Marketing for a healthcare business is a unique challenge. A lot more goes into the decision process when consumers choose a healthcare provider than other purchasing choices. People want to choose a business they can trust, that can provide the services they need, and is within their insurance’s network.
Because of the many differences healthcare businesses have, their marketing strategies must be different from other, more traditional tactics. Here are some ways to attract more patients and market yourself as the professional they want taking care of them.
Being HIPAA compliant
Healthcare comes with its own level of restrictions, particularly with HIPAA. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act protects the data and information of patients. That means health care providers must keep their patients’ information safe and private.
For marketing, though, this can present problems. Without a signed release form, you can’t release or talk about patients at all. Yet, for healthcare businesses, you want to be able to show results to prove what you do works. Case studies are particularly effective, yet have to be done with complete anonymity. That means more than simply changing names. Any type of indicator of who they are must be removed.
Another area of HIPAA concern is social media. At times, you’ll want to engage directly with patients who contact you on social media, like Facebook. If responding, you can’t say anything to them about being a patient or reveal private information, even if it’s a direct message. It might also be tempting to highlight a patient on social media who overcame a big challenge. Unless you’ve received written permission, you can’t.
Getting more doctor referrals
Primary care/family physicians see the widest variety of patients, but they don’t handle every healthcare need. Patients often need doctors with specialty training, special equipment, or time. So, doctors must refer patients to other practices and businesses.
That makes the general practitioner an invaluable resource and a target for your marketing. The more doctors who know and like your business, the more referrals you’ll get and the more clients you’ll have.
One of the best approaches is meeting with the doctors one on one. Taking them out to lunch and pitching your business makes you stand out among your competitors and puts a face with the practice. During this meeting, explain what makes your practice better than competitors and other doctors to whom you currently refer patients. Have examples to prove your results and the benefits they can bring to their patients.
Referring a patient requires a lot of trust. If a doctor gives a bad referral, they could lose that patient. You need to show that you are worthy of that trust. Come prepared with testimonials, statistics, outcomes, and a winning personality.
Producing content that shows your expertise
Does your business have a website? If no, build one immediately. Seriously, you need one. If you do have a site, does it have a blog? You also need a blog, and you need to update it regularly. Your site is your digital storefront and needs to not only attract people, but tell them why you’re the expert they should trust with their health.
Blogging is how to show off that expertise. Plenty of businesses can claim they are experts, but few can prove it. The content should be all about your specialty and the concerns your patients have.
The important part though is producing worthwhile content people will read. That means being interesting and covering topics they care about. Things like diagnosing guides, tips for their health, and anonymous case studies are all forms of content that show your expertise and engage with your target market.
Location Based Marketing
If you see patients in your office, you are a local business. With being a local business, showing up on local search results is essential. Showing up on local results puts you on the front page of Google, something you shouldn’t take for granted.
The first step is claiming your business listing with Google MyBusiness. From there, you need to make sure everything is up to date, like phone numbers, addresses, and company info.
Improving your site’s SEO and updating it regularly is key to becoming more popular with Google. Along with this, your site should connect with local events and demonstrate how you are a part of the community. That can include sharing local events and showing you are a part of the community.
Creating social communities
Find a way to create and be a part of a medical community with your target market. Do your patients have a hard struggle they must overcome? Create social communities that can act as a support group lets you connect with potential patients and provide a much-needed service.
Regularly posting and being a part of such communities can help get your business name out and help you be viewed as more of an authority in your field. Inviting past patients to these communities can ensure you have people more likely to recommend your business to those looking for a provider.
Staying active in your marketing
Marketing is a long-term investment. Making it a normal part of your business is the best practice to growing your clientele. Marketing strategies need to be always updating to best adapt to current top marketing trends. Failing to do this will put you behind competitors who are actively marketing.
Got a question about healthcare marketing that you need answered? Have a hot tip or an opinion about how to get more patients in the door? Let us know in the comments below.