It’s no secret that the healthcare landscape is changing. In this increasingly consumer-driven market, providers are not only expected to deliver top-notch care, but also to take on the added responsibility of behaving like a brand — monitoring customer satisfaction, responding to patient reviews and, most importantly, competing for patient business. And, like a brand, if providers want to be successful, they must implement a strategic marketing plan.
Research shows that marketing and patient satisfaction are wielding more and more influence on a provider’s bottom line. So, with patients and profits at stake, it’s imperative that providers adjust to a patient-centric approach in all practices, including marketing.
Developing a marketing plan can seem complex and daunting. However, by following the three Cs outlined below, you can begin creating effective marketing practices that will bring new customers through the door and build existing customer loyalty.
Let’s face it – healthcare is complex. Providers receive positive feedback when simplifying their offerings and selling points in marketing materials. This can be difficult when you know all the ins and outs of your business. Many times, patients are only looking for “quick hits,” pieces of knowledge that tell them who you are, why you’re recommended, and costs associated with your services.
By speaking in terms that are easy to understand, staying away from industry jargon and breaking down complicated topics, providers can make their message more effective. Visuals are another great tool to communicate simply and effectively. Remember, marketing materials are meant to inform, not to overwhelm.
Keep your customer engaged. While you shouldn’t bombard your patients, you shouldn’t let them forget about you either. By sending out regular, well-paced messages, providers can maintain a presence without smothering patients. Consider using statement inserts, monthly emails with news, payment reminders and event notifications to boost your brand awareness.
In marketing, the content you provide matters. Whatever your message, make sure you are communicating it through topics that interest and engage your audience. Once your communications are live, regularly reassess your marketing tactics to gain insights into the effectiveness of campaigns and to optimize future strategies.
Nothing is more confusing than a brand that doesn’t have a consistent voice. Providers can help streamline their voice and messaging by evaluating their communication and touchpoints throughout the patient lifecycle, and by asking themselves a few questions: Where are patients getting confused? Where are they dropping off? How can we better explain a topic or process? Answering these questions can offer insights into where communication is breaking down and where it can be improved.
Achieving consistency is hard enough for those who provide a plethora of services to a range of audiences, let alone those who work regularly with a variety of third-party partners. Here are a couple of ways to help maintain consistency. First, work with partners who value and understand your brand and are trained to communicate in a manner consistent to your messaging. It is imperative to introduce these partners to your audience; patients want to know who is communicating with them and why. Second, select partners whose brands compliment your own – layer in their necessary information into your existing marketing materials to fully inform and educate patients.
At HCS, we recognize the importance of enhancing the patient experience on behalf of the provider. We give partners further opportunities to clearly, continually and consistently communicate with their patients. We leverage elevated, thoughtful marketing tactics to drive brand awareness, repeat purchase, and new patient referrals. Learn more at HCSloans.com.