What was “good enough” in 2010 isn’t going to cut it in today’s healthcare industry. Marketing your medical practice is a top-down priority for success, whether you’re an optometrist, dentist, chiropractor, or specialize in rehabilitation. It all starts with you, the owner, and a practicing medical professional. It requires time, consideration, and creativity to do it correctly. Rethinking medical marketing is a necessity for competitive practices.
The ShiftRethinking Medical Marketing: Top Tips for Meeting Web Demand
A few years ago, the healthcare industry was largely under the control of individual doctors and groups of professionals. Today, however, doctors are typically considered employees of hospitals and conglomerates under the Affordable Care Act. The deck was shuffled, and now medical professionals have to look for new avenues of business in order to stay in business.
One of the biggest shifts is to patient-centered care. As opposed to “physician-centered healthcare,” patient care is centered on the informed, value-conscious customer. Today’s patients are highly intelligent when it comes to the care they want and expect; part of this is due to evolutions of the Internet. Typical treatment-pay platforms are disappearing and patients are pushing for long-term, continuous healthcare strategies. This is a natural shift that is actually better for the patient because he or she has a primary physician responsible for overall, long-term health.
As mentioned, the Internet has become a powerful tool that patients take advantage of more than hospitals and doctor’s offices. The Web is a persuasive tool that sticks its nose into everything, and you have to assume that every one of your current and potential patients does more than just Google you. They research conditions, symptoms, and treatments, and often (sometimes ignorantly) suggest alternative solutions. This isn’t always the easiest to handle as a healthcare provider, but it does force you to stay on your toes.
You have the resources available to counter these shifts in the healthcare industry and turn them into advantages. For patient needs and expectations, you have to focus on providing patient-centered care. In essence, this treatment style is when doctors develop continuous relationships with patients and treat them personally as well as systematically. It also encourages provider-patient transparency, comfort, customer service, and safety. When rethinking medical marketing, start by emphasizing ethics principles in your office and encourage your entire staff to become positive representatives for your practice.
The online problem is a complicated issue to match. Patients both current and potential are already online; when they need healthcare, they search for offices and physicians with high marks and affordable treatments. You’re probably already overwhelmed with handling day to day business operations, such as delivering treatments and tending to other healthcare concerns that push marketing onto the backburner. However, by rethinking medical marketing, you can better inform online patients and out-market your competition and, in return, draw in more business.
Today, few healthcare providers actively engage with their online presence. This means there is a lot of room for you to step in and share with the world why and how your practice meets patient needs and expectations. Here are a few Web outlets to consider:
- Social Media: Platforms like Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Facebook are overwhelmingly free. Having a strong social media presence increases your basic following and allows you to communicate with patients. Every time you have a new press release, bone scanner, treatment option, insurance partner, or any other piece of information, share it through social media.
- Website: A website is the online heart of your Web presence. All of your social media directs in and out of your homepage. In another vein, a website increases the likelihood that potential patients will find your practice through Internet searches. It is crucial to invest heavily in a website as it is often the first point of contact with consumers. Keep it fresh and full of lively content about you, your practice, and general healthcare information.
- Content Publishing: Content publishing on the Web has many different forms. Blogs, for example, are a personalized and easy way to interact with patients and market your practice. Other formats such as news articles, WhitePages, and testimonials are all shareable through social media and serve to increase your general exposure. Rethinking medical marketing requires effort, but the difference in positive exposure and loyal patients pays off in the end.
Photo by: Joann El Gigante
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