8 Things to Include in Every Healthcare Marketing Plan

August 1, 2015

Healthcare is a competitive industry and attracting patients online can become a challenge with the grey area of selling healthcare-related products and the rife misinformation about ailments contributing to a shrinking target audience. The regulation of the industry by the Dubai Health Authority has led to stellar improvements in the quality of healthcare around the emirate, but that also comes with some challenges to market services to potential patients.

Traditionally, people would choose healthcare providers based on word of mouth and recommendations from friends or family. This hasn't changed much with the rise of social media, however there are many opportunities to capture those researching online too. Read more to discover the top things to include in a healthcare marketing plan:

1) Product and Services Audit

Healthcare corporations typically juggle many products and services, each with their own target audience, so understanding and segmenting (see below) is important. Map out all your products and services with each problem they solve. Take into consideration how industry trends will affect each service you offer and plan for these changes.

2) Segmentation of Patient Personas

Most healthcare marketers already know their targets but it is worth diving-deeper into each subset to understand them more carefully. Often I've worked with marketers who tell me that their target audience is 'anyone from the ages 21-45 who may have a physical ailment, such as knee pain.' That's not precise enough to drive an effective strategy. What's more is that if you keep your audience so broad, you're likely going to get some very interesting (read: very irrelevant) leads.

A more efficient way to segment your target audience is to humanise them. After all, healthcare is an industry that revolves around personal, patient-centric care. Use these questions as a starting point to create your buyer personas and branch out from here:

  • What services are you offering, and what conditions do you treat?  The number of conditions you treat usually give you a good indication of how many buyer personas you need.
  • What kinds of individuals usually suffer from these illnesses or conditions?
  • What other ailments, illnesses, and concerns would affect the individuals above, and what are the comorbidities of the above?
  • What kind of lifestyle would contribute to the abovementioned illnesses or conditions?
  • Based on their lifestyle, what would their digital lifestyles be like?
  • How can you help?

Content personalisation(see below) is an important aspect of digital marketing and understanding each patient persona will help you to effectively target them and push them through a goal funnel, whether that be purchase or content.

3) Personalisation of Content for Each Segment

Each patient persona you recognise will have an individual goal and it is important to organize these goals to measure success. Once the goals have been established, you can then begin to research how to achieve each goal. Maybe you target patients who have dropped off in the registration process? Each segment requires personalized content to push them towards this goal and this needs to build the core of your marketing efforts.

4) Educational Content

Education plays a key role in healthcare marketing and, from an SEO standpoint, content that educates can drive traffic from search engines to your site for extended periods of time. The key reason to provide this type of content, however, is to build credibility and trust amongst your patients and prospective patients. Building out a robust content strategy that answers the questions each patient persona may have will give insight into your knowledge and position you as a thought leader in healthcare online. For larger institutions, it will take participation from each person in the team to build a strong, trustworthy brand online.

5) Local listings in Google +

Google My Business and Google+ Page listings help to better optimize the location of your healthcare organisation in local searches. Patients can find information about the facility, such as operational hours and contact details here and gain more visibility on Google. It can also act as a portal for reviews from your clients, which is a way for users to generate positive sentiment about your organisation or practice.

8) User generated content

Nothing is more powerful online for a healthcare brand than peer reviews. If a person does not have a dedicated doctor, chances are they will turn to friends and family to seek out a recommended source. There are several things you can do to capitalize on user generated content.

  • Surveys: After a patent visits your practice and/or organisation for the first time, send them a survey to submit patient feedback. This open attitude invites people to feel apart of the growth of your business, not just an entity.
  • Patient Referral Program: Offering rewards and incentives in return for recommendations is a great way to motivate patients to become advocates for your business. This could be as simple as a gift card they receive for referring a patient.
  • Local listings: Sites like DoctorUna don't only provide listings for doctors and clinics, but give prospective patients a window into the facilities of the clinic, the doctors' credentials, and offer an unbiased space for patients to review medical practitioners, as well as manage bookings. There are free and paid models for medical-specific listings, so choose the one that will offer your practice the best return on investment.

7) Video Marketing

Video marketing allows patients to get comfortable with their doctor prior to meeting them. Getting a new doctor can be intimidating and providing n encouraging promotion video can build confidence with new patients. You can also create a testimonial series of videos, showcasing patient testimonials, again to inspire confidence in prospective patients.

8) Innovate with the user experience in mind

Lastly, look to the future and innovate with the patient's user experience in mind. How can you make your patient's life easier in and out of the healthcare system?

Prototype developed a proof of concept design of a multi touch application for the Dubai Health Authority that transformed the patient visits into a digital experience. Users could check into appointments via their mobile, get helpful guidance from touch screens around the hospital and use the app with their doctor to understand the full extent of their illness. This type of innovation was driven to improve the user experience of patients. Look at your processes. How could they be made to be more efficient?

What other healthcare digital marketing ideas do you have? Are you a healthcare provider looking for guidance with your marketing strategy? Contact us here to get a marketing audit or digital consultation.

Written by
Alexander Rauser
Alexander Rauser


Alexander Rauser is the author of Boardroom Guide to Digital Accountability and Digital Strategy: A Guide to Digital Business Transformation, and creator of the DSX Program, a digital strategy and transformation program for Enterprises.

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