You can see this effect right now as millions of Americans delay healthcare due to COVID-19. Seniors, in particular, have largely opted to put off appointments as a means of lowering their infection risk. If new social distancing rules are enacted, the impact is sure to be even more dramatic.
Local medical practices can’t always motivate patients to go out and get care, especially when there’s a level of risk no one can control. However, they can maintain and even deepen the relationships they have with those patients, benefiting everyone when the situation normalizes.
Eight Ways Medical Practices Can Connect With Patients in Stressful Times
Think of a crisis as any large event that changes patients’ priorities due to worries about health or safety. Digital marketing is the ideal way to help your audience through it all while keeping your brand relevant. The key is using your platform to provide resources that make the situation easier to handle.
1. Avoid Guilt And Other Hot-Button Emotions
Most patients understand the risks of delaying healthcare, especially if they are experiencing new or unexplained symptoms. It’s important for medical practices to take a supportive role by focusing the patients’ attention on what they can control, not what they can’t. Useful content about maintaining wellness and safety from home is in high demand during any crisis.
2. Make A Difference Without Making The Sale
Businesses of all kinds that push services too hard during a crisis will get a backlash – that’s even true of small, family-owned medical practices like dentists or chiropractors. Empathy is essential: Think about the patients’ big challenges, like children staying home from school, and meet their needs. For example, a practice could distribute free coloring pages with the help of their digital marketing agency.
3. Ramp Up Your Social Media Presence
2020 has truly been the year of “Doomscrolling.” It’s what happens when people are anxious over the unknown and hungry for information about a crisis, but it’s not coming. Stuck, they turn to websites or social media feed and scroll continuously for morsels of news. Quality blog posts and videos shared on your social accounts might not break the cycle, but they redirect attention to you so you can do good!
4. Curate The Most Valuable Information
Medical practices have the opportunity to become some of the most trusted voices online, but that doesn’t mean you need to do it all alone. Expert sources like The Centers for Disease Control and, in conventional natural disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, put out regular updates relevant to your patients. You can share these on social media or explain them in your blog posts.
5. Reach Out Through Email Marketing
Are you using email marketing to the fullest? Now’s the time to ensure your list is segmented so each subscriber gets relevant content. In addition to leads and current patients, touch base with “lapsed” patients who haven’t visited lately. You can also use location and demographic data to focus on the members of your community most likely to be facing hardship in a current crisis.
6. Dive Into Video And Live Streaming
When people find themselves in uncertain situations, they look to bridge the distance with their family and friends. 2020 has seen a huge rise in live streaming, expected to be 82% of internet traffic for the year. Medical practices can adapt with video events such as question and answer sessions. Digital marketing pros can set up the equipment and software you need so you stay focused on what you do best.
7. Find Unexpected Ways To Check In
Now’s the ideal time to check in on your patients, especially the most active ones. Patients who’ve left positive reviews, referred others, or who simply never miss an appointment will often appreciate your attention. A quick phone call or text opens the door to serving their changing needs. You might also use a social media mention or send a card – handwritten is best. Personal touches matter!
8. Be Aware Of Patients’ Specific Issues And Needs
In every crisis, some groups are at high risk. Communicating with the right audience–whether it’s elders or worried parents–hinges on hearing and answering their needs. Today, many older patients are wary of crowded waiting rooms and don’t want to wait long. They may balk at the idea of an in-person visit to check vitals and renew a prescription. How can your business respond?
Review your policies and find ways to improve convenience while staying true to regulatory demands. Then, be sure your content makes clear how you’ve responded to patient feedback. Making things a little bit easier for patients can pave the way for their visit when they are on the fence.
Digital Marketing Helps Medical Practices Stand By Communities When They’re Most In Need
Digital marketing for medical practices can make a big difference in your bottom line, but it doesn’t end there. The right strategy also identifies opportunities to show empathy to the patients who trust in your services. Throughout COVID-19, our team has worked with medical practices like yours to carry the spirit of community into marketing–ensuring patients feel heard, respected, and truly cared for.
To find out more, contact New York Ave today.