7 Solutions For Healthcare Marketing Problems
It is important to get this out into the open as quickly as possible, no matter the level of awkwardness it may present — healthcare systems are businesses and need to operate as such. While the number of issues that these systems face as businesses is high, one of the areas where they encounter major problems is healthcare marketing.
Why? Well, one need only imagine being in an ER waiting room in pain and be approached by staff that isn’t there to assist you, per se, but is hoping to show you some of the great amenities a prospective room the hospital has to offer after you’re admitted. You guessed it — marketing from that side of things feels tacky. But healthcare systems have to remain profitable in order to stay in place and serve their communities. So, how can they do this without crossing a line?
First, it is important to take into consideration one of the biggest obstacles that healthcare marketing will face at all times — the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. This major piece of legislation is key to keeping information about patients private. The issue for marketers is that much of the information they traditionally draw on in the “real” world is based on demographic and psychographic data that is available from a number of avenues. This allows marketers to tap into audiences and help them narrow their scope to reach ideal clients/customers.
With HIPAA, that’s not really an option. But there are ways to still reach the right audience. Asking general questions about patient health interests to help break down groups a bit and see patterns. Patient opt-ins through patient consent forms have started becoming much more common. This way, the patient is giving their distinct permission for certain info to be used for marketing purposes.
Of course, healthcare marketing has other issues it faces on a regular basis. The good thing is that just like with HIPAA, there are solutions. For example:
Perception — There are a lot of people that do not trust hospitals, doctors, or healthcare workers at all. The public perception of healthcare has been destroyed. Some of it is due to the cost. Some of it is rooted in history and social constructs. And unfortunately, some of it has been a grassroots campaign by ignorant individuals hellbent on trying to cause disruptions in society. Hospitals and healthcare as a whole need to engage with their communities through major outreach to make connections once again.
Audience Goals — Marketing tends to always be about sealing the deal, getting the sale, etc.. Healthcare isn’t like that. Some people want to look for information about how they’re feeling and whether they should go in to see a doctor rather than take an over-the-counter medication. Others might want some more in-depth info that ultimately gets them to decide that seeking medical attention is the best call, especially at the facility with whom they were interacting with online.
Investing in Marketing — Let’s face it: today’s healthcare systems are archaic in a number of ways. While the technology they employ in how they treat patients is state-of-the-art, how they market themselves is either stuck in the past or non-existent. Furthermore, convincing a board to invest part of an operating budget into marketing can be quite difficult. However, using tools like heatmaps with free web analytics tools allows folks the chance to know where to focus on their website and improve. Plus, new and exciting developments in the world of automation have made making adjustments to marketing campaigns much easier without dedicated manpower.
Use Reviews — Healthcare facilities and systems as whole are not above receiving reviews just like any other product and/or service. It is important for healthcare providers to encourage their clients to leave good reviews and even provide testimonials. On the flip side, bad reviews do not necessarily have to be detrimental as they can serve as perfect opportunities to reach out and make connections with the community.
Improve Sites — Facing an healthcare issue is already scary enough. The last thing anyone wants to deal with is an unorganized, confusing website, especially if online check-ins are part of the process. Furthermore, social media pages should be curated to welcome people, be easy to read, and show that they are run by an actual person.
Finally, healthcare marketing may be best served by hiring the right marketing company for the job. MindEcology is an Austin advertising agency that takes pride in two things, the first of which deals with taking all available data and using it to our client’s advantage. The other? Telling our client’s story.
Take your healthcare marketing to another level with MindEcology today.