Last year, 72% of internet users searched online for healthcare information. In fact, healthcare was the second most searched service online. With statistics like this, it is a no brainier to develop compelling medical marketing content to brand your organization, education your patients and team, and build your doctor or hospitals reputation. In fact, your patients are demanding it.
However, according the Content Marketing Institute, the healthcare industry is behind the social media movement by about 2 years. So, if your patients are searching for healthcare information, but you are not providing it; then who is? And can they be trusted?
In a time when a doctor or hospital is often selected based on insurance referrals or convenience, it is becoming more important to engage with your patients to maintain your relationships in a unique way. The internet has become a source for patients to take their health away from HMOs and back into their own hands. They are educating themselves before they even enter the exam room. Wouldn’t you rather they receive the information from you, than somewhere else?
Content marketing is a huge undertaking for any organization, which is often why hospitals and healthcare providers hire outside medical marketing firms to create content on their behalf. But is a marketing firm the best to way reach your audience? Is the content they are producing building a relationship with your patents in the same way it would if the content were coming personally from you or your office? It is important to consider is that YOU know your patients and their needs better than anyone else, so the communication that you deliver to them will be received with trust.
Here’s an example of how a hospital used marketing to garner trust, and brand awareness.
In November of 2014, the American Marketing Association ranked the top marketing tactics that hospitals used to reach their target audience. First place was awarded for a non-traditional campaign by NYU Langone Medical Center. They created a radio station hosted on Sirius XM called Doctor Radio, where they invited doctors to discuss a wide variety of healthcare issues, while accepting questions via email or twitter.
This example of thinking about healthcare marketing out of the box allowed the medical center to reach a large audience while building brand awareness and reputation for their hospital. It also happens to be an excellent example of using medical marketing to reach their audience.
But how can you do something similar, and perhaps on a smaller scale? The trick in marketing is to think out of the box. We have all become immune to advertising and traditional marketing. So, how do you reach the patients?
Here are some out of the box medical marketing content tips:
Use your patient portal to add a ‘ask the doc’ box. Leave it optional to submit a question anonymously. (if you don’t have a patient portal, stick the box on your website). Create a monthly newsletter or vlog to answer the questions that you receive. Don’t forget to create a library of your content for people to search through.
Create an interactive webinar series once a month, inviting all of your patients to join and ask questions. Similar to the radio station above, you can provide instant feedback, but to a smaller scale. Once again, the recordings can be saved for later viewings.
Create a LinkedIn group and invite all of your patients to join. Allow them to submit questions and interact with each other. Have someone on your team moderate the page and alert you to anything that may be posted inaccurately or inappropriately. Don't forget to join the conversations.
That healthcare professionals are often concerned about providing medical advice over a public forum is not an excuse to ignore social media. After all, this is where the conversation is already happening. Create a Twitter account where you can post the articles you are reading about on a daily basis. If someone asks you a question, provide them with reputable sources or articles to find the answer or learn more about their concerns. Providing them with information wont lose you a patient, but will gain their trust in you.
Create a social media promotional campaign urging people to encourage their friends and family to get flu shots. Set up a ranking system where people can compete by providing the most referrals to your office.
Marketing your medical practice or hospital doesn’t have to be formal or traditional. You may need to think out of the box to boost your marketing to the next level, but in the end, you will be one step closer to social and not traditional marketing movement.