Do you know a top doctor or other medical provider who struggles to fill an appointment calendar?
After all, medical professionals spend a long time perfecting their skills; however, they don't necessarily learn much about marketing in medical school. In fact, many top doctors can't understand why they should have to sell services that people obviously need.
The solution is to understand how healthcare marketing may differ from other industries and how it benefits both patients and medical providers.
How is Healthcare Marketing Different?
Healthcare marketing is different from marketing for many other industries. This is because healthcare providers are different than other professionals.
If you work in healthcare, you surely worked as hard as you did to enter your occupation because you believed you had a calling and didn't only want a way to collect a paycheck.
You probably view other people in your field as colleagues and not just as competitors.
You tend to view the people you serve as patients and not just as customers.
Your reputation as a medical professional may be more important to you than the size of your bank account.
All of these factors may make you regard marketing differently than others do.
At the same time, you need to keep your appointment calendar booked in order to handle expenses and take care of your own family.
You need to run a business; all businesses require some marketing.
Healthcare marketing may differ somewhat from marketing for a software company, real estate firm, or many other companies. Still, you can benefit yourself and the public by learning some marketing principals and how to create a successful healthcare marketing plan.
What is Healthcare Marketing Definition?
One of the best definitions of healthcare marketing actually comes from the CDC.
This organization defines healthcare marketing as promoting healthcare by creating and distributing information to the public.
The CDC also mentioned that this definition encompasses the principals of marketing and that of medical science.
This definition is so excellent because it lends itself to digital marketing and more particularly, to the sorts of digital marketing that many companies have enjoyed so much success with. Your current and future patients are people with concerns about their own health and their family's health.
If your medical practice can offer them guidance, you should also have a good chance to convince them that they need to pick up their phones and book an appointment by calling or filling out your online form.
If people don't know why they should contact your practice, you have a chance to use marketing to educate them.
Elements of a Beneficial Healthcare Marketing Plan
Before you can work out the details of your own successful healthcare marketing, it will help to consider a few things about the kinds of people you want to reach and what message you hope to convey:
- Target market: Depending upon the type of healthcare services that you offer, you may consider your location, what problems people have that you can help remedy, and the finances or insurance coverage that patients may have. You might develop short descriptions of the sorts of patients who frequent your practice now. In marketing, these illustrations of typical customers are called buyer personas.
- Your message: You hope that people will find your healthcare practice when they need to solve a specific problem. Can you provide them with solutions to relieve pain, enhance performance or productivity, or improve appearance and confidence? In other words, think about the benefits you offer patients and not just specific medical services. Patients probably won't call you to tell you they have a broken fibula; they will call to tell you that their ankle hurts.
Now that you understand your market and the benefits that you can offer them, you might think about the best way to reach as many people as possible.
A Pew Research survey found that almost three out of four respondents looked for online health information in the last twelve months.
Most of them looked for answers on search engines or on sites that provide specific medical information.
If you can distribute content that helps satisfy their quest for medical information, you can reach these people and turn them into patients.
Why is Healthcare Marketing Important?
Certainly, most healthcare professions prefer to concern themselves more with their specialty than with marketing.
The way to benefit as many people as possible with your quality medical services is to let them more about you.
That's exactly what your healthcare marketing plan should accomplish. As an added benefit, it can also help you fill up your appointment book.