Much like healthcare itself, healthcare marketing is personal. Patients want to feel like their healthcare providers understand them, their health, and their specific needs. A one-size-fits-all approach to marketing is no longer sufficient In fact …
83 percent of consumers expect products and services to adapt to their needs within moments or hours.1
Healthcare marketers need to personalize the connection with both current and prospective patients. By targeting your marketing outreach to appeal more directly to an individual patient (rather than the masses), you can drive patient loyalty and strengthen the patient-provider relationship. Here are a few considerations to personalize your practice marketing.
Today’s consumers are connected to their mobile devices all the time. According to Statista5, nearly half of Americans spend five to six hours a day on their smartphone, presenting an opportunity to meet patients where they already are. Yet, too many healthcare practices don’t take advantage of this captive audience.
Using digital technology to connect with prospective and current patients can improve relationships and support a healthy growth strategy. Here are some of the latest ways to engage with patients digitally.
Text messaging: Looking for better patient engagement? Use this powerful, dominant communication tool. People open the average text message within three minutes6 of receipt, and are 4.5 times more likely to respond to a text message than an email, according to Learn Hub.7 If your practice isn’t capitalizing on text messaging, you’re missing out on a variety of potential benefits.
Telehealth: One of the most talked-about healthcare topics since 2020 has been the pandemic’s significant and lasting impact on telehealth adoption. Although consumer preference for virtual care varies by age group, research indicates that most consumers who used telehealth in 2021 want to continue using it in 2022 and beyond9. In fact, 83 percent of Millennials (ages 25 to 40) intend to use telehealth in the next 12 months.
Moreover, as patient participation in virtual visits has increased, so has overall patient satisfaction. In PatientPop surveys from August to December 2020, telehealth patient satisfaction rose from 76 percent to 81 percent.10 For marketing purposes, your practice can promote telehealth as a differentiator to attract new patients who either prefer virtual visits or have obstacles getting to an in-person appointment. For an added competitive advantage, use telehealth to expand office hours, offering patients greater flexibility and opening up additional slots for revenue.
According to PatientPop, three out of every four people have looked online to learn about a doctor, a dentist, or medical care.11 Getting the right online searchers to find your practice is a critical marketing tactic. Search engine optimization (SEO) is likely part of your current strategy, but it’s an always-moving target. In fact, over the past several years, the factors that help determine search result rankings have changed.
Online profiles impact your healthcare practice’s search performance
One SEO factor that has become increasingly important in recent years is the quality of a business’s online directory profiles, like those found on Google or Yelp. For 2021, the top factor impacting a practice’s ability to appear in the Google local pack is its Google My Business profile.12
If you’re not familiar with the Google local pack, it’s a valued placement of three results (and a map) located at or near the top of unpaid search results. This is prime real estate in the Google search world, delivering greater practice visibility and the opportunity at more website traffic — both instrumental for driving practice growth.
The power of your online presence doesn’t stop there. In PatientPop research, more than one-third of patients (34.2 percent) said they use third-party websites to form an opinion about a doctor, dentist, or other healthcare provider.13 This can include dozens of online business and healthcare directories, including Bing, WebMD, and Vitals. Along with Google, these sites give patients easy access to details about your practice and services. Therefore, each profile needs to be in top shape and ready to appeal to patients.
To get there, first ensure your practice information is accurate and consistent across all directories — this is critical for your contact details and address. This consistency gives search engines the confidence to surface your practice, and can help you climb the results ranks. Also, when describing your practice and services, use the words and phrases people use most often when asking questions about your specialty. These keywords will help you connect with more prospective patients. Finally, when choosing your business categories, be as specific as possible (think ‘foot and ankle doctor’ instead of ‘orthopedist’).
Online reputation has become the key to attracting new patients online, making it a top marketing priority for practices in 2022. In fact, reviews are the number one online resource for patients looking for a healthcare provider, with 74 percent saying that positive reviews are very or extremely important to their decision.14 Google remains the #1 site patients turn to read reviews, followed by your practice website, WebMD, Yelp, and Facebook.
Amid the industry’s rise of consumerism, patients expect more from their doctors and look for the best of the best. As such, your practice’s Google average star rating can make or break your ability to win over prospective patients.
In 2021, 69 percent of patients said they will not consider a provider with an average star rating lower than 4.0. That’s up 59 percent over 2020, with nearly one in five only considering providers with a near-perfect rating: a minimum of 4.5 stars.15
Practices that request feedback as part of their patient relationship process, monitor their online reputation daily, and respond to negative reviews as needed, will be best-poised for greater success in 2022.
You may have an exceptional marketing strategy that’s perfect for your target patient base. But if you don’t measure your results — and modify plans as needed — you can’t validate the efficacy of your efforts. With today’s competition, healthcare practice marketers can’t afford a set-it-and-forget-it strategy.
The use of data and analytics can help practice marketers confirm the value of their strategic approach. Understanding any practice’s return on investment (ROI) requires monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) that best represent new patient gains and improved retention.
Real-time access to marketing performance data is a must in 2022 for any practice looking to maximize their marketing investments. Without timely insights, practices risk wasting time and resources on strategies that simply don’t deliver.
Key data and information is best displayed in one place, by way of a practice growth dashboard. Practice marketers, owners, partners, and staff can get a daily snapshot of key metrics such as search result rankings, reputation insights, new appointment volume, website traffic, and much more. Having this at the ready gives your practice a competitive edge; you’ll maintain an accurate perception of your marketing performance at any given time, setting the stage for continuous improvement.
To take your practice growth to the next level, first assess your healthcare marketing strategy and set clear, measurable goals for the coming year. Whether you want to improve your search result rankings, improve new patient or overall appointment volume, or boost your online reputation, start by focusing on improvements that reveal performance progress and drive long-term growth. Investing in healthcare marketing software can help, too, by offering a seamless way to track and monitor performance throughout the year.
PatientPop is an industry leader in practice growth technology, helping thousands of providers promote their practice, attract and acquire patients, and retain them for life, for a thriving business. Their integrated platform eases and enhances the patient journey from start to finish, with a streamlined digital workflow that significantly reduces work for providers and staff. PatientPop has been recognized with many industry awards and accolades including The Inc. 500, Deloitte Fast 500, Entrepreneur 360, Consumer World Awards, Capterra Shortlist, G2 Leader, and Silicon Review 50 Fastest Growing Companies.