Are You Implementing Effective Ways of Healthcare Marketing?
Healthcare organisations and hospitals have been engaged in healthcare marketing for quite some time. Many strategies must have been applied and most of the may have been useful as well. But as time changes, and health hospitals have been engaged care reforms occur, most of the healthcare marketing practices need to be restructured.
The present day competition, changing trends and smart consumer behaviours, have all made it necessary to make smarter moves in healthcare marketing. Hospitals and healthcare organisations need to continuously evaluate the performance of their existing strategies and make the necessary changes.
Healthcare marketing aims at making a presence for oneself to create an impression in the minds of their patients and consumers. Providing information and promoting products, services and other offerings for the society. Healthcare marketing influences health behaviour of consumers and effective marketing can help in promoting good health behaviours. Effective communication strategies and marketing practices need to be planned to ensure increased patient pooling and referrals within family and friends.
Planning an effective healthcare marketing plan
Successful healthcare marketing is often defined based on the then prevailing situations, trends for social availability and acceptance, type of consumers or patients, their level of understanding and convenient mode of communication.
Healthcare marketing involves evaluating the situation, needs of the consumer, understanding buyer behaviour and comparing their offerings with those of the competitors.
Some of the steps involved in planning a strategic healthcare marketing plan include,
- Evaluation – Healthcare organisations and hospitals generally plan assessments to analyse consumer behaviour and their expectations. This is done in the form of consumer surveys, patient reviews about services of hospitals, community studies and reports.
- Understanding the market – This basically involves studying the situation of the healthcare competitors in the same sector, their strategies and consumer responses, forthcoming projects and overall competition.
- Outlining market and strategy – The most important part, after all groundwork, is to define the segment, lay out a business plan and strategize a marketing idea. It is essential to have a clear vision, budget plans and a defined market segment considering the target audiences.
- Best use of resources – A healthcare marketing plan needs to be creative, innovative and should include all possible sectors related to the consumers of the healthcare products and services that are going to be offered. Communication should be planed making best use of all available resources and by thoughtfully investing in mass, print, web, social media marketing for healthcare.
- Rolling out on time – It is better to plan the roll out of business in advance and then make modifications, if required. Once the plan is ready to go, check if the market is clear and in a mood to take on the new offerings. Depending on the services and products, organizations often choose to kick start when there are chances of maximum viewership and acceptance.
- Regular check-ups- Once the services are rolled out, the marketing plan continues with regularly checking the health of the marketing strategy. Conducting surveys, checking the visits, interests of consumers and patient volumes give an idea about the performance.
Effective ways of healthcare marketing
In addition to a step-wise approach, here are some ways of healthcare marketing, considered effective in the present day, fast-paced era.
Today, almost everyone is online, so organizations having an online presence gain better viewership. Creating a medical website design and strategizing the information available is a great way to attract consumers. A healthcare website, which is attractive yet user-friendly, simple and effective is usually well accepted. It should carry all relevant information about the organization, the products and services offered, their purpose, availability and other details. eHealthMedia provides healthcare website design in Hyderabad.
Consumer interactions, brand building ideas and online services can be developed using online presence.
- Surveys can be conducted to know patient reviews, suggestions and expectations.
- Dedicated sections can focus on patient education to provide medical information, preventive health ideas, about specialty services offered by the healthcare organisation or hospital, guide to medical insurance and other formalities, etc.
- Online chat services that deal with patient queries and basic level of medical advice can be offered.
- Forums can be created for knowledge sharing, patient interaction and support groups can be formed.
- Doctors’ appointments that can be taken online, make it convenient for patients. Also, consultations are made available as online paid service, for outstation patients and reports can be shared using latest technologies.
- Sending text messages to patients to confirm appointments and to inform about latest offerings is also a great idea.
- Offering web presence for doctors of various specialties, alternative medicine and para-medical professionals makes it easy to build a strong network, gives credibility and increases chances of referrals for their patients.
All these facilities make healthcare facilities easily and conveniently available for the consumer and patients, thus increasing the chances of building long term relations with the consumers.
Healthcare organisations and hospitals also need to make a live presence apart from being just online. A well-equipped, well-mannered, enthusiastic staff, great ambience and environment with a welcome attitude for the consumers is expected.
Some ways of healthcare marketing through physical presence includes,
- Conducting health camps, basic preventive health checks.
- Offering discounted services on special occasions or health awareness days like women’s day, diabetes day, etc.
- Displaying patient education audio-visuals, doctor’s views or services offered in patient waiting rooms to create awareness.
- Using media and organizing programs, events for patients or using print form like newsletters, magazines, etc. for creating patient awareness.
Some organisations prefer getting ties up with other related healthcare services or sponsor certain healthcare programs to gain more recognition. Some take up corpo-social responsibilities (CSR activities) and work for the underprivileged.