By Dr. Greg Grillo
As healthcare providers, we serve our patients in numerous ways. But whether we eliminate lower back pain, correct poor vision, or boost a smile, we operate from the same position of trust. If patients don’t connect with us on an emotional level, they’re not likely to connect with us in our space. An understanding of human psychology serves us as well as our background in human anatomy.
A successful brand knows that its story in the market determines its success. A pain-free injection or state-of-the-art office matters, but only if people know about it. While it’s a different purchase decision, patients still bring consumer psychology to the process. Nielsen, a marketing research company that specializes in studying consumer behavior, found that 60% of people prefer to buy new products from brands they know simply because “Brands can signify quality and inspire confidence,” says Rob Wengel, senior vice president and managing director at Nielsen.
Local healthcare marketing takes on a slightly different spin than national or international brand-building, but it still requires a strategic approach. Building brand awareness and controlling your practice message separates the entrepreneurs from the average business owner. Learn how to tell an authentic story about what you do for patients and why you should be their choice. You want to build a healthcare brand that people love.
Follow these six steps to stay a step ahead in the local marketing game:
1. Determine What Makes You Different And Tell It
Unless you’re the only show in a small town, patients probably have more than one choice for their next visit. If there’s just one other clinic in our region, we need to stand out. Our brands are a complex storyboard that combines values, colors, images, and logos. But ultimately, it’s what people think about whenever they hear our name. If we don’t define the story, the market will do it for us.
ACTION: Smart brands define a Unique Value Proposition (UVP). The UVP tells consumers why they should choose you. While a catchy tagline sums up many UVPs, we need to consider what makes us different from the office down the street. Spend time defining the personality and promise of your practice, then build your brand story around it.
2. Deliver The Best Patient Experience, Hands Down
A marketing campaign with a discount offer may bring in new patients, but a coupon won’t hold them if we don’t deliver an exceptional experience. Trust underpins healthcare relationships, and every interaction makes a deposit or a withdrawal in patients’ emotional bank accounts. If we lose patients out the back door, it doesn’t matter how many we bring through the front door.
ACTION: We treat patients when they’re with us, but that’s only part of their journey. An appointment may be just one interaction in a long series before and after their visit. Integrate every possible tool to deliver first-class care. Legwork Comfort Surveys gather valuable insight into patient concerns and needs before their visit. Legwork Patient Portal offers service 24/7 so patients can manage their healthcare and payments at their convenience. The overall experience we deliver gives patients stories to tell.
3. Don’t Skimp On Your Website
As hands-on healthcare providers, the digital space may seem secondary to everything else. But our website anchors our real estate online, and everyone ends up there at some point. Before scheduling a health visit, 77% of patients use Google to gather information. If they choose us, the odds are high that they’ll spend time on our websites first. And 75% of consumers report they judge the credibility of a business based on their website. A good site tied to a cohesive marketing strategy can be a gamechanger.
ACTION: We may save a few dollars with a cookie-cutter website, but what does it say about our brand? A quality website deserves a deeper dive–and we don’t want to get this part wrong. An effective website, like the ones the Legwork team builds, integrates everything from Legwork Online Booking to patient assessments through Legwork Funnels . Fortunately, Legwork Websites ensure all the right pieces work seamlessly for optimal patient engagement.
4. Build Local SEO Into Everything
You may get proposals for free SEO audits every other day, but effective local optimization takes a coordinated, long-term strategy. No one knows what Google has up its sleeve next, but we can maintain our rightful place with expert help. Out of all Google searches, 46% are for local information, and 97% of people learn more about a local business online than anywhere else. Improving local search results has a direct effect on the number of patients who walk through the door.
ACTION: Position your practice front and center in the local online scene. “Near me” or “close to me” searches grew by 90% over a recent two-year period, and we always want to come out on top. Digital advertisement managed by a team of experts eliminates the frustration by balancing the critical elements. Local places us at the top of Google Maps results, optimizes our mobile listings and ads and maintains effective Google My Business listings.
5. Fence In Potential Patients
If you’ve ever noticed that ads for nearby businesses seem to show up on your phone, welcome to geofencing advertising. These ads appear on mobile devices when the user crosses a digital geographic fence, and they follow them for the next 30 days. Advertisers can also define the target audience that sees certain ads. Geofencing ads often enjoy twice the click-through rates of those that don’t use this technique.
ACTION: Add geofencing and give your local strategy a boost by showing ads to people within a few miles of your office. We can even draw geographic boundaries around competitors so that consumers see our ads when they get close to their offices! Legwork has the expertise and team to build digital fences that mark our local territory.
6. Encourage Fans to Tell Your Story
Our patients make reputable storytellers, and consumers crave social proof before making a purchasing decision. In fact, one survey showed that 90% of patients use online reviews to evaluate a doctor, and 70% use them as the first step in the process. Reviews support our local reputation, and they start with an exceptional patient experience. And people enjoy sharing their opinion with just a little encouragement.
ACTION: Ask your patients to leave reviews about your practice. We can ask for reviews in person, but that’s often inconsistent. Most consumers consider reviews irrelevant if they’re over three months old , so check out Legwork Reviews. Patients receive a text with a link to leave their feedback directly on Facebook and Google, and you have access to statistical insights on your dashboard.
The Local Branding Solution For Healthcare Starts Here
An effective marketing strategy runs on complex technology that looks seamless on the outside by integrating online and offline components. Keeping everything in sync doesn’t happen by accident.
Get more insights into how digital marketing can pull together numerous puzzle pieces for your practice by watching this free, 4-part video series ($1700 value).