Relationship marketing in healthcare is fundamental to building patient trust.

By the time a new patient checks in, they’ve read Google reviews about your practice and watched a playlist of YouTube videos about their condition. What patients come to experience for themselves is your brand’s promise in action.

Patient-centric digital marketing uses technology to bridge your commitment to quality to patient perception of care—it distinguishes outdated marketing from relationship marketing in healthcare.

Keep reading to learn the pivotal role people-first marketing plays in everything from patient acquisition to reputation management.

Why relationship marketing in healthcare is so important

Patients can tell when they’re just another check in a box. Relationship marketing in healthcare creates processes that keep patients from feeling like a number.

But what do a patient’s feelings have to do with the business side of your medical practice? According to medical marketing research, a whole lot:

Relationship marketing in healthcare will keep your medical practice relevant and adaptive to the industry’s transformation.

The truth is digital healthcare platforms and the abundance of online information gives patients new options. Many healthcare consumers are choosing to delay care or take care of themselves.

How is quality measured in a healthcare system?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, healthcare organizations can use the Donabedian model to assess their quality of care. This framework segments care into three categories:

  1. Structural measures: methods of administrative processes and systems
  2. Process measures: types of therapeutic processes
  3. Outcome measures: efficacy of administrative and therapeutic processes as they relate to improving patient health

When it comes to relationship marketing in healthcare, your medical practice can isolate metrics like the following to track your marketing ROI:

  • Bounce rates
  • Traffic sources
  • Conversion rates
  • Top-converting landing pages
  • Click-thru rates

Bring your marketing concerns to an experienced healthcare marketer to learn how you can leverage digital communications to improve your healthcare organization’s structures, processes, and outcomes.

Always follow the “patient first” policy

It’s easy to say “we put patients first,” but what does that look like in practice? Relationship marketing in healthcare is a measurable answer to that question.

Patient marketing begins by uncovering patient stories in the data. Where on your website are patients spending the most time? This lets you know what they’re most interested in doing and learning about. What keywords does your target audience use to search for healthcare? That teaches you the language your patients speak when advocating for care.

Healthcare marketing offers medical businesses solutions that improve their bottom line. But marketing is more than a smart business strategy. Relationship marketing in healthcare also creates smoother pathways to wellness for the people who need it most: your patients.

3 marketing strategies for better patient relationships

Unless you’re passionate about digital technology and healthcare marketing, it can be overwhelming to navigate the many communications tools available. The following three principles will set your relationship marketing in healthcare up for long-term success.


Emotionally compelling marketing builds patient loyalty

The best healthcare marketing inspires hope. Examples of emotionally engaging relationship marketing in healthcare include the following:

  • Video campaign featuring real-life success stories
  • A testimonials web page with extensive patient reviews and photos
  • Blog series exploring physicians’ personal experiences and passion for their work

Take a look at how the Franciscan Health Foundation used our services to expand its storytelling content and build engagement.


Relationship marketing through patient engagement on social media

Patients are people, and people crave connection. You can use social media in the following ways to meaningfully engage your target audience:

  • Share educational content about the services you provide on social channels like YouTube and Facebook
  • Raise awareness about conditions you specialize in with banners, live streams, and hashtags
  • Post formal and informal polls and surveys on Twitter and Instagram to learn about your patients

Learn how we deployed our social media management service to increase the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center’s contact-to-patient rate by 62.9%.

Woman looks at a healthcare social media post added to the IHTSC Facebook account

Evaluate the online patient experience to make it better

All healthy relationships need routine check-ups. Use the following digital strategies to keep the online patient journey symptom-free:

  • Audit your website to identify underperforming landing pages, informational errors, and web design issues
  • Use email automation to request feedback from patients after appointments
  • Work with a healthcare marketing agency to get a fresh perspective on your website’s strengths and weaknesses

Explore the strategies we used to redesign OrthoNebraska’s website, improve their patients’ experiences, and increase appointment requests by 62%.

Promote collaborative communications in healthcare

“Relationship” is the operative word in relationship marketing. Whether you think of your patients as brand ambassadors or customers who need your help, health consumers are your most important business partners.

That said, consider their feedback a gold mine. Use surveys, data, and social media to learn what patients think about your services. Identify your strengths from positive feedback and where you need to grow from their complaints. Your customers will tell you how to win their trust. You just have to listen.

FAQs about relationship marketing in healthcare

Are you ready to implement a customer relationship management system? Is your hospital website designed with your patients in mind?

Relationship marketing in healthcare takes expertise in digital communications and the healthcare industry. Keep reading to learn more about marketing healthcare using methods that promote trust.

What is the purpose of relationship management in health care marketing?

Healthcare marketers use customer relationship management systems to support every aspect of their patient relationships. The purpose of relationship management in healthcare marketing is to help patients get the customized care they need.

The benefits of relationship management in healthcare marketing include the following:

  • Access to healthcare marketing data
  • High-quality contacts for paper and email marketing
  • Improved systems through automation and digital processes

When it comes to marketing healthcare, the volume of available data and communications methods is massive. That’s why using the right CRM is a crucial component of sustainable relationship marketing in healthcare.

What are the examples of relationship marketing?

The goal of relationship marketing is to nurture patient trust. Digital marketing can help your medical practice achieve that goal and grow your business. Here are some examples of relationship marketing in healthcare:

  • Automating emails requesting reviews after appointments
  • Activating omnichannel marketing, including social media, email, and search
  • PPC campaigns using personalization to target audiences looking for specific health services

Ultimately, any communications effort that prioritizes patient needs will enhance relationship marketing in healthcare.

What are the five levels of relationship marketing?

The five levels to relationship marketing in healthcare capture a different stage of the patient journey.

Here are the five levels of marketing healthcare to patients:

  • Basic marketing: Use communications tools including digital marketing to guide patients to your medical service or product
  • Reactive marketing: Request feedback from healthcare consumers immediately after their visit or treatment
  • Accountable marketing: Follow up with patients after they’ve experienced results to ensure satisfaction and address unmet needs
  • Proactive marketing: Using patient feedback, create agile and adaptive solutions that make marketing healthcare a more patient-centric process
  • Partnership marketing: Use personalization and precision healthcare marketing to create highly-targeted communications solutions

Understanding how patients experience each level of relationship marketing in healthcare will help you refine their journey (and win their trust).

Planning your healthcare marketing strategies

Effective relationship marketing in healthcare is nuanced. Our full-service agency is proficient in uncovering patient needs hidden in marketing data. We’ll use that information to create a customized healthcare marketing plan that targets your ideal audience.

Center your patients, grow your practice

Relationship marketing in healthcare creates a positive feedback loop for medical businesses and the people they serve. When healthcare practices put their patients at the center of everything (from communications strategies to medical services), their businesses grow, patients get better, and the entire community benefits.