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How to make a strategic healthcare marketing plan

Last updated

3 July 2023

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The digital revolution has delivered numerous changes to the healthcare industry. 

Nowadays, most people can access health and well-being information instantly, giving them more options than ever before. In fact, patients rarely feel compelled to visit even the healthcare facility closest to them. 

The healthcare landscape is full of choices, so you could have a hard time attracting new patients if you don’t market your facility. Lack of engagement could see even your most loyal clients dropping off. 

However, with a sound healthcare marketing plan, you can improve your reach, get more patients coming in, and keep them thinking about your brand. 

Unsure how to hack this hyper-competitive industry? Keep reading for practical tips and a healthcare marketing plan example guide to set you well on your way.      

What is a healthcare marketing plan?

A healthcare marketing strategy or plan outlines how a healthcare facility will promote itself and grow over time. It informs your methods of creating, communicating, and using healthcare information. 

A sound healthcare marketing plan can execute and measure your efforts over time to determine their effectiveness. 

This strategy typically spans one year, relies on offline and online tactics, and is highly segmented.  

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What is the importance of a strategic healthcare marketing plan?

Your medical facility needs to stand out in an increasingly competitive healthcare landscape to:

  • Attract new clients or patients

  • Retain current clients

  • Augment patient journeys

  • Maximize your return on investment (ROI)

Here's how a sound healthcare marketing plan can come in handy: 

Increased brand visibility

Healthcare businesses can use digital marketing to reach more potential customers than ever before. 

However, it helps to have a strategic marketing plan that draws the right people to your facility. 

Maintaining a familiar tone of voice, look, and feel makes your brand more recognizable, increasing patient trust.  

A competitive edge

A recent CITE Research study of 3,000 respondents showed that 83% of consumers want personalized or patient-centric healthcare services with great engagement. 

A solid healthcare marketing plan can connect your facility with patients. This can give you an advantage over competitors who rarely think about digital marketing.  

More patients

When patients are unsatisfied with a particular healthcare facility's services, they are more likely to switch. 

Dissatisfaction can come from a lack of or poor engagement online. 

A sound marketing strategy ensures you can draw these patients to your facility.  

What are the key elements of a healthcare marketing plan?

Some notable elements to make your healthcare marketing plan stand out include the following:

A mobile-friendly and responsive website

A responsive website can adjust to whatever device your client is using, whether it's a tablet, PC, or phone. 

When you optimize your website for multiple platforms, you may expand your reach. Why?

That's because more than 80% of patients use their phones regularly to interact with medical professionals. They also use them to browse through healthcare reviews. 

Plus, it's a great way to improve your search ranking as Google ranks mobile-friendly sites higher. 

Search engine optimization (SEO)

With most patients turning to the internet for healthcare information, investing in SEO makes plenty of sense. 

This begins with publishing unique, authoritative content and optimizing your web pages.

Employee advocate marketing

Your employees can greatly contribute to your marketing efforts in and out of the workplace. That includes everyone from the front desk team to your specialists. 

Creating a positive healthcare environment can win over patients unsure about your services. 

They could also use social media to advocate for your facility and create a loyal customer base.  

Patient and professional referrals

Patients and professional partners can help create a great brand reputation by saying good things about your facility. 

You should develop great relationships with consistent communication, respect, and kindness. 

Simple things go a long way, like saying hello to a patient who has not been to your facility for a while or wishing them a happy birthday. 

Social media marketing

Social media can assist you in attracting new patients and strengthening your relationships with existing clients. 

While you do not have to use each platform available, ensure you have a great strategy for the platforms you post content on. 

Some great tactics include:

  • Advertising your healthcare services, promotions, and products to boost revenue

  • Consistently posting informative content to establish brand authority and enhance engagement rates, such as videos about health conditions

  • Answering patient questions and engaging your followers to boost patient loyalty and brand affinity

A step-by-step guide to making a healthcare marketing plan

Here's how to make a strategic healthcare marketing plan:

Step 1: Conduct a SWOT analysis

A swot analysis simply refers to evaluating the following aspects of your medical care business: 

Strengths

Your business can leverage its capabilities and resources to gain a competitive edge. 

They include: 

  • A groundbreaking service or product

  • Massive industry experience

  • Your facility's strategic location

Weaknesses

These are things you should improve or avoid. For instance, your facility could be in a poor location or already have a bad reputation. 

Opportunities

Novel opportunities can include: 

  • Strategic alliances

  • New technologies

  • The departure of competitors

  • An upcoming market base

Threats

These uncontrollable aspects stand in the way of your healthcare facility's success. 

They can include: 

  • Economic downturns

  • Entry of a new competitor

  • Changes in insurance plans or government regulations

  • A rival gaining a competitive edge

Step 2: Define your target market

Trying to reach everyone will water down your message. Establish specific personas that describe the people and entities you target. 

This ensures you speak their language better and promote the aspects they care about most. 

When defining your target audience, list everything you can about them, including their: 

  • Medical needs

  • Healthcare habits

  • Location

  • Other demographics

Step 3: Establish SMART goals

The SMART system calls for objectives that are:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Realistic

  • Time-bound 

Smart business goals help your team stay on the same page as they execute your healthcare marketing plan. 

Step 4: Discuss and analyze key marketing strategies

Meet with your staff and analyze your current marketing tactics with them. 

Evaluate the strategies that meet your facility's goals and the demands of your current and potential patients. 

This step may uncover missed opportunities while improving your communication and messaging channels. 

For instance, after analyzing your user personas and SMART goals, you may determine that posters are better for advertising than TV ads.  

Step 5: Stay ahead of the competition

Being the undisputed leader in your sector takes plenty of work. You have to make your facility's services or products unique and offer value beyond just the price. 

Assume your competitors are competing on price, and look for another value proposition that keeps customers walking into your medical practice. 

A competitor analysis report will help you understand your competition and develop future-proofing strategies. Forecasting the problems and influences you may encounter is how you stay ahead.

Step 6: Set your budget

You will require some money to roll out your marketing plan. Plan and stick to a budget to implement all your strategies throughout the year. Avoid blowing money on one or two things. 

Talk with your finance team to know what's possible and align your budget appropriately. This includes creating estimates for each marketing activity you have planned. 

While you need to stick to the budget, leave some room for flexibility due to changes in priorities. 

Step 7: Establish KPIs

Any solid marketing plan relies on effective tracking and analytics. With the relevant data, you can prove your strategies were successful, and you’ll know what works so you can replicate it. 

You'll use key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess the performance of your marketing tactics. Establish these metrics from the start to track them as time goes on. 

Some top healthcare marketing plan KPIs you could use include: 

  • Bounce rate 

  • Demographics

  • Conversions

  • Number of pages viewed

  • Average time spent on your website

  • Sources of traffic

  • Top landing pages

  • Search trends on your site

FAQs

What does a healthcare marketing plan look like?

A healthcare marketing plan typically includes a medical business's goals and tactics for promoting its services.

It also outlines the facility's target audience, , and key metrics to measure performance. The plan works within a set budget.

What is a good marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a carefully curated strategy outlining a business's goals and objectives. 

It includes the organization's: 

  • Target audience

  • Main messages

  • Value propositions

  • Key marketing tactics

  • Competitive strategies

  • Methods of measuring success

  • Budget

  • Set timeline

What is patient-centered marketing?

Patient-centered marketing features the patient as the key aspect. 

It's when your facility customizes all messages, objectives, communication, and to meet the patient's needs. 

This strategy should increase engagement and . It can also ensure positive clinical outcomes. 

What is the goal of healthcare marketing?

Healthcare marketing aims to: 

  • Promote your healthcare facility's services

  • Deliver authoritative, beneficial content to patients

  • Enhance patient health

  • Improve and brand loyalty

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