Healthcare Marketing: the importance of involving potential patients
Doctors cannot neglect the importance of a cohesive healthcare marketing strategy to build a solid healthcare activity. For consumers empowered with health care, doctors remain a well-established source of information, however when it comes to searching for such information, the patient’s journey to find the most suitable doctors and treatments may not be easy.
While experienced doctors understand the importance of promoting their work, many others do not know where to start or simply do not understand the importance. Consequently, they do not adopt a reactive approach to Healthcare Marketing and much of their extraordinary work goes unnoticed. This is not only detrimental to the business, but it is also a disservice to potential patients who wish to learn accurate information on how to best treat themselves.
By linking patients to their valuable work, doctors can establish relationships that combine both better clinical results and better business performance.
Here are some guidelines to help you create a winning marketing plan. Your answers to the following questions will help you better understand where to start:
- How much do you know your target audience, their decision-making path and the points of contact with your facility and the services you provide?
- Do you adequately use social channels?
- Do you regularly develop market analysis and guidelines on how to proceed in your business?
The RACE framework is a useful guideline for starting your medical communication
When optimizing a complete marketing plan for your medical activity there are several aspects to consider. The RACE framework (Reach, Act, Convert, Engage) helps healthcare professionals to plan and manage their Healthcare Marketing activities in a structured way:
- REACH: Build awareness of your brand or be present, visible and available when the target customer has a moment of need for their services.
- ACT: Encourage your consumers’ commitment to your website or social media to generate interest. It’s about keeping their attention long enough to force them to take the next action on their journey.
- CONVERT: to convince the potential customer to take the next vital step that drives them to become effective patients (for example, make an appointment online).
- ENGAGE: Develop a long-term relationship with patients to create loyalty to the healthcare facility.
How to align Healthcare Marketing objectives with clinical priorities
In the following paragraphs, you will find a checklist that will help you maximize the RACE framework and keep track of the main elements that you will need to integrate into your Health Marketing Strategy.
- Reference market: the key to any effective marketing strategy. The marketing of the healthcare organization (suppliers, offices, services, etc.) will effectively require the identification of the client or the potential “best” patient. No one can afford to target everyone, so concentrating their marketing dollars and their brand on a specific market that is more likely to buy from you is an economic, efficient and effective strategy.
- Gap and historical analysis: conducting a gap and a historical analysis can help improve business efficiency, product, and profitability. Once completed, you will be able to better focus your resources and energies on those identified areas in order to improve them.
- Competition: to win in the market, your team will need to access timely and relevant information on competitors and changing market conditions. Identify your competitors, gather information, analyze their strengths and weaknesses, speak directly with them and try to understand which market segment is left uncovered and where you can operate.
- “Purchase cycle”: it is important to make sure to take into consideration the various stages of the healthcare consumer selection process, the patient’s journey and how they hope to push additional potential patients through the channeling.
- Goals and objectives: having clear health communication objectives, in line with the objectives of the structure in which you work and work, will help you spend money wisely and increase your market share.
- Put your Healthcare Marketing plan into action ! Communicate often with your team and create excitement.
- Measure: create a scorecard that allows you to monitor and measure the metrics for all your marketing activities. The balanced evaluation sheet (in English balanced scorecard, often quoted with the initials BSC) is a support tool in the strategic management of the company that allows translating the mission and the strategy of the company into a coherent set of performance measures facilitating measurability. Your promotional efforts can and must be measured using a variety of channel-specific managed parameters. Metrics allow you to adapt your tactics and maximize results.
- Landing page conversion rate and optimization: higher conversion rates indicate more qualified leads, which means more profit potential. While it’s important to continue to innovate and improve the elements of your landing pages, too many changes can overwhelm your visitors. Be consistent, make incremental changes and narrow your focus to improve the experience for future patients.
- Performance on devices: it is essential to know the historical performance on multiple devices. Have paid ads performed better on mobile devices? In that case, on which mobile devices should you focus? Once the annual goals are set, you can start managing specific tactics at the device level. This will allow you to intentionally develop techniques that meet the devices your most important audience is using.
- Tactics and channels: what new tools should you integrate into your marketing strategy? Are you ready for voice search or other innovative channels to help health consumers access your healthcare facility? Evaluating your performance and making a competitive analysis are relatively simple phases of your Digital Marketing planning, but studying the best tactics and channels to invest in is the most vital aspect of the program.
- Promotions: in general we do not talk about “promotions” in Healthcare Marketing, but we consider them as opportunities to engage your audience with targeted, relevant and personalized content. When promotions are planned and prepared in advance, you will have better chances of success.
- Timeline: in order to plan a good strategy it is important to keep a timeline in mind. Even if the timeline should be flexible, having a program allows you to visualize the tactical performance and make sure you are on par with the expected results. We need to create a Healthcare Marketing plan that includes the launch and optimization of all campaigns and all other Marketing activities.
- Resources: determining which resources will be needed to start the strategy is necessary for a correct implementation of the plan and for measuring the results.
- Revisit, adjust, adapt: although you have taken every step to carefully build a plan based on a series of hypotheses and profound analyzes, you still cannot predict how the potential patients will behave. It is essential to continuously measure and monitor the performance of your Medical Marketing strategy and change elements where necessary. Keep simplicity, use research and facilitate people’s action. Develop your Healthcare Marketing strategy with the right expectations. Start with a priority plan and focus on consistency and continuous improvement.