Healthcare marketing is a tactical outreach and strategic communications campaign to attract healthcare consumers, guide them throughout their healthcare journey, and keep them engaged with the health system. However, marketing for medical industries can be quite challenging due to the nature of the sector.
Marketing involves telling a story to influence someone to buy a product or service. But telling that story is much harder for healthcare marketers who must comply with strict Privacy Law 1988 regulations. When you throw in tight marketing budgets and challenges accessing marketing assets, marketing for medical industries seems impossible to climb.
Healthcare marketers seeking to make their marketing strategies a reality must be tactful and ready to go the extra mile. Identifying and adopting the right solutions can help them get the most out of their marketing assets and create happier, more engaged, and informed healthcare consumers.
Unique Challenges Facing Healthcare Marketing
Privacy Law Limitations on Personalisation
Personalisation is an integral part of marketing—nobody likes receiving irrelevant information. Consumers want marketing specific to products or services they are interested in. In this case, Privacy Law policies disadvantage health marketers by limiting their access and ability to utilise consumers' information. This makes it hard to develop impactful marketing campaigns.
Fortunately, healthcare marketers can capitalise on preventative care and reach prospects with relevant messages without compromising privacy. Preventive care benefits everyone regardless of their family history or individual health status. Marketers can send reminders to schedule annual physicals or statistics around disease and prevention to spark new health consumers' signups and appointments.
Privacy Law Restrictions on Targeting
Retargeting involves showing ads to site visitors when they leave to urge them to come back. It's one of the most common practices in digital marketing. However, Google prohibits targeting and retargeting website visitors with ads to protect patients' privacy and sensitive information.
Healthcare marketers can embrace an inbound marketing strategy to reach new consumers without violating Privacy Law regulations. They can create engaging content and heavily emphasise local search engine optimisation (SEO), and optimise their website for consumers within the vicinity. Another method is to use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to help rank their website higher in search engine results.
Limited Investment in Healthcare Marketing
Not all the marketing challenges facing the healthcare sector are due to regulations and patient behaviour. Sometimes, healthcare organisations make things hard for themselves; many vital stakeholders and medical practitioners need to realise the total value of marketing. Therefore, many resist expanding campaign budgets or embracing new marketing strategies but complain when they fail to achieve their expected goals. Marketers struggle to request additional funding and sometimes have to do more with less. Marketing for medical industries is an investment and organisations that invest well and adequately get a good return on investment.
People's Perception of Healthcare
Many people have increasingly expressed dissatisfaction and uncertainty with the healthcare system in the past few years. Heated debates on sensitive topics like prescription drug prices and medical coverage are forcing health organisations to deal with trust-related issues and the overall perception of healthcare by the public. They must find ways to effectively convey their value to build trust with potential consumers. They can improve patient perception through thought leadership campaigns, testimonials from current patients, and online reviews.
Regulations in Healthcare Marketing
Australia introduced the Privacy Act in 1988 to regulate the collection, storage, usage, and distribution of protected health information. It regulates how organisations and government agencies in Australia handle protected health information and the patient information that one can use or disclose.
For instance, sharing patient health information about healthcare operations, treatment, or payment without their consent would be illegal. One cannot use the information for marketing without the patient's explicit consent. The consent form must specify the marketing efforts in which the healthcare organisation can use the patient's health information. For example, if a healthcare organisation wants to share a patient's photos on its social media accounts or website, the consent form should state how their information will be shared.
Marketing Strategies for the Healthcare Industry
Here is an overview of crucial marketing strategies specific to the healthcare industry:
1. Site Optimisation
While you market your healthcare services, your site visitors seek quick information. A good user experience on your site sets a precedent that you care about patient support and customer service. The website should work seamlessly with different browsers and devices with fonts that don't require adjustment for mobile viewing. Also, ensure the site has quick load times. It should replicate the effect of a waiting room at a healthcare facility where patients do not want to wait too long; otherwise, they may leave.
2. Develop Consistent and Reliable Branding
Healthcare facilities providing professional services receive many certificates proving their competence. Use them in promotional campaigns, highlighting the healthcare facility's top-class medical equipment and other unique qualities. Be transparent and reliable to cultivate a trustworthy brand image.
3. Create Educational Content
Create content that informs potential clients about different aspects of their lives, such as protective care, health, and wellness. Post blogs or articles on your site, find opportunities to guest blog or get featured in other online publications. Guest blogging, in particular, frames you as an expert in the field and can bring your practice to the attention of new patients. Posting short videos can also help achieve better ranking on Google, drive engagement, and get your social media profiles into the limelight.
4. Host Live Conversations
Live chats with prospects draw them towards your services. You can use the engagement opportunities to spread awareness, request active participation in a health drive or even launch new facilities. The Q&A sessions let you stay in touch with your patients and help build customer loyalty.
5. Offer Membership plans
People now accept periodic membership plans from trusted healthcare service providers in their locality. Members receive extensive medical services, discounts, and additional support for long-term or chronic ailments. Patients save some cash while the healthcare facility gets a pool of long-term healthcare consumers.
6. Patient's Journey in Healthcare
The patient journey in healthcare refers to the totality of a patient's experience with a healthcare system, from needing care to treatment completion and recovery. Healthcare marketers must understand the patient journey to identify marketing touchpoints and create customised messages that target and influence the right audiences. The patient journey comprises several stages, with patients having different behaviours, needs, and attitudes at each stage.
Specialised Marketing for Healthcare Businesses
Healthcare marketing is rewarding; organisations that invest appropriately and adequately get a good return on investment while bringing patients closer to the treatments and expertise they need.
If your health or medical organisation needs specialised marketing, Marketing Your Brand can help you accomplish that. We are a marketing agency and consultancy company helping business owners scale their businesses. Contact us today or schedule a consultation with our marketing specialist for personalised guidance.