8 Personalized Healthcare Marketing Tips to Improve the Patient Experience
Whether we’re trudging through a global pandemic or living in normal times, improving the patient experience is a requisite to delivering better healthcare outcomes for any provider.
But this doesn’t begin in the doctor’s office or hospital, it starts with the first interaction between prospective patients and their healthcare institution. These days, that first interaction most commonly takes place online.
The need for a sound digital healthcare marketing strategy has never been greater. As of 2021, Google search drives 3x more visitors to hospital sites than non-search, placing a huge demand for talented web designers, SEO strategists, and content marketers in the healthcare space like never before.
Personalized healthcare marketing can often be the first touchpoint for potential patients, setting their expectations for the rest of the experience. Because the stakes are higher in the healthcare industry than anywhere else, it’s incumbent on strategic healthcare marketing professionals to represent healthcare institutions in a positive light, helping these prospective patients feel more at ease. It will result in better outcomes for individuals and the institutions.
So, where to begin?
How does a healthcare marketing strategy go from conceptualization to production, and what are the top tips that every healthcare provider should follow?
Digital Healthcare Marketing Tips for a Better Patient Experience
1. Have a User-Friendly, Interactive Website
Even the words ‘healthcare website’ sound boring. That’s because up until recently, healthcare websites used extremely basic designs which weren’t engaging or interactive in the slightest.
These websites usually just consisted of a patient login page and a simple appointment booking calendar, but they lacked the ability to contact physicians or look up answers to important health related questions. Such a breakdown in communication leads to worse care.
As demand grows for healthcare organizations to have a stronger digital presence, UX friendly web design is starting to become an asset in the industry. It’s especially important on the mobile front.
Recent Google search updates have leaned heavily on mobile usability metrics, because that’s where the audience resides. Google wants your site to run like lightning on iPhones and tablets, since this is where more than half the internet searches from nowadays.
Desktop usability remains important too, especially among older users, but sites will be directly penalized if their mobile page speed is too slow or their core web vitals are not up to par.
Aside from speed, what are some other ways that organizations can provide a better patient experience?
Being sick is far from a good time, but incorporating a short symptom quiz can be a fun and effective way for patients to receive information. Reading up on symptoms via Wikipedia is no fun after all.
Give them a way to interact with your organization in a lighthearted manner.
Supplying patients with an abundance of information is really important to their overall wellbeing and trust of your organization.
Display statistics and provide answers on your website in a simple manner, without making patients have to jump through hoops.
Citing and linking to real world studies is also important from Google’s perspective. Since their medic update, Google has awarded websites that display proper credentials and link to cited information with better rankings.
Please Google’s algorithm and help your patients at the same time.
In the era of COVID-19, telemedicine has been a lifesaver for millions. There’s no doubt this technology will continue to flourish as more people are working and living remotely.
Having a telemedicine option is critical for any healthcare organization. It lowers the stress placed on medical offices, requires less overhead and in-office personnel, while allowing physicians to see more patients on a daily basis.
Telemedicine platforms are easy to build for healthcare marketing professionals, and these can be conveniently incorporated into apps.
Online Appointment Scheduling
Make it simple for patients to book appointments by integrating an intuitive online appointment scheduling interface.
The interface should be concise, asking only pertinent questions regarding the patient’s needs for the appointment, then making it easy for them to book a meeting with their physician.
Easy to Understand Concepts and Wording
Articulate intricate topics in a manner that all patients can understand. A simple solution is to have a resource center that contains a glossary and FAQ section.
Include a search bar so visitors can ask and locate information quickly, without necessarily having to contact a live person.
The Perks of Interactive Web Design
Having an interactive web design that’s geared for your target audience will help lead prospective patients down a conversion pathway.
A website that’s aesthetically pleasing, fast to load, and answers their most critical questions will make them much more likely to schedule an appointment with your team.
2. Use Machine Learning to Predict Patient Needs
Another innovation in digital healthcare marketing is the incorporation of machine learning. The ability to calculate a patient’s needs before they become dire will result in more positive medical outcomes.
Machine learning is rooted in the study of user behaviors. As you collect more patient information, machine learning can predict the needs of each individual based on the other user profiles.
Of course there are limitations to take into account with HIPAA, so the goal is instead to gently nudge patients in the right direction rather than being forthright in requesting information.
Healthcare specialists can do this by providing tools to patients that intake specific data points, i.e. biosensors, smartwatches, fitness apps, and use this information to determine the most effective treatment pathways.
These tools will make anticipatory treatments much easier and more palatable for the patient.
The result is a more targeted approach that addresses patient needs before they become an issue.
3. Offer Support Groups and Inclusive Content
Support groups are vital to a patients’ mental and physical health, and they can be set up relatively easily via a number of online channels.
Facebook groups can be set up by the organization to bring similar patients together, or there can be a support forum built out on the website itself.
Email lists are another way to bring a ray of sunshine into peoples’ lives. Using some of the patient data gathering techniques mentioned above, the organization could build a list where recipients can receive inclusive messages and positive affirmations on a regular basis.
If the healthcare organization lacks adequate resources to set up support groups, they should work in tandem with a local mental health organization who has this infrastructure in place.
The job of caregivers is never-ending and it’s important they are able to communicate and support each other.
Support groups for caregivers is an effective way for them to share experiences and insights leading to better outcomes for their patients.
Terminally Ill Patients
There’s nothing more isolating than being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Support groups for terminally ill individuals allow people to interact with others who are enduring a similar tragedy, as well as distant family members.
Patients with Eating Disorders
Living with an eating disorder is a daily struggle and it requires constant affirmation and communication with others to help the patient stay on track.
Ultimately, your patients are humans, and your marketing strategies should treat them as such.
4. Keep Up Social Appearances
Many people perceive healthcare providers as scary, faceless entities that are not to be trusted. Thanks to the power of social media, this image is rapidly changing.
There are so many social channels that healthcare organizations can take advantage of, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the burgeoning app TikTok.
Where should you spend your social media marketing dollars? Well, it largely depends on your target audience. If you run a youth clinic you’d want to look at TikTok, but if your demographic is slightly older then Facebook is perfectly sensible.
You can also target potential hires to your organization by demonstrating a friendly company culture. Create engaging Instagram stories or TikTok videos that shine your employees and support staff in the best possible light.
Social media campaigns are intrinsically tied to content marketing. Your social posts, videos, and other content needs to be attention-grabbing and appropriate to your target consumers.
5. Offer Extra Perks Where Possible
A patient has many choices for healthcare facilities, so offering incentives in the form of perks and freebies will encourage people to sign up and utilize your services.
These perks should be a focal point of your digital marketing strategy, displayed on your website as well as social media accounts as a lead gen vehicle.
Uber or Lyft Ride to the Clinic
Getting to the healthcare facility can be difficult for some. Don’t let lack of transportation determine whether your patients come to receive care. Give your patients options including free or discounted rideshares to the facility.
Hotel Bookings and Other Discounts
Give your patients travel rewards in the form of hotel and rental car discounts that they can enjoy with friends and family. This can be a huge incentive for people to pursue check ups and other appointments.
DNA, Allergy Testing, Other Screening Options
Let patients get free testing for a variety of conditions. This is the most fundamental reward that should be made available to every patient.
Provide meal plans and dietary options that will keep patients living a healthy lifestyle which can help prevent serious diseases and illnesses.
Incentives are also dependent on the individual. Every patient who steps foot in your facility has different needs, conditions, and health goals they are hoping to achieve. Learning more about your patients requires their input, which is easy to receive if you have an efficient mobile app.
6. Consider Creating a Healthcare App
More than half of smartphone users utilize their devices to research health information online. Once they are signed on to a health plan, they will likely use the available website or mobile app to access the majority of their health info, schedule appointments, and communicate with doctors.
If your facility doesn’t currently have an accessible mobile app, now is the time to create one. Mobile apps can play a big role in a facility’s strategic healthcare marketing workflow.
These apps can be used to garner detailed insights about each patient which makes it easier to provide specific care needs.
Using a progressive web app will ensure that users will be granted access regardless of browser or device type. This will enable them to access patient portals, interact with physicians via chat, and schedule appointments with ease.
7. Beef Up Your Patient Portal
Many organizations already have patient portals in place, however they may find usability to be an issue. It’s one thing to have a portal but another thing to make it accessible and easy to use for all.
Whether you are looking to build a progressive web app from scratch, or simply make improvements to your current app, you don’t need an in-house team of web developers to make this vision a reality.
8. Work with Healthcare Marketing Experts
Healthcare marketing ideas should come from people who have vast experience in the healthcare space. The stakes are higher in this industry than anywhere else, and one minor slip up can cost you your credibility.
Don’t hire a generic marketing agency for your healthcare-specific website or mobile app. Look at their body of work to identify whether they know what they’re talking about.
When it comes to digital healthcare marketing, there is no substitute for industry experience. Only seasoned experts will be able to enact a healthcare marketing strategy that’s best for you.
Go Into Healthcare Marketing with Empathy
Successful healthcare entities know how to build trust and authority in the space, and this is done through personalization.
There are many talented physicians, nurses, admins, and other healthcare professionals who can disperse knowledge that can save lives. It’s just a matter of getting the message out there to specific individuals so that they can seek the proper help.
We all have healthcare goals that need to be addressed and we understand what issues our patients are going through on a daily basis.
Healthcare marketing campaigns must come from a perspective of empathy in order to provide the most personalized level of care and bring success to every patient you acquire.