just as powerful as online media.
- Targeted Email Marketing Campaigns
Phone and Social Media aren’t the only way that doctors communicate with one another or their patients either. Actually, 62% of physicians and other healthcare providers prefer communication via email in comparison to direct mail, phone calls.
So if you’re trying to generate more referrals, then you should implement an email marketing campaign. If you haven’t, then you’re probably part of the 40% of healthcare companies mentioned in that report who have not implemented an email marketing strategy.
- Start Engaging Digitally With Patients
Every hospital and clinic need to start engaging digitally with their patients. There are four key ways they can do that;
- Partner with patients.
- Invite patients to Google their conditions and bring questions to their appointments.
- Publish health content online. You can’t complain about bad health information online if you aren’t publishing good information.
- Track your online reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp and Health Grades. Listen to the feedback to improve the patient experience rather than being defensive.
Make health care more convenient and less scary. Make it easier for patients to pay their bill online, or to learn about your providers. Engaging with patients digitally will do more for your practice than any other marketing campaign.