Yep, it’s been a tough year full of unique challenges. 2020 will surely go down as one of the hardest for those in the healthcare industry. The economic repercussions of lockdowns and postponing elective procedures has hit practitioners hard. And now healthcare organizations are grappling with a lot of questions…
What can we expect as we look forward to 2021? How can we prepare for the new challenges that will present themselves in the coming months and continue to serve our patients through the later phases of the pandemic?
We wanted to give our clients in the health care field some solid advice to grab onto in this uncertainty that we were all experienced in this last year. So, let’s look towards the future and highlight some proactive ways that organizations can plan for a better year.
Healthcare Practice Marketing: Building a Strategy for 2021
Here are 10 trends that you can enact as your healthcare organization designs a marketing strategy.
- Make It Easy to Connect.
When you’re concerned about your health or the health of a family member, nothing is more frustrating than being put on hold and bounced around from one receptionist to another. Once your team has determined how the overflow of calls and appointments will be handled, inform patients about contact procedures in a quick-to-understand way. In a moment when even routine visits are carried out very differently than how they were pre-COVID, information is crucial.
- Promote Telehealth Services.
The boom in telehealth has taken some patients by surprise, so it’s important to explain how it works and provide an easy way to connect with your telehealth platform and tools your practice uses for remote medicine.
We suggest creating an informative landing page explaining how patients can book appointments online, what types of issues can be addressed during a video call vs. in-person visit, and what they need to have on hand before logging on with the doctor.
- Pivot and Adjust Marketing Spend.
The playing field for healthcare marketing is not the same as it was in 2019, and your spend shouldn’t be the same either. First, use in-depth marketing performance data to identify channels where your organization is spending too much without showing a direct uptick in performance. Then, perform keyword analysis to find opportunities where costs have decreased due to lower competition. These two indicators will help your organization decide how to adjust PPC target keywords and budget, take advantage of cheaper ad space, and pivot social media campaigns towards key channels.
If your medical team is offering alternative options during the pandemic, they should have their own PPC campaigns. These campaigns should be designed to target the local area using keywords such as “telehealth doctor near me,” “curbside consultation” or “drive-thru medical supply pick-up.”
- Offer Helpful Resources.
One thing that we have been working on for our clients is building COVID resource pages for our clients. They work in a wide range of industries, not just healthcare, but as we all know the coronavirus has touched nearly every field. Because search queries continue to be high for anything and everything related to COVID, we are making landing pages where our clients’ customers can find the helpful information they’re seeking. These show relevant tips, infographics, previews of related blogs, information about testing, services, and contacts.
Start by identifying questions that your patients ask and provide a page that gives a clear response. FAQ pages are an easy addition to make to your practice’s website. It is both a valuable resource to current patients and increases the likeliness that new potential patients will contact your office.
FAQs can be addressed in written and video form than promoted on social accounts, YouTube, and newsletters. Plus, they have a good probability of ranking in search for long-tail keywords and low-competition search queries.
- Add User-Friendly Web Features.
This is a bit outside of what we traditionally consider ‘marketing,’ but your website is the most prominent ‘store window’ that a healthcare practice has. So, let’s talk about updating your website. Now, is the time to make sure that current and potential patients can easily find what they are looking for when the land on the home page.
From there, they should be able to find contact information for the doctors in your network, main services and specialties. But innovative features can also be built into the website in order to help your staff stay organized and save time with administrative work. These include features for online bill pay, appointment scheduling, requesting prescription refills, connecting to telehealth services, and viewing lab results.
- Curate Your Online Reputation.
Healthcare providers should pay attention to how their practice is talked about online. Reviews continue to be a major determining factor in who patients turn to when seeking out a new generalist or specialist. One easy way to collect more patient reviews is to simply send patients a follow-up email with a link to fill out a review on Google My Business, HealthGrades, ZocDoc or any other preferred review site for the medical community. Especially, when using a public-facing platform like Google that reveals the name of those who wrote the review, it’s important to remind patients of their right to privacy.
You can also use the gleaming reviews that come in to regularly update the patient testimonials on your website. This is a great way to keep web content fresh and highlight new areas of expertise and the strengths of your staff which are in high demand among the patients you serve.
- Focus on Patient Privacy & Data Security.
2020 was a challenging year for healthcare. Even cyberattacks were on the rise as hackers tried to take advantage of the emergency situation and our distraction during the pandemic. As practitioners make this unprecedented shift to remote services and telemedicine, sensitive patient data is not only more at risk, but patients are increasingly worried about privacy.
Taking the needed steps to assess HIPAA compliance and the security of your network, telehealth and communications tools, can go a long way towards putting patients at ease. The achievement of any type of cybersecurity attestation or certification should also be communicated to patients.
- Deliver Frequent & Clear Communications.
And this brings me to my next point… The average person has a lot of concerns and questions these days, but not a lot of clarity. They look to their healthcare providers to be an authority during the pandemic and provide practical guidance for taking care of their family during this time. Keeping in contact with your patients, is more important now than ever.
Use all the channels of communications you have available to provide regular updates and helpful information to everyone in your community. Consider including information such as:
- Changes to office hours or extended hours of service,
- New safety protocols put in place,
- Instructions on how to get in touch with their physician for common requests,
- Instructions on what to do if they suspect they have contracted COVID,
- Contact information for testing centers, and
- Updates on local COVID outbreaks.
- Make Sure Content Feels Authentic.
In the era of fake news fatigue, your patients will expect medical professionals to be a beacon of truth. Of course your organization is a trustworthy, but in 2021, it will be even more important to communicate authenticity, humanity, and compassion. This means opting for real photography, rather than stock images, ditching the sales-y copy for interviews and testimonials. People are more likely to connect with before-and-after pictures and stories about other patients’ experiences.
Another way that you can connect with patients now is to promote content that is timely and speaks to the moment. If you don’t have the manpower to produce it in-house, simply sharing articles from other medical authorities can accomplish the same goal. According to Google Search Trends, people are particularly interested in info about:
- How to properly wear a face mask,
- Depression and anxiety risks related to social distancing,
- How to keep children safe during the pandemic,
- Stress-related to virtual learning,
- Mental health and coping,
- Safe traveling tips,
- Pregnancy and coronavirus risks,
- How long after exposure should you get tested?
- Leverage Video Content
Video has always had greater power to capture users’ attention on social media platforms. Each year, marketing experts exclaim that video was booming on social, and 2020 was no exception. It’s fair to assume that video content will be key in 2021 as well.
How can healthcare organizations use video? Think about video testimonials, interviews with staff to explain a new procedure or treatment, doctors providing health tips, or a walk-through your clinic.
Niche Marketing Is Our Specialty
We have multiple clients – small businesses and national corporations – working in some very particular industries dealing with healthcare, technology, and HIPAA compliance. Contact us to discuss how we can support your organization.