Marketing a healthcare business is tough! Healthcare is a unique field because while you’re dealing with the very sensitive nature of treating your patients, whom often come to you scared, vulnerable, or confused, you’re also working in a very scientific, cutting-edge industry where treatments, tools, and systems are constantly evolving. And, in today’s digital world you have the added complication of developing and maintaining robust marketing strategies so you can continue growing and treating more patients.
So, to make it a little easier for you, here are four essential truths we’ve discovered about healthcare marketing.
1. There is No One Right Way to Market Your Healthcare Business
Much like there are different styles of dressing, there are different approaches to marketing. If you were looking for a magic piece of advice to solve all your marketing woes, I hate to tell you there isn’t one. Healthcare businesses are diverse, and sometimes your clinical approach might affect how your message is received. As my high school band director used to say, “Take the idea, and then rub a little of your own funk on it!” It was true advice for trumpet solos, and it’s true here and now.
Here are some important stats to consider as you begin planning out your marketing strategy:
- As of 2016, there were more than 326 million people in the U.S. Each one of them with their own personality and each one of them a potential patient.
- 52% of smartphone users gather health-related data from a smartphone.
- 91% of adults have their smartphone within arm’s reach 24/7.
- According to recent Facebook data, the number one most asked for recommendation is a doctor or a healthcare provider.
- There are 8.2 billion health-related video views on YouTube.
As you can see, there’s no centralized place on the web where people are making healthcare decisions. So, you need to vary your marketing strategy so you’re visible across all of these platforms, sites, and listings. Where do you need to be when a patient doesn’t understand a diagnosis? Search engines. How do you reach them when they take to Facebook to see if they are alone in their diagnosis? Facebook advertising. What about when they want to know what the procedure actually entails, or they want to watch the surgery? YouTube ads. Luckily, for most every place your potential patients are searching for information, healthcare providers, and answers, there’s a way for your healthcare business to have some kind of presence.
2. No Marketing Plan (No Matter How Great) Will Work Overnight!
I speak with a lot of marketers each week, and the most commonly repeated phrase is “I’ve tried that before and it didn’t work.” Now, sometimes that may be the case, but more often than not, I’ve found the true issue is that they gave up on things too early.
What typically happens is they invest in a new strategy and are very excited, then that excitement fades to uncertainty, and as things in those initial stages don’t seem to be moving fast enough, panic sets in! Just a couple weeks into a new program and they decide to slam on the brakes for fear that they’ve made a big mistake. These things take time, and if it’s something you’ve never done before then how are you supposed to know when to expect what? Look for subtle changes; when you are doing something new, sometimes you need a new measure of success.
3. The Patient Comes First
This may seem very basic, but the patient is the key to your entire marketing plan. The patient experience starts long before the patient even sets foot in your office – it starts with the way you market to them as they consider what they need. Are your ads timely? Are your ads relevant? Is your brand relatable? According to a 2016 Google Ignite Healthcare study, one in every 20 searches is healthcare related, and the health consumer wants things now. They want to feel empowered, and they want an easy experience. Having said that, as a marketer, it’s important to put yourself in the patient’s shoes and take their journey. What are they thinking at that moment of engagement? Has your ad given them the power to get the answers they need? While clinically you may not be able to give them answers now, how easily can they find what they need?
Your advertising is a vehicle to take them exactly where they need to be based on wherever they are in the patient journey.
4. Give the People What They Want
People want to know that healthcare can be human. Is your brand human? Do people know you are real? There are huge advancements in medicine every year. Robots that are performing procedures and machines that are advancing the way we recover and move on. There is one thing that can’t be replaced though, and that’s the human connection. The feeling a doctor can give a patient when they say it’s going to be okay. The relief that patient feels when the doctor says we got it all or the embrace that often happens in that moment. The human element is what sets great brands apart, and a strong organic marketing strategy helps to tell that story.
This list was certainly not meant to be all-inclusive, rather more of a starting point. Hopefully, this has stirred some ideas and provided some perspective for your healthcare marketing strategy.
Watch the video below to learn more about how a comprehensive digital marketing strategy can help you stand out from your competitors online.