The way to do it? Act on your knowledge of your patient community. Provide content and features that speak to their lifestyle. In short, extend the personal attention they want from their medical provider from the examination room into every part of the digital experience.
Medical practices face some significant limitations when it comes to marketing. They can’t promise the moon. But they can help patients make informed, effective decisions that move them toward their health goals. Modern digital marketing makes it easier.
Let’s look at some of the top ways practices can stand out in 2020 and beyond:
1. Integrate Scheduling Into Your Digital Experience
One of the biggest hurdles for any new patient is scheduling the first appointment. Patients may not look at options until the situation is getting urgent. The last thing they want to do is get on the phone with a provider when the process could be managed in minutes online.
Luckily, you can integrate patient-centered scheduling into your website with a handy online calendar. Properly configured, this gives the patient the ability to see all of the times your staff will be available for intake and select one based on their needs.
Not only does this make things more convenient, it can also tie into your patient retention.
In a well-designed digital experience, all this happens after a first appointment is made:
- The patient receives an automated confirmation of the appointment date and time.
- The patient gets any and all paperwork necessary to facilitate a first appointment.
- The patient is directed to content that introduces the practice and medical team.
- The patient gets a walkthrough or checklist of how to get ready for the appointment.
2. Use Video Storytelling To Establish Your Brand
Studies show one cause of physician burnout is losing face-time with patients in favor of bureaucratic tasks. Many younger patients do not even realize an appointment longer than ten minutes – or a relationship founded on trust – is a core part of the medical profession.
Of course, you can’t be with patients all the time. Through video, you can build a bond that helps them reach out to you and communicate more effectively. You can introduce your team, show your office and equipment, and offer tips. Video makes it all more memorable.
Many physicians have found video is the next best thing to being there. Anxious patients are more likely to make appointments and all patients are more likely to follow their treatment plans.
3. Use Interactive Content To Define Patient Needs
Left unchecked, self-diagnosis can provoke panic. Sadly, though, many patients go to the other extreme: They may not realize that what they are experiencing is a symptom at all.
Interactive tests, quizzes, and checklists can help patients understand when an issue warrants prompt medical attention. All these are easy to implement on any modern website.
Naturally, medical practices need to be careful what data they collect online and whether it is personally identifiable. That said, interactive content can give patients new ways to articulate the problems they’re having – which can make it easier to find a way forward.
4. Share Your Insights On Personal Wellness
You may not be a Dr. Oz or a Sanjay Gupta, but your voice is even more valuable to your patients.
We live in an era where virtually every business is embracing its role as a publisher. It’s called content marketing, and it draws prospective patients to you when they search for terms relevant to your practice.
That can include the names of symptoms, disorders, and treatments.
Bear in mind that many sites have been built around those terms for more than a decade and are highly visible. To enhance your search engine presence, it’s a good idea to go beyond – to the intersection of healthcare and lifestyle choices your patients make every day.
- A chiropractor might write about the relationship between posture and spine health.
- A dentist can discuss myths about brushing and flossing that patients may believe.
- An optometrist might help visitors set up their work space for better eye health.
Yes, everyone has something to say. But when doctors talk, people are more likely to listen. Your site will be far more attractive to most local search users than content crafted by a celebrity or self-help guru.
5. Maintain The Patient-Doctor Relationship With Email
By the same token, few patients are going to see their doctor’s name and click “unsubscribe.”
New email marketing rules mean patients need to clearly opt in for email marketing. Once they do so, you have the opportunity to help them reach health goals between appointments – and remember to make those future appointments, too.
Some areas where medical email marketing really shines:
- Reminding patients when it’s time to set an appointment or update a prescription.
- Informing patients about any seasonal or travel-related health risks to prepare for.
- Highlighting any new blog and video content that can help patients feel their best.
In 2020 and beyond, medical practice marketing will break out of the mold of the old-fashioned e-newsletter. It will offer an ongoing, interactive, and personalized conversation that equips patients to pursue whole health – whatever that may look like for them.
The creative team at New York Ave works with medical professionals to craft a marketing strategy that serves as a genuine extension of the doctor-patient relationship.
To find out more or get started, contact us today.