Generating new healthcare consumers and hanging onto patients for your hospital or clinic brand can feel like a steep hurdle to overcome. After all, studies from SolutionReach have found that nearly half of younger generations are prone to switching providers in a given year. So what should your marketing team budget for in the coming year?
Here are a few ways to maximize your budgetary efforts going forward.
Not every placement in your marketing war chest needs to cost and arm and a leg for minimal or immeasurable results. There are several avenues for which your marketing team or agency should budget in order to capitalize on low barriers to entry with more provable ROI. First off, invest in your web presence's SEO efforts to gain some more organic search traction. This could include keyword optimization on your highest-traffic or key pages, as well as blogging or building out keyword-rich content to drive more visitors to your site. These sorts of efforts can have major ripple effects on your web traffic in the long-term (though may not be as evident in the near-term), so it's a good investment from your annual marketing budget that doesn't require media dollars to be spent.
As a part of a clinic or hospital system, you more than likely have a great deal of familiarity with systems that manage your data and your patient information. However, if your healthcare marketing team hasn't invested in a relationship-management platform, you're missing great opportunities to boost patient retention and capitalize on the likeliest of leads to convert into patients. Customer-relationship-management (CRM) software helps you stay on top of this by allowing you to automate messaging and score your leads to determine the most apt potential patients to market to—thus saving you some budget on sending unnecessary bulk emails or mailers to consumers not yet at the decision-making stage. CRMs come in all shapes and sizes, many of which begin with a free or reduced-price starter level. Talk to your agency about kicking off your lead-nurturing efforts.
Whether it's staffing up your customer-service team or amping up your website's technical capabilities, emphasizing the importance of speedy and highly available service is critically important. One of the biggest factors in patient retention is service experience—so add as many consumer-demanded touchpoints as you can. This may include social-media management to respond to direct messages in a timely manner or engaging a live-chat function on your "contact us" page. Sure, not all organizations are equipped to manage responses through such a service—that's why smaller organizations are taking advantage of third-party plugins that employ highly intelligent chatbots on their sites.