Why Healthcare Marketing is Scarier Than Dating Charlie Sheen or Taylor Swift
Digital marketing is a scary and fast-moving world that directly clashes with the pace of the healthcare industry. Maintaining a private practice in this shifting landscape can be a daunting task for anyone not well-versed in healthcare marketing.
1. Entering the Unknown
In order to compete for patients, private practices must be able to not only differentiate themselves but also, establish themselves as a well-known brand in their community. Without experience in healthcare marketing or medical marketing, this can be quite overwhelming. Reaching these potential patients requires executing and maintaining a multi-media approach, integrating the latest digital platforms; from Facebook to Google Adwords. However, before you even begin to implement any marketing efforts, it’s important to strategize and plan accordingly.
2. The Learning Curve in Digital Technology
Most potential patients these days are extremely tech savvy. If you want to implement a marketing strategy that incorporates the latest technology and are unfamiliar with it, learning and adopting the trending mediums can and will be time-consuming.
3. Upfront Costs May Seem Like a Big Investment
Doctor referrals are a thing of the past. Direct-to-consumer marketing has proven to be a successful strategy for private practices across the country. However, in using this approach you will spend more money upfront in creating a modern website, building patient resources, creating advertisements, developing and executing marketing campaigns etc. As you test your marketing tactics, you will be able to pinpoint a media combination that works best for your practice; a process known as optimization. Through these iterations, your cost per appointment will steadily decrease. And over time, you will see a significant return on your investment.
4. Quantifying Results is Time Consuming and Difficult to Measure
Unless you have a team of digital marketing experts, measuring the impact of your healthcare marketing efforts can be cumbersome and frustrating. Managing a practice and practicing medicine is a job in and of itself. Optimization requires constant monitoring and, at the least, monthly reporting. Depending on the key performance indicators you wish to measure, you will need to pull data from multiple sources. Sources can include Google Analytics, Google Adwords, Facebook, CRM system, phone tracking, EHR, etc. You may need to hire a consultant or agency to assist you in measuring your performance, as it is crucial in optimization. Without effective tracking measures in place, strategic decisions are impossible to make.
5. Patients Have Options
Today, with technology at our fingertips, patients have limitless options when choosing a medical practitioner. From ZocDoc to a myriad of online scheduling websites, patients can book and cancel appointments right from their mobile devices. Reputation management is also a large part of healthcare marketing; online reviews can bolster new patient appointments or destroy a practice’s reputation. As competition amongst private practices becomes more competitive, it will become increasingly difficult to differentiate your practice. The strongest medical brands conduct extensive consumer research and align their healthcare marketing efforts for best results.