Great patient marketing puts the patient experience at the core of your strategy. Every healthcare marketing tactic and campaign you run should take patient needs into account, first and foremost.

People want to take a proactive role in their healthcare decisions in today’s consumer-driven world. Unfortunately, 49% of people report wishing their digital patient experience was smoother and more intuitive, similar to when they use Netflix, Uber, or Amazon, according to findings by Cedar and Forrester’s 2020 Healthcare Consumer Experience Study.

Keep reading for a deeper dive into modern patient marketing strategies that allow you to effectively engage with your patient audience and grow your healthcare practice.

Patient marketing for your medical practice is key to the success of your healthcare business

Modern healthcare consumers are more educated and informed than ever. They have access to information with a few taps of their thumbs, and you can expect they will be researching your medical practice—and your competitors—before ever reaching out.

Reaching patients where they are with valuable healthcare information and an honest and straightforward description of your services is essential to patient marketing that gets results.

If you want to grow your business, you must increase your patient count

After dealing with decades of poor experiences and broken processes, patients today want to take back their healthcare journey. That’s why it’s crucial to develop an effective patient marketing strategy to reach and provide value to your audience.

To grow your practice, you need to retain your current patients and attract new ones. The latter can’t happen if people haven’t heard of you, can’t find you online, or don’t understand what services you offer or how you can help them.

Your number one job as a healthcare provider is taking excellent care of your patients. Your second most important job should be attracting new patients so you can provide them with that same great care.

Keep up with healthcare marketing trends

Like the healthcare market in general, patient marketing is constantly evolving, with new technologies regularly being introduced. Modern healthcare marketers must keep up with the latest trends to grow their patient base.

A few of the latest patient marketing trends include:

  • New and improved patient portals. Including a patient portal on your website gives patients a place to quickly and securely manage their healthcare information. Most standard patient portals allow patients to schedule appointments or view medical documents. More advanced portals take self-service even further, allowing patients to refill prescriptions online or live chats with specialists.
  • Healthcare content marketing. Investment into content to support medical marketing has taken off in a big way in the healthcare space over the last few years, with no sign of slowing down. It’s a proven way to drive organic traffic to your website and reach new patients. For a content strategy to be effective, healthcare marketers must consistently post high-quality, SEO-optimized content.
  • Mobile-friendly engagement. Over half of all website visits are done on a mobile device. That’s why it’s critical to consider mobile responsiveness in your website design. Don’t forget about emails and other patient marketing campaigns as well—assume at least half your patients are opening those messages on a mobile device.

Understanding direct-to-patient marketing

As patients take more of their healthcare decision-making into their own hands, traditional advertising and referral sources become less effective. Today, patient marketing must be more targeted and engaging, with direct patient marketing campaigns personalized to individuals and meet their unique needs.

Speak the patient’s language

For an effective direct-to-patient campaign, marketers must know and understand their target audience and the type of information they’re searching for. It’s also essential to use the same language your patients use and meet them with content that addresses their questions.

For example, if you’re promoting spine surgery but your patients are searching for “back pain treatments,” make sure that the same terminology is found in your marketing content to make it more relatable and easily seen by your audience.

Nurse assisting elderly woman to create an egaging patient experience
A nurse uses a tablet to demonstrate how to use one of her organization’s online patient marketing tools.

Communication and patient engagement

When you’re trying to grow your patient base, good communication on the channels your target audience is using is key. When your healthcare practice keeps showing up in their research, people are more likely to look at what you offer.

Create a strong web presence to support patient marketing

According to Google, 83% of people visit a hospital website before booking an appointment. A well-designed website focuses on the patient experience and provides clear and immediate value to visitors.

Your healthcare website should establish your brand, messaging, and service offerings and showcase the qualifications of your doctors and staff. Think of your website as your patient-facing spokesperson, where potential patients will get to know you before ever stepping foot in your office.

Market your healthcare practice on social media

Your social media channels are great places to humanize your practice and staff and provide engaging content informing patients about important healthcare topics. Social media allows you to have a two-way conversation with your community and establish your business as a trusted authority in the healthcare space.

Invest in patient reviews and manage your online reputation

Patients today shop for healthcare services the same way they shop for consumer products on Amazon—by reading reviews. Managing your reputation as a provider is one of the most essential things you can do to grow your patient base.

According to Google, 94% of patients rank a healthcare provider’s reputation as their number one consideration when choosing whom to trust. Here are a few proven strategies for managing your reputation online:

  • Claim or create business listings on popular healthcare review sites like Google or HealthGrades.
  • Send patient surveys to stay ahead of problems before they become negative reviews.
  • Contact unhappy patients directly and address their concerns.
  • Ask satisfied patients to review your practice online and provide patient stories.

Patient marketing FAQs

Over the years, we’ve worked with clients across the healthcare industry and have heard many questions about best practices for marketing to patients. Read on for a few of those frequently asked questions.

How do you market a new patient?

Attracting new people to your practice is critical, but continuing to provide a great experience even after they become a patient is just as important. Make sure you have processes to add lasting value to patients, especially when they’re new to your practice.

Here are a few ideas for engaging new patients:

  • Send them directions to your office or facility before their first appointment.
  • Educate them on what to expect and what to bring to their visit.
  • Provide helpful instructions for creating an account on the patient portal.
  • Send them a patient satisfaction survey about their first visit (and address any concerns right away).

What is patient-centric marketing?

Patient-centric marketing is all about putting the patient’s needs first. It means addressing the things they care about and engaging them with educational content and helpful tools.

As you build your patient marketing strategy, your goals should include improving the patient experience (including the online experience) and adding value with every piece of content and engagement tactic you deploy.

How can hospitals increase patients?

Healthcare is a competitive industry, and in many communities, multiple hospitals compete to attract new patients in the same local area. Your organization needs a unique selling proposition to stand out from the crowd.

Your unique selling proposition makes your hospital special and differentiates you from your competitors. Knowing what makes your organization unique and effectively communicating that value in hospital marketing to patients helps you increase brand visibility and create a competitive advantage in your market.

What strategies should be used to increase patient volumes?

Building a foundation of exceptional patient care is the first step to increasing patient volumes. Establish an excellent reputation as a provider, then use the above patient marketing tactics to promote your services and grow your patient base.

Why is patient volume important?

A study by Prophet and GE Healthcare Camden Group found that 81% of consumers are unsatisfied with their healthcare experience, leading to them changing providers in search of a better experience.

Patient turnover happens—even to the best, most reputable healthcare providers—so it’s essential to have a constant flow of new patients coming in to balance the scales.

Finding the right healthcare marketing partner

To build an effective patient marketing engagement strategy and optimize your ROI, consider partnering with an experienced healthcare marketing agency that can help you connect with patients across all your digital channels.

Trust the patient marketing experts at TBH Creative

TBH Creative specializes in helping clients build and execute effective healthcare marketing plans that convert. In 2021, we received six Aster Awards—five gold and one silver—for our excellence in healthcare web design and patient marketing.