When it comes to brand loyalty, medical practice marketing has always faced a few challenges.
Patients may want to stick with you, but it is not always a free choice – whether they have access to your services is largely dictated by insurance. With that in mind, you have an even taller order than businesses in many other industries.
Not only must your customers want to stick with you, but they need to be willing to make a complex choice in your favor, despite any trade-offs that result. That requires a deeper commitment. It can be hard to get there without consistent, effective medical practice marketing.
So, how do you keep your patients from being “here today, gone tomorrow”?
There are some core goals that all medical practice marketing campaigns should aim to achieve:
- Deepening the doctor-patient relationship – not just any doctor, “my doctor.”
- Differentiating the customer experience, despite the limits it takes place within.
- Maintaining the rhythm of basic interactions, such as check-ups and follow-ups.
Brand loyalty is not just a preference, but a willingness to do what’s necessary to make sure you can continue in your relationship with a company. For medical practices, in particular, that relationship is often very personal – it’s inseparable from one’s own trusted physician.
Thus, there are a lot of factors outside of your medical practice marketing that influence brand loyalty – like the efficiency of your records systems, your payment processes, and how much time people get to spend face-to-face with their doctor. But marketing creates a valuable framework that can help put all these things into a meaningful narrative, making them part of the story of a patient’s life.
Good medical practice marketing empowers and energizes all the other aspects of your practice that are already working the way you would like them to. It also “takes the edge off” those experiences that are negative and provides a way for patients to deliver feedback. That way, they always feel heard.
Any way you look at it, medical practice marketing is complex. It has a lot of moving parts. To make sure you are always moving in the right direction, it’s a wise idea to begin with basic principles. This means you have a North Star that keeps all of your marketing efforts aligned, whatever form they take.
For clarity, we’ll break this topic down into two: What to do and what not to do.
What to Do to Make Brand Loyalty a Cornerstone of Medical Practice Marketing
1. Do Have an Email Marketing List for Your Patients
Email marketing is the digital marketing method with the highest ROI, providing more than $35 in value for every dollar spent. This is true in all industries, and medical care is no exception. Email is powerful since it allows you to connect with recipients in a personalized, intimate way that they have agreed to.
Email marketing is ideal for brand loyalty because it enables you to add value between appointments. Even if months pass between encounters, you still have the power to help patients make smart choices. This also creates a venue for you to inform subscribers about all the services your practice can offer.
2. Do Provide Feedback Mechanisms After Interactions
People of all ages and backgrounds love to feel as if their voice is being heard. That said, there’s a limit to how much they will remember. If you ask their opinion about an appointment weeks after the fact, they might not even recall what happened. Actionable insights come from near-immediate contact.
Digital marketing tools make it easy to connect with patients soon after any important interaction. By incorporating simple feedback forms with clear questions into your marketing, you can seize on areas for improvement. Any positive changes you make can then be touted in future marketing.
One interesting way to generate fast feedback when patients are using your website is to provide a pop-up that simply asks “How easy was this page to use?” on a scale from 1 to 5. Marketers can put results to work by redesigning pages that consistently get a poor score.
3. Do Make Helpful, Informative, Accessible Content
Content marketing is a form of digital marketing that focuses on helping and informing your audience. Nowhere else is it more important than in medical practice marketing. Unclear or false information on health can have a devastating effect, but your brand is uniquely positioned to be a positive force.
Remember, there are many ways to make content more accessible to your audience. Blog writing, for example, could use simple English so the material is easy to read for people of all education levels. A good medical practice website can also be compatible with screen readers and have a “Dark Mode.”
4. Do Have an Official Social Media Presence
Medical practices often shy away from social media because of the complexities surrounding HIPAA. However, it is helpful to have official social media for several reasons. First, it gives you a chance to expand the reach of your content. Second, it helps mitigate impersonators.
Depending on how your social media is set up, you may use it as part of your customer service. Your social media team can keep an eye out for brand mentions to follow up on. Make sure your team is familiar with all your content so they can forward the right resources to those who contact them.
5. Do Use Doctor-Led Video Storytelling, Especially for Tough Topics
Video storytelling is about making a human connection. It is “the next best thing to being there.” On top of that, it is also the most popular type of content online. Videos tend to get more shares and comments than any alternative, and people more easily remember what they see in a video.
When doctors appear directly in video marketing, it can be even more powerful.
Despite how it might seem sometimes in today’s contentious media environment, most people trust and respect doctors – their achievements are highly regarded. A doctor’s word carries weight, so try to find members of your clinical team who are eager to learn how to be comfortable in front of the camera.
Five Mistakes Medical Practices Must Avoid to Protect Brand Loyalty
1. Don’t Talk Over Your Patients
Brands find themselves talking over their audience when they’re talking “at” them rather than “to” them. Of course, there are many things a doctor knows better than a patient – but unless patients completely buy in, adherence will be low, and long-term care outcomes may suffer.
In marketing, talking over the audience comes in the form of publishing content that isn’t aligned with what people really want or need. The effect is compounded when the content is long, complicated, or just plain confusing. This type of marketing wastes time, money, and critical opportunities.
2. Don’t Assume “If You Build It, They Will Come”
Outside the medical field, entrepreneurs are often disappointed by the results their digital marketing gives them. They build a website, fire off a few emails or tweets about it, and wait – for the world to beat down a path to their door. Alas, it doesn’t really work that way.
Today’s digital marketing is a marathon rather than a sprint. Marketing needs to find its way into your priority list and receive consistent time and attention. New content needs to be produced, edited, and promoted, and current patients need clear entryways into your information ecosystem.
3. Don’t Give People the Runaround – Even by Accident
Even if you have thousands of pages on your medical practice website, they won’t be of much use unless an average patient can find a path through them. The different resources available need to be easy to locate and use. That starts but doesn’t end, with an efficient search function on your website.
Ideally, content on your website should be clearly organized by category in a logical way. It’s vital not to “hide” information more than three layers deep within a website’s structure. Having a way to connect users to someone who can help in real-time is also very effective for combating confusion.
Medical practices should invest in a variety of ways for patients to contact them – email, telephone, social media, and online help desk are the options that now make up an “omnichannel” strategy.
4. Don’t Settle for Amateurs or Interns in Digital Marketing
Many small and mid-sized companies have made the mistake of letting someone unqualified handle digital marketing. Medical practices simply can’t risk it – sensitive data is at stake and lives are affected. When you want to be sure your marketing is in good hands, partner with a local marketing agency with a record of success for organizations like yours.
5. Don’t Go Without a Plan
A marketing plan needs to establish two things from day one – who you are talking to and what action you want them to take. From these seeds, brand loyalty can sprout. Along the way, it’s essential for a marketing expert to “reality check” your marketing by finding out what’s really working.
That capability is provided by data analytics software, which helps marketers see how someone found your website and precisely what they did once they got there. A digital marketing agency can use this information to create more compelling and useful content that your patients value.
New York Ave Makes Medical Practice Marketing Simpler – And More Effective – Than Ever
Medical practices don’t have the time or resources to “throw things at the wall and see what sticks.”
Especially in Central Florida, it’s crucial that medical practice marketing be based on a proven framework that gets real results. New York Ave is a Central Florida marketing agency that has been at work longer than many others bringing modern, data-driven marketing to the medical world.
In order to treat a patient, you know you need data – what works, what doesn’t, and what interactions are possible. The same thing is true in medical practice marketing. The “art” of marketing is increasingly a science because hypotheses can be developed and tested based on clear results.
Anyone who offers less is trying to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge, not real marketing.
From doctors to patients to administrative and support staff and everyone in between, the community benefits from medical practice marketing that cuts through the clutter. Work with us for marketing that moves you toward your goals and helps patients make informed healthcare decisions.
Contact New York Ave today to find out more or get started.