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05.24.19

Why Automation Plays a Role in Your Healthcare Marketing

Aaron Puckett

The healthcare industry is potentially one of the most time-sensitive professions. Wasted time can create clinic backlogs, disrupt the office workflow and even impact patient health. Undoubtedly, a clinic has a standardized operating procedure, but with each day comes new challenges and unpredictable scenarios. With the focus being on on patient, practice and employee wellbeing, sometimes marketing focus takes a back seat.

Let's take a look at how automation can introduce efficiencies into your healthcare marketing.

Response Rates

Patients' needs don't have office hours. People will need to get information from your clinic throughout every day of the week. Although expectations are more than likely set as to how much information they can receive, it helps their perceptions when they at least feel they've been heard. Building in an automation to your website's contact form or live-chat components can provide pre-defined responses to common inquiries. If possible, this automation can even contain triggers to respond to certain types of requests with unique messaging, providing relevant information to the visitor. This automation should also reiterate that their requests will be addressed as quickly as possible. Be sure to set a realistic response expectation and make it a priority to meet that expectation.

Email

Email marketing provides an opportunity to personalize messaging to your existing patients, as well as provide more clinic-specific information to potential patients. Your email system should not be a standalone platform, rather it should be integrated with your online platforms with which your target audience is interacting. Your social media accounts, website and, especially, your CRM should help inform your email marketing through these integrations to help cater your messaging to individuals, not general groups. These integrations allow for emails to be triggered based on specific online interest or contact history. If a user has visited a specific page on your website multiple times in a week and has not set an appointment or visited your clinic, it could be beneficial to send that person information that validates your clinic as the right choice. Email workflows can be built behind these initial email sends, as well, based on how the contact has interacted with the content you have provided them.

It is important to remember in the context of email to make sure you are only sending emails to contacts who have explicitly opted in to receive this content. Also, messaging about specific services or procedures needs to be executed with consideration to PHI.

ChatBots

Your website provides essential information to visitors about your hospital or clinic, but healthcare is different on a patient-to-patient basis. The tools your website provides its visitors should account for the variation of requirements. A live-chat plugin is a great way to get visitors connected with your practice on a personal level when they have specific questions that cannot be answered within the pages of your website. But what happens when the staff goes home? The live-chat tool can still serve as a helpful resource by providing pre-defined responses to common questions. These answers can be triggered by specific keywords, or the automated response can provide a multiple-choice selection of the need that best fits the user. A simple, yet personal, message flow can be built behind the initial response to provide answers to questions or set expectations as to when they will be contacted if their questions were left unanswered.

Internal Notifications

Automation tools should assist your patients by providing helpful information at the times needs are identified. It can also help inform your team about how and when to respond to patient requests. A strategic notification plan should be implemented to account and solve for the non-office-hour inquiries received by your clinic. Plan for schedule shifts, vacations, leaves and any other predictable occurrences that would interfere with the normal handling of responses. In unpredictable situations, have a fall-back solution built into your system so those that slip through the cracks get passed to the next available associates to take care of them. Similar to an email workflow, this notification workflow can be built to pass the request to the next available associate if it has not been responded to in a specific timeframe.

Remarketing/Retargeting

Although this may be one of the more rudimentary forms of automation, it still is an extremely powerful method to convert single-visit website sessions into return visits and eventually clinic traffic. Define key page visits, as well as the priority demographics of your audience(s), so you can develop your messaging to speak to these page visitors with familiarity and assurance. As the initial page visitors progress into the remarketing funnel, you can layer in additional messaging based on repeat visits, conversions or disengagement.

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