Healthcare Marketing: How to Acquire New Patients

As a medical provider, you have the opportunity to help people invest in one of their most important assets: their health. But for patients, choosing the right healthcare provider amidst so many options can feel overwhelming. It’s your job to differentiate yourself and your practice from the competition, making it easy for potential patients to find you and understand right off the bat why they should entrust their care to you.  

Growing your patient base often requires a mindset shift of viewing your practice as a business. To help more people, and to meet your strategic goals, you’ll need to invest some time and money into marketing. The best healthcare marketing strategies not only convert leads into appointments, but keep patients coming back over time. Below, learn more about healthcare marketing, and how you can use it to acquire and retain more patients. 

What is healthcare marketing?

Healthcare marketing is the process of growing your patient base by strategically attracting and retaining healthcare consumers. Unlike advertising, which merely brings attention to your brand, marketing allows you to keep consumers engaged with you and your practice, so they can receive the healthcare they need and you can meet your performance goals. 

The best way to reach more people is across multiple channels, including digital channels such as your website, email, and social media. A strategic marketing strategy allows you to track metrics that boost engagement so you can easily pinpoint which methods and channels are most worth your investment. 

Why is healthcare marketing important?

As you probably know, the healthcare industry is more saturated than ever. Healthcare marketing, especially digital marketing, is essential for setting yourself and your practice apart, and attracting and retaining the patients you want to serve.

Healthcare consumers don’t have unlimited time to search for the right provider. Making it easy for people to find your practice, and quickly recognize your reputability as a provider, can encourage people to book appointments with you. 

After the initial appointment, patients need reminders to come back to your practice. Healthcare marketing allows you as a provider to guide people through their health journeys, so they can continue meeting their health goals as you meet your business goals. 

Strategies for healthcare marketing and advertising

When it comes to healthcare marketing, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The best strategies connect with potential and existing patients through multiple channels, such as your website, email, texts, and social media. 

The following tips can help you reach the consumers you most want to attract, without wasting time or money on strategies that don’t make sense for your practice. 

Build a brand

It’s vital to build a brand for your business. Your brand is the way consumers perceive you and your practice, and how they connect to your mission and values as a provider. Your business’ name, logo, website, online presence, and the content you create can help establish you as a trustworthy professional, all the while setting you apart from competitors. 

Pay attention to patient experience

It’s important for busy patients to find care and book appointments on their own terms. Make it easy for people to find you and book an appointment online, so people don’t have to spend their valuable time digging around the internet to get the care they need. 

Building an easy-to-navigate website is one part of the equation. You can also invest in a service like Zocdoc, which both helps more patients find you and allows them to book appointments seamlessly. 

Figure out which marketing channels to invest in

After you determine the type of patients you want to attract to your practice, choose marketing channels that make sense for that demographic. Search around and find out what similar practices are doing. Healthcare marketing blogs can also help you pinpoint which channels are most effective for your demographic. 

Rather than diving in all at once, consider building your marketing strategy slowly and testing channels one at a time. That way, you’ll be able to easily determine what’s working and pivot your approach if needed. 

Make sure you display patient reviews

Searching for a healthcare provider can be stressful with all the options available. You can establish yourself as a trusted expert by displaying patient reviews. Potential patients are more likely to entrust their care to you if others have shared their own positive experiences. 

Encourage existing patients to leave reviews after appointments. You can send email reminders or even use a QR code in your office. Sites like Zocdoc can help streamline the process by automatically reminding people to write a review. 

Use analytics to determine budget and target market

Whether you’re using content on your website, email campaigns, or social media ads to reach people, digital marketing allows you to pinpoint where potential patients are connecting with you most. 

Pay attention to how your marketing channels are performing so you can invest time and finances in the ones most likely to yield a return on investment. If your target market changes over time, you can continue to change your approach. 

Commonly asked healthcare marketing questions

What challenges might you face?

While healthcare marketing is an essential tool for growing your business, it’s not without potential challenges. Being aware of possible barriers can help you be prepared to troubleshoot or change approaches as needed. 

For example, it’s important to consider patient privacy in your marketing strategies. Be sure your marketing tools and technologies are HIPAA-compliant to avoid any legal concerns. It can also be difficult to measure return on investment in healthcare marketing, since medical insurance is often involved. 

Working with a healthcare-specific marketing solution may help you avoid problems and more clearly track your key performance indicators. 

What technology should you try out?

After you establish your brand and create an online presence, you can experiment with several digital marketing strategies that help you connect with potential and existing patients. 

Email marketing is a simple-but-effective way to keep people engaged with your practice, whether you send out blog posts that lead people back to your website or remind people about upcoming appointments. Consider investing in a CRM (customer relationship management) tool so you can optimize your email marketing strategy. 

Online scheduling is another important tool. By cutting out the time-consuming steps of finding your contact info and calling the office, you can encourage more patients to make appointments. 

Lastly, consider trying out marketing automation that helps customers stay engaged with your practice over time. Once a consumer makes an appointment, you can easily send out reminders via text, call, or email, and encourage them to schedule follow-up appointments as needed. 

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