5 Actions You Can Take to Help Your Medical Marketing Team Get Better Results
Many medical professionals think of their medical marketing team like a vendor. It’s a transactional relationship; you sign a contract and pay them to make certain things happen for you, like acquiring more patients, promoting a new treatment, or expanding your brand.
But the relationship between your practice and your marketing agency works best when you work together as partners, mutually striving towards the same goal and complementing each other’s efforts. If you cooperate and communicate with your marketing agency, and especially if you improve your communication with your patients, you will see better results. If you change nothing about your business/patient communication model and expect your marketing team do all of the heavy lifting, you’ll potentially see good results, but you won’t reach your full potential.
Because our agency has worked with numerous medical professionals, we have seen firsthand the difference that it makes when practices take our recommendations (not based on guesses – based on data) for things that they can do on their end to strengthen the overall campaigns.
Here are 5 actions you can take that we have seen directly influence medical marketing results:
1. Send text message reminders and follow ups (or email, or both)
One study by the Medical Group Management Association in 2017 found that 52.4% of patients miss appointments simply because they forgot, and 28.6% of patients miss appointments because they wrote down the wrong time or date. Had they been reminded, they would have shown up.
Taking the time to send messages to your patients is key to keeping patients engaged. You can cut down on missed appointments and increase attendance for events like seminars by interacting with your patients on their devices. Email reminders are fine, but some messages may go into a spam box and many people do not check their email on a regular basis. However, 90% of texts are read within 3 minutes and less than 1% go unread, making it the ideal medium of communication, especially for younger patients – older patients may respond better to email, but this is a hypothesis that can be tested for your specific audience. You can send links to follow-up surveys, ask patients to confirm their appointments, and invite them to events or to annual checkups.
If your marketing team gets you leads that book appointments, but they forget about them because you do not have adequate communication in place, that’s a loss that could have been prevented. Sending text message reminders is a great way to guarantee you are taking advantage of the technology available to you.
2. Collect reviews and testimonials
Patients have more options for care and treatment today than they ever have before, which means reviews are more critical today than they ever have been before. According to one Nielsen study, 70% of people trust recommendations from people they have never met as long as they believe the review is real. When people are searching online for medical help, they need to know that your practice is trustworthy. Publishing reviews helps reassure prospective patients that you are legitimate and that other patients have benefited from your care.
Ideally you should have a mix of written and video reviews, but video testimonials are particularly powerful because they allow the viewer to connect and relate to a person they can visualize. The more reviews and testimonials you have, the more likely web visitors are to see you as a reputable source.
In order to publish more reviews, you need to actively collect them from your patients. Typically, patients only write reviews unprompted if they have a really negative or really positive experience. You want to capture and represent more positive experiences. (Collecting reviews also has the added benefit of revealing ways that your practice can improve the patient experience.) There are apps and integrations you can use to reach out to customers following an appointment, an initial consultation, or an event.
3. Use a monthly newsletter
Monthly newsletters are a great way to foster goodwill between you and your patients (or your prospective patients), and even to keep your practice in the front of their mind, should they know someone that needs the services you have to offer. You can write about your team members, community service, upcoming events, new specials or service offerings, patient stories, educational material, etc. It needs to be interesting, attractive content they will want to read. If you promote this newsletter to web visitors who have not yet booked appointments, it can help increase bookings, and if you promote this newsletter to current patients, it can improve their perception of your brand.
4. Set aside part of your budget for experiments
Obviously, you control what portion of your budget goes to marketing, and you should be able to adjust that easily depending on your financial circumstances. Not all medical professionals will be able to have large marketing budgets, but if you have any room in your marketing budget, it would help your marketing team if you earmarked a portion purely for tests, experimental campaigns, or experimental channels. Google changes the rules regarding advertising for medical practices often; it’s always a good idea to be marketing through more than one platform. And when your marketing agency knows that they can be aggressive in testing and experimenting, they are going to get better, cheaper results in the long run because they will be able to get concrete data to inform their decision making.
5. Ensure a strong phone call presence
None of these action items are in any particular order of importance, but if they were, this one would be a contender for first place. Your marketing agency can get you the most qualified lead in the world, but if they call your office to ask about a procedure or find out more information, and the person answering the phones isn’t well-trained, the leads will die there. You need knowledgeable, personable, persuasive people answering the phones who are able to interact with prospective patients effectively.
Are you currently doing any of these for your marketing agency and your business? Have questions about how to implement these actions into your strategy? Empirical360 is a Google Premier Partner that specializes in helping medical professionals grow their business through paid search advertising, social media marketing, search engine optimization, web development, and more. Contact us to find out how to improve your medical marketing today!
Shea Duncan - Author
Director of Content Marketing
Shea is an expert content writer and is a classic literary nerd! She loves writing highly engaging content and has a knack for making it convert!