Why do you need growth strategies for your healthcare practice?
- The healthcare sector is fraught with competition.
With the COVID-19 pandemic looming large, consumer focus has shifted to healthcare big time. Heightened consumer demand is driving healthcare technology and innovation.
As a result, patients have more healthcare options than ever before (online consultation, apps, brick-and-mortar clinics, etc.). A healthcare business that doesn’t innovate and scale can’t possibly ride the wave.
2. Patient demands from healthcare businesses are at an all-time high. Anything from a bad waiting room experience to a slow-loading website can trigger patients to shift their loyalty to a competitor’s business.
In short, if you want to thrive in this hyper-competitive industry, you need proven growth strategies for your healthcare business.
What Are the Best Growth Strategies for Your Healthcare Business?
Whether you operate a standalone clinic or a multi-disciplinary hospital, there are some growth strategies that you need to adopt for efficient patient acquisition and retention.
Here are six of the most effective ones that you can try.
1. Build a Responsive Website
When it comes to growth strategies for a healthcare business, building a website tops the list.
Gone are the times when patients walked into the nearest clinic to seek treatment or advice. Modern patients expect healthcare businesses to have mobile-friendly websites where they can find details on amenities and practitioners, seek deals, and submit reviews.
For 35% of patients, online visibility matters a lot. When potential patients find a healthcare business online, they tend to verify the business’ credentials and services from multiple channels including the website, review sites, Google, and others.
So, if you don’t have a proper website, you can lose ground to more web-savvy competitors.
If you’re planning to build a website for your healthcare business, you might as well make it responsive.
Because a mobile-friendly website allows patients to access your healthcare business anywhere, anytime. They can connect with practitioners, schedule appointments, and seek medical help, even while they’re on the move.
2. Focus on Your Website’s SEO
The GMR report on patient behavior cited earlier says that 79% of patients start their doctor search on Google. They use search terms like “orthodontist near me,” “best eye hospital,” etc. to find a healthcare business for their medical needs.
If you want to rank well for these search terms (keywords) and attract new patients, you need to focus on SEO in your digital growth strategies.
Now, you’d think that incorporating these keywords in your content 100 times would do the trick, but that’s not true. You need to optimize the keyword, but don’t make the content spammy. Also, it takes a lot more to earn search visibility.
Tons of authoritative content, links from reputable sites, and keyword-optimized website schema are just some of the factors that govern your search rankings.
I know SEO can be too technical, especially if you’re not into healthcare IT. You can always hire professional SEO services to handle it for you. They will find keyword gaps in your website and pinpoint the exact keywords that your target audience is using.
3. Optimize the Online Patient Experience
A keyword-optimized website that doesn’t provide a stellar patient experience is a failure. People will simply bounce off your website and that will damage your brand reputation.
A slow-loading site with complex architecture and poor support can do more harm than good to your healthcare business.
There are some things that you can do to boost your site’s patient experience:
Reduce Your Site’s Loading Speed
Investigate your page load speed by using Google’s PageSpeed Insights test. You will understand how your healthcare business site stacks up against competitors in terms of speed.
If your speed score is unsatisfactory, implement the speed improvement suggestions provided in the test report.
Simplify Your Site Architecture
One way to do that is by limiting your menu items to six and giving them contextual names (Doctors, Services, Ambulance, First Aid, etc.).
Provide Online Support
You can use live chat and chatbots to provide round-the-clock online support and improve your customer experience. These can help patients book/reschedule/cancel appointments, find practitioners, submit service feedback, without switching windows.
When you delight your patients with a standout online experience, they will keep coming back to your healthcare business again and again, which is what growth strategies are all about.
4. Seek Patient Reviews
Now, we come to one of the most underrated growth strategies in the healthcare business — seeking patient reviews.
Typically, patients feel motivated to leave reviews when they either have an above-average experience or an extremely poor one. But, it’s not within the scope of the front-office staff to request patients to submit feedback as they walk out the door.
At the same time, it’s essential for a healthcare business to share positive reviews on their website, Google My Business listing, and social media.
Because positive reviews give confidence to prospective patients and foster brand loyalty in existing patients — hallmarks of successful growth strategies.
So, how can you collect patient reviews in a non-invasive manner?
You can create automated email workflows to request patients to submit reviews when they avail of your service for the first time. A gentle reminder can be sent after a small period of no response from a patient. A thank-you workflow kicks in automatically once they do leave a review.
Like most growth strategies, soliciting patient reviews is not a one-time deal. Do it regularly and you should see a marked improvement in your patient satisfaction rate.
5. Leverage Social Media Advertising
As growth strategies go, social media advertising is not the first choice for most healthcare businesses.
It’s more costly than organic social media marketing that just involves posting service-related posts, team pictures, and patient shoutouts.
But, let’s face it, how many of you would be keen to reshare these types of posts unless you have a stake in the healthcare business or are deeply engaged with it?
Not many, I’m afraid.
That’s why you need a more targeted approach to social media marketing in which you reach your prospective patients with relevant content. Advertising on social media networks is one way to do that.
You can retarget people who checked out your website but never booked an appointment. Offering them an attractive discount can get them into the fold. Likewise, an ad with compelling offers can help you upsell services to potential patients.
Need a pro tip?
Put your advertising on auto-pilot by using automated social media tools like Buffer or MavSocial. That way, you can track ad performance and retarget more purposefully.
6. Have a Solid Doctor/Patient Referral System
Building referral traffic is one of the best growth strategies for your healthcare business.
Because 38% of patients prefer to engage with a healthcare business that is referred by a medical practitioner or friend, according to the previously-cited report. It’s like a vote of confidence for your healthcare business.
Like reviews, referrals have to be sought strategically. You don’t want to sound too needy or creepy by being too upfront about asking for referrals.
Then how can you do that?
Look out for strategic moments and then harness them to earn referrals.
For example, a patient who just had a successful medical procedure at your healthcare business is ripe for giving referrals. Similarly, a patient who has given repeated business might be amenable to recommending your practice to friends who might need your services.
It’s a wise move to use a referral management solution like ReferralMD to track patient journeys and identify high-potential referrers.
One more thing.
You can incentivize your patients with discounts, freebies, premium service, etc. to get more referrals. That’s bound to keep your relationship harmonious and mutually beneficial.
That brings us to the end of healthcare growth strategies.
Need More Growth Strategies for Your Healthcare Business?
There are numerous growth strategies that can skyrocket your healthcare business. But, not all of them give quick and assured returns. If you want fail-proof growth strategies, the ones I’ve explained above are your best bet since they are data-driven and proven to deliver results.
So, what are you waiting for?
Start using these healthcare marketing hacks and strategies to grow your practice. All the best!