Whether you are in the marketing industry or healthcare, you understand how competitive both can be. Marketing specialists are competing for jobs, and healthcare practices are competing for patients. Both want to grow their business, and referrals can be a great way to do just that. Can marketing help a medical practice grow its patient count and vice versa? Can a healthcare practice help a marketing specialist add to their portfolio?
One major way marketers can boost themselves over their competition is to ensure that they have a well-rounded portfolio to showcase. An essential area of marketing, sometimes overlooked until recently, is the healthcare and medical industry. For as long as there have been people, there has been a need for medicine. Try your hand at marketing within the medical industry to get a feel for the field and to garner firsthand experience. What are some of the best ways to market within the world of medicine?
See for yourself how ReferralMD can improve your patient referral process with patient engagement tools that reduce no-shows.
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Like the rest of the world, medical marketing is mostly found online on many different platforms. You already know that social media and a stunning website are the keys to creating an online presence, but what is different about a medical practice from any other kind of business? How do you tweak what you already know about digital marketing? Don’t forget to think about the reasons why a website is imperative for medical professionals.
Clients Are Searching For Doctors Online
The statistics don’t lie: 90% of consumers are searching online for businesses to do their research before deciding to work with them. While that’s true of all sorts of companies, remember that a doctor’s office is unique. Think about the kinds of people who are likely searching for them:
- Families who have relocated to the area and are looking for a family practice
- People who are trying to find a new doctor for one reason or another
- Customers thinking about moving to the area and fall into the above 90%
…and so on. Armed with this knowledge, catering to these sorts of audiences should be at the top of your mind as you develop your client’s website.
Medical Professionals Can Quickly Showcase Their Establishment
Adding new and a steady stream of clientele is what keeps the heart of a medical office beating. With other doctors and specialists to compete with, a website that shows off their qualifications and what separates them from everyone else is an online necessity.
Some ways that you might do this include:
- A short biography and a photo of all staff members. This helps to familiarize the audience with everyone’s faces while helping them feel like they know everyone a little bit better.
- A page on the website wholly dedicated to the area of practice that the facility specializes in. Is it a budget dental office? A clinic for sexually transmitted diseases? Whatever it is, be sure that it’s made very clear to users looking for this kind of treatment.
- Certifications, licenses, awards won, and anything related. It’s always reassuring that you’re trusting your health to somebody who has a clear understanding of their area of practice. Listing all the ways that the doctor/nurse/professionals have gone above and beyond is excellent for nervous clients.
Whether a practice is brand new or is only looking to grow, a website that showcases who they are and what they’re all about is essential to help clients find them online. This is a great place also to make use of other sneaky tactics like SEO. Like any other business, the medical world depends on a great website to help them grow. Let your web design skills showcase the practice and what it has to offer the community.
Make Sure That Online Content Is Good, Not Just Filler
You already know the joys of search engine optimization, and when you’re trying hard to get your customer’s name out, it can be tempting to make a bunch of cutesy keyword-stuffed “articles” to bump up the search engine results.
Remember that there is a time and a place for SEO, and when it’s done correctly, nobody should realize that it even exists within the article they’re reading. Make the website content that you produce for your client thoughtful and well-planned, full of interesting and insightful posts. Some content that people love to see on websites are things like:
- Infographics that display data and statistics. You might include info like the number of people who got the flu last year, how many people beat cancer, etc. Seeing data all compiled in one place makes it come to life for visual learners.
- Top ten lists (have you noticed that these are all over the internet lately?). Keep them relevant: Ten ways to avoid the common cold, five reasons to start taking a daily multivitamin, the seven reasons why your kids are always sick…you get the idea.
- Tips on the best ways to stay healthy. This can be anything from diet and exercise to actual tips that your client recommends.
Another benefit is that if your content is well-written and interesting, it is more likely to be linked to other websites and be seen elsewhere online. Remember, the more exposure you get, the better; SEO is great but good, quality articles are better.
Generate Email Marketing
You already know that it’s against the law to spam users with emails without their consent, making it vital to create an opt-in system before starting any email marketing. Once you’ve obtained permission from your clients’ patients, start working on ways to make this email campaign a great one. Don’t forget about the basics when you’re creating mass emails for businesses:
- Make the subject line informative, but don’t overuse capital letters or odd punctuation. These can flag your emails as spam and toss them in the trash before reaching the target audience.
- People are busy and don’t want to waste time reading something overly long or losing them. Keep newsletters brief and to-the-point so that your audience will read the whole thing from beginning to end.
- Use imagery sometimes in newsletters: Charts, infographics, pictures, and the like. The eye is automatically drawn to images, and they make the newsletter feel more lively and interesting.
Email is easy to send into the spam container or ignore completely, but by creating quality, well-thought-out emails, users will resist the temptation to delete them and instead be more inclined to see what they say each week.
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Get Social Media Pages Started
If you want to reach a broader yet uniquely local audience, social media is one of the best ways to go. Since prospective patients are already searching social media for local businesses, give them many different avenues to find your client.
Two hundred eighty characters offer a louder voice than you might think. Creativity is a must when you have a business account with Twitter, making brief, often hilarious results. With space at a premium, Twitter can be a fun place to give quick health tips or offer a fun fact related to the practice’s area of study, i.e., “Did you know that your heart grows bigger while you’re pregnant?” from a fertility clinic.
One of the first forms of social media, Facebook, can be an excellent place for making “official” announcements like changes in staffing or summertime hours. Still, it can also be a place to repost engaging or thought-provoking articles that your client might feel are essential for the public to see.
Don’t discount the online corkboard as a hub for cupcake recipes and pallet furniture. Pinterest has proven to be an efficient marketing tool using pictures, or “pins,” to link directly back to business websites or other online content. Pins have the potential to live on forever, meaning that even in many years, there’s a chance that someone could link back to the client’s website.
If you are the social media manager rather than the client, remember to exercise common sense when you’re posting on someone else’s behalf — especially in a professional setting. Refrain from posting things that could be considered offensive or derogatory in any way. Remember: You’re being paid to help grow their business, not to broadcast your personal political or social views.
Help The Business to Partner With Other Practices
People who work hands-on in the medical industry aren’t thinking of reaching out to other practices and building relationships; there are people to help and save lives. Since you are thinking of what nurses and doctors are not, use your professional skills to help them partner with other medical practices.
There are better ways to reach out and offer to build a working relationship with another practice. You might provide some advice for your clients like:
- Help them to figure out what they would get out of a partnership. If, for example, a women’s clinic wanted to partner with a nearby midwife’s facility, the connection between women’s health and childbirth is a natural one. Help them to think along those lines.
- Making contacts within the company you hope to partner with is always helpful. Gather business cards of nearby medical establishments and encourage your clients to contact them. They may ask if you can be the point person to make contact with and whether you feel comfortable acting in that role. (Your contract should have already clearly listed what you are and are not responsible for, so if this goes above and beyond, then you might redraw the contract.)
- If your clients are wary of dipping their toes into a partnership, have them give it a trial run and see how they like it. Some companies work better together than others, and just because it doesn’t work the first time, that doesn’t mean that it won’t work at all. Remind them to be patient and encourage them along the way.
Even if it’s a minimal practice that hired you, growth is always a good thing in the medical world. Encourage the professionals you work with as their marketing specialists to create bonds with others nearby. It can be mutually beneficial in so many ways. If they’re not convinced, remind them of the benefits of playing nicely with others:
- More people will be familiar with the name, logo, and practice as a whole. More people who know the name means that more people will be curious enough to check out the business.
- Practices that are very small or don’t have specialty equipment can find it helpful to know someone who does. Consider a referral program between their practice and another so that if your client can’t help a patient, they have another trustworthy clinic nearby that can.
- Partnerships are good for more than the community; they are also a fantastic example of simple human bonding. Creativity breeds creativity, so whatever your client’s practice lacks can be found at their business partners. They can count on one another to take the best care of their patients, which in itself can be a marvelous thing.
The power of a healthy working partnership is not to be underestimated when you’re helping a medical facility go through a marketing shift. Bring these benefits to the company that hired you to show them how exciting one such partnership can be and how much their company would thrive from it.
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Develop An Advertising Campaign Unique To Your Client
Though not every marketing campaign that you are in charge of will be the next “got milk” slogan, coming up with something perfect for your clients is one of the reasons that hired you for the job. Develop a method for advertising the practice that fits your client, their field of medicine, and what sorts of services are offered.
Focus On Cleanliness
The reason that people go to the doctor is that something doesn’t feel right bodily. With that in mind, think about angling your advertising campaign to the clean, sanitary conditions in the place to which they are entrusting their health. You might bring up procedures that all staff must follow to keep the facility clean:
- Hand washing
- Immediate cleanup of any bodily fluids
- Thoroughly disinfecting all rooms once patients have left.
Cleanliness is next to godliness — well, healthiness at least. Patients love seeing that their healthcare provider is a clean place, so use that to your advantage when you’re coming up with a marketing angle.
Show Off the Target Audience
It sounds simple, but representation matters. Illness and disease do not discriminate, which means that anybody can get sick at any time. When you’re creating posters, flyers, or website images, make sure that you’re not only showing one specific demographic of clients. Use models and images in varying races, skin tones, cultures, and sexual orientations.
Don’t forget about relevancy in the kind of facility that you’re marketing for. If your client is pediatric dentistry, it won’t make very much sense to include pictures of elderly adults getting casts applied, for example. You might not know everything there is to know about medical marketing just yet, but remember that common sense is an excellent idea in the meantime when you’re trying to think of ways to use photos or stock images.
Let Testimonials Do Their Job
Third-party validation is a beautiful thing, and prospective clients love to see it. Ask your clients about the positive reviews that have been left online by happy patients; if none exists yet, consider contacting previous patients and asking them to fill out a short questionnaire. The best places to include testimonials are the ones that most people will be seeing, which means places like:
- Billboards and other large-scale poster space (the sides of buses are always a surefire win)
- On the website’s front page, which can be even more effective if you include links to the original reviews that the testimonials came from (Yelp, Google, etc.)
- Social media posts. Yep, try doing a positive review from a happy client the company’s Facebook post for the day.
Sometimes it is word of mouth that can save the day, but when you use it as your marketing campaign, word of mouth reaches a whole new level. Utilize positive things said about your client’s practice to help them build credibility and be taken seriously as a legitimate medical establishment. When you’re attempting to come up with the next great thing for your client, think of ways that you can do something that speaks to their business and their specialties. Advertising is a curious thing, but when done correctly, it can have a fantastic effect.
After all of the time that you’ve spent learning the ropes of marketing, changing gears, and focusing on medical marketing is not as complicated or intimidating as you might think it is. You already have the skillset and the capability to make something fantastic happen for the clients that have hired you; all you need to do is apply them to the medical field. Once you complete this project and have yet another happy customer in your portfolio, you have created another notch in your belt. You are opening doors for future professional successes for yourself.