If you spent 2014 waiting around for inspiration to strike and nothing happened, then 2015 is the year to be more proactive and increase your revenue, attract new patients and get ahead of your competitors.
This year the Internet, mobile devices and social media will continue to shape audience behaviour and how your brand is interpreted. To ensure your brand remains relevant and top of mind, try any one (or all) of our 15 marketing guidelines.
1. Don?t Be Afraid to Experiment
Like many healthcare businesses, budget can be a limiting factor in implementing certain marketing activities, but that doesn?t mean that you can?t try a new approach? We suggest you conduct smaller, niche campaigns to see what will work on a larger scale. E.g. Facebook advertising which can be tailored to your target market?s age, location, interests, etc. and then evolve this into a bigger campaign if deemed successful.
2. Know When to Take Risks
While we don?t want anyone in the healthcare industry taking risks with their patients, as marketers, we can?t always afford to play it safe. If your competitors are doing magazine ads, it doesn?t mean you have to do the same. Go where your competition isn?t or offer a service they are not advertising. Create a niche for your brand e.g. the preferred provider for women?s health or the only GP in Traralgon offering a travel clinic. Most patients can?t tell the difference between practices, so this is your time to differentiate.
3. Start with the Patient in Mind
When it comes to their health, patients want the decision making process to be as simple as possible. Remove any obstacles and make booking that next appointment streamlined and easy for them. Start with your patient in mind and the reputation and brand building will follow.
4. Tick Off Milestones
When building your marketing plan, identify critical objectives and divide them into milestones. This way you can focus the bulk of your attention on ticking off each milestone, which will result in more successful outcomes, than if trying to split your attention over too many objectives at one time.
5. Pay Attention to Market Trends
Stop trying to promote services that you think are a good idea and take a look at market trends and demographics. Are birth rates down? Is skin cancer awareness on the rise? What?s going on with the economy? If you understand how your community is behaving, you can anticipate their healthcare needs.
6. Reflect and Recharge
We have heard it many times before – the key to success is taking time out to reflect and enrich your knowledge base. There are so many opportunities to learn from others in the healthcare industry ? connect with them on LinkedIn, attend conferences, read publications and share ideas. The more time you take to yourself, the better your ideas will be and the more targeted your solutions will become. If you think you don?t have time for this, you can start by scheduling half an hour every week to read a book.
7. Spy on the Competition
Make sure you?re aware of what your competition is doing well and make note of what they?re doing poorly too. While you don?t want to copy what they?re doing, being in the know about what they?re doing can give you insight into how to improve your own efforts.
8. Let Your Patients Help
We highly recommend patient satisfaction and perception surveys to help you find out how you can deliver more value to your patients. It?s a simple process ? Ask them what they want, work to deliver what they need and communicate it back to them.
9. Use the Right Tools
Whether you?re experienced or just starting a new practice, digital marketing tools are essential to your strategy. Not only do they maximise your marketing efforts, but they also offer easier and quicker solutions to any marketing obstacle you stumble upon. Some of these tools include helping you see how your content will do before you publish it (link to http://www.inboundwriter.com/), Analysing SEO on your website (link to http://www.quicksprout.com/), sharing and scheduling content so that your blog and social media posts can go live at the same time (link to http://coschedule.com/). And those are just a few; speak to us about more tools that are more specific to your needs.
10. Be Visual
With the multitude of stimuli out there, you need to capture the attention of your patients at faster rates. Visuals can do that better than text, which means you will need a very strong visual content strategy to stay relevant and get the attention you?re seeking.
11. Build Relationships with Video
Patients look to video as a way to build trust with you. Think about incorporating short and longer form video content that is educational, value-driven and sometimes even fun. What?s more, this strategy will also have a positive impact on your SEO.
12. Use Multiple Touch Points
Gone are the days when you can rely on just one strategy to survive this competitive industry. You?ll need to repurpose your strategies for different applications and reach your patients everywhere all the time.
13. Leverage Conversion Psychology
Psychology plays a major role in every aspect of your marketing strategy. How patients interact with your service is dependent on how well your brand aligns with their personal vision. First, they compare your brand to past experiences, then how your brand makes them feel and lastly they?ll do a cost-benefit analysis. Implementing pshycological triggers throughout different elements of your tactical strategy will opitmise the way your patient interacts with your brand and is essential for improving conversion rates.
14. Get a Google+ Game Plan
Unlike Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc, Google+ won?t gain you that much interaction on your social media posts, but that does not mean it?s not worth doing. Google+ plays a crucial role in search engine optimisation on the localised level, which makes this a must for any marketing strategy in 2015.
15. Build Your Reputation
Build your reputation through digital PR. If you reach out to various media related websites and send them over a solid press release/pitch, they might write an article about you. The more people talking about your practice, the better exposure you will receive during the upcoming year.
We don?t expect you to do each and every on of these 15 guidelines, but if you incorporate some of them, you might just have the perfect year in 2015 from a marketing perspective.
If all this seems overwhelming, Vividus are here to guide you along and advise the best strategies to benefit your practice.