The healthcare industry has been in an odd position this year, simultaneously buckling under the weight of COVID-19 cases and finding a glut of resources in other areas due to self-isolating people opting not to see doctors due to their fear of becoming infected. Even as they’re steadily urged to seek help when they need it, the urge to wait it out is difficult to resist.
As a result, plenty of healthcare providers that have developed their structures and allocated their resources to combat varied conditions are struggling somewhat. And when you factor in remote working becoming the new standard and grocery delivery rising in popularity, it’s easy to see how they might continue to struggle for the foreseeable future (even if/when an effective vaccine becomes available, the virus itself will inevitably linger).
So let’s say you’re responsible for marketing a healthcare provider or practice in such a position. How can you stop this slide and start to effectively reach prospective patients again? Here are some tips for achieving successful promotion in a post-COVID world:
Establish Temporary Health Clinics
One of the best ways to reassure people that they can (and should) seek medical help when needed — even in the midst of a pandemic — is to appear somewhere in person. If you set up a health clinic in a suitable location (somewhere with foot traffic but not too much of it), you can talk to passersby who might have issues they wouldn’t otherwise have spoken about. And if those issues are suitably severe, you can talk them into booking full appointments with you.
This method is already being used to great effect in the online retail world, where sellers who otherwise struggle to convince people of the quality of their products can showcase them (in limited quantities) at pop-up shows. Using a mobile pos system that syncs with their online inventory, such a seller can even sell products then and there — and you can do the same with your online booking system, taking full advantage of modern mobile data connections.
Produce Tentpole Pieces of Expert Content
Content marketing is a foundational part of a modern marketing strategy, and it’s become incredibly important for any company even vaguely associated with healthcare concerns. There are two reasons for this: firstly, Google has been working for years to reward great content on high-priority topics, and secondly, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about everything (which obviously includes COVID-19 and all other medical conditions).
If you can create compelling and in-depth pieces of content about how to live during this pandemic and when to seek treatment for medical problems, you can teach people to associate your brand with expertise, pick up some high ranking places for relevant terms, and drive consultations through direct links within the articles.
Emphasize the Ease of Online Scheduling
Online scheduling systems for healthcare events don’t just benefit the healthcare providers by helping them organize their facilities and distribute their resources. They’re also extremely useful for patients, particularly during a period in which people would rather avoid unnecessary excursions — but only if people know that they exist.
When you’re able to reach people, whether it’s through online content, offline health clinics, or PPC campaigns, it’s vital that you emphasize how easy it is to book things through your system. The expectation that it’ll be hard to find a suitable medical professional and schedule an appointment can be enough to nudge someone to keep delaying their effort to get help. Accordingly, making it abundantly clear that it’ll be simple will make a big difference.
Focus on Earning Strong Recommendations
Referrals are always effective in business, but they don’t quite work in the healthcare world since it’s hardly an inevitability that any two friends, family members, or acquaintances will ever suffer from overlapping ailments (such that one can meaningfully refer the other). Instead, you should focus on recommendations: making each patient so happy with the level of care they received that they’re willing to stand behind your brand for any type of care.
The goal isn’t immediate returns, then — it’s a steady influx of new patients over time as people develop problems and ask people they know (and trust) to suggest suitable services. During times like these, social proof becomes even more significant. After all, it’s hard to place as much faith in a Facebook ad as you’d place in the testimonial of a trusted friend.
It may be a long time until the world returns to something we’d acknowledge as normalcy, so you can’t expect to get results with the same old marketing methods. Use these key tactics to adjust your strategy for the long-term: it’ll surely pay off.