If asked, how would you describe your healthcare marketing?
In the blink of an eye, we find ourselves standing on the cusp of this: the third decade of what we (seemingly yesterday) referred to as the ‘new millennium.’ How time flies. The scary part? For every one of us, the passage of time will continue to pick up speed with each passing moment. An unfortunate reality of existence, but acknowledgment of it speaks to the importance of finding our ‘perfect fit’ in terms of our medical care. After all, we’re not getting any younger…
That said, are you doing everything possible to extend your care to the patients who need you most? Despite the importance of maintaining a clinical approach, any healthcare provider worth their salt understands the distinct roles played by their reputation, their trustworthiness, and their accessibility. It speaks to the importance of assurance in doctor/patient relationships, without which even the most skilled treatments remain cold and remote. Whatever your approach, your healthcare marketing initiatives should follow a similar model, utilizing the most current technologies and methodology while creating a customized patient-centric experience that strengthens the relationship.
With that in mind, how would you gauge the strength of your online presence? Are you easy to find in an online search? Do you offer a patient-centric web experience? Do you provide a wealth of informational content that would be helpful to your patients? Not only are such steps in fostering such an important relationship, but are the simplest ways of generating organic traffic. However, that’s just the beginning, and it’s important to keep up with the latest advances in healthcare marketing.
So, as we approach 2019 at breakneck speed, let’s take a look at some of the areas which practitioners have focused on in order to make (their more understated) marketing initiatives more effective in the new year.
Universal Scheduling & More
As recently as last year it was estimated that, as a whole, the U.S. healthcare industry loses as much as $150 billion every year due to missed appointments. Understanding the most missed appointments result from poor time management on the part of the patient, medical scheduling apps are the most sensible solution for this problem. In fact, simple features such as automated reminders have been known to reduce no-shows by as much as 36%. Certainly a noteworthy consideration for any practice considering integration of an app in the near future.
While the majority of apps started out as a fun way of passing the time, businesses of all sizes are proving that they have also become an integral part of conducting business. As shown above, medical practices are no exception. Leaving behind the days of answering services, call-backs, and excessive wait-times, private label healthcare apps are the most convenient means of improving communication between you and your patients.
A well-designed app enables your patients to communicate with you on their time, on their terms, and with the swipe of a finger. The interface can allow your support staff to schedule appointments more efficiently. In addition, it enables you to share test results and follow-ups in a direct and confidential fashion, while creating a centralized repository for personalized patient information. From Appointy to Acuity, DocMeIn to Practicity there is a wealth of app-based healthcare service to choose from with a wide range of functionalities. No matter which you choose to employ, it represents a significant stride in taking your practice into this ‘new millennium.’ And the opportunity for growth and increased revenue seem almost limitless for such a forward-thinking practitioner. Because you might not think of this as marketing, but ‘marketing’ is anything that speaks to or has a significant influence on the strength of your brand.
And, speaking of things that speak to and have a significant influence on the strength of your brand, consider your reputation. As a well-educated, skilled and experienced medical professional, we’re willing to bet that you take a great deal of pride in your reputation. Unfortunately, we live in a world where your reputation isn’t based solely on the combined strength of your training and performance. It isn’t shared conversationally, at the modest speed of word-of-mouth. No. With today’s technology, your reputation exists solely in the opinion of others, as they share their experiences instantly, with everyone.
“Whether in the form of (public) online reviews or (very public) social media posting, negative information about the care received by your patients, made public online, can be the most damaging influence on the reputation of your practice.”
— Me, Right Now
See how I just said something and made it seem way more important than it actually was? Well, that’s a fairly accurate way to discuss why the management of one’s online reputation is so very important. A large portion of online activity exists in the form of opinions being presented in a way that makes them appear more accurate than they should be. That’s not to say that online commentary is devoid of fact but stop and think. Consider some of the extreme things you’ve been surprised to see some of the things people are willing to post on social media. Think of how quickly things can escalate in terms of social media banter. Matters of a personal nature can prompt inaccuracies, so no words will be spared in a negative commentary. ‘Friends’ and ‘Followers’ can be very loyal, which is why one person’s complaint (regardless of how inaccurate) can gain massive traction in the online community. This can dissolve trust in the patient/doctor relationship, discouraging both current and prospective clientele. Needless to say, management of online reputations will be a major focus for businesses in 2019.
And there you have it…
While there are countless areas that you could focus your attention and resources on in terms of digital marketing, these are two areas that you should consider putting them on top of your priority list. And if you do, you can make 2019 about (i) making things easy for your customers, and (ii) making things easier for you.