These 5 Trends Should to be Taken into Consideration when Marketing Your Practice

Here at Intrepy Healthcare Marketing we wanted to take a look at some changes and trends that have been taking place with regards to medical marketing that you should be paying attention to because they will affect your marketing approach and the channels you should be investing in.

1. Hospitals Are Buying Up Primary Care Practices Rapidly

What this means:

Many of your long-time or current referrals may start referring to you less and less. Why? Because when they get purchased they instantly become part of a “closed” referral system. Hospital are become increasingly more of a closed network in their referral systems by highly encouraging or incentivizing hospital owned practices to refer inside their network. That means if a Primary Care doctor that once to refer you (an Orthopedic for example) patients is purchased by a local hospital they will now send those patients to an Orthopedic surgeon employees by the hospital.

What to do:

Practices now more than ever have to be proactive in growing referral relationships. Prior to this being the only Orthopedic surgeon in the area and taking a patients insurance was good enough to get you a majority of referrals. Now that is no longer that case. More competition and more incentives to refer to a colleague working for the hospital means you need to counteract this by growing refocusing on growing your practice’s referral relationships.

2. Website Responsiveness Is Becoming Mandatory on Mobile

What this means:

Prior to 2017, having a mobile friendly, a.k.a. responsive, website was an added bonus and something Google was rewarding people preferential search placement for having. Now it is becoming mandatory for your website to be optimized for tablet and mobile devices. In fact, according to Search Engine Land, Google will be launching its mobile-first index by 2018 for all those mobile-friendly websites. This means that Google will start considering mobile content on websites FIRST, followed by desktop content. Therefore, if you site is not mobile friendly it will be at a major disadvantage when compared to your local competition.

What to do:

Get your site up to speed by making it mobile and tablet friendly. Depending on how and when your site was built this could require minimal tweaks, major overhaul or starting with an entirely new website. Either way, if you look at statistics and insight,t even with what we have seen with our clients, hands down most people finding and browsing your website are doing so on their mobile devices.

3. Content Marketing is King

What this means:

Content marketing is rapidly  becoming an essential part of a medical or dental practice’s overall marketing strategy. Creating new, engaging content targeted toward your desired patient demographic is critical for so many different reasons. It drives new traffic, builds customer loyalty, improves search engine results, increases brand awareness, the list goes on and on. Content marketing has been growing for some time as one of the main focuses for marketing strategies but a new trend is a switch to video content. Some of this can be attributed to the increase in visual social media platforms including Snapchat and Instagram and the decrease in user attention spans (about that of a gold fish). Most people would prefer to engage with a short video than read a blog post.

What to do:

If you do not have a consistent (keyword) content marketing plan or you do not have one at all your practice is way behind the curve. In your city, region or specialty, practices are constantly creating unique content for their website and social media on a daily basis and you need to be doing the same or you are losing right out of the gate. Not to mention, most physicians or dentists think “build it and they will come” when they create a social media marketing strategy but the only reason they will keep coming back is because your content captures their interest.

4. Patient Reviews Are Becoming More Influential Whether You Like it or Not

What this means:

As people spend more and more time online, they become more and more willing to share their medical experience with their friends, family and the rest of the world. This is why over the last few years reviews platforms like Yelp, Healthgrades, Vitals and UCompareHealthcare have exploded in terms of use, traffic and search influence in the medical community. A recent statistic shows 9 out of 10 patients determine the quality of your practice by reading about you online before ever picking up the phone to make an appointment. Right or wrong reviews play a heavy role in their decision.

Not only that reviews are one of the top ranking signals for Google search results so you may struggle to even show up without them. Unfortunately, we have had countless conversations with doctors insisting to do not ignore and preferably even focus on review growth for their practice. Most have concerns over the bad reviews that occur that are simply our of their control. You know the ones: the people airing their billing grievances to the world because they did not understand how their insurance works and blames the remaining bill on you despite your clear communication. It happens on a daily basis; however, if handled correctly, it can serve as a public relations opportunity for you to shine. Ignoring reviews will not stop the bad ones but embracing them can grow the good ones when done correctly.

What to do:

Get online and see what patients are saying about you and your practice. Is it positive? Are there opportunities to respond to bad reviews and make things right? You need to be constantly monitoring your brand online and put a comprehensive email, text and verbal check-out system together to encourage your patients to leave positive reviews about their patient care. You will be surprised at how many will be more than happy to help and all you have to do is ask. Note: Sometimes more than once because life gets busy when they leave your office and get in their car.

5. Practices Adopt More Ancillary, Elective Procedure to Create Revenue

What this means:

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There are several reasons I think this is becoming more of a commonplace amongst practices across the board in need of more revenue sources. First, the initial point I brought up regarding the changing landscape of referrals. Second, reimbursement rates for many common procedures in PCPs and specialities are not what they use to be. Third, ancillary products tend to have higher profit margins than insurance based procedures. If you have made the decision or you are looking at bringing on a new elective procedure make sure you take the marketing into consideration. How are you going to get patients on the machine, service or product to pay for it and make it profitable? Too often we run into clients that have purchased a machine that is sitting unused because they thought there would be more marketing support from the company that sold it to them. While they may be there to answer questions it is not their job to market it for you once you have made the purchase.

What to do:

When you are looking at a product, machine or services to add to your practice ask the hard questions in terms of marketing it. What will the company provide? Do they have a “shared” advertising funds pool for digital advertising? If they do, how will that be tracked and how many physicians around you will benefit from it too? You need to be prepared to but in place a strategic marketing plan to get people using your new purchase. That involves content marketing, brand awareness, social media, retargeting current patients, physician liaison services and more. The numbers may look great once the machine is constantly being used but make sure you have a plan to get here.

Wrap Up

The medical landscape with always rapidly changing and with it so should your healthcare marketing approach for your practice. With new trends emerging you should constantly be evaluating and tweaking or adding new strategies to your approach to keep generating new patients consistently. We will be following up soon with another set up trends or any necessary updates to the five listed here.

Intrepy Healthcare Marketing has a dedicated team of physician liaisons and digital marketing and advertising experts with years of experience on growing leads and referrals. Whether you are looking to grow, hired a new provider, opening a new location or practice or something in between we are here to turn 100 patients into 1,000. Give us a call 678-250-4757 or fill out our contact form.

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Justin Knott

President
Justin Knott is a Florida native and President of Intrepy. His focus is in digital marketing and advertising to help businesses generate new, targeted leads. When he is not working to grow his clients you will find him on the beach with his wife or playing with his kids, a.k.a. dogs.