Healthcare marketing isn’t like marketing for other types of businesses. It’s a sensitive field and requires a research-driven strategy that allows people to discover your services without being labeled too salesy.
That is why, in this article, we’ll talk about medical marketing strategies that will help scale your healthcare services in 2023 without coming across as “promotional.”
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Medical marketing is the strategic process of promoting your healthcare services so you can reach more patients and guide them through their healthcare journey. It involves inspiring, educating, and engaging with patients using the right tools and channels so the organization can grow sustainably.
Now that we’ve understood the importance of medical marketing, let’s look at the best medical marketing strategies to make more patients aware of your organization.
Healthcare marketing needs to be impactful and considerate at the same time. Here are 12 reliable marketing strategies you can use to achieve this effect.
1. Create educational videos on social media
As a physician, you might come across a variety of questions that patients have in their minds. It can be anything from a disease to a surgical procedure that they want to know about. And you can raise awareness about these procedures and diseases and establish authority in your field, by creating social media videos.
Here’s a video by the Cincinnati children’s showing the procedure of endoscopic ultrasound and the usage of the process and the steps involved. It’s extremely helpful in understanding who can undergo the procedure and how it can help them. Plus, it subtly tells the viewers that the hospital has the necessary facilities to help children undergo endoscopy.
So, it’ll raise awareness among parents and if their kids have to go through a similar procedure, they’ll feel safer contacting the Cincinnati Children’s hospital.
If you want to reach your audience with such educational content, you can shoot procedure videos or explanation videos. You can also create videos for cosmetic procedures to show how your procedures work. After shooting the video, you can edit it easily using InVideo’s online video editor and use text and voiceover to make it easier to understand. Here’s a template that can get you started:
2. Build a healthcare community
To reduce the distance between medicos and laypersons, you can build a healthcare community that educates people about misleading and inaccurate medical content and how they can become more aware.
It can also be used to spread awareness on situations like the pandemic and other issues like drug addiction, so that help can reach the people most in need of it. For instance, this ballad by Dr. Zubin Damania talks openly about the opioid epidemic and opens the doors for healthy conversations regarding the topic.
His thought-provoking videos on similar topics helped him build a community of medicos and non-medicos on different social media platforms.
The best way to build a community like Dr. Zubin is to start posting thought leadership content that educates your audience and sparks discussions and engagement on social media. If your audience likes videos, use InVideo’s online video editor to create bite-sized videos that’ll educate your audience.
3. Get doctor referrals
Doctor referral programs are marketing programs used to reach more patients through medical expertise. These programs help physicians grow their network as well as boost their revenue. But it's very difficult to keep getting constant and quality referrals without employing a strong strategy.
Strong relationships with fellow healthcare providers can contribute to getting direct referrals. Another way to get referrals is through physician liaison marketing. These liaisons meet with doctors and medical practitioners to increase referrals for the medical service. They create a bridge between the referring doctors and medical services.
You can also host events, seminars, and webinars to help doctors network better to increase referrals. For smaller healthcare services or clinics, dinners or small gatherings for a discussion can also be effective.
These referral relations can be majorly established with general practitioners who can refer their patients to specialized doctors. The strategy fits perfectly for big hospitals, surgeons, and specialist medical practitioners.
Here’s an example of a doctor referral program from Luma health and how it can be effective for any healthcare service provider.
Source: Luma Health
4. Leverage PR and healthcare publicity
Medical or healthcare public relations is the practice of using content like press releases, social media, and traditional media pieces to spread a strategic message relevant to medicine or public health management.
It helps you educate a larger audience, especially the ones reliant on traditional mediums like television and newspapers. It also helps highlight your expertise and gets more people to trust you and set up an appointment with you.
Here’s an example of a press release issued by Seattle Children’s hospital that talks about a rare case the hospital handled diligently. It highlights the hospital’s great services and the healthcare facilities, so parents of children who face similar issues can trust the hospital easily.
You don’t have to stop at online and offline press releases to spread awareness and encourage people to seek treatment. You can also set up a free checkup camp or vaccination drives to educate the public and talk about the facilities your healthcare center has.
To get more people to show up to your drives and checkups, you can create a video to promote online. You can create this video using InVideo’s online video editor. You can add text and background music to make it better.
5. Optimize your profile in healthcare provider directories
Patients look up the doctor on the internet before visiting them because they want to be assured of quality healthcare and good service before choosing a healthcare provider.
So, not having an optimized profile on online healthcare directories means losing out on the opportunity for patients to find you just because you weren’t discoverable.
There are many popular and trusted directories like WebMD that people turn to for accurate information so you can create a profile here to be discovered by people with ailments. Plus, these directories also have reviews from patients which make them trust you more. For example, here’s a neurosurgeon’s profile on WebMD. It gives an overview of his specialties, the experience he has accumulated, and his patient ratings. The location and timing are also provided for the patient’s convenience.
If you want to start being discovered online, search for popular online health directories, optimize your listings with the right keywords and add your location so search engines pick it up and display it on search results.
6. Showcase testimonials and patient reviews
As mentioned earlier, you’ve got to build trust with patients and highlight your expertise so customers can trust you. The best way to do this is by highlighting testimonials as the Keyhole Heart Clinic does through a video. This video talks about how Dr. Birdi and his associates focus on patient wellbeing through intense treatment.
To create video testimonials of your patient’s experience, request them to talk about their condition, how you helped them through it and how they are now. You will need to get their written consent to post about their condition online or offline. Once you have consent, you can either ask them to record a video if they’re comfortable or simply turn their written reviews into compelling videos using InVideo’s online video editor. Here’s a template that you can use:
7. Spread awareness with PPC
While organic methods like optimizing online profiles take a long time to improve your discoverability, PPC ads help achieve the same results in a short time. Although you can utilize a lot of PPC channels to run ads, Google is the most effective channel as most people search for doctors online using search engines.
For example, here’s a paid ad result for dentists from Aspen Dental. It has ad extensions that take up more real estate on the search results page and helps patients discover relevant services.
You can also run healthcare campaigns to raise awareness about diseases or get more people to attend your vaccination drive through Facebook’s PPC ads as the platform has become a hub for healthcare information because of the numerous healthcare support groups on it.
To create pay-per-click ads that spread awareness of your services and improve your discoverability online, target specific keywords your audiences are searching for online. Then, target your ads geographically to save ad spending and improve your chances of being discoverable within your area.
8. Optimize website for chatbots
Having a chatbot option on your website is very beneficial for your healthcare services because it automates procedures like setting up appointments even after the clinic’s working hours.
It can also direct patients to different parts of the website and provide quick responses to common queries. Plus, the waiting time is reduced to zero because the bot automatically answers questions.
This helps patients find answers quickly and set up appointments without waiting for hours. Here’s an example of a chatbot for booking appointments. Patients can simply select the date and time instantly and the bot will send a message to their contact details to remind them of their appointment.
Source: Reve chat
When choosing a chatbot for your clinic, ensure that it adheres to compliance and can perform basic functions like booking appointments, collecting contact details, etc., to save time and money on resources.
9. Employ a local SEO strategy
Local SEO is the practice of optimizing your healthcare center’s presence for increased visibility in local search results. Naturally, this is the most effective way to improve your discoverability as most of your patients will be local.
Here’s an example of well-optimized local listings and results for OB/GYNs in New York.
To make the most out of your local SEO strategy, create a Google listing and optimize your profile on other listings. Then optimize your website with your address and create localized content like information about an event you’re hosting, specialized services you’re offering to locals in the area, etc.
10. Add value with email campaigns
Your patients depend on you for health-related information. Emails are a great way to supply this information and spread awareness about your clinic.
For example, if there’s a pandemic or an outbreak, patients will expect you to send information on how to keep yourself safe, direct you to adequate resources, and outline what steps you are taking to remedy the situation. And in the long run, sharing relevant information helps build trust and encourages them to reach out to you as it shows your patients that you care for them.
Here’s an email from the Banfield pet hospital. It works because it aims to build a connection from the get-go by welcoming pet parents, offering them a discount, and directing them to useful resources.
To get started with medical email marketing, start by sending your patients a welcome email like Banfield that explains what they can expect from you and direct them to important resources that tell your patients what they can expect from their first visit. Then, send valuable information on how your patients can prepare for surgeries and spread awareness on disorders to get treated earlier.
Pro-Tip: Emails with video are more engaging and help patients consume information easily. For example, you could shoot a video on what they can expect on their first visit to clarify doubts they may have and put them at ease. If you want to start creating such videos for free, check out InVideo’s free online editor.
11. Create or join a hashtag campaign
Hashtags are a sure way of increasing the reach of your social media page. As a medical institute or doctor, it can make you more discoverable for the patients who need your help. They also help your content get categorized which increases its visibility.
Creating a hashtag campaign drives more traffic to the website and the social media page. It helps you reach a larger audience with valuable information and show them your medical services and build your credibility. The campaigns impart education, spread awareness, or share stories of brave patients fighting disease.
This is an example of a hashtag campaign started by the Rochester Regional Hospital (RRH) that aimed to spread awareness and kindness during the Covid-19 outbreak and requested people to stay at home for safety. The #RRHspreadjoy brought positivity and happiness in gloomy times with the participation of people through videos supporting Covid patients and healthcare workers. This helped them show themselves as a responsible and reputable hospital and garner public attention.
You can start out a hashtag campaign similar to RRH based on a recent medical issue, occasions like cancer day or AIDS day, or a disease you want to spread awareness about. You can decide this based on your specialization and ask your colleagues to join in the campaign using the hashtag.
Videos for hashtag campaigns are more engaging and attract more views. So, collect video clips of the campaign and combine them into a video using InVideo’s online video editor and share it on your website or play in the lobby of the hospital.
12. Test influencer marketing
In a critical subject like health, where credibility is the key, influencers help build trust and encourage people to stay healthy and visit your facility for regular checkups to identify or prevent diseases.
Here’s a great example of healthcare influencer marketing. Racecar driver Danica Patrick visited Elmhurst hospital and Edward hospital for the “Healthy driven” event and supported it. This immediately garnered public attention and increased the hospital’s popularity.
If you want to use this strategy for your healthcare service, invite an influencer who is known for setting fitness goals and discussing health-related issues openly. If the influencer or celebrity you invite has a personal story on the importance of staying healthy, your event or drive has a higher chance of encouraging more people to stay fit as people resonate better with stories.
You can either create an image-based post or request the influencer to shoot a video to promote your event. If you’re going with a talking head video, use InVideo’s editor and add ample cuts to break the monotony. You can also add B-rolls and intersperse your video with pictures and clips from your past events for added effects.
Now that you know strategies for your healthcare services, let us look at some pro tips that can help you do it effectively:
Tip #1 - Ensure you are compliant based on your geography
While marketing strategies can be very effective in reaching patients, you need to be compliant with the guidelines laid down by the regulatory bodies to save your brand image from legal actions.
Since these compliances can be different in different locations, you must ensure that your website, marketing strategy, social media content, and other marketing assets are compliant with the policies of that region.
For instance, in the US, HIPAA is responsible for regulating the use of patient information for marketing and other purposes. And if you’re in the UK, you’ll have to be compliant with the data protection act.
Tip #2 - Create patient personas
A patient persona depicts the hurdles, experiences, motivations, and goals of your patients. It offers firsthand insights into the needs of your patients and helps you create content that helps them discover your services at the right time.
To create your patient persona, start with demographic traits like age, gender, lifestyle, etc. You can also delve deeper into other factors like financial status and healthcare insurance status to understand them better. For instance, if you’re an ortho specialist, your content would target the elderly as they’re more prone to having joint ailments.
Tip #3 - Location-based SEO
Location plays a critical role in choosing a healthcare service as people want to seek medical help quickly and with ease. So, it’s important to be discovered by local patients with ease.
That’s why you should focus on registering yourself on local healthcare listings and optimizing your Google profile. You can also use PPCs to target the audience of a specific location or SEO to rank using keywords associated with the location. This can help you get discovered by the audience that is more likely to visit your clinic or hospital.
Tip #4 - Use videos
Videos are the most engaging and interactive medium to connect. They are also eye-catching and easy to understand as compared to a blog post or static social media post.
So, you can use animated videos or talking head videos to educate patients about a surgical procedure or help them visualize the harmful effects of unhealthy habits like smoking or spread awareness about a disease.
Plus, most social media platforms boost the reach of videos more than static posts, so leveraging it would help you reach more people who need your care faster.
For instance, here’s an animated video from the John Hopkins Medical Center that describes how the Corona virus attacks the human body and what researchers are doing to mitigate the effects.
Don’t worry if you’re new to video creation or don’t want to spend a hefty sum. You can create engaging videos quickly and easily using InVideo’s online editor.
Tip #5 - Focus on Branding
Healthcare providers need to gain credibility by showing their skills and facilities. So, you must stand out as an excellent caregiver that puts patients first and highlight the facilities you have to build trust with people and encourage them to seek help from you.
But most healthcare centers fail when it comes to building a brand and standing out as they want to position themselves as “leaders” and a facility that has “cutting-edge” technology. The problem with this positioning is that a hundred other healthcare centers have adopted the same stance, so it’s going to be difficult to stand out.
So, if you want to truly differentiate yourself, look at your services and previous testimonials, and study your competition to create a healthcare brand story that differentiates you from other healthcare providers out there. Also, you’ve got to be consistent with your brand and shine a spotlight on how patients will benefit from it instead of simply highlighting your services and facilities.
For example, look at St. Jude Children's Hospitals’ branding. It shifts the focus to children and makes the brand look humane because they share stories on how children benefit from their program and publish research to show how they’re contributing to making children better instead of talking about the number of facilities they’ve got and the services they provide.
Tip #6 - Optimize online patient experience
Optimizing your online patient experience is directly tied to your brand values and making it stand out. As a healthcare center, one of your values should be to care for your patients, but if your website doesn’t make it any easier to help people in need find the information they’re looking for and book appointments with ease, you’re not being consistent with your brand values.
So, optimize your website for mobile, improve its loading speed, and ensure that it’s accessible for people with disabilities. When it comes to imagery, add high-quality photos that resonate with your patients. Avoid stock images where you can and add real photos of your patients instead.
For example, take a look at Rainbow Hospice Care’s website imagery. They care for terminally ill elderly patients, so they’ve added images that help soothe and comfort those who get into their care.
Also, focus on making your site more navigable by adding hamburger menus (in the mobile version) and breadcrumbs so patients can find the necessary information easily.
You can also add video testimonials from patients and shoot videos of staff to highlight the care you offer patients and make them feel comfortable contacting your hospital. InVideo has thousands of templates with stock media and many features to edit your videos quickly, so check it out to create professional videos for your website in under 10 minutes.
Another way to enhance the online experience is by using chatbots and live chats. These chatbots can automatically book appointments and remind the patients about it, making the entire process simpler for them and enhancing their experience.
You can use your online presence to forge a deeper relationship with your patients and provide them the value they are seeking through your online content. This will help you stay more relevant and hence, become the preferable choice.
Tip #7 - Stick to a content strategy
61% of the patients say that they feel positive about health care services that provide content and about 70% want to learn about your practice through articles. So, putting out the right content is important in reaching out to patients who need your care.
The best way to ensure that you’re putting out the right content consistently is by creating a content strategy.
In a nutshell, a content strategy is a document that defines your healthcare center’s goals and helps you work out your priorities. For example, if your goal is to get 1,000 people in your community vaccinated, your content strategy will tell you what content you should put out to achieve the target. It’ll also help you get stakeholders and the marketing team on the same page and allocate resources accordingly.
To create a content strategy for your healthcare center, get started with an objective, and look at your patient personas to see which social media platform they hang out at the most. Then, look at your previous analytics to determine what time they’re the most active and the content format they engage with the most to decide which social media platform you’re going to be active, times you’ve to post, and the content type you’ve to create.
Once you’ve created a strategy and followed it, don’t forget to optimize it regularly based on the analytics.
Pro tip: Videos should definitely be a part of your content strategy because they’re more engaging, help people consume information in an easier manner and help build connections. You can create these videos quickly and easily using InVideo’s online video editor.
Tip #8 - Use insights from patient feedback
Patients and their families are more involved in the healthcare process and they expect hospitals to match up to their expectations in terms of care and assistance. So, patient satisfaction plays an important role in the success of a healthcare organization and the best way to gauge this metric is to request patients for feedback.
You can then ask for feedback about the services, nursing facilities, staff to a patient during the visit or discharge in case of inpatients. This will help you understand roadblocks that patients are facing during the stay at the hospital or while trying to contact you.
You can also look at great patient experiences and distill your brand’s story to stand out from other centers out there to reach more patients who need the quality care you provide.
Healthcare marketing is essential but is extremely sensitive. It can help you nurture your relationship with your consumers and the above strategies can help you grow your medical practice sustainably.
Use the tips to create awareness about your healthcare services and reach your patients at the right time. You can use tools like InVideo to create video marketing assets and stand out with your uniqueness. If you want to know more about healthcare marketing check out this article and if you want tips on creating a marketing plan for your healthcare business, check out this article.
And if you prefer learning via video, definitely check out our YouTube channel, where we share daily video creation tips and tricks, the latest video trends and ideas, and help you make more money as a video creator.