The holidays are upon us, and every year brings new marketing opportunities for your healthcare organization. Of course, 2020 is a historically different year, as coronavirus and flu season come together.
There may be fewer patients looking for services, but a successful healthcare marketing strategy can counteract a slower holiday season for your medical practice. Your online presence is always evolving – even during COVID-19, and even during the holidays.
To make sure your prospects and patients seek care from your providers, you need to know which digital healthcare marketing campaigns will convert them.
Here are seven healthcare marketing tips you can use to promote your medical practice, engage loyal patients and attract new business over the 2020 holidays.
1. Update Website and Local Landing Pages
Our 2020 survey of healthcare consumers showed that patients search for doctors on hospital/facility websites more than any other source. Healthcare marketers need to ensure their website is not only well-designed, but also properly updated.
Update your hours for the holidays on your website and physician profile pages to offer patients transparency when they book an appointment. Moreover, updating your website to reflect the holidays helps connect with your current patients and shows prospective patients that your organization cares about the customer experience.
To gain potential patients’ trust, display star ratings and recent patient feedback prominently on physician profiles. Moreover, be transparent on your website about safety precautions, service policies, virtual care options and other changes related to COVID-19.
Remember that content is key to your website’s online visibility. Post key information, recent photos, and other location-specific content on your webpages and other listings. Even a simple holiday image on your homepage or blog makes your providers look more festive and up to date.
If your healthcare practice has a blog, now is a great time to write specific, helpful content around the holidays, flu season and coronavirus. Topics could include navigating the holiday season during COVID-19, ways to stay healthy during the holidays, healthy recipe ideas, or dealing with holiday stress. Your audience is constantly searching for useful content, so make it easy to find on your site.
2. Optimize Healthcare Facility Listings
A prominent, complete and accurate online presence is essential to every healthcare marketing strategy. It’s even more important during the holidays, when people travel widely and your staff may have less time to field questions.
Your healthcare facilities’ listings on Google My Business, Vitals and Zocdoc are just as important as your website. Presenting a positive, robust brand image on these platforms will draw in residents searching locally.
If you have special holiday hours, communicating that to patients online should top your healthcare marketing list over the holidays. Plus, telemedicine and virtual care availability should be prominently displayed across your listings.
According to data from Binary Fountain healthcare clients, click-to-calls from GMB have skyrocketed since February. Make sure directions and updated contact information are displayed on Google Maps, Apple Maps and other listings.
Healthcare organizations should also harness the power of photos on Google My Business listings along with updating location details. Add high-quality, recent photos that have good lighting and that feature your staff, facilities and services.
3. Email and Text Message Marketing
Your marketing strategy should include location-specific email and text campaigns over the winter. These two marketing channels can help you stay top of mind, encourage appointments, and build a lasting relationship with patients.
Through feedback data, find out what patients want and need, and offer something of value by email or SMS text. An easy first step is to share important health information with certain patient populations, like flu shot reminders for pediatric parents or updated hours for physical therapy.
Whether it’s a referral offer, safety update or review request, keep the message simple and helpful. And choose your times wisely: Send email and text campaigns on the days patients are most likely to schedule an appointment or leave a review.
Willis-Knighton Health System used mass text messaging campaigns to send immunization reminders to 45,000 pediatric parents and guardians during COVID-19. It reported a 60-100% increase in average online appointment bookings in the three following months.
4. Holiday Social Media Marketing
Social media is a quick, simple way to connect with your patients over the holidays. December presents an especially great opportunity to post on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
It goes a long way to get your entire organization in on holiday social media marketing. Encourage your providers, staff and patients to share photos of holiday moments and tag your brand to boost engagement.
Emphasize a personal connection. Share holiday memories from your providers, employee holiday photos, family recipes, playlists and other posts. Engage directly with patient’s posts, when you can, and communicate consistently throughout the month.
As always with social media, the key is to be specific with targeting features, like geographic location, income and age. Social media management tools can help you draft, approve, schedule and post this engaging content across your profiles.
Most of all, your holiday social media marketing strategy requires compassion and empathy in 2020. The themes of goodwill and togetherness should permeate your online presence through December.
For more tips on mastering social media, read our free, downloadable e-book, “Guide to Social Media Marketing for Healthcare.”
5. Generate Reviews Over the Holidays
The warmer your patients find their experience receiving care from your providers, the more likely they are to post a review that could reach thousands of people. Make sure to ask patients to take post-visit surveys or leave reviews through email and text campaigns.
Review generation is highly beneficial for your star ratings and search rankings. But not every review is positive. Healthcare marketers need to respond to negative reviews quickly and compassionately over the holidays.
If you do have negative reviews on sites like Google, Facebook or Healthgrades, consider taking these steps:
- Ask long-standing patients to post reviews on a specific review site.
- Address all negative comments, publicly, across each platform.
- Create review response templates for your teams to use across all service lines and locations.
Remember that your staff is the key to a positive patient experience. But the holiday season brings enormous additional stress this year. That makes it invaluable to understand your team’s challenges and make them feel appreciated.
Asking for employee reviews, through internal surveys or sites like Indeed and Glassdoor, can do wonders for employee satisfaction. You can learn the real-time pros and cons of working at your healthcare organization. And, simply by asking for feedback, you’re acknowledging the value your providers and staff add to your business.
6. Measure Holiday Marketing Success
No matter the initiative, healthcare brands need to ensure their holiday marketing is measurable. Tracking the marketing and reputation mangement ROI this year can create an even more profitable campaign in (a more normal) 2021.
Survey current patients to learn more about their problems, needs and preferences; and use that feedback data to improve. When you understand the patient experience, you know what prospective patients want to see in your marketing and on your listings.
These quick marketing tips are small but effective ways to enhance the patient experience – one of the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal this season.
Most of all, the holidays are about goodwill and gratitude. Your brand can reflect those values across your web presence on its path to engaging patients, providing care, and keeping communities healthy.
Read more about healthcare marketing and reputation management for medical practices: