Living in a pandemic the past two years brought important truths to light. Here’s one: We really need healthcare workers. They play an essential role not just during a pandemic but throughout our lives. Whether we’re seeking preventive care, looking for cures for minor ailments, or facing major illnesses, healthcare providers are so important that it might seem that they shouldn’t need to market their services.
But it’s important to remember that today’s patients are also consumers. They have choices in healthcare service providers. Healthcare marketing can help providers stay front of mind when their patients need them. Doctors, dentists, hospitals, pharmacies, and home health companies can all benefit from marketing.
What Is Healthcare Marketing?
Just as in any industry, healthcare marketing involves creating brand authority, differentiating your services from similar providers, and bringing both new and repeat customers into your facilities for the care they need.
Healthcare marketing has a few elements that differ, however, from other types of marketing. Educating customers about your services can be a life-or-death initiative. It can mean raising awareness about the symptoms of serious illnesses, promoting screenings and preventive care and, as a result, lowering costs for patients across the board. Studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that 75% of all healthcare costs in the U.S. come from preventable, chronic diseases, such as diabetes.
Reducing costs by raising awareness regarding screenings and preventive care can lead to increased profits for providers, but it can also help make care more accessible to more people. When you consider the profound, life-changing results of effective healthcare marketing, you’ll realize that marketing might be more important in the healthcare industry than in any other.
Healthcare Marketing Is Even More Crucial in a Competitive Market
Healthcare marketing isn’t just about raising awareness of diseases, prevention, and treatments. Consumers have more choices than ever before in healthcare providers. From multiple choices in doctors to newer forms of healthcare, such as digital health and telehealth, providers must differentiate themselves to gain market share — just like in any other industry.
Benefits of healthcare Marketing
The difference between healthcare marketing and marketing in other industries is what’s at stake — a healthier future for us all. That’s why it’s important to understand your organization’s mission before you dive into any campaigns. Consider the benefits you hope to achieve from marketing, and then craft your message based on the unique benefits you’ll offer to your patients. Effective campaigns that can improve healthcare outcomes in the U.S. means everybody wins.
Differentiate From Your Competitors
As with any other business or organization, a key reason to market is to set yourself apart from your competitors. In healthcare more than any other field, one of the differentiators is personal connections with your patients. Cutting-edge treatments and technology may also set your organization apart, but your responsibility toward your patients should always be a part of your message.
Improve Public Perception
Especially now, during a world health crisis, healthcare workers may face challenges with public perception. The high cost of healthcare reflects poorly on an industry where the workers are already overworked, underpaid, and sometimes even disrespected. Tactful, compassionate marketing campaigns can help shift that public perception and build trust. In turn, this can encourage people to get the treatments or preventive medicine they need to stay healthy.
Build Brand and Industry Authority
Similarly, your organization can use thought-leadership campaigns to establish trust, so when those messages about new treatments or best practices need to be shared with the public, you’ve built authority.
Patients might seek out care from your organization first if they hear your public service announcements. But even if they turn to a competitor or another provider in the field after you’ve done the job of educating them, they will still get the care they need. It’s crucial for healthcare providers to work to provide credibility for the whole industry.
Increase Revenue by Building Patient Loyalty
Of course, as with any business, you want your marketing campaigns to show a return on your investment. By building trust, establishing brand recognition, and showing that you view yourself as a partner in your patients’ care, you will build loyalty. You may also increase word-of-mouth referrals and reduce appointment cancellations and no-shows.
Effective marketing may result in better patient outcomes, a healthier population, and — as a happy side effect for your organization — increased revenue. More revenue enables your organization to deliver better care to all patients, across demographics and income levels.
Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer specializing in technology, e-commerce, and finance, and is the owner of the boutique content-marketing agency Allcot Media and GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel and entertainment website.