Back-to-school season means big business. Spending is expected to average $696.70 per household for families with children in grades K-12 and $976.78 for those with kids in college, according to the National Retail Federation.
Sure, you don’t sell school clothes or supplies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage your patients to pop in before the first bell rings. Here are a few creative healthcare marketing ideas that can put your practice on patients’ list of back-to-school stops.
Patient marketing suggestions for back-to-school
1. Send an email marketing campaign
The average open rate for medical, dental, and healthcare emails is 21.09 percent, according to MailChimp. This is slightly higher than the 20.81 percent open rate for all industries.
Patients are interested in hearing from you. Sending a back-to-school email marketing campaign is an effective way to get in front of them. Take this opportunity to inform them about discounts you’re currently offering or share promotional messaging. (For example: “Get a flu shot now because flu season will be here before you know it!”)
2. Publish blog posts
Businesses that make blogging a priority are 13x more likely to have a positive return on investment (ROI) on their marketing, according to HubSpot. Therefore, crafting a well-written blog post centered on a relevant back-to-school topic can pay off.
For example, if you’re a pediatrician, you might publish a blog post on school nutrition. Offer tips to help parents pack a healthy lunch to ensure their child is energized throughout the school day.
Providing informative content can boost patient retention because it highlights your expertise. You can also extend your reach by sharing blog posts on social media.
Read: Why healthcare providers aren’t blogging — and why they should be
3. Offer back-to-school discounts
Everyone appreciates a discount, making this an excellent patient marketing technique for back-to-school. For example, a dentist could offer specials on teeth whitening.
Patients impacted by the back-to-school season — i.e. parents and teachers — are certainly busy right now. However, many will be willing to make time in their schedule to visit your practice if presented with an opportunity to save money.
You might like: Do Groupon discounts attract new patients?
4. Sponsor a back-to-school supply drive
Patient marketing doesn’t have to be solely focused on your bottom line.
Unfortunately, many parents do not have the money to buy back-to-school essentials for their kids. Launch a thoughtful marketing campaign that supports a charity group working to help underprivileged students. Encourage patients who visit your office to bring a donation — like pencils, notepads, or backpacks — that supports the cause.
People enjoy giving back, so this will inspire them to book an appointment during the charitable drive.
5. Focus on the adults
Even for college students, parents pick up the bulk of tab during back-to-school season. In fact, eight out of 10 parents expect their college-aged kids to contribute less than half of the back-to-college budget, according to the Deloitte 2019 Back-to-College Market Study.
Parents could use a little something for themselves. Tailoring your back-to-school marketing message to parents can make them feel taken care of for a change. For example, a primary care physician might create a patient marketing campaign that encourages parents to make time for their annual physical. Remind them they need to take care of themselves in order to be fully present for their kids.
6. Give a free gift with select services
One of the oldest marketing techniques in the book is still around because it works. People can’t get enough of freebies, so find a way to run this timeless promotion.
For example, a dermatologist might partner with a skincare company to offer patients receiving acne treatments a free full-sized spot treatment or moisturizer. This can serve as an extra incentive to book an appointment now instead of putting it off until a later date.
Set up shop: How to grow your practice by selling retail products
7. Run a promotion on social media
Nearly three-quarters of American adults (72 percent) use some type of social media, according to the Pew Research Center. Chances are, this includes much of your patient base, so get on their radar with a social media campaign.
For example, you might run a contest where entry includes following your practice on Instagram and tagging two friends on a certain post. This will help your practice gain exposure to new patients and remind existing ones to make an appointment.
Traditional back-to-school spending centers on staples like pens and binders, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Creative patient marketing ideas can also allow your practice to experience a surge in business.
Healthcare is a service that fits every season, so find a way to reach your patients in the midst of the chaos. This is a great way to keep them — and your bottom line — healthy.
For more marketing ideas for patients, check out the blog post “The 6 best communication channels to drive patient retention.”