Online Marketing: 5 Tips for Healthcare Facilities
Managing a healthcare facility is far from simple, especially when you’re looking for a way to spread your message in a competitive industry. As you learn more about healthcare marketing, you might be wondering: How can I use online marketing to gain exposure and increase revenue for my facility or residence?
If you’re looking for information about online marketing for beginners, we’ve got you covered. We’ll explore the basics of marketing online, the benefits associated with it, and explain important steps in the process of enhancing your facility’s marketing strategy.
What Is Online Marketing?
Online marketing is the use of digital marketing strategies to promote an organization’s products or services. In healthcare, one strategy for reaching users online might be focused on promoting a new facility or residence, advertising a product or offering, reaching potential patients, developing a trusted online presence, or recruiting medical professionals for employment.
Additionally, digital marketing involves a wide range of tactics and is constantly adapting to advances in the digital world. Despite changes, the goal of marketing online remains the same — to reach a broader audience, which can lead to increased patient satisfaction and engagement, greater hiring potential, and increased revenue.
Why Is Online Marketing Important?
The importance of online marketing lies in its ability to communicate your organization’s services to a greater number of people. This increased awareness of your brand can help you achieve many positive outcomes, including those listed below.
- Develop credibility: Consistent, informative, and useful content can help you build a greater level of trust with your audience. This can help your organization stand out as an industry leader.
- Generate engagement:Digital marketing can help direct patients and employees to your organization’s website, which can lead to increased online and in-person interactions.
- Reach target audiences: You can spread the word about your facility or residence to the specific populations you’re trying to reach with targeted marketing techniques.
- Gain a competitive edge: Patients are turning to the internet in record numbers to address medical needs. A strategic digital marketing plan can leverage this exposure and set you apart from industry competitors.
- Increase revenue: Digital marketing is a cost-effective way to reach a broader audience, making it more likely that you’ll generate profit while attracting new patients.
Online Marketing Strategy Tips
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the online marketing process. Your strategy will differ depending on your specific offerings, goals, and patient populations, but keep the following tips in mind as you create a marketing strategy.
1. Define Your Target Audience
Research is an important first step in digital marketing. It’s important to gather information about the goals, preferences, and needs of your audience. You can do this by conducting surveys and interviews, while paying close attention to specific pain points.
Then, you can use this data to create audience personas — a description of a specific individual who represents a wider portion of your target audience. For example, an assisted living facility (ALF) might create a persona of an older adult who is feeling the burden of independently caring for their home as they age. The organization could then create marketing materials to show that individual how living in an ALF could simplify their living situation.
2. Clarify Your Brand Identity
As you consider your patients and community, you must determine how your organization is uniquely suited to meet their needs. It’s essential that you have a strong grasp of the distinctive strengths of your facility or residence. Take some time to answer the following questions to get a clearer understanding of your brand identity.
- Mission: What are your organization’s primary values?
- Tone: How does your brand voice resonate with your target audience?
- Visuals: How does your logo and branding set you apart?
- Differentiation: What makes your facility different from competitors?
3. Set Clear Goals
Before jumping into the specific methods, define the purpose of your marketing campaign. Goals might include increasing patient volume, promoting a new service or facility, building brand awareness, or attracting nursing professionals for employment.
Then, work with your team to craft specific, measurable goals to achieve the larger purpose. Each goal should have associated metrics, a clear timeline, and a realistic budget.
For example, a skilled nursing facility (SNF) might make a goal to increase traffic on their website by 25%, measure the metric of new visitors to the website, and set a three month timeline.
4. Choose Your Online Marketing Tools
There are a number of methods you can use to achieve your marketing goals.
- Email marketing: Use an email address database to send informative newsletters on a consistent basis.
- Social media marketing: Engage with patients, prospective employees, healthcare professionals, and your local community by employing a strong social media strategy.
- Content marketing: Create valuable and educational content that addresses the questions and needs of your target audience.
- Website optimization: Use best-practices of healthcare website design, such as search engine optimization (SEO) and calls to action (CTAs), to give your website a boost.
- Online review management: Encourage patients to leave reviews and manage them effectively to build a strong reputation.
- Paid advertising: Purchase ads on search engines, social media, or other websites.
5. Measure and Review Results
Part of a productive online marketing strategy is analyzing performance results. Use web analytics tools to track the effectiveness of your marketing plan and make changes as necessary. You may find that certain methods are more effective for your target audience than others, so make sure to base our marketing decisions on measurable data.
Reminder: Be sure that your marketing strategy adheres to the compliance regulations in the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This requires organizations to receive authorization before using an individual’s health information for marketing purposes.
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