Healthcare Marketing Plan 101

Your healthcare service is a business, but when it comes to marketing this business, you face specific challenges and unique issues that do not come up under ordinary consumer-advertising situations.

Medical organizations that offer such services as LASIK surgery, plastic surgery, skin care, and laser hair removal can certainly improve their revenue and boost the number of patients they see when they adopt a better idea of what healthcare marketing is about. With that in mind, consider this your introduction to Healthcare Marketing 101. 

Challenges and Issues to Consider

Marketing and advertising medical services is regulated because of the potential harm to patients if they are encouraged to try something risky, dangerous, or unproven. This means that you cannot make unwarranted claims about plastic surgery and its relative safety, for example. You can count on federal watchdogs flagging your practice for any misleading marketing materials that haven’t been thoroughly vetted by your legal team. For example, advertisements asking viewers to consult their doctor about a particular health solution may lead to lawmakers stepping in to control these ads, noted a report from Econsultancy.

Another challenge you might encounter is a moral issue, such as planning to use stem cells in a treatment that members of the local community disapprove of. Or, you fear objections (socially) to marketing that encourages women to get breast augmentation or a facelift to feel more confident about their appearance. It’s best to handle such sensitive topics carefully by finding a healthcare marketing agency that can help disseminate your message in the most effective way.

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In some cases, you will need to address patients' fears..."Just how safe is this procedure? How many people have successfully undergone this operation?" In other cases, the main issue will be financial, meaning that you will want to provide some financing options for expensive operations that must be paid for without insurance.

Some patients might simply be afraid to visit the doctor. You’ll want to tailor your marketing messages to ease their fears about the relaxing and safe environment you provide. At the same time, you can showcase your commitment to providing a positive patient experience and how much you value the reputation you’ve established in the community.

Best Practices

Which marketing practices does your team follow in search of new patients?

A good way to start your next healthcare marketing campaign is to write some case studies that will help your patients determine if a procedure might be suitable for them. Since so many people get information from videos rather than reading (witness the rise of YouTube), you will do well by shooting a video that answers patients’ most frequently asked questions.

The most satisfied patients will also serve as brand ambassadors for your practice. You can encourage them to send their friends, family, and coworkers to see you for treatment by establishing a referral program where you might give them a discount on services when they bring a new patient in.

Social media is invaluable for healthcare marketing.

“For healthcare marketers, social media is a critical tool to extend reach and enhance engagement. More than 65% of chief marketing officers say they use social media to drive business and build their digital brand,”

Managed Healthcare Executive.

Make sure to use the latest in marketing software (or hire a third party healthcare marketing service that will take care of the software for you). Your marketing outreach should include a customer relationship management (CRM) application that keeps track of a range of statistics about each patient (from demographics and popular procedures to the neighborhoods they live in).

Crunching the numbers in your CRM will help you identify, for example, whether you should be marketing more to senior citizens in your community or give you an idea that you should open a second office in a nearby city.

If your office digitizes patient records, use this system to allow patients to schedule appointments online instead of having to call and wait on hold until a receptionist can help them. 

Does your practice have a newsletter? Make sure it is available in a digital format. Ask patients to provide their email address so you can add them to your contact list. Email is just one component, of course. You should also use social media channels to stay engaged with patients. For example, tweet a reminder to patients about school vaccinations or to alert them about allergy season.

The team at Adhere Creative knows that you may have many questions and concerns about marketing your healthcare services. We hope this healthcare marketing guide gives you greater insight. To learn more about how to market your specific services, don't hesitate to get in touch with us today!

by Russell Weil

Russell Weil is a Houston native, proud UT longhorn, history buff, and our in-house burger aficionado that has graced Great Day Houston with his burger reviews. In addition to being an A1 Business Development Manager for Adhere Creative, Russell is also committed to his community. He is a longtime docent at Holocaust Museum Houston, serves on the Board of Directors at the Santa Maria Hostel, and specializes in marketing for the healthcare and senior living industries. Contact Russell today to inquire about healthcare or senior living marketing at Adhere. Heads up: there's a good chance your initial meeting will involve burgers.