There are more physicians, pharmacists, and medical providers in the United States today than ever before. In fact, a 2018 study by Statista found that there are nearly 1.1 million medical professionals practicing across the country.
With those numbers on the rise, it’s becoming more difficult to grow your patient base. Trends like mHealth and advances in technology are allowing doctors to cast a wider net and reach more patients.
Today we will be sharing 7 steps you can take to grow your patient base and medical practice with marketing, content, analytics, and traditional or offline strategies
1. Improve your Customer Experience
A 2018 Forbes article outlined upcoming trends for customer experience in healthcare. Things like augmented reality, wearable devices, and smarter tech. These all contribute to a more comfortable, streamlined experience for the patient.
With that said, there are things your practice can do today to start moving towards a better customer experience:
- Audit current practices to determine customer challenges or frustrations. Ask your patients!
- Invest in online scheduling technology to create greater ease and accessibility for your patients
- Improve communication: send regular email communication, set up a digital communication strategy (like Skype) to stay connected to patients.
2. Adopt a Human Voice
One of the most import things that make your practice unique are the staff. Patients choose their medical practice because they feel a sense of trust and connection to the people working there. Be sure to leverage those relationships in all of your interactions.
Whether it’s email, social media, or even a voicemail message – use it as an opportunity to showcase your staff members. Share their involvement in the community, their interests and hobbies, and their passion for making a difference.
Lastly – a more authentic voice necessitates quick follow-ups and genuine correspondence. Try your best to avoid scripted communication. Take that extra moment to make each interaction unique, personal, and catered to each patient.
3. Become a Better Storyteller
Look anywhere in marketing today, and storytelling is front and centre. A piece suggests that brand storytelling is the future of marketing, and we don’t disagree.
Storytelling is about so much more than just explaining your practice. Consider the opportunity to become a thought leader in your community and your field. If you have staff members that are subject matter experts, build a content plan around their expertise.
A strong foundation of high-quality content that patients will trust will build authenticity and trust, positioning your clinic as a leader in the field. For example, Linkedin can be a great place to connect with other medical professionals and post thought leadership content for others to engage with.
4. Share That Story
Once you have a strong storytelling base, consider sharing it in some of the following ways:
- Regular monthly blog posts authored by different members of your team, and special invited guest experts.
- Social media. While it’s helpful to have a presence on all popular platforms, consider where your audience is active and focus your energy there.
- Facebook community pages have been quite successful for healthcare practices because they allow members to interact with one another.
- It’s no longer enough to just post on social media – invest in targeted ads that will reach your target audience and build engagement with those most likely to visit your clinic.
- Get creative and consider embracing video or podcasting – both can be relatively inexpensive with an iPhone and a few key accessories.
5. Build a Referral Base
Despite the digital world we live in, a 2017 report from Medscape found that 72% of patients are still choosing their market research based on word of mouth. It’s easy to lose sight of how important word of mouth still is when we dive into digital marketing.
When building out a marketing program, referrals should always be top of mind. Include a mechanism at the end of every blog post, video, or white paper to gather more referrals. Develop landing pages and create incentives for those who refer their friends or family to your clinic.
Build referrals into your online communities as well. Encourage 5-star reviews on Google and Facebook and let loyal customers know that is a key way they can help their favourite clinic thrive.
6. Conduct Market Research
Market research is a broad term that often gets thrown around. What we’re really talking about is knowing more about three areas: your patients, your competition, and your industry.
With respect to your patients, what do you know about their demographics? Age, gender, type of treatment are all important pieces of data that can influence how you grow. Figure out what your strongest audience segment is, and plan to expand from there.
On a similar note, what is your competition doing? How many competitors do you have in your community, city, or state? Figure out what they are doing differently, as well as why their customers may be dissatisfied. Capitalize on those opportunities and become successful in areas your competitors are not.
Finally, you have to be an expert in your field. Know what’s coming down the pipeline in terms of advancements, trials, or legislative changes, and share that with your patients through blogs and social media content.
7. Become a Community Leader
Our last step is a reminder that as important as digital marketing is, it’s still crucial to have a presence in your community. Success healthcare providers are well-positioned to be community leaders, and you can put your practice on the map by getting involved where you live and work.
A few ideas to engage with your community include:
- Host an open house or community barbecue at your clinic or business.
- Give back: host a fundraising event or join a volunteer board for a local non-profit organization. Bonus points if it’s for a cause that impacts your patient base.
- Sponsor local students or athletes through a scholarship program.
- Develop an outreach program that takes your staff out into the community to provide health information, but also promote your business.
There you have it – 7 steps that you can begin taking today to build your patient base, grow your practice, and more effectively share the impact you are having on those you serve. Online marketing can often be overwhelming for most healthcare professionals, however, Prizm Media provides effective solutions that can help grow and scale your business whether you are a pharmacy or DME! Click on the banner below to learn more: