Many healthcare providers forget about the importance of marketing. In a previous day and age, all you had to do was to put up a sign, people knew you were a doctor, they’d come to see you when sick, and their whole family may end up becoming patients of yours too. While family referrals are still the number one source of new patients for healthcare practices, there are plenty of other ways to market your clinic. Remember, you’re not just marketing to get new patients, you’re doing it to keep current patients too!
Did you know that 77% of patients who currently have a healthcare provider still search the internet for information before calling the doctor? 41% of people would choose a health care provider based on his or her reputation on social media! Taking that into consideration, it seems like a good idea then, to do most of your marketing online.
It’s a good thing patients prefer to take their healthcare to the web because 62% of physicians prefer to use email to communicate too! That said, it’d be wise to hire a medical answering service, but not just any answering service. Technology is a beautiful thing, and there are ways for patients to text and email their doctors now, rather than just calling in. Everyone’s got a mobile device, and he or she isn’t afraid to use it. They’re on the go, you’re on the go, so it’s a physician/patient match made in heaven! Hiring a medical answering service that’s equipped with HIPPA compliant email and text capability not only gives you a competitive edge, but it provides that level of personal touch patients desire. The patient feels as though they can reach you at any time which gives them peace of mind, but you’ve still got the answering service as a buffer so that you’re not constantly interrupted.
While we’re on the subject, does your practice have a way for your current or new patients to reach you after hours? Patients have emergencies that may not necessarily be emergency room material. For that reason, it’s essential to have a professional answering service taking calls round the clock for you, and that can handle emergency dispatch too. Patients want peace of mind first and foremost. When talking with close friends and family about things that come up in life, they’ll be thrilled to sing your praises and let them know how safe they felt, and how great your practice is for always being available.
That said, testimonials are so important too! When you’ve got a patient who had an emergency, and you’ve built enough of a rapport, follow up with them! Make sure they understand that you care, and let them help you! Many patients are happy to anonymously tell their story and let you use what they’ve said as a testimony, and it’s a vital marketing tool.
Finally, a great healthcare marketing strategy will have a mobile component. We reviewed a case study done by a dermatologist who implemented a mobile marketing strategy and was able to increase call volumes by 42% within three months of deployment. The campaign utilized a mix of targeted mobile ads and a medical answering service. The answering service was explicitly hired to field calls from the ad deployed. The ad included a “click to call” button and was delivered to anyone who had entered the practice within the last 30 days, as well as anyone with a similar demographic to current patients. The clinic offered a free product with a phone consultation. Once the ad was clicked on, a medical answering service was able to ask the right questions to build a skin profile and offer a sample of products which made the most sense, inviting the caller to come into the location during regular hours to pick it up. It increased calls and drove foot traffic, and the clinic was very happy with the results.
Healthcare marketing can be tricky, but when it’s done right, it can be extremely lucrative for your practice or clinic. Give these things a try, and feel free to share your results with us!