Five Steps to 2016 Healthcare Marketing Strategy

January 18, 2016

It’s never too early or too late to evaluate your existing marketing strategy and determine the potential for growth this year. Healthcare marketing trends are changing as fast as practice management itself. Priorities competing for attention haven’t eased as we’ve buckled into the Affordable Care Act. In fact, they’ve increased.

While the landscape is more crowded with tools this year, for many, return on investment has also become more elusive. It’s all we think about at Carestruck, along with ways to better tailor marketing strategy to meet the needs of our clients.

Approaching Effective Marketing Strategy

Let’s keep in mind that marketing’s ultimate purpose is to increase revenue, and effective strategy addresses that goal directly. Rising deductibles will continue to have significant impact on healthcare spending this year, and patient communications have never been more important than they are this year.

Recognizing that you need a marketing strategy in 2016 is a big step, and perhaps the most important one. As the demands of running of a healthcare business intensify, you’ll be tempted to skip marketing and business planning. However, another year with a static website leaves your business exposed and growth potential – let’s call it money, plain and simple – on the table.

Marketing Strategy is a Powerful Tool

To prove return on your investment in marketing, a strong planning tool will prompt you to ask the right questions about your objectives. This isn’t a document shoved to the bottom of your inbox once it’s complete. It includes dated milestones and tactical detail. It’s straightforward enough to tread a groove through your busiest days, leaves margin for interruptions and is functional for getting you back on track when inevitable crises arise. At Carestruck, we make this process easier with navigation and insight specific to your practice.

Five Most Important Steps

1.) Set a specific ROI target.

This requires review of where you stood at the end of your last fiscal year. Marketing strategy analyzes your audiences to determine attainable growth targets, and plans creative marketing activities consistent with your brand. At Carestruck, we have fresh ideas on tap and manage the legwork while you focus on patient care.

2.) Improve patient communications.

Communication is one of the biggest contributors to the patient experience. It’s not how long patients wait to see the doctor; it’s how you communicate around wait times that influences perception, ratings and reviews. An effective healthcare marketing strategy addresses every aspect of the patient experience, including communications from top to bottom. Push for integration and consistency across the experience.

Your patient newsletter is available in the waiting room and online. Front office staff directs patients to support tools on your website. The website supports the patient experience welcoming feedback and testimonials. Finally, direct email campaigns keep your expertise top of mind. Brand continuity rules the day and outcomes are monitored.

3.) Address rising deductibles.

Carestruck empowers clients to deal with rising patient deductibles.Deductibles are still rising right alongside premiums. Recoiling from increases in insurance premiums, people are flocking to plans with low premiums and high deductibles. Plans with the most economical premiums leave patients paying 40 – 60% of their total healthcare costs out of pocket. For those with a $5000+ deductible, 80% will end up paying all of their own health care expenses themselves in any given year. That means a much greater percentage of Q1 – Q2 revenue will be the result of direct patient collections, increasing pressure for practices to manage collections proactively.

Proactive collections require front office discipline linked to a solid patient communications strategy. Ultimately, an effective strategy can help move your bill closer to the top of your patients’ payments. Bottom line: 2016 continues a shift from a traditional insurance model to a more retail business model.

4.) Make the most of your website.

There’s still a great opportunity to distinguish your practice with a dynamic website. Though they’re more aesthetic, most DIY web development amounts to no more than digital brochures that fossilize online. How’s your website working for you? An effective website serves the pulse of your practice. Make sure you’ve covered the basics: SEO, HD video, external links to educational resources, and patient testimonials. But, don’t leave your website thinking it fait accompli. Regular updates, changes in office hours, Holiday greetings, events, and medical advances drive repeat visits, and cultivate your audience beyond the office visit.

5.) Get real engagement from social pages.

Carestruck helps with your social engagement strategy.The goal of social engagement is more than accumulating followers. Fully leveraged, social engagement requires a thorough understanding of your audience, it’s interactivity and response to your culture. We can help convert browsers to return visitors, and repeat visitors to referrals. Unlike general marketers and digital developers, we know the power to extend engagement begins at your office, so we begin with you on campus.

With these five considerations you’re on your way to making this your best year ever with marketing strategy that actually works. We have the marketing experience and healthcare expertise to provide a plan tailored to your needs and objectives. And, because you’re busy, we do the leg work, research and analysis to deliver a simple strategy we execute with you, not remote from your organization.

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