Healthcare consumers treat healthcare like any other service industry and as such, they expect the same convenience and customer-service options as Target or Amazon. Therefore, as a healthcare provider, it’s important that you provide your patient base with the same digital marketing options that larger service providers may have already implemented. These options include email marketing, online scheduling, website or online patient portals and social media marketing.
Email - An easy way to connect with patients is via email. More than 94% of American adults rely on email as their choice for immediate communication. This statistic alone shows how powerful email marketing can be when used effectively.
On average, as a healthcare provider, you should be sending an email to your patient list twice a month, giving a brief description of updates to service options or new medical technology you are implementing, or highlighting a product that may be popular for that month, such as a particular sinus medicine in the early spring when allergies are in full swing. Connecting with your patients is an important part of retaining them as part of your practice.
If you’ve never been a part of an email marketing platform, you may be curious to find the best options. Here are some we recommend:
Online Scheduling - Just like with shopping, consumers are turning to the internet to find a medium between them and the places they frequent. The sooner healthcare providers hop on board with this trend, the sooner they will be able to reap the rewards of being the number one choice for their patients.
Online scheduling allows patients an easy way to schedule an appointment while on the go, and at a time that is convenient for them. Additionally, when the healthcare provider creates a scheduling tool on their website or links an online appointment calendar to their social media pages, it becomes even easier for patients to book their appointments. With patients having the ability to schedule their visit at a time that is convenient for them, you will likely see less missed appointments and happier customers as result.
Website/Patient Portals - In the digital world, with the majority of people researching available medical services online before picking up the phone, your website might be the first impression that patients and referring physicians will get of your practice. Your website will reach potential patients looking for medical information or a new doctor, as well as serve as a resource of information for existing clients. It should include up-to-date information about your services and have options such as bill pay and downloadable patient forms available as a convenience to patients in your practice who use the internet as their main resource for information.
Your website should also include a patient portal. This portal would allow you and your patients to communicate about appointments, prescriptions, and other healthcare needs.
It also gives you a way to provide receipts and copies of important documents that your patients, or other doctors, may want to have, thus eliminating a paper trail and helping the environment.
If you’re worried that some of your patients may find it difficult to use the online portal, here are some simple ways you can help.
- Create a handout to be placed in patient rooms and on waiting room tables that presents step-by-step instructions with imagery. This will eliminate your staff having to walk patients through the steps via the telephone.
- Have a computer in the waiting room that encourages people to register for the patient portal while they are waiting.
- Use your email marketing list and send an e-blast about the portal, with a detailed walkthrough similar to that of a handout.
- Send postcards to your patients to let them know about the portal and where to go to find more information.
- Change the office phone’s manual-hold recording, and use it as an opportunity to discuss the benefits of registering for the patient portal and include steps on how to do it.
Social Media Marketing - Social media dominates the world for businesses and consumers alike, and while it may seem a bit daunting to get started on social media, it’s important to understand that consumers turn to the internet whether researching medical information or reading reviews before choosing a doctor or service provider. Choosing one platform that you feel your patients will use the most will be beneficial in reaching most of your patients.
With Facebook pages, it’s easy to have multiple options that direct your patients to take action how you’d like. For example, if you’d like to have users land on your Facebook business page and become a new patient by scheduling an appointment or calling your practice, you can add a “Schedule Now” or “Contact Us” button directly on your Facebook business page.
New-patient questionnaires are another great feature you can use your Facebook page for. Simply provide a link to an online form and request that your new patient fills it out prior to arriving to save time waiting in the waiting area.
If you’ve already set up an online patient portal, you could have a link directly on your Facebook business page for new-patient registrations, which adds their information to the system without needing to fill out any forms -- making it even easier when they appear for their scheduled appointment.
Remember, in today's digital world, ease of access is highly valued and important for most people. The more digital options that you have available that are easy to use will help you stand out above other healthcare professionals. And the easier you are to find through a social media channel will help patients make a quick and informed decision about either scheduling an appointment or contacting you to request more information about your services.
Ready to get started on any of these digital marketing trends for your practice? At excelerate Digital, we can help. Give our digital marketing team a call today to discuss how you can improve your marketing game to get in front of the competition while delivering the ease of online options for current and future patients.