Today we are going to discuss the top 7 marketing strategies for 2017/2018 and since this post will be rather extensive, We’ll be breaking it up into a few parts.
In today’s modern age, marketing and media has becoming an essential part of organizational growth – even for medical practices. The truth is, more and more people have transitioned to seeking information on the web, including health information. A 2013 Pew Research Center Report states that “72% of internet users said they looked online for health information within the past year”. That means doctors, practices, and hospitals need to “get with the times” and establish an online web presence. If not, you might be out of a job in no time. Marketing platforms like referralMD can generate exposure to your healthcare facility and what services you offer by allowing patients and other referring doctors to find you on the top pages of Google and other search engines.
According to a 2008 survey of over 12,000 physicians, only 17% of physicians rated the financial position of their practices as “healthy and profitable”. 17 percent! Yes, that means that 83% of those physicians aren’t making money. In fact, a recent Wall Street Journal article by Dr. Sandeep Jauhar reports that the “return on educational investment for primary-care physicians, adjusted for differences in number of hours worked, is just under $6 per hour”. That’s less than the average federal minimum wage!
So what medical marketing and media strategies can doctors and practices apply that really work in order to increase profits and salaries?
1. Emotionally-Compelling Offline Media
Why is it that TV, print, and outdoor media still works for the healthcare industry? It’s because everyone has different media preferences, and oftentimes consume both offline and online media before making a decision. In a 2012 Google/Compete Hospital Study, 84% of patients use both online and offline sources for research. Of those patients who used offline media:
- 32% of patients use TV for research.
- 20% of patients use magazines for research.
- 18% of patients use newspapers for research.
So it seems that offline media is still effective after all. In fact, with the right approach, it can be just as powerful as online media. Take Saint Francis Hospital’s Orthopedic Center as an example. They hired an agency to help them run emotionally compelling TV, print, and outdoor ads that resulted in 75% market penetration in Saint Francis’s primary and secondary markets. To make this campaign compelling, the agency identified who their target audience was, what their pain/problem was, and then spun it in a way that was positive, informative, and resonated with that target audience. Furthermore, they included a clear call-to-action (“call us”) and a way to take that action by including their phone number.
However, I’m not so sure that mentioning that they’re listed in the NYNEX Yellow Pages was necessary. Who even uses the Yellow Pages anymore? (No offense to you if you do.)
2. Search Engine Optimized (SEO) Blogs & Websites
Speaking of advertising in the Yellow Pages, say hello to Google – the new Yellow Pages. Today, Pew Internet Research says 77% of online health seekers began their last session at a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Search engines, like Google, have become so sophisticated for helping people find what they’re looking for, that now you can literally type medical specialists or medical specialists near me into their search box and it will populate a list of the most authoritative medical specialists in your geographic area.
But wait…what do you mean by “authoritative”? Well you see, Google ranks pages based on two primary metrics: Authority, which is a measure of how many people share or link back to your content, and Relevancy, which is a measure of how well you create content that relates to the keywords users type into search engines (like Google) to find your website or blog. Websites and blogs who create relevant content that gets found by internet users, and then gets shared across the web, is deemed as being authoritative.
A great example of a doctor who’s marketing herself by creating highly relevant and authoritative content is Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson MD, MBE of Seattle Children’s Hospital. She started the “Seattle Mama Doc” blog to share her story of being a physician and to give moms childcare health advice. As a result, she was able to establish a social media network of over 26,000 Twitter followers, and was even featured as TIME’s Best Twitter Feeds of 2013. I can only imagine what having a social network like that must be doing for business.
3. Engaging Social Media and Referral Marketing
With that being said, Social Media and networks like Twitter, should not be neglected. DC Interactive Group’s Rising Use of Social Media and Mobile in Healthcare Infographic depicts that 41% of people would choose a healthcare provider based on their social media reputation. Of those surveyed, one-third of them now use social media sites like such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and online forums for health-related matters. The types of content that they were most likely to engage with or share on those networks included care received at a hospital or medical facility, and a specific doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider that they had a positive or negative experience with.
Social Media, however, can be used in many ways other than engaging with patients online. This Philips Healthcare LinkedIn case study is a great example of a healthcare organization who used LinkedIn to establish “thought leadership” and expertise in their respective field of healthcare and lighting. Philips created the Innovation in Health LinkedIn group to create discussions and build their credibility by directly connecting with their target audience – medical, healthcare, and technology professionals. The group now has over 100,000 members globally! Imagine how that kind of marketing could affect small medical practices…