Healthcare is becoming even more competitive. According to Deloitte, it’s one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and globally, and that trend should remain for the foreseeable future. Global healthcare spending is expected to increase annually by 5.4% from 2018-2022, nearly doubling the 2.9% increase from 2013-2017.
Several factors are responsible for the rise in spending. Providers are offering tailored care in the form of personalized medicine, responding to the demand for expanded care delivery sites, and working within revamped payment and public funding models.
Add to that the entry of new competitors into the marketspace, and it’s easy to see how healthcare providers must do more and spend more to keep up.
In a more competitive and crowded industry, healthcare practices need to do more to appeal to their audience. Those businesses need a sound healthcare marketing strategy to attract patients.
Why Do Healthcare Practices Need a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy helps any business differentiate itself from the competition. After all, if a second healthcare practice offers similar services for the same or a lower cost, why should patients come to the original practice? Healthcare consumers need to know what a practice can offer patients.
In a competitive healthcare market, standing out can be difficult. In the past, metropolitan areas exemplified how people could locate several choices for healthcare services. That’s the standard now. Small- and medium-sized cities often have providers that include hospital-based outpatient practices, retail pharmacy businesses, and urgent care chains. As a result, healthcare practices must do more to set themselves apart from the rest.
Differentiation and competition in healthcare represent the beginning of why practices need a marketing strategy. Consider how different types of experiences can lead patients to finding a healthcare practice. For instance, they may relocate, have a change in their health insurance, receive a diagnosis that requires a certain specialist, or they may simply be looking for something new. All of those events may lead to a search for a new healthcare provider.
Practices need to understand how patients find nearby providers if they are to launch an effective healthcare marketing strategy. The internet is often one of the first sources of information consumers turn to during this process. According to the Pew Research Center, 35% of U.S. adults said they have gone online to determine what medical condition they or someone else might have. When asked if the information they found online led them to seeking professional medical attention, 46% of that audience said, “Yes.” Those numbers are probably higher at this point. The survey is from 2013, which was the last time the Pew Research Center investigated how people use the internet to search for healthcare providers.
To be effective, healthcare practices need marketing strategies that reflect how patients find providers. Healthcare marketing strategies need to become more digitally inclined. If they don’t, practices may miss out on business. In a growing and more competitive industry, every marketing dollar matters. If some of that budget isn’t devoted to online marketing efforts, providers can miss out on prospective patients.
Healthcare Marketing Strategies
Here are a few of the latest and most relevant healthcare marketing strategies that practices can integrate.
Develop a Content Marketing Plan: If practices want to attract patients, they should provide quality information that educates their audience. That can take the form of high-quality articles, videos, and other pieces of content. By creating relevant content that influences the target audience, the practice can showcase why they’re experts and how they can help people with a particular condition or concern.
Nearly half of U.S. adults who search for symptoms of a medical condition ended up seeking medical attention.
Offering useful information can help capture people who are looking for solutions to their problems. There’s plenty of opportunity to educate people and convert them into patients.
Ask for Online Reviews: Consumers regularly use online reviews to help with virtually anything. They’ll consult them for a new product they want to purchase and before they try out a new restaurant. The same idea is true for healthcare.
Pew Research Center found that one in five internet users consulted online reviews about medical treatments, doctors, other providers, hospitals, and medical facilities.
If healthcare practices ask for reviews more often — preferably by using an automated system — other people can see those positive experiences. In the event of negative reviews, practices should respond to and engage with dissatisfied patients to attempt to resolve the issue.
Cultivate a Social Media Following: Nearly three out of four U.S. adults use YouTube or Facebook, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2019. Social media is a powerful way to build a brand, attract and retain patients, and more. For instance, on Facebook alone, practices can share quality content, highlight patient reviews, and conduct highly targeted paid campaigns. YouTube is ideal for telling patients’ stories, introducing people to practitioners at the practice, and highlighting what the practice has to offer.
Use Paid Search Ads: Pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google and social media platforms are a direct way to get practices noticed. Unlike a longer-term marketing play in content marketing and search engine optimization, PPC results are instantaneous. Practices should pay for ads that are location-specific. Campaigns should target people who are nearby, as a large portion of a practice’s patients will come from within 5-10 miles of the location.
Those strategies are just the start of developing an effective healthcare marketing strategy. For practices to attract patients in such a growing and competitive industry, they’ll need skilled healthcare leaders to implement dynamic, powerful marketing campaigns. Official employment figures reflect the high demand for those professionals. For instance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical and health services managers is expected to increase 20% by 2026, which is nearly three times the average for all occupations. They also earn a median annual salary of about $100,000.
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