Efficient Healthcare Marketing: Everything You Need to Know
According to a recent Gallup study, 70% of all purchasing decisions are made unconsciously and are mainly driven by emotions.
In many industries, marketers therefore create strong emotional connections between consumers and services or products in order to build lasting relationships.
However, when it comes to healthcare marketing – especially for clinics – this approach requires additional nuance because patients have close feelings towards diseases or medical conditions that they did not choose.
In this blog post, we therefore explain how efficient medical marketing works, and all the elements you should definitely incorporate.
Marketing Healthcare: the Biggest Challenges
Based on working with our clients, we know the hurdles that clinics in particular face time and time again when it comes to standing out in the healthcare market. These include the following four points in particular:
Challenge #1: The External Image of a Medical Provider Is Strongly Reflected by Their Internal View
The analysis of many clinic websites shows that their external presentation is strongly characterised by their self-perception.
The result is websites that are not very user-friendly, and marketing that is orientated towards the clinic's organisational needs and not those of the target group. It’s often to the annoyance of potential patients, who gain an unprofessional impression, have their time wasted, and whose patient journey ultimately veers towards another facility. Incidentally, the clinics concerned often do not realise this silent loss of patients.
Challenge #2: Low Resources Encounter High Expectations
As a general rule, anything that is not part of the strategy must not consume the day-to-day resources of a medical provider. Marketing activities in particular are therefore often focussed on achieving strategic goals.
That sounds well and good, but in reality the marketing and communications teams are often faced with differing ideas and views from other departments. Strategic objectives sometimes clash with ambitious wishes regarding how and what should be communicated into the healthcare market.
Challenge #4: Lack of Time and Resources
A healthcare marketing team can repeatedly be seen to lack the time and resources needed for a consistent strategy for marketing healthcare.
Staff will therefore often take on several varied tasks in the daily running of the clinic. Even if there is a dedicated employee assigned to marketing, there is often a lack of the necessary tools, healthcare software control and technical support to do it effectively.
It is therefore difficult to develop a comprehensive marketing approach with a long-term focus. If the clinic's healthcare advertising does not sufficiently convey its services, patients will not know about them and the clinic will not stand out from others.
Healthcare Marketing: an Opportunity for You as a Medical Provider
Whether for new or existing patients, search engines – Google above all – are the most important starting points for patient acquisition today. Many contemporary studies attest to this, speaking in favour of the importance of Dr Google for direct healthcare advertising.
We have listed the most important study results below:
5% of all Google searches are for health-related queries.
77% of people use search engines for their patient journey.
Half of all patients use third party websites to find a healthcare provider.
56% of all patients consult around three different online sources before they see a doctor.
44% of patients who search for a clinic via a mobile device subsequently book an appointment.
Clinics can benefit from these study results. For example, if a clinic ranks its user-friendly website well on Google, that website can become a key starting point for many patient journeys. There are also other channels and measures for marketing healthcare that clinics should keep an eye on.
Content Marketing Used in Healthcare Marketing
According to a Bitkom survey, around 62% of internet users look up information about their symptoms and treatment options on the internet before visiting a doctor.
Content marketing measures can help you meet this demand for ‘specialised knowledge for the layperson’. To do this, you can create your own content and make it available free of charge, e.g:
Below we have summarised a practical example of successful content to get ahead in the healthcare market:
Practical Example: Content Marketing for Your Clinic
1. You publish a search engine-optimised article on the topic, ‘Bleeding gums: Causes and Treatment Methods’, on your dental clinic's blog.
2. A few weeks later, a woman suffering from bleeding gums searches online for possible causes of her condition.
3. Your dental clinic's article is on the first page of the search results. The woman with bleeding gums clicks on the article because of its descriptive headline and brief description.
4. The potential new patient finds the information she is looking for and then decides to make an appointment with your clinic, starting her patient journey with you.
Email Marketing Used in Medical Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most versatile marketing activities for your clinic, especially when automation is applied. The most important forms include:
The term ‘funnel’ refers to a certain number of emails that build on each other and aim to elicit an action from the recipient; for example, booking an appointment.
A patient becomes part of a funnel if they have previously carried out a specific action in which they have submitted their email address.
Very important: the respective email funnel must match the symptom or the current challenge of the respective recipient. For example, someone who has downloaded an online resource on the topic of bleeding gums should now receive emails with tips on this symptom.
The term ‘newsletter’ refers to e-mails sent regularly (e.g. monthly) with high informational content on a specific topic.
The aim of a newsletter is to be read as much as possible and thus remain in the memory of potential patients. To receive a newsletter, a patient must first sign up for it.
SEO for Doctors
As mentioned above, a modern website is now part of the basic set-up for good exposure in the healthcare market. Particularly important are the accuracy and relevance of the information, a high level of user-friendliness and a focus on search engine optimisation (SEO).
The exact criteria Google or Bing use to decide the order of search results is not fully known. The algorithm for this is constantly changing.
Nevertheless, there are criteria that you should pay attention to when optimising your website for search engines:
1. Keywords: depending on your target group (e.g. people between 18 and 35 with dental problems who are considering private care), target market (25-kilometre radius around London) and services, you should include suitable search terms on your website. For example, someone searching online for ‘dental treatment London’ can only land on your website if this same keyword phrase can be found on your pages, potentially choosing you as their medical provider.
2. Page structure: search engines attach great importance to websites being structured as user-friendly as possible. Your website should therefore load quickly and be clearly organised. This also applies to the texts.
3. Responsive design: according to Statista, around 4.64 billion people owned smartphones worldwide in 2023, which is expected to rise to 4.74 this year. This extent of usage means they’ll become increasingly important for finding a doctor. For this reason, it is crucial that your website has a so-called ‘responsive design’; i.e. that it automatically adapts to the narrower display on smartphones or tablets.
Your Clinic’s Healthcare Marketing Plan
Your patients want the best treatment for their condition – and your clinic wants the right patients. To ensure that both sides get their money's worth, a sophisticated marketing plan is essential.
In the following, we will show you how best to draw up this plan for your clinic:
1. Know your position in the market: get an idea of how your services compare to those of your competitors and identify unique selling points such as price, service quality, techniques or location.
2. Actively improve your online reputation: keep soliciting reviews from satisfied patients to build a positive online image. Patient reviews are crucial for attracting new patients in the healthcare market, and they build your credibility with the public.
3. Understand your target audience: talk to your current patients to find out how they rate your clinic, why they chose it and what their specific needs are. This data will help you to better understand your patients' decision-making processes. You can then adapt your marketing to personalise your messages.
4. Define your plan: set your goals, investment budget, expected return on investment and timeline for achieving goals. Make sure you also include measurable metrics to track performance and identify opportunities for improvement.
5. Optimise your marketing funnel: ensure transparency in the patient journey, identify bottlenecks and understand why potential patients abandon the process. A reliable software solution can provide valuable insights to make your funnel as engaging as possible.
6. Generate leads: practical tactics such as SEO, tagging on Google Maps, profiles on external review portals such as TrustPilot, and investment in performance marketing for your healthcare advertising (Google Ads) should be standard.
7. Set realistic goals: determine the desired return on investment, cost per booking and the duration of your marketing campaign. Be prepared to invest time, money and effort and remember that it may take some time to see results.
8. Encourage natural growth: focus on exceeding patient expectations – and not just in terms of the medical services you provide. Successful communication throughout the patient journey will also reinforce successful patient relationship management (PRM). Emphasise value-added experiences, encourage word-of-mouth referrals and stand out from your competitors by offering something unique and memorable.
9. Review the measures regularly: sit down every quarter and review what's working and what's not. Each step of your plan should be accompanied by appropriate software to help you process the data and recognise the highs and lows in areas such as engagement, spend, lead acquisition and more. When reviewing, you should also pay attention to what the healthcare marketing of your competition is doing differently.
How Clinics Measure the Success of Their Medical Marketing Efforts
Marketing in the healthcare sector is a complex undertaking. You should therefore not only focus on measurable key figures such as reach and click and bounce rates if you want to measure the success of your measures, but should also keep an eye on the experience your patients have with your marketing actions.
You should also pay attention to how your patients react, and how valuable your offers are for them. It is also important to take a step back and observe whether something is working for you or not. It's usually easy to recognise your progress if you just take a closer look at the following factors:
Costs and patient acquisition: in order to obtain a clear picture of the return on investment, it’s necessary to measure how many patients have been admitted in relation to the costs.
Conversion rates: track these at different stages of the patient journey. Website visits, contact requests, registrations and consultation requests are examples of where you can calculate how many patients you’re able to attract. You will gain good insights into where improvements can be made to increase conversion rates.
Response time: monitor how quickly your clinic responds to patient enquiries. A prompt and efficient response is what converts leads into appointments and nurtures relationships.
Patient satisfaction and ratings: understand your patients’ level of satisfaction based on feedback and reviews. Positive reviews are a sign of your successful healthcare marketing efforts.
Ultimately, when carrying out marketing in healthcare, always remember that it's hard to build trust, but easy to lose it.
Why Patient Relationship Management Is so Important in Marketing Healthcare
Many successful companies today rely on customer relationship management (CRM), which describes a strategy that companies such as Amazon use to manage their interactions with existing and potential new customers. With the help of CRM, businesses can streamline processes, build customer relationships, increase sales, improve customer service and increase profitability.
PRM is clinics’ equivalent of CRM. As PRM is relevant for all interactions with patients, it can also be used for all medical marketing efforts.
If a clinic has not developed a well-rounded communication concept as part of a good PRM framework, all contact points from patient acquisition to patient retention will suffer from this inadequate preparation.
Healthcare Marketing with Qunosuite
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Bundling of all marketing channels
Analysis & evaluation of acquisition processes via paid marketing
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