Healthcare Marketing Strategies & Ideas (2024)

Digital Marketing
Healthcare Marketing Strategies & Ideas (2024)
Article by Szabolcs Szecsei
Last Updated: June 20, 2024

Technological advancements, healthcare consumerism, and the fast-paced spread of mobile and internet usage have had a profound effect on the way healthcare experts engage with their patients and market their practices and services. Today, audiences expect a digitally advanced and innovative healthcare experience just as the one provided by any other industry.

What this means is medical experts must devise a comprehensive healthcare marketing strategy to address the needs of this rapidly changing landscape to remain relevant and competitive. And to help you decide on the right approach and execute it excellently, we’ve asked our experts to provide an overview of the most effective marketing strategies in healthcare.

What Is a Healthcare Marketing Strategy?

Healthcare marketing strategies are most often digital marketing tactics that help medical organizations and practices promote their services and brands to their specific target audiences. These strategies are often created with the help of marketing agencies, and usually include a combination of digital tactics that all aim to engage customer or patient engagement, driving qualified internet traffic, raising brand awareness, and enhancing overall business performance within the healthcare sector.

A sound healthcare digital marketing strategy may involve social media, web development, search engine optimization (SEO), community outreach efforts, social media management, and other tailored efforts to cater to target audiences and meet the needs and regulations of the healthcare industry.

According to CallRail, the stiff healthcare competition/crowded marketplace is the second biggest challenge the industry faces, with 50% of respondents mentioning it in a 2023 survey. So, even If you are currently satisfied with your existing number of patients and customers, implementing an overarching strategy is still essential to ensure competitiveness and keep your healthcare brand visible in the digital landscape.

[Source: CallRail]
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Planning Out Medical Marketing Strategies: The Benefits of Healthcare Marketing

Doctors will usually tell their patients that an ounce of prevention will always beat a pound of cure, and from a certain aspect, this is also true for marketing. It’s better to have a sound marketing strategy in place as a precaution than wait until traffic and conversions drop.

Today, every medical practice and healthcare institution realizes the importance of marketing, from hospitals to solo practices and health consumer brands. Most of them integrate highly targeted, multi-channel tactics to drive engagement and foster growth, focusing on return on investment and key performance indicators.

When properly implemented, healthcare marketing can:

  • Improve overall patient experience and keep them managed with personalized, relevant, and timely outreach during their patient journey.
  • Empower patients or consumers to make healthier and smarter life decisions improving their health and quality of life.
  • Help your healthcare brand increase its customer base, retain existing patients and improve their loyalty, establishing your practice as a reliable and expert health institution.
  • Generate more revenue via driving more qualified leads to your website.
  • Establish your medical teams as experts in their respective fields in the market.
  • Increase your relevancy in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
  • Build your brand and improve online reputation.

On another note, healthcare digital marketing is, like any other niche, subject to rapid changes, where a major algorithm update can have a significant impact on your practice’s online advertising strategy. As such, we highly advise partnering up with a seasoned niche-oriented digital marketing agency that can help you overcome any sudden shifts in the digital landscape.

Useful Medical Marketing Strategies To Attract Healthcare Consumers

Digital marketing is a multi-faceted process that encompasses several different strategies and tactics to help your brand stay relevant in the ever-evolving digital arena. Below are only a few of the approaches you can consider when planning your marketing plan.

1. Keep Your Branding Consistent

It’s one thing to feel confident about your medical expertise and knowing that it sets you apart from other providers. However, for most patients, one white coat is just like the next and they probably won’t opt for your services unless they know and trust you.

Strong and recognizable branding can raise awareness of your practice and can go a long way in building trust with your target audience, or even help you grow your return on investment while decreasing your cost-per-acquisition.

To get started, first you need to determine what your brand is about.

  • What makes your practice or business unique?
  • Does your establishment have a spa-like environment or resembles a clinic?
  • Do your teams prioritize prevention and patient education or excel at diagnostics or other medical fields?
  • Are you a family-friendly practice?
  • What do you do to make your patients feel welcome and relaxed?

There must be at least one or two things that make your practice stand out and those are mostly the things that help patients and leads remember your brand. Promoting these values is a great way to raise awareness and build trust. And once you find what works best for your brand, strive for consistency in your brand voice and design language to increase your credibility.

2. Examine Your Patients’ Online Experience

Today, consumers engage with websites and brands in increasingly complex ways. As the healthcare industry also shifts toward providing virtual care experiences (telehealth, virtual monitoring), practices are strongly encouraged to reassess the online experience they offer.

On that note, most often, your website is the first thing people see, and if it’s not optimized, it may also be the last time they come into contact with your clinic. Aside from easy site access and simple navigation, you should also strive to feature imagery and content that represents your consumer base and aligns with your branding.

Including value-add experiences like enabling your leads and patients to conduct high-quality conversations with your provider online, easy access to important information, and a comprehensive appointment-booking system can also lead to many happy website visitors.

User experience has become a cornerstone of good web design and it’s a crucial aspect of SEO too. Designers aren’t only focused on making a website look good anymore — making it usable and intuitive is just as important.

Positive user experiences aren’t only about design. You should also analyze how your typical visitor engages with your website, social media channels, paid ads, and more. You need to understand that consumers interact with your brand on their terms, and your medical marketing strategy should separately assess every patient touchpoint, giving you a better understanding of what will trigger conversions and what won’t.

3. Design a Responsive Website

Site responsiveness directly ties into user experience. Around 95.8% of searchers use their mobile phones to access the internet, and having a website that won’t load properly on all screens (laptops, desktops, tablets, phones) can directly lead to lost business.

A responsive design also plays a crucial part in search engine optimization too, as major players such as Google have had a mobile-first approach when indexing websites since 2020. This means that a responsive site will automatically rank higher. However, you will also need to ensure that links, videos, text, and images load correctly with the same data structure across every mobile device.

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4. Site Speed Testing

Visitors typically abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load, which is why Google treats loading speed as an important ranking factor. What this means is that a slow site won’t only boost your bounce rates, but will also hurt your rankings in the search engine result pages.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to get your site load faster, so don’t hesitate to talk to a web development company or a digital agency about that.

5. Invest in SEO

Is SEO worth it? Search engine optimization is an incredibly useful tool for boosting your visibility online. However, it’s a complex and time-consuming process.

SEO involves several approaches that address various aspects of your site. As mentioned earlier, responsiveness, speed, and user experience are just some of the things you need to address. You also need to work on keyword research and content optimization.

[Source: Ahrefs]

The latter involves using the right keywords and phrases to help Google understand the intent of the content on your site. Keyword research and content optimization can help you rank for relevant medical-related terms. However, it’s important that search phrases appear naturally in your content, as Google also cares about readability.

In addition to this, your SEO strategy will probably also include:

  • Developing optimized pages with optimized content and keywords
  • Having several internal links that point back to relevant pages on your site
  • Getting reputable backlinks from established healthcare sites
  • Creating a structured and easy-to-understand sitemap
  • Creating a Google Business Profile with accurate and complete information
  • Optimizing for local keywords
  • Submitting your site to Google

6. Consider Paid Advertising

Search engine optimization is a great tactic for creating lasting rankings. However, while you may rank first for a specific keyword, chances are, you will see a few paid ads that appear above your organic position.

Pay-per-click or PPC ads are meant to appear on the top of the SERPS for specific search terms. In contrast to SEO, PPC lets you decide on a budget which will determine the duration of being at the top of search results. The return on investment is defined and clear with paid ads but this strategy lacks the longevity and sustainability of SEO. As such, most experts will recommend using both strategies together.

7. Become an Expert in Your Field

Your brand will be remembered better and for longer if you establish your team as authoritative figures within your medical specialty. To achieve this, implement a public relations strategy that involves reaching out to specific media outlets if you have something important to share or comment on specific medical advancements and findings.

Be active on healthcare industry-related forums and groups, follow specific sites like HARO to learn more about possible interview opportunities, and consider releasing free press materials to help boost your visibility both online and offline.

8. Approach Social Media the Right Way

As a healthcare institution, your brand shouldn’t solely rely on organic social media in your strategy. While posting updates, photos, and events directly on social platforms is a valid way of building your brand online, there's more to social media than just raising brand awareness organically.

Paid social media advertising can help you gain more qualified leads who may be looking for your services. You can also reach those people whom you aren’t connected to yet.

Lastly, solid social media management enables you to add more value to your services by engaging with patients online, reacting to and addressing their concerns or queries in the comment sections or in your direct messages. By optimizing your social pages and posts, you can always create opportunities for interested followers to reach out to you, either after visiting your channel or seeing one of your posts.

9. Focus on Patient Reviews

Consumers like to do some research and see that other patients have had good experiences before they schedule a visit. This is why online reviews are a great way to boost credibility among current and potential patients.

Around 50% from 1,141 surveyed Americans said that they trust online reviews and almost treat them as personal recommendations from family and friends.

However, it’s worth noting that most people only tend to leave reviews if they are extremely pleased or extremely dissatisfied with the care they’ve received. What this means is that you’ll have to strive to go above and beyond and ensure that you have a proactive approach to get as many reviews as possible to cover every possible experience — not just the extremities.

Also, make sure to follow up on these reviews and regularly address every concern or query. For example, if you get a negative review on Yelp, Google, or Facebook, you need to respond so that others will see that you are willing to listen and resolve such problems. Regular follow-ups may also motivate patients to update their reviews with something more positive.

That said, reputation management should be a crucial part of your strategy, but it doesn’t mean that you need to become defensive regarding negative opinions. Treat them as opportunities to upgrade your equipment and processes to improve patient experiences in the future.

10. Leverage Physician Referrals

Doctor referrals are some of the most effective organic marketing approaches you can leverage to bring in more patients. To maximize the number of referrals you can get, try a proactive approach and implement the best professional communications practices.

For example, consider the following tips:

  • Meet & greet: Welcome every new doctor in the area with either a personal visit or a note.
  • Get involved: If you are actively engaged in the community, by referring doctors, you can help them take notice of your practice and expertise and refer patients back to your clinic.
  • Establish and nurture relationships: Consider reaching out to them to establish a professional and friendly relationship.
  • Keep things simple: Make the referral process easy and keep your contact info visible on all of your channels.
  • Don’t do it alone: Nowadays, most hospitals and multi-location clinics are simply too large to use a dedicated in-person approach to build connections with referral physicians. As such, consider working with expert physician liaisons who can help you maintain and improve these relationships.

11. Nurture Offline Patient Relationships

To increase word-of-mouth referrals and to motivate your current clientele, you can also put in some extra effort to nurture your existing patient relationships.

Consider reaching out to your patients after an appointment to see how they are doing. Send out birthday cards to them and ask about their families for a more personal touch. Consider sending out automated text or email reminders for their follow-up appointments and go that extra mile to create a positive atmosphere.

12. Track The Effectiveness of Your Strategy

Lastly, you should also focus on monitoring your strategy to assess whether your investment is paying off and you see that growth you’ve initially anticipated. Use the right healthcare digital marketing tools, and with their help, aim to analyze your progress.

Consider the following:

  • Use a customer relationship management system like Zendesk, to see how your patients engage with your campaigns, use your targeted landing pages, open your newsletters, and more.
  • Use Google Analytics to help you identify any missing search terms, collect visitor insights, and assess overall website performance.
  • Set up Google Ads to track and tweak your paid ad campaigns.
  • Take advantage of HIPAA-compliant call tracking systems to monitor your front desk.

Healthcare Marketing Strategy Takeaways

Similarly to many other industries, the healthcare industry hasn’t been immune to the changes brought about by the digital revolution. As such, the way people interact with healthcare brands and practices has changed drastically too.

Clinics and healthcare institutions can remain relevant and even out the competitive playing field with the help of niche digital marketing agencies that understand the specific needs of healthcare businesses and know how to create content that resonates with patients, addressing their concerns and educating them at the same time.

Healthcare Marketing Strategy FAQs

How can you define healthcare marketing strategies?

These marketing approaches encompass several digital tactics that all aim to promote medical brands and their services. They engage patients, drive qualified internet traffic to medical websites, and promote improved business performance for practices.

Why are healthcare marketing strategies important?

A comprehensive marketing strategy helps medical institutions remain relevant in a highly competitive playing field while also addressing the ever-changing needs of patients.

How can a healthcare marketing strategy help patients?

A good digital marketing strategy for medical institutions can also help with patient education. Regularly publishing and sharing high-quality and expert content in the form of blog posts, email newsletters, and short videos can help educate patients. Content can also help them better understand the importance of preventive measures, the role of regular checkups, and can help them learn about specific procedures, giving them peace of mind before scheduling an appointment.

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