What Is Healthcare Marketing? The Ultimate Guide in 2024

Mia Jensen | Feb 11, 2024 | 22 min read
What Is Healthcare Marketing? The Ultimate Guide in 2024 | DemandHub

Did you know that most healthcare businesses and medical practitioners are not using any form of healthcare marketing? And those less hesitant to market their practice use only a fraction of the tools available?

Although marketing is one of the most important factors in determining success or failure in any business, many healthcare practitioners are still hesitant to embrace it. Not marketing your medical practice is a surefire way to lose many potential patients.

Healthcare marketing can help you reach more people, attract new patients and keep your brand top of their minds.

Not sure how to market your healthcare practice successfully? This guide provides practical tips and advice on how to stand out in such a competitive industry.

But first, let’s start with the basics.

Table of Contents

What is Healthcare Marketing?

Healthcare marketing is the process of creating and executing a marketing plan to promote a healthcare practice. Its goal is to attract potential patients, guide them through the healthcare journey and keep them engaged with your healthcare practice.

Healthcare marketing strategies incorporate multichannel, offline and online marketing methods that are extremely targeted to increase engagement and drive healthcare business growth.

Healthcare marketers measure their success by key performance indicators (KPIs) and marketing returns on investment ROI.

Using a customer experience platform can simplify your healthcare marketing strategy without worrying about technical jargon.

DemandHub is a great example of such a platform, as it allows you to connect with potential customers through various channels, including social media, web chat, text, search and more.

Moreover, it automatically tracks your results and measures your success so that you can focus on your marketing goals.

Why is Marketing Important in Healthcare?

77% of patients turn to search engines like Google before booking an appointment. Therefore, you are missing out on potential patients and growth opportunities if you are not investing in marketing in today’s competitive healthcare market to rank higher on Google’s search results.

Healthcare marketing can help you grow your patient base and create long-term satisfied patients. Successful marketing campaigns will result in instant growth in new patients for any practice.

What are the Key Benefits of Healthcare Marketing?

In a rapidly changing healthcare landscape, it is crucial for healthcare businesses to have an effective marketing strategy.

With the increasing number of health insurance options, the rise of healthcare costs, and the popularity of health and wellness apps and devices, patients have more control over their healthcare than ever before.

Healthcare practitioners must market themselves effectively to reach potential patients to stay competitive. When done correctly, healthcare marketing can have several key benefits, including attracting new patients and increasing revenue.

Healthcare marketing can help you reach a wider audience and ultimately improve your bottom line through various marketing channels such as social media, patient text marketing, and your website.

How to Build the Perfect Healthcare Marketing Strategy?

The healthcare market is constantly evolving. New technologies and procedures are being developed all the time. Healthcare facilities are constantly expanding their services to meet the ever-growing demand for healthcare.

This means that marketing strategies for healthcare providers must also evolve constantly to stay ahead of the competition and attract new patients.

However, with so many options and constant changes, it is not easy to know where to start or what is the best strategy for your practice.

Here are some tips on how to build the perfect healthcare marketing strategy:

1. Know Your Target Audience

The first stage in any marketing strategy is understanding who your target audience is. There are several factors to consider when defining your target audiences, such as age, gender, location, and income level.

Remember that it’s not a one-time event. Your audience can and will change over time, so it’s important to regularly revisit this step to ensure you’re still on track.

How to identify your ideal customers? There are many ways to do this:

  1. Create customer profiles, also known as buyer personas. Buyer personas are detailed imaginary representations of your ideal customers based on real data and market research. Buyer personas help you understand your patient’s needs, motivations, and challenges, allowing you to create marketing messages and campaigns that resonate with them.
  2. Find your target audience by looking at your existing customer base. Who are your best customers? What do they have in common? You can also look at who is not using your services and try to understand why? Your healthcare support team can provide valuable insights as they regularly speak to your patients.
  3. Look at your website data to understand who is visiting your website, what pages they are looking at, and how they found you. Use Google Analytics to track this information. This data can help identify your target audience, their interests and pain points and where they are in their buyer’s journey.

2. Set Your Goals

After defining your target audience, setting some goals for your healthcare marketing strategy is next. Essentially, you want to answer these questions:

  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • Why is it important to achieve?
  • How will you track your goals and success?

Your marketing goals should guide your strategy, so it’s important to consider what are your goals rather than moving impulsively. Some common goals for healthcare marketing include:

  • Generating awareness of your practice among potential patients.
  • Attracting new patients to your practice.
  • Improving patient engagement and retention rates.
  • Increase the number of procedures or treatments.
  • Improving patient satisfaction and communication.
  • Get more online reviews for your business.

Remember, your marketing goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Some examples of SMART healthcare marketing goals could be:

  • Grow brand awareness among the target audience by X% in 6 months.
  • Generate X new patient within 6 months.
  • Improve patient satisfaction ratings by X% in 1 year.
  • Get X number of Google reviews in 30 days.

For example, you are a physiotherapist who aims to generate awareness about your practice and attract new patients. You could break this down into a SMART goal like:

“Increase brand awareness by 50% in 6 months through a targeted text marketing campaign.”

Now that you have some SMART goals to work towards, it’s time to start thinking about the healthcare marketing tools and tactics you’ll use to achieve them.

3. Developing Your Healthcare Marketing Strategy

After knowing your target audience and goals, it’s time to develop your healthcare marketing strategy. You should consider the following factors:

  • budget.
  • brand and positioning.
  • marketing mix.
  • channels.
  • content and calls-to-action or CTA’s.

Let’s discuss each of these in turn.

Budget

Budget comes first while developing your healthcare marketing strategy. Marketing can be expensive, so make sure you have enough money to sustain a long-term campaign.

Also, consider what kind of return on investment (ROI) you expect from your marketing efforts. This will help you decide which marketing activities are worth pursuing and which aren’t.

You can use analytics to help manage your budget for future marketing campaigns by looking at past campaign data, calculating how much is needed to reach key demographics, and then setting a budget accordingly.

Apart from paid marketing, you can use low-cost or even free marketing activities such as content marketing, social media marketing, and text marketing.

Brand and Positioning

78% of customers purchase products from brands they know and trust. The same goes for choosing a healthcare practitioner.

Your brand defines you, sets you apart from your competitors, and tells your target audience what they can expect from your practice.

Positioning is how you want your practice to be perceived by potential and current patients. Do you want to be known as the most affordable option, the best quality option, or the most convenient option?

Think about what makes your healthcare business or practice stand out and what attracts customers. Is it customer care? Caring staff? Cutting-edge technology? Fast treatment? Find your unique selling proposition or USP, and design marketing campaigns around this.

Remember, creating a strong brand decreases your cost-per-acquisition, so it’s important you should set some budget aside for building and promoting your brand.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is the blend of the marketing activities you’ll pursue to achieve your healthcare marketing goals. The four main elements of the marketing mix are:

  • Product - What services or treatments do you offer?
  • Price - How much do your services or treatments cost?
  • Place - Where are your services or treatments available?
  • Promotion - How will you increase awareness of your services or treatments?

For each element of the marketing mix, you need to consider how you can appeal to your target audience. Remember, you’re not just selling a healthcare service or product; you’re selling an experience. Make sure your marketing communicates the benefits of your services and how they can improve patients’ lives.

It’s also worth considering discounts and special offers for promoting your brand. For example, you can offer a discount to new patients or package several treatments at a reduced price.

Make the purchase process for existing and potential patients as smooth and easy as possible. If they have to jump through too many hoops, they will likely give up and go to a competitor.

How to raise awareness of your healthcare practice, or treatments? There are many promotion channels you can use, such as:

  • Offline marketing - You can use text marketing, newspaper ads, direct mail, or TV/radio advertising to reach a large audience.
  • Public relations - You can use PR to generate positive media coverage for your practice.
  • Events - You can host open days or health fairs to attract potential patients.
  • Online marketing - You can use SEO, Google and Facebook reviews, content marketing, and social media to reach potential customers.
93% of consumers use internet resources to find local businesses. Source: Digital Examiner

Not all promotion channels will be right for your practice. Make sure you consider which can help reach the audience most effectively and then choose one!

4. Create a Seamless Patient Journey Through Preferred Channels

For a successful healthcare marketing strategy, you must focus on the patient experience and let them enter your health system through their preferred channels.

The digital front door to your healthcare system is a crucial and often overlooked step in the patient journey. These initial touchpoints could include channels like your healthcare website, or third-party physician listings that patients visit before coming to you about their care needs.

In addition, social media channels have been increasingly powerful to connect with your patients. Start by identifying these channels and ensure your digital presence is up to par.

After the patient’s first engagement with your healthcare system, what is the most likely path they will take? This practice is called patient journey mapping.

Patient journey mapping helps you recognize which actions lead patients down the conversion path and which may cause them to stop in their tracks.

Patient journey mapping Stages of Healthcare Journey Mapping

Ideally, you want to make the patient journey as seamless as possible, with a few steps and touchpoints. By reducing friction points, you can increase the likelihood that patients will continue down the path to conversion.

There are a few key ways to do this:

  • Automate and personalize communications.
  • Optimize your website for conversion.
  • Use data to segment and target your audience.
  • Integrate personalization to build engaging relationships.
  • Make it easy for patients to contact you.

Consider using a marketing automation software that helps you trigger text messages at key points in the patient journey.

For example, you could send a text message to patients after they’ve made an appointment, reminding them of the date and time.

Research suggests that 83% of consumers want to receive appointment reminders via text, but only 20% of businesses send them this way. Source: G2

By understanding which channels your patients are using and what type of content they’re engaging with, you can create more personalized communications that are more likely to resonate.

Your website should be mobile-friendly and easy to navigate. If you’re listed in a third-party directory, check to see that your information is accurate and up-to-date. These channels are important for new and existing patients as they help shape initial perceptions about your brand.

Create a consistent brand voice and experience across all of your channels. This means using similar messaging, graphics, and overall brand design. Your patients should feel like they’re interacting with the same healthcare provider, no matter how they choose to reach out to you.

5. Content and Calls-To-Action or CTA’s

Your website or social media content should be informative and helpful, but it should also be focused on conversion. All your website pages should have a clear CTA that tells patients what you want them to do next.

Your CTAs should be actionable and specific. For example, if you’re trying to get patients to schedule an appointment, your CTA could say, “Schedule an appointment online now.”

Every content you create, whether a blog, a landing page, or social media post, should have a specific purpose and goal. For example, if you’re trying to increase brand awareness, you should focus on top-of-the-funnel topics like general information about your healthcare practice.

If you’re trying to increase patient acquisition, your content might focus on specific services or treatments you offer. You can create a more effective healthcare marketing strategy by segmenting your content and tailoring it to each stage of the funnel.

6. Patient Review Management

Encouraging online reviews should be a key part of your healthcare marketing strategy. When choosing a healthcare provider, online reviews are one of the most important factors that patients consider.

70% of healthcare consumers read online reviews when considering a new doctor. And 80% of patients deem healthcare businesses with five or more reviews trustworthy. Source: Reputation

Managing and monitoring your online reputation is vital to maintaining a strong patient base. There are a few key ways to encourage and manage online reviews:

  • Make it easy for patients to give an online review by sending them a direct link
  • Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative
  • Encourage patients to leave reviews by offering incentives or discounts
  • Promote your positive reviews on your website or social media

You can quickly identify and address any issues by monitoring your online reviews. You should also respond to all negative reviews promptly. This shows potential patients that you’re attentive and care about your patients’ experiences.

60% of customers will read a text within 1-5 minutes of receiving it. That’s why asking for reviews via text is the best way to get them more quickly.

Review management platforms like DemandHub can help you send automated text messages to your patients after their appointments, reminding them to leave a review. It can also help you get more authentic patient reviews, monitor them, and engage with them in one centralized platform.

Healthcare Marketing Ideas That You Could Follow

Marketing a healthcare business can be a challenge. You have to find a way to reach your target audience while still being sensitive to the fact that many people are dealing with health issues.

However, there are some effective healthcare marketing trends and ideas that you can follow:

1. Video Marketing

Video marketing is becoming popular and is a great way to connect with potential patients. Video will account for 82% of all internet traffic by 2022 (Cisco, 2019). So, incorporate videos into your marketing strategy for maximum reach.

Consumers watch an average of 16 hours of online video per week. In addition, 84% said that watching a brand video had convinced them to buy a service or product! Source: Optinmonster

You can create video content to educate and inform your patients. Some video marketing ideas for healthcare are:

You can create video content to educate and inform your patients. Some video marketing ideas for healthcare are:

  • Explainer videos to teach your patients how to improve their overall health or any specific condition.
  • Facility Tour videos can help demystify patients’ stress related to healthcare facilities and increase traffic to your website! For example, the following video from UCLA takes us on a tour of their Mattel Children’s Hospital, making it appear far less frightening for sick children. UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital
  • How-tos and Demo videos can show off the value of your healthcare-related product or service.
  • Staff Interview videos to let your patients get to know your staff before they visit.
  • Patients’ testimonials can provide reassurance, guidance, and valuable connection for your potential patients. Paul Rollins Patient Story

2. Mobile Marketing

By 2022, mobile marketing will be the primary way people interact with healthcare providers.

Mobile devices account for over half (54.4%) of global website traffic. Source: Statista

For maximum reach, ensure that your website and marketing materials are mobile-friendly so you can use targeted mobile advertising to reach potential patients.

3. Make use of Digital Marketing Tools

Digital marketing tools such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimization (SEO) can help you reach potential patients. By optimizing your website for related keywords, you can increase your visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), and by running targeted PPC ads, you can reach potential patients who are actively searching for healthcare providers like you.

4. Track Your Progress Regularly

Evaluate your marketing efforts regularly. Use analytics to track social media engagement, the website traffic and patient acquisition rates. This activity will help you gauge the effectiveness of your marketing strategy and make necessary adjustments.

By following these healthcare marketing trends, you can position yourself as a leading healthcare provider in your market and ensure that you reach the right patients with the right message.

How Can Demandhub Help You Grow Your Business By 10X?

Today’s customers are inundated with choices, and they have high expectations. To meet these expectations and stand out from the competition, you must provide an exceptional customer experience at every touchpoint.

Nearly 81% of patients prefer scheduling their appointments online. Source: Advisory

Therefore, your customer experience software should be easy to use so patients can schedule appointments without difficulty and have seamless communication with you, whenever they want, wherever they prefer.

That’s where DemandHub steps in to make your load lighter.

DemandHub is an all-in-one customer experience platform that helps you:

  • Attract new patients.
  • Improve patient satisfaction.
  • Increase brand awareness.
  • Build trust and rapport with patients.
  • Generate more qualified leads.
  • Boost revenue with good margins.
  • Motivate patients to schedule appointments and follow ups.
  • Encourage patients to leave positive online reviews.

With our text-based web chat your website visitors can connect with you even after they leave your site. You can provide a seamless customer experience, as there’s no need to switch between apps! Google, Facebook, Instagram, web chat, email, and texts are all organized into one unified inbox, so you can address each and every lead instantly.

DemandHub can help your business grow 10X with our easy-to-use customer experience platform.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Healthcare Marketing

What is healthcare marketing?

Healthcare marketing involves various strategies and tactics to attract and retain patients. It includes both traditional advertising and digital marketing efforts. The goal is to promote a healthcare organization’s services, treatments, or products and build strong, long-term relationships with patients.

Why is healthcare marketing important?

Healthcare marketing is essential for acquiring new patients and retaining them. It also helps educate the public about health issues and promotes a healthcare organization’s services. It allows healthcare providers to set themselves apart in a competitive marketplace, build trust with patients, and enhance their reputation.

What’s the difference between healthcare marketing and regular marketing?

Healthcare marketing, while using many of the same principles as regular marketing, needs to be handled with extra sensitivity and care. It requires a deep understanding of patient needs, healthcare regulations, medical ethics, and the complexities of the healthcare industry.

In healthcare marketing, messaging directly relates to patients’ well-being and health, emphasizing the need for accuracy and trustworthiness.

What are some challenges in healthcare marketing?

Some challenges in healthcare marketing include the following:

  • regulatory restrictions,
  • maintaining patient privacy and confidentiality,
  • effectively targeting the right audience,
  • building trust and credibility,
  • keeping up with rapidly evolving digital marketing trends.

What are healthcare marketing strategies?

Healthcare marketing strategies can include a mix of traditional and digital marketing tactics. These include:

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization),
  • content marketing (creating valuable content to attract and engage patients),
  • social media marketing,
  • email marketing,
  • paid advertising.

Other strategies include community outreach, partnerships with other local businesses or health organizations, and public relations efforts.

What is the definition of marketing in healthcare?

Marketing in healthcare can be defined as the systematic planning, execution, and control of business activities to connect healthcare providers and patients. It involves promoting a healthcare practice’s services, products, or brand to increase patient engagement, enhance its reputation, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

How do you create a marketing strategy for healthcare?

Creating a marketing strategy for healthcare involves several steps. First, understand your target audience and their needs. Next, define your marketing goals. Then, choose the appropriate marketing channels to reach your audience effectively. Create valuable, patient-focused content and use SEO to improve visibility.

Monitor your results and adjust your strategy as needed. Remember, a good healthcare marketing strategy should be patient-centric, ethical, and compliant with all relevant regulations (HIPAA) and laws.

What are the marketing channels for healthcare?

There are several marketing channels for healthcare, each with its own advantages. Traditional channels include TV, radio, print ads, and direct mail. Digital channels have now become extremely important. They include a website, blog, email newsletters, SEO, pay-per-click advertising, and social media platforms.

Event marketing and community outreach are also effective, particularly for local healthcare providers. The best channel for your practice depends on your specific audience and goals.

Key Takeaways

Underutilization of Healthcare Marketing: Many healthcare businesses and practitioners are not leveraging healthcare marketing strategies, missing out on potential patients and growth opportunities.

Importance of Marketing in Healthcare: Marketing is crucial for healthcare practices to reach more people, attract new patients, and keep the brand top of mind. 77% of patients use search engines to find healthcare providers, emphasizing the need for a strong online presence.

Definition and Goals of Healthcare Marketing: Healthcare marketing aims to promote a healthcare practice to attract potential patients and engage them throughout their healthcare journey using both offline and online methods.

Benefits of Healthcare Marketing: Effective marketing can attract new patients, increase revenue, improve patient satisfaction, and help healthcare practices reach a wider audience and improve their bottom line.

Building a Perfect Healthcare Marketing Strategy: A successful strategy involves understanding the target audience, setting clear goals, developing a marketing mix (product, price, place, promotion), and creating a seamless patient journey through preferred channels.

Content and Patient Review Management: Content should be informative and conversion-focused, with clear calls-to-action. Managing online reviews is crucial for building trust and credibility.

Incorporating Technology: Utilizing platforms like DemandHub can simplify healthcare marketing by automating patient communication and tracking marketing success.

Healthcare Marketing Challenges: Marketers must navigate regulatory restrictions, maintain patient privacy, target the right audience, build trust and credibility, and keep up with digital marketing trends.

Marketing Channels for Healthcare: Both traditional (TV, radio, print) and digital channels (website, SEO, social media, email marketing) are important for reaching and engaging with patients.

Future Trends and Ideas: Embracing video marketing, mobile marketing, digital marketing tools (PPC, SEO), and regularly tracking progress are recommended strategies to stay competitive and meet patient expectations.

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