A healthcare marketing plan refers to the set of strategies and activities employed over a period of time to drive specific business-driven key performance indicators. It is the blueprint used by a healthcare organization to achieve tangible and measurable objectives that are in line with the health organization’s overall goals for a given year.
A marketing plan is not exactly something one just throws together while hoping for the best outcome. Rather, it is something that is carefully defined and agreed on among various internal stakeholders, with a step-by-step plan of attack clearly laid out for the year ahead.
A good marketing plan helps you anticipate, assess, prepare and build your strategy so that your company grows and matures over time.
When it comes to healthcare marketing, you shouldn’t cut corners or look for an easy path. Trust should be the main pillar for success in the healthcare industry; it is not a characteristic that is easy to build.
To build client confidence, a step-by- step actionable healthcare marketing plan is required. Luckily, we’ve got a great example for you to sink your teeth into!
New year, new you, right? There’s never a better time to start something new than in January. If you are building your healthcare marketing plan from the ground up, it’s going to be a busy month.
Self-assess your current marketing plan
First thing’s first, where in your marketing plan do you currently stand?
You can’t move forward if you don’t know your current position. Gauging the company’s current position is a great way to get involved in the marketing process.
Figure out what your current strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to digital marketing to help identify which steps are most suited to your business. Some of the step-by-step plan may be necessary for your company, whether it’s been previously created or has been rendered obsolete by the team, there’s plenty of room for customization within the actionable plan. Check out this article on some experiential marketing campaigns too.
Take a couple of days to build an analysis of the company’s current marketing plan if you desire to take full advantage of the year ahead.
Claim your Google business listing
Next up on our New Year’s resolutions list is claiming your Google business listing. A Google business listing on Google My Business is a standard, and more importantly free, service provided by Google to all local businesses throughout the US.
As Google search is one of the main tools available to the general public for finding information about healthcare and locating local healthcare services, having a listing profile could simply make or break your business and flip a negative impression to a positive.
If your business does not currently have a business listing on Google, it’s time to claim yours. The free listing is great for customization and lets you add pictures of your establishment, the hours of operation and, incredibly importantly, allows patients to review your practice.
Claiming your Google business listing could be one of the most powerful tools in your library, especially when it comes to local traffic searching for trustworthy practices and locations.
Build a LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn may have been a bit of a stale, grey network in the past – but it’s really coming into its own in 2019 with the introduction of hashtags, articles and posts and a variety of other new tools from the network.
With over 500 million members LinkedIn is a B2B and B2C gold mine when it comes to healthcare marketing. Kevin Pho, MD, estimates that 10-15% of all of his patients have found him through his online presence – accrediting LinkedIn for increased business online.
Put simply, LinkedIn is serious underpriced attention and if there’s one thing you should be doing in January 2019, it’s creating a profile and getting serious with the professional social network.
Add your listing on popular websites
You’re more likely to receive and benefit from positive reviews just from your presence on popular physician rating websites.
From an analysis of 4999 online physician ratings, it was revealed that the majority of patients give favorable online ratings to physicians.
Adding your listing on popular sites might just give your brand the boost it needs to promote positive reviews and build a better reputation throughout.
Moving into February, the month of romance, we’re focusing on some major website related issues that are more than likely to help build your brand and your healthcare marketing plan.
Build a mobile first website
Put simply, if you don’t have a website in 2019 then you’re setting yourself up to fail from the get go.
A staggering 81% of consumers perform online research before making a purchase. By owning the content that goes out to the public, you can put your own spin on your company and make sure you are presenting the products and services for what they really are.
With 52.4% of all users on the web coming from mobile platforms and Google unequivocally putting mobile users first – a site with the focus on its mobile platform is imperative if your company is to be successful.
Whether it’s a simple WordPress-themed site or a much higher budgeted site to be used long-term, a professional site that positions your business and associated keywords high in the Google ranking algorithm is beyond important for a business to survive in 2019.
Proactively monitor your presence
No smart healthcare marketing plan operates without presence monitoring for good reason.
Your online reputation as a doctor can change in a matter of minutes and one bad review or questionable news story can change the face of the company and the image that is brought to mind when it’s considered.
It’s important to keep on top of what people are saying, whether that means trawling the comments sections or setting up Google Alerts to notify you whenever your name or practice/company name is mentioned online.
Keep up-to-date with your presence on the web to ensure that you are receiving good news and reviews and tweak them accordingly.
Be careful online
Not just a point for February, but a point that cannot be emphasized enough year round: Being careful online, especially when it comes to your healthcare marketing plan is imperative.
There is nothing that looks worse than companies arguing and disputing with their clients and customers. With 24-hour access across social media outlets, this is unfortunately something we regularly see.
The bottomline of this is simple: Be careful online.
Make sure the brand is not promoting anything offensive or causing arguments with those in the comments sections of posts. Great customer service and brand behaviour is vital to gaining trust in your healthcare marketing plan.
Moving into the third month of the year, your healthcare marketing plan should really be taking shape with the rewards for the time spent promoting awareness just beginning to appear.
However, you would be very foolish to let your foot off of the gas pedal and begin coasting if there’s so much to continue collecting from riding the wave – so why stop here?
Customer service training for staff
Great customer service has always been the selling point of so many industries, from hospitality to retail and everything in between. It might surprise you just how valued good customer service is in the healthcare industry.
A combined 48% of patients stated that they value the friendliness of medical staff and ease of scheduling appointments over other information when reading online reviews.
Customer service training for staff within the company is a hugely beneficial factor. With patients leaving reviews about the areas they feel are the most important – it’s wise to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Training every staff member in basic customer service is the best course of action. With a policy in place to encourage standardised behaviour, the company will quickly build a great reputation.
Don’t be surprised if accompanying a better approach to customer service you suddenly notice a happier work environment, along with increased business, as wellbeing and customer interactions are improved.
Respond to each and every comment
In 2019 there are few to no boundaries about what people can say about your company, how they say it and where they post it. However, it’s important to take the time to respond to each of these individual comments, regardless of whether they are positive or negative.
When seeing positive feedback, thank patients for kind words about the company and aim to brighten the day of the commenter. Be sure to avoid personal details and stick to pleasant inoffensive remarks/statements.
When responding to negative feedback,do not reply in anger or attempt to solve any issues that the commenter may present. If the comments are spam or automated messages that could harm the business, simply remove them from the comments section, if possible. Better still, where possible act to problem solve.
Maximise the engagement and minimise the damage when it comes to responding. You want as much engagement as possible without any of the backlash from heated conversations and sarcastic comments – even if they are deserved.
Backlinks and Search Engine Optimisation
Building up your site is one of the most beneficial elements of a healthcare marketing plan. It can be a fantastic method for boosting the authority of the domain and start your business or practice on the path of higher rankings for keywords in the area of expertise.
Attempting to rank for locally searched terms is vital for a healthcare marketing plan and with the use of search engine optimization (SEO), it can be achieved through the use of clever writing.
Authority of the site is primarily built with backlinks. In this process, an incoming link comes to your site from another one, thereby giving your site authority on the subject. The more backlinks your site has, the higher that it will rank in search engine results.
A staggering 93% of searchers don’t move past the front page, focusing all of their attention on the top 10 search results. As a consequence, it’s imperative that you’re in the top 10 for the areas you are targeting if you want to make any impact from your site.
Generate great, valuable content that the company is proud of and that informs readers in a way that they can understand with a focus on SEO. This is the best way to create organic backlinks will build over time as the site builds in authority.
The bottom line
There’s plenty to be excited about and get busy with when it comes to planning your marketing techniques for the first quarter of 2019.
- Self-assess your current marketing plan: Take a couple of days to build an analysis of the company’s current marketing plan in order to take full advantage of the year ahead.
- Claim your Google business listing: Claiming your Google business listing could be one of the most powerful tools in your library, especially when it comes to local traffic searching for trustworthy practices and locations.
- Build a LinkedIn profile: LinkedIn is serious underpriced attention and if there’s one thing that you should be doing in January 2019, it’s creating a profile and getting serious with the professional social network.
- Add your listing to popular websites: Adding your listing on popular sites might just give your brand the boost it needs to promote positive reviews and build a better reputation throughout.
- Build a mobile first website: Whether it’s a simple WordPress-themed site or a much higher budget site to be used long-term, a professional site that ranks for your business and associated keywords is beyond important for your firm to survive in 2019.
- Proactively monitor your presence : Keep up-to-date with your presence on the web to ensure that you’re receiving good news and reviews; tweak accordingly.
- Be careful online: Make sure that the brand is not promoting anything offensive or causing arguments with those in the comments sections of posts. Great customer service and brand behaviour is vital to trust in your healthcare marketing plan.
- Provide customer service training for staff: With a better approach to customer service, don’t be surprised if you suddenly notice a happier work environment along with increased business as wellbeing and customer interactions improve.
- Respond to each and every comment: Maximize the engagement and minimize the damage when it comes to responding. You want as much engagement as possible without any of the backlash from heated conversations and sarcastic comments – even if they are deserved.
- Backlinks and Search Engine Optimization: Generate great, valuable content that the company is proud of and that informs readers in a way that they can understand with a focus on SEO. This is the best way to create organic backlinks; they will build over time as the site increases its authority.
Of course, at the end of each month, it is a great idea to measure, test and optimize your strategy based on what results you’ve seen from the previous month and what effect each of these have had. This is really just the tip of the iceberg, there are plenty more available in 2020!