The current coronavirus pandemic is a difficult time for specialty medical practices across the US. Many providers are feeling anxious about the future and unsure about how to spend (or cut) their marketing budgets right now. These are unprecedented times, but many of the tenets of online and digital marketing for a specialty medical practice still apply.
So, today we’ll talk about six must-dos we recommend for your practice’s marketing plan right now.
First, you can do a quick review of topics you’d like to learn more about to market your business. Don’t know where to get started? Check out our three most effective SEO practices for healthcare marketing and get your SEO knowledge up to speed.
Six Digital Marketing Tips for Your Specialty Medical Practice During the Coronavirus
1. Communicate with your patients.
For your existing patients, you’re a trusted source of health advice and information, and this is a time when they need you more than ever. You might not be able to offer them most of your in-office services right now. Yet this is a critical time to build your authority in their eyes and stay diligent about reputation management.
You can send them thoughtful emails with helpful information and empathetic guidance based on your expertise.
Also, post organic content on social media platforms that speaks to your audience’s current needs and fears. This isn’t a time to stop communicating – just a time to shift what you’re communicating.
And don’t forget to use all your existing communications channels for content marketing, like your blog to share more expertise (and build your strategy for getting sustained leads as well).
It could also be a great time to get into new forms of marketing like making videos. Remember, your customers and patients are spending lots of time at home on Instagram and YouTube right now.
So reach them where they are, and build your image as a trusted authority in their eyes. This provides not just a valuable service to people who may be experiencing a lot of fear but also builds your image and online presence for the future.
Read up on how to write effective email campaigns. Your goal now is more to inform and educate. While doing so, you can easily incorporate asking for patient reviews and patient referrals for when life gets back to normal.
2. Offer targeted deals.
While you may have had to postpone any elective procedures or in-office visits for now, you still want to keep current patients. A great way to get customers to commit to future treatments and pre-pay for them is to run special offers.
Some examples of offers are:
- for a certain discount if they pre-pay for a future procedure
- an add-on treatment when they purchase a gift card
- a buy-one-get-one type deal for their next purchase
Remember, your patient base in your target audience will be looking forward to doing some self-care they’ve had to neglect recently once they get out of the house again. Offer them deals to get their skin plumped and glowing again, their bodies sculpted after the quarantine stress-eating, and their hormones balanced again. And if you make the deals contingent on pre-paying, you’ll still have some cash flow to tide you over.
Look into setting up an online shop for purchasing products or services if you don’t already have one. Remember, patients can still buy products and have them shipped or pick them up right now even if your doors are closed. Using Shopify has been effective for many of our clients.
3. Harness the power of video.
Telemedicine is growing in popularity by the day. Are you able to offer your clients a video consult instead of an office visit for conditions where it’s appropriate? It could be a great option to combine with those targeted deals too. Offer a free initial video consult to clients who are interested in hormone replacement or CoolSculpting procedures to get them interested and engaged.
Your patients aren’t gone, they’re just online. So meet them where they are and continue engaging with them through the power of technology. You can even hold virtual informative Q&A sessions for your patients – talk about their questions or go in-depth about procedures to keep them informed and up to date.
If you’re interested in offering telehealth consults but are not sure which platform to use, Zoom has a healthcare option that’s secure and HIPPA-compliant.
4. Inform and engage your community.
While many patients might be wary of spending cash right now, they’re hungry for information and have plenty of time to research possible procedures. So give existing patients plenty of information and engaging content to feed their interest.
- Get active on social media to talk about the different kinds of fillers and how you recommend their use.
- Offer a live Q&A on Instagram about CoolSculpting pros and cons.
- Start a YouTube channel where you share facts and information about the services you offer.
The point is: digital marketing is key for patient engagement.
This information sharing serves several purposes. It serves to build your authority further in the eyes of current and potential patients – they get to know you and trust you.
And it also gets them thinking about future procedures. After all, many people have plenty of time to research and plan cosmetic or hormone-related procedures right now, even if they can’t go get them.
But when the crisis is over, your continued educational efforts will make them more likely to come to you for their long-awaited procedures. This is nurture marketing and it’s incredibly effective for healthcare providers.
Make a traditional marketing calendar, but instead of doing one for the whole year, just plan out the next few weeks with your “quarantine content.”
5. Be precise and mindful about your digital marketing budget.
It’s a natural response to want to cut expenses during lean times like this – but it’s not a time to slash your digital marketing budget. If you need to make cuts, make sure they’re targeted to more expensive areas or ones that aren’t appropriate right now.
Instead, focus on building where you can afford to invest. Maybe you cut back on pay-per-click ads but spend more time writing content for your blog, which will give you more traffic in the long run.
Or instead of using an expensive studio to create compelling video content, get creative in your home office with your iPhone and make them yourself.
Watch our video on what makes a marketing budget and see if you’re on track. If you’re cutting back on your spending, make sure you’re still investing in the most important components of your digital marketing.
6. Invest in your future.
We all remain unsure about what the next few weeks will bring. But it’s nevertheless important to plan for the future of your practice beyond that limited horizon. Maybe you can’t afford to overhaul the design of your whole website right now.
But you can make updates to your content – is it optimized to tell the story of who you are and the value you offer to your patients? Review our ABCDs of website designs for healthcare providers to make sure you’re on track.
Or invest time in writing blog content that’s optimized for SEO. Since SEO is a long-term strategy for getting leads and appearing in a patient’s search, the time you invest now will pay off in the future when patients will be able to make visits again.
Who do you think will be in a stronger position when the crisis lifts – a specialty healthcare practice that has stopped all communications and marketing efforts for the months of crisis? Or one that’s been consistently engaging and informing their patients and listening to what their patients want to hear?
You don’t want to be starting your digital marketing strategy from zero when everything opens again. You want to hit the ground running and with a head start on a top Google search ranking compared to your competition.
Review our blog posts about content ideas for your blog, and start writing!
Healthcare Digital Marketing During Coronavirus
Challenging times like these demand a thoughtful shift for specialty medical practices, but digital marketing is still the best way to grow and market your business.
At Content First Marketing, we’re helping many specialty medical practices like yours weather the crisis with expert marketing that gets real results. Schedule a free business review here to see how we can help your practice stay on track for success.