It’s not news to anyone living in the U.S. that our health care system is changing, evolving, and moving at lightning speed. With rampant consolidations, rise in consumer health care costs, and the emergence of MedTech and online doctors – how do health care providers keep the customers they have and woo new ones?
Traditional marketing such as print ads, billboards, TV, and radio are ineffective unless done consistently and often requiring cost prohibitive dollars for smaller practices and non-profit organizations such as visiting nurse associations and community-based hospitals. Digital marketing, such as utilizing your website, social media channels and email campaigns, are surely effective but must be monitored and managed by someone or a team who not only understands the science and creative behind an effective digital presence, but also has deep knowledge on HIPAA.
The Answer? The Human Factor
- Community Relations Outreach is one of the most effective ways to stay in front of referral sources and your patients. Having an on staff Community Relations Liaison can be a game changer. Their job is to network, educate referral sources, and educate. This can be in the form of attending local Chamber events, health fairs, or offering educational events to groups/associations/venues such as Senior/Assisted Living homes, local schools – or anywhere your patients or potential patients “live”.
- Brand Evangelists are current patients or referral sources who believe and trust in your services and willingly share their positive experiences with the world. It’s key to identify these people and reward them- a simple Thank You note or call goes a long way. Today, people “buy” based on the opinions of others. More often than not, someone faced with making a decision on a new health care provider will ask a friend, family member, or colleague for advice on whom to choose. When you get a new patient, ask why they chose you.
- Ratings on such platforms as Health Grades and Google go a long way. Make sure your profile is current including a photo, what you offer, office hours, insurance accepted, etc. More importantly ASK your patients to give you a review. Many practices do this via email marketing post visit. It’s simple, can be automated, and also keeps staff on their toes if they KNOW they will be reviewed post visit.
In a world of rapidly changing technology and forms of marketing we often forget the simplest and least expensive – the human factor. Investing a bit of time setting up some internal processes and committing to the practice will not only improve your patients’ experiences, it will also give you priceless marketing ROI.
Senior Vice President, Commercial Lender