Healthcare in the U.S. has evolved considerably during the past few years, and that near-continual state of flux means marketers have to be keenly aware of both current and emerging trends that can help keep their clients’ practices competitive. Here are four steps you can – and should – be taking to market your practice effectively in 2017:
Cultivate great patient reviews. Review sites like Healthgrades, Zocdoc, Vitals and even Google’s own review system have soared in popularity in recent years, and studies show many people rely on those reviews when making all sort so purchasing decisions – even when “purchasing” services like medical care. Getting great reviews is the key to success on these platforms. So how do you get those stellar reviews? First, make it easy for patients to leave a review by promoting social links on your website and by following up office visits with automated emails. Make sure reviews are monitored routinely with key practice members to identify both strengths and weaknesses and to respond when and where necessary. In addition to “traditional” written reviews, consider using video testimonials to significantly boost your practice’s “trust” factor and authority. Once you have those great reviews – written or video – highlight them prominently on your homepage or landing pages. Finally, don’t be shy about asking for reviews, especially if you don’t have a lot of reviews or the reviews you do have are outdated.
Analyze & Measure
Be proactive in performing regular reviews and in-depth analyses of your marketing initiatives and campaigns to see what’s working and what’s not. All too often, practices get caught up in the “meat and potatoes” of marketing without really knowing what’s truly driving leads and conversions. Looking at growth in site visitor numbers and social media engagement are important, but don’t forget to delve deeper to determine which types of content and which topics perform best with specific audience members. Know which channels bring in appointments and consultations, and compare your cost-per-lead across your marketing channels to find the ones with the greatest ROI. Only when you have that kind of data can you truly develop a marketing campaign that’s responsive from the ground up – and poised for success.
Training & Adequate Staffing
Train your staff to be helpful and knowledgeable. Your staff is the face of your practice, and a little investment in this area can pay off big time when it comes to retaining and converting patients. Every staff member should know the answers to key questions about the practice, other staff members, what to expect during consults and what makes your practice stand out among the competition. For offices with small staffs, automating some key processes and establishing a program of ongoing training can be extremely helpful in ensuring patients remain engaged and satisfied every step of the way, and to prevent patients from falling through the cracks or feeling devalued.
Speaking of engagement … It’s far more cost-effective to nurture an existing patient than to start with scratch with a new patient. That’s not to say you don’t need to do all you can to grow your patient base, but it’s also important not to forget to nurture your existing patients. Email marketing can be a very effective tool for staying in touch with past patients to increase follow-up visits and checkups and screenings for other possible issues. In fact, screenings are a great way to maintain engagement. Most patients have no idea what types of screenings are available or if they need to be screened. Likewise for immunizations. Booking follow-up and preventive care appointments is one of the best and most cost-efficient ways to maximize your bottom line, especially for cash-based practices. Plus, by cultivating an atmosphere or caring, you can convert existing patients to vocal supports who help drive word-of-mouth referrals to your practice.
So how do you fit all this marketing activity in with your actual medical career? By delegating these tasks to a trusted partner with an established track record of helping practices grow their patient bases and improve their overall ROI. HIP offers the support, skills and tools today’s medical practices need to stay ahead of the curve and surpass their competition. Contact HIP today for your free marketing assessment, including an analysis of your current website, tips on how to improve your site traffic and actionable, real-world guidance on how to start generating more leads today.