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5 holiday healthcare marketing mistakes practices must avoid

We share common marketing mistakes and how to avoid them when planning your holiday healthcare marketing strategy.

Stethoscope with holiday packages

Patients’ interests and behaviors shift during the holiday season, and thus, so should your healthcare marketing. The holidays provide an opportunity to be creative with your messaging and to strengthen the provider-patient relationship during a season filled with holiday cheer and a spirit of giving.

But the holidays can also mean a break in routine, which opens the doors for some mistakes. To make the most of your holiday healthcare marketing, read on for common mistakes doctors and dentists make around the holidays and how to avoid them.

These common mistakes can ruin your healthcare marketing

1. Not marketing your practice during the holidays

If you associate the holiday season with a lower patient volume, you may think healthcare marketing is less important this time of year. But choosing not to market your practice is perhaps the biggest healthcare marketing mistake of all.

By not marketing your practice, you’re counting yourself out of the decision-making process for those patients who are seeking care. A successful healthcare marketing strategy can also help you mitigate against a slower season for your practice.

You’ve also missed the opportunity to incorporate creative campaigns and content topics into your healthcare marketing ideas. Timely and relevant content can make your campaigns more effective because you’re providing your patients with the information they find useful. Campaigns and blog posts that are tied to a specific event like a holiday are also more likely to be shared with others, so the right content can help you reach more people.

Plus, even if fewer new patients are coming into your practice this season, the holidays present an opportunity to use healthcare marketing to reach and retain your current patients, to wish them well, and to thank them for being loyal to your practice.

Check out: 5 ideas to encourage patient retention with healthcare marketing

2. Thinking there’s less interest in health toward the end of the year

The holiday season may have its share of parties and late nights, but it would be a mistake to think there’s a lack of interest in health this time of year. On the contrary, during moments where people may be indulging more, there can be a heightened awareness of healthy habits. 

New Year’s resolutions, for example, are often tied to health and productivity goals. According to Branded, one out of four people said they would make a resolution in 2019, and 65 percent of people said resolutions are always or sometimes an effective way to break or curb bad habits.

Plus, because people are more likely to have hit their deductibles toward the end of the year, they might seek care when they can minimize their individual costs. An analysis by athenahealth shows a rise in patient appointments toward the end of the year among commercially-insured patients. Try a healthcare marketing campaign that targets your commercially-insured patients and reminds them of end-of-the-year care deadlines.

Also see: How to get patients engaged during the holidays

3. Not being inclusive in messaging

When planning your holiday healthcare marketing strategy, it’s important to create messaging and content that is inclusive of everyone. Patients celebrate many holidays toward the end of the year depending on their culture or religion, and you may risk alienating some by only focusing on a single holiday.

Being inclusive with your healthcare marketing allows you to reach more people and is especially important to younger patients. According to Accenture, Millennials are more likely to choose one brand over another if that brand demonstrates inclusion and diversity in terms of its promotions and offers. This was cited by almost 70 percent of all Millennials.

4. Not updating your website and web profiles

The holidays often mean changing schedules for both patients and healthcare providers alike. If you have special holiday hours, make sure that communicating them to current and prospective customers is at the top of your healthcare marketing strategy this year. This gives patients the transparency they need to book an appointment.

An accurate and prominent web presence is an essential component of your healthcare marketing strategy, and this is even more important during the holidays when you may have less time to field questions. Update your hours wherever they exist online, including your website and web profiles. You may also want to include your holiday hours in an email to your patient list well in advance, so they can make the proper arrangements.

Related: The 3 most common online directory listing mistakes

5. Waiting until the last minute

Do not wait until the week before major holidays to start your holiday healthcare marketing. Give your patients ample time to understand any changes to your schedule or promotional offers. This also gives you a chance to share important messages multiple times, so you can ensure more people see them.

Plus, if you’re offering holiday-related tips — like how to eat healthy during the holidays, how to best avoid getting sick while traveling, or how to stick to your New Year’s resolution — waiting too long may make your content less relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach. According to Yes Marketing, conversion rates for holiday-themed emails in November 2018 were double those sent in December, so getting an early start can mean better outcomes, especially if you’re selling gift ideas.

Healthcare marketing is a year-round effort. There’s always an opportunity to connect with your patients and make your practice stand out from all other care options. Keep these tips in mind when planning your holiday campaigns.

For creative inspiration on holiday healthcare marketing ideas, read the blog post “10 fun and festive holiday marketing ideas for doctors.”

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