Planning and maintaining a healthcare marketing strategy is no longer a choice for your practice in Ghana, it is a must in order to survive. With the evolving of technology comes the freedom to patients to now decide who to go to for their healthcare.
This means in order for you to be the best choice for their healthcare needs, you must adopt a strategy that compliments your excellent healthcare delivery system.
In this article, you are going to learn what healthcare marketing is, types of healthcare marketing, and how to develop a marketing strategy for your business that keeps your brand at the forefront of your patient’s mind.
First of all, you must know and understand that traditional marketing is not enough to sustain your marketing efforts and give you the visibility and increased revenue you desire.
In Ghana and Africa there is a fast adoption of technology which means that if your marketing efforts are not strategic, you are going to be left behind and lose out on a lot of opportunities.
So take the time and read this piece prepared specially for you to up your marketing skills and develop the best marketing framework to ensure success with your healthcare marketing.
What is healthcare marketing?
Healthcare marketing refers to the process of using marketing strategies to attract new clients and patients by building relationships with patients that offer value to both the client and the healthcare organization, as well as increasing the visibility and awareness of the services and products a health organization has to offer.
Like a patient complaint, healthcare marketing has several components, each of which is important in helping you achieve your business goals.
Components of healthcare marketing
- Referral marketing
I’m sure you’ve already guessed what this means since it is usually common. This marketing occurs between practices when a patient is referred by word-of-mouth most often or by a professional provider to access the healthcare services or products you offer.
Referral marketing is largely dependent on relationships and as a healthcare provider, networking and connecting with people in your specialty and cross-specialty is a good way to get referrals from them.
The idea of branding never really crosses a lot of healthcare providers’ minds. To them, branding is a solo term associated with marketing and most often it is quite hard for them to relate to that term.
Well, branding is just as effective for healthcare providers as it is for any other business. The idea of branding is to maintain a consistent brand look and image on all platforms. This gives your healthcare the visibility it deserves.
Imagine no one knowing about your healthcare product or service, it will be impossible to deliver the value you have.
- Digital marketing
Digital marketing is the use of digital technology; website, social media, and email basically to get your product or service in front of your clients and potential clients to increase brand visibility, increase sales and number of patients, and to manage your reputation.
Digital marketing is versatile, and its use is even more versatile. Later in this article, you will learn why investing in a digital marketing strategy is the best decision you will take now for the present and future of your practice.
Whereas the other components of marketing can achieve as far as only one or two results, a healthy digital marketing strategy can achieve the combined results of all the other components of your healthcare marketing.
You will understand why top US and European healthcare providers invest a lot of money into digital marketing and as Ghana undergoes a gradual digital transformation, it will be great wisdom for you to adopt a digital marketing strategy for your practice.
- Internal marketing
Internal marketing makes use of your already existing resources to achieve business goals. You can achieve great marketing with your existing clients, staff, and even previous patients.
This works largely by word of mouth and can be accelerated with digital marketing.
- External marketing
This refers to all your digital marketing efforts to reach potential clients about the product or services you provide through TVs, radios, and billboard advertising. This marketing deals primarily with traditional marketing efforts.
- Public relations
This includes writing press releases for newspapers and journals. This has a very powerful way of establishing your authority as a healthcare provider and can provide great benefits for you if leveraged well.
Importance of healthcare marketing
If you have still not grasped the relevance of healthcare marketing up until now then here are some benefits for you and to even open your eyes to the opportunities you are letting pass by you.
- Brand visibility
Healthcare marketing places your practice in the front and center of your patients and potential clients. It gives your brand the opportunity to be seen by your potential clients and your clients so that you can always be the go-to option whenever a health need arises.
Think of all the times you’ve heard people say, “I saw this advert on Facebook about …”.
- Getting new patients
Marketing your healthcare practice helps you to reach new patients. Imagine a client referring their friend to your practice for healthcare because of the excellent service they received.
Patient reviews and mentions about your practice on the web and social media can go a long way to continuously bring in new patients to your practice as well.
- Patient engagement
I’m sure you are aware of the fact that you are not the only healthcare provider of your service. There are more practices in Accra alone for your competition. However, you want to stand tall from the competition which will make you unique.
One of the best ways you can do this is by continuously engaging your clients on digital platforms like social media and your website.
When you engage your clients and your patients, it keeps you at the center of all their healthcare decisions and that even influences their behavior towards you.
They are more likely to recommend your service to a friend, a relative, or even a colleague.
Through social media, you can start meaningful conversations around healthcare with your patients, send emails on health tips to your patients, and write articles that address their constant pains and challenges.
These add value to your customers and can you help you maintain them.
- Patient research and insights
Through marketing, you can identify your patients, their challenges, their buying behavior and a lot more to help you fine-tune your healthcare delivery approach.
In your marketing strategies, you are likely to get questions from your clients which can open up a lot about them to you. These insights can also help you expand your business to meet their needs.
- Developing brand authority
Even if you are the best healthcare provider, there should be a way to prove it. For your potential clients to be more confident in your ability to meet their needs, they need something in addition to your license.
Through marketing, you can showcase your authority on the subject to your potential clients and your clients. Using means such as writing press releases is a good way to do this as well.
- Improved healthcare delivery and access
As the world is constantly changing, you need to be constantly adapting your practices and healthcare delivery. Through marketing insights from your patients, you can make strategic changes to your healthcare delivery and continuously deliver excellence.
For example, anytime a patient gives a bad review, you can assess the quality and authenticity of that review and by that make the necessary adjustments and improvements.
Shifting to digital
Earlier in this article, I made mention of the fact that digital marketing is a powerful tool for you to use to grow your practice. Now you are going to learn exactly how.
Now, I know you are a healthcare provider and you probably know the solution to this example, but let’s imagine you are the patient.
Let’s say for about three weeks now you’ve noticed you’ve had bad breath and your teeth color is becoming yellowish. In this digital age, the first thing that will probably come to your mind is to search on Google and determine what is causing the change in your teeth color.
You type into Google and you find an article that extensively tells you why your teeth color is changing and at the bottom of the article you see a banner advertising a product that says “make your teeth white with this product”, what are you most likely to do?
You would probably click on the banner and read more on it. Even much better is if the product is offered by the same company that wrote the article on teeth whitening. After providing you with such a good explanation of why your teeth are yellow, you are most likely to think that their product is the best, right?
The second scenario is when you type into Google for the reason why your teeth are becoming yellow, you see a product being advertised to whiten your teeth, you are also likely to click on to read more about this product.
You go to the product website and you see a great and neat website with lots of information about teeth. What are you most likely to think? These people’s products got to be good.
Let’s take a third scenario. You are on Facebook going through your news feed and liking all the amazing photos of your friends and all of a sudden you see a photo with a white teeth saying “this product can make your teeth white”, as someone who has noticed a sudden change in teeth color, you are most likely to click on it to see what the product has to offer.
Again, it takes you to the product page on the website, you see a great website architecture with lots of articles about teeth. What are you most likely to think? This stuff must be good, right?
All these scenarios are the core concepts of digital marketing, using digital media to place your product or service along your patient’s journey.
Just imagine the number of people in Ghana who use Facebook actively, who are on twitter, and who search the net, about 3 million people. Look at the projected estimates of healthcare challenges for your industry and you will realize that by not utilizing digital technology to promote your services and products you will eventually die out just like videotapes.
Let’s look at some of the importance of digital marketing for your healthcare practice.
- Increased brand visibility
The reason why digital marketing offers such a unique brand exposure is because of the fact that it is versatile and largely used.
Unlike TV or radio station advertisements which can stay around for a while and then go away, digital marketing offers you platforms to continuously showcase your brand to the world.
In addition to this advantage, it has the ability to give a viral effect to your marketing efforts that are not often achieved with other advertising media.
Supposing you send a health tip to your clients on LinkedIn or Twitter, if what you shared is truly valuable to your clients, they are likely to share it. This propagates in viral marketing of your message and the result is increased brand visibility.
You see, turning your customers into your Salesforce is much easier with digital marketing. People, in general, like to be associated with something good, they like to do good things so giving them the opportunity to do good by sharing your health tips is an amazing way to turn them into your Salesforce.
Unlike TV or radio advertisements, they cannot be shared instantly with friends. My purpose is not to undermine the influence of TV or radio advertisement, but to let you see why TV and radio alone are not enough, you need a complimentary digital marketing strategy to grow your brand.
- Revenue generation
Digital marketing helps you to get new clients and maintain your existing clients. With a good and well-planned strategy, you can achieve great sales with your marketing and increase the number of clients and customers you get on a daily basis.
With improved brand visibility, people are more likely to trust you and come for your service or your product.
Healthcare is a service that is needed today, tomorrow, and every day. This means that there exists a market for you every day and your ability to be relevant and generate revenue is largely dependent on your ability to continuously adapt to consumer changes and continuously satisfy your patients.
One of the ways to satisfy your patients and win them over as your clients is for you to be at where they are so they can easily find you and engage with you.
- Customer care and support
Through social media and websites, you can offer convenient customer care and support to your patients. By leveraging on these platforms, you can monitor what your customers say about your product and offer help and advice to them.
Also, through effective monitoring of your patients, you can see a certain trend of complaints and launch a campaign to address the causes of those complaints. Doing so increases your brand authority and indirectly increases patients’ satisfaction.
Through digital media, you have access to more people at a time than ever before which can save you tons of time and energy.
- Cheaper advertising
Digital marketing is a relatively cheaper means of advertising than other advertising media.
Much more, with a relatively smaller amount of investment, you can obtain a higher return on investment which saves you money and at the same time makes you money.
- Competitor insights
One of the best ways to monitor your competitors and see what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong is by using digital media to monitor them.
When you see what they did right, you replicate it 10x better and when you see what they did wrong, you learn from them and avoid repeating the same mistake.
Components of digital marketing
Digital marketing involves the use of several components to achieve your business objectives. You will realize that some of the components work best for some objectives than others do, which is why it is important to use if not all, most of these components to ensure you get maximum results.
For example, you will realize that social media is a relatively better way to engage customers whereas PPC is a relatively better way to generate new clients.
The various components are:
- Building a healthcare website
To get started on digital marketing and being found on the internet, you need a website that is built with your healthcare practice in mind. This means you need a website that meets your needs as a healthcare practice and easily provides the information your patients want from you.
A website is the greatest online asset your business has and it also makes your brand unique from all your competitors.
If you don’t have a website for your healthcare business yet, you are missing out on great opportunities.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Let’s go back to the example I gave earlier, about going to type on the internet for information on why your teeth are yellow. When a patient types their symptoms in the search engines, various results are displayed to the patient.
The goal of SEO is to ensure that when your patient types in their needs and challenges into search engines, your website emerges as the solution to their problems.
In another vein, let’s say someone types in “hospitals in Accra” into Google, they expect to see a list of the hospitals displayed to them. SEO ensures that your practice is displayed whenever a patient uses these terms in their searches.
- Social media
Social media involves setting up social media accounts and pages for your healthcare practice across the relevant social media platforms.
A lot of Ghanaian healthcare practices have inactive social media accounts, but in order to reap the maximum results from your digital marketing, you need an active social media presence.
- Email marketing
This is the practice of making use of the email column on your patient’s folder. This involves staying in touch with clients using their email addresses.
Emails are a powerful tool for maintaining your clients and nurturing new clients. On social media, it is possible for your clients to miss your messages, but for email, it is highly impossible.
- Content marketing
Content marketing is defined by the content marketing institute as a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood audience- with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
To you as a healthcare provider, it would mean creating the right content that revolves around your industry to offer value to your customers.
- PPC and display ads
This aspect of digital marketing encompasses all the paid advertising tools such as Facebook ads, Twitter ads, Google ads, and LinkedIn ads that can be used to drive specific customer action.
Display ads refer to the banners usually with red and blue writings inviting you to take any action when you are on a website.
Both PPC and display banners have proved to be a very effective means of acquiring new customers.
- Video marketing
If you’ve ever watched a video on YouTube before you would appreciate the relevance of videos in promoting a product.
Think of weekly videos on best health practices, best dental practices, and best nutritional practices, and invent a cost-effective way of staying engaged with your clients and attracting new clients.
- Mobile marketing
Almost everyone you meet nowadays has a mobile phone or has access to a mobile phone. Ensuring your website is mobile responsive, your emails are also mobile responsive will give you a great return on your marketing investment
I’m sure you probably didn’t know about most of these options, you might even be overwhelmed by the multiplicity of the options. By now you must be asking questions like why haven’t I gone ahead to do all of these?
But wait a minute, the success of your digital marketing must follow a strategy that will ensure that it is successful.
The reason why your website is not up-to-date, and your social media accounts are inactive is because you started all these without a strategy.
A good digital marketing strategy is essential to ensure that your marketing efforts are consistent, relevant, and they pay off.
Let’s now look at developing a marketing strategy to help you get more clients to your practice.
How to develop a healthcare marketing strategy
A digital marketing strategy consists of three aspects: your business objectives, your target clients, and your marketing strategy. We will examine all this in detail now.
- Business goals
Your business goals will differ depending on the healthcare product or service you provide. If you are a gynecologist you would have a different goal from a pediatrician.
Your overall business goals are the overarching theme for the rest of your marketing efforts. Your business goals will determine the type of audience you want to reach.
To develop a good strategy you must first consider your business goals and objectives and then determine how digital marketing will fit into all of them all.
So you would ask questions such as what is my business trying to achieve? What is my value proposition? Who is my target audience?
Asking these questions will help you to create shared values between you and your customer and that makes the entire marketing process easy for you.
As you evaluate your business goals, it is important for you to ask yourself these questions.
- Is my healthcare practice digital already?
- Do I have the right internal and external structures to support a digital marketing strategy?
- Do I have the time to invest in pursuing a digital marketing strategy?
After you have determined this, we now move on to the next step which is defining your target audience.
Now that you know your overall business objective, you have to know your target audience. This means you have to create patient personas for your company.
Supposing you are a pediatrician, you would have to create who your ideal client is.
Now, you don’t need to have one persona, you can have as many as you want, except that each person must be specific and tied to a business objective.
For example, you might be a pharmaceutical company with a drug. The drug could have the same effect on multiple conditions.
For example, pain medication for headaches, backaches, menstrual pains, etc. For each of these conditions, you would have to create a buyer persona and write specific content that addresses each of the conditions.
In that way, you will get the maximum benefit for your marketing.
You can also categorize your clients by specific metrics such as age, location, habits, and occupations. You might realize that certain people with certain jobs have different needs and so you must address their peculiar needs by the products and services you have to offer.
The goal of your customer strategy is to understand your clients, establish means of reaching them, and then develop a strategy to reach them.
So you must understand their needs, where they are likely to go to for information about their needs, where you are likely to find them, and what content they would like to consume.
You have to also ask questions like, “What digital channels are they using? What are their needs? What are their objectives?”
Now you realize that a digital marketing strategy requires a lot of thought and planning and the good news is when it is executed correctly, it can produce a tremendous amount of growth for your healthcare business.
Finally, your marketing strategy.
This results from the cumulative efforts of your business goals and customer insights. Now that you know what you want to achieve with your audience, you know where they are, you now go out to be where they are so they can find you.
A marketing strategy includes all the channels your clients are likely to be on and adopts a dedicated plan to reach them. It involves understanding your patient’s journey.
Your patient’s journey involves the steps they take from the time they see you on social media or on search results to the time they finally decide to be your patients. It involves four steps
A good marketing strategy understands how this works and develops a strategy around this to ensure that the right structures and channels are used. Ideally, the buyer goes through these four stages.
Let me use our example again about your yellow teeth to illustrate this with a Facebook ad.
You have a product called, let’s say Aba tooth whitening paste. Your target audience is the 21-24 years old female who is in the university, is in a romantic relationship, and wants to maintain good oral hygiene. Let’s say this person is called Akua.
Demographics: Akua is 21 years old and a student at the University of Ghana.
Akua’s objective: Akua wants to maintain good oral hygiene and keep her teeth white so she can smile widely and confidently.
Channel: Akua loves to chat on Facebook with her friends.
Akua just noticed that her teeth has started becoming yellow when she checked in the mirror about 2 days ago, she thought it must have been a food she ate, but she realizes that it still persists.
Akua is on Facebook chatting with her friend Kweku when she sees a post with a product that says, “this product will make your teeth white”. This is the first stage of the patient’s journey which is called awareness.
She sees the ad and is informed in a paragraph or two about how the product can make her teeth white and maintain her confident smile.
Akua is enticed by the ad and clicks on the ad, this stage is called interest. She is interested in the product because it presents an easy way out for her to manage her condition.
Akua then goes to the product’s landing page where she sees a great product description with tutorials on how to use the product and good customer reviews. This piqued her interest and she realizes that the product can solve her problem, this stage is desire.
The next thing Akua does is to buy the product, which is the fourth stage called action.
Building a team
Developing a strategy also involves setting up a team to handle all of your digital marketing efforts for you.
You have to understand that the success of your digital marketing team is as much dependent on your digital team as their success is also dependent on their expertise.
This means you have to choose the right team with the right expertise to handle your digital marketing strategy for you if you want to see positive results.
Cost of Marketing Activities
The cost of a digital marketing strategy depends on your business goals and the overall strategy you choose to undertake. The good news for you is that a digital marketing strategy works and can provide a huge return on investment for you and your healthcare business.
So you see, digital also means more opportunities for your healthcare practice in Ghana. Let me give you a few tips to ensure that your strategy is effective now that you know what a strategy is and how to develop one.
7 Healthcare Marketing Tips That Will Win You More Patients in 2020
- Maintain a consistent strategy
The biggest challenge with digital marketing is being consistent which is what literally undermines all your success with a strategy.
Be consistent with your blog posts, your social media campaigns, and your email marketing efforts.
If you cannot devote the time to maintain a strategy, get a team to help you manage this.
- Stay up to date with research
New researches are being performed every day in your field. To provide the best value for your clients, make sure you are constantly updated with new research and information about your specialty or area that will be of immense help to your target audience.
- Maintain a mobile-friendly website
Almost half of the internet searches are conducted on mobile phones. With the increased usage of mobile phones in Ghana, it is required of you to make your website mobile-friendly so that you can be accessible to your potential clients.
- Geo-target your locations in all your posts
It is important for you to use the best SEO practices to give your brand the visibility you want. So instead of general posts such as pediatricians in Ghana, you could make it more specific like a pediatrician in Kumasi, Ghana or dentist in Accra, Ghana.
The advantage of this is that it helps you to target the right clients as well as make your marketing efforts easier.
- Be creative in your approach
Creativity is what will make your brand unique and offer value to your target audience.
Be creative with your content and video marketing and evoke stories and contents that makes people appreciate the value you offer, your genuine interest in helping them, and content that makes their lives better.
- Ask for reviews from your patients
Research shows that patients trust brands with positive reviews more than those with negative reviews. Patients are also more likely to visit a new practice they have a positive review of than no review at all.
In addition to providing excellent service, ask your customers to talk about their experiences with you on Google and on your personal website. They help you to build your brand visibility and trust.
Reviews also help you to determine your weaknesses and work on them to provide good customer experiences.
- Leverage press releases
Newspapers and other online news agencies would welcome you to share information about your expertise with the general public to foster well-being.
Leverage on these opportunities and write press releases about pertinent issues in the country and offer expertise on how to go about them.
They help you to build your credibility and establish your authority as a healthcare provider. Best of all, these are all free. Aim to write at least one press release each year.
There are several ways to market your healthcare practice in Ghana and now it is easier with technology. Build your brand, increase patient visits, and give great customer care with digital marketing.
You can market your healthcare business through branding, internal marketing, external marketing, referral marketing, press releases, and digital marketing. Digital marketing helps increase your brand visibility, helps you deliver customer care and support to your patients and helps you get new patients as well as retain old ones.
Understand your business goals, your patient’s journey, and creating a digital marketing plan will help you to grow your business.
Build your brand, increase patient visits, and give great customer care with digital marketing.
I’d love to hear your feedback. Tell me how the guidelines work out for you and your team. And if you find this helpful in your business, please share it?