10 ESSENTIAL Healthcare Marketing Pointers (During a Pandemic)
With the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all living in unprecedented times. No one in our country can remember going through anything quite like this.
On top of that, so much is changing on a frequent basis. Even now, as we’re writing this, it’s strange to think about how different everything was only a week ago.
Now, the fact of the matter is that practices that best weather this storm will emerge in a strong position – and we want to help you do exactly that.
So, what should you do during a time like this?
1. Stay Calm
Yes, obviously these are trying times and we’re in uncharted waters but keeping a level head is imperative. One way or another, things are going to be alright in the long run, even if that means we end up with a new “normal.” As you’ll see shortly, it’s especially important for you—as a medical professional—to stay calm and let logic guide you forward. (John Giuliana has some particularly great words about this.)
Regarding the new normal, you may wonder what means? Well, a big example is that many practices out there are going to start using telemedicine as a way to keep treating patients (in a time when patients may be reluctant to go to a physical office). If you adopt this practice, you may find it’s something you wish to continue and promote after the pandemic has subsided.
Concierge services are another example you might utilize at this time of crisis, but then realize it could be useful in the future.
Again, the key here is that you are staying calm and logically surveying the current landscape. In doing so, you have the opportunity to discover new services and avenues for greater success later down the road.
2. Keep Marketing
With everything else going on, this might seem like something that you can ditch. Well, that’s not the case. You need to think long-term. Our society will recover from this crisis and staying relevant now puts your practice in a better position for when that happens.
Here’s another reason:
Marketing is communication. You have a variety of platforms you use on a regular basis to educate, inform, and establish relationships (all so patients choose your practice when they need podiatric care). You MUST keep these lines of communication open – people trust you for your expert insight, so be there for them!
Along with that, consistent communication sends the message that—while the rest of society is panicking—you have a plan and can offer valuable solutions for them. In doing so, you can discover potential new markets near you that will open in ways you couldn’t imagine.
3. Change/Bolster Your Messaging
While it is essential that you maintain marketing, the messages you deliver will need to be changed in some cases, and enhanced in others.
With regard to changing your messaging, we’ll bet you traditionally haven’t had much need to reassure patients and help them understand what to do in a COVID-19 pandemic before but use your marketing platforms to do exactly that.
Another area of messaging (one that we’ll continue to discuss) is making sure you are being intentional in the information you provide. That entails things like:
- The measures your office is taking to stay sanitary
- Any changes in office hours (including if you are seeing certain age groups/demographics at certain times)
- How you accommodate patients who are scared to come in (like perhaps via telemedicine)
Also, really focus on your practice’s strengths (as they relate to your patient’s needs). This means highlighting things like the fact you treat patients in an isolated environment (and not a hospital or large medical group).
4. Add Content to Your Homepage
This doesn’t have to be—shouldn’t be, actually—a lot of content, but you should update your homepage to include a blurb acknowledging the current situation.
It’s best if this appears toward the top of your page so it quickly gives site visitors the information that they need about office hours, what your staff is doing to keep everyone safe and healthy, etc.
One option here you might want to consider is using a pop-up containing a bullet point list of important information, such as the quickest ways to contact you and updated office hours.
5. Post Regularly on Social Media
While social media is an outstanding way to establish your practice’s brand and show personality, it’s also an incredible communications tool. One area where social media (and video) is particularly beneficial is the fact that you can do a more effective job of keeping your patients calm and reassured by using platforms where they can see your face and hear your voice.
(This really highlights a key reason why social media is such an important part of your marketing plan!)
Right now, make sure you are using your social platforms to keep patients informed about what is going on, including things like cleaning procedures and any updates in your practice.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry! We have a social media post template you can use for your practice’s social media accounts. Give us a call or fill out the form here to get it.
6. Use Facebook Live and Instagram Stories
All forms of social media posts can be helpful and position you as a medical authority who cares. Even better, however, is when you use videos to inform and deliver your messaging.
In this case, what works best isn’t scripted or slickly produced videos. Instead, a candid video you take with your phone or laptop can be especially powerful. Doing it this way conveys a sense of authenticity that really resonates with people.
Think of this as being like having a conversation with your patients. Just be honest and real with them. When you are, it solidifies and enhances the trust they have with you and your practice.
Something to consider here—and keep your brand in mind (as to whether this is right for you or not)—is that you may want to create a more light-hearted video. Perhaps one showing quirky ways you and/or your staff are staying sane during quarantine!
(Of course, don’t forget to use best practices like filming your video horizontally and keeping a clear background!)
7. Keep Sending Emails
Sure, it may seem like the entire world is emailing everyone about coronavirus, but the fact of the matter is that email is an essential communication channel in our modern life. Plus, it’s a great way to remind your patients that you are there for them!
Now, you’re probably thinking “why would I want to send more emails when everyone’s sick of receiving COVID-19 emails?” Well, here’s why:
Because your emails are going to be different. You can use this communication channel to show that you are truly there for them. Put them first when you compose your emails and the value you send will differentiate your practice from the competition (in a very positive way!).
Not sure exactly what to say? We’ve got your back! Our team has an email template as well to support you. Give us a call or fill out the form here to get it.
8. Update Your Blog
By now you’ve probably picked up on a running theme – you need to use your usual marketing platforms to keep in touch and communicate with patients. Well, your practice’s blog is no exception.
A key distinction with these various communication channels is the nature of the information each conveys. Your social media posts should be on the shorter side, emails should be a little (but not too much!) longer, and your blog posts should be the most in-depth out of all of them. Use your blog to go into greater detail.
As you do, make sure you are presenting interesting, useful information in an engaging manner. Try to focus your content as much as possible on the reader (what this situation means for them, what you recommend they do, etc.).
Another key recommendation here is to use storytelling techniques and make sure the posts are relatable and engaging. For example, you may want to have a post sharing what you and your family are doing to stay connected and/or not get on everyone’s last nerves during quarantine. Or perhaps you have some expert tips that really apply to the situation your readers are in. Or you could possibly talk review various sanitization products and offer your recommendations (as a trusted medical professional).
9. Keep an Eye on Your Metrics
To this point, we’ve shared a lot of different ideas you can use during a time like the one we’re in. This begs the question: how do you know if any of it is actually having an impact on your practice?
To properly answer a question like that, you need to make sure you have benchmarks. In this case, we’re talking about relevant metrics for your digital marketing – and you need to have both data for your current situation and numbers connected to your overall practice goals.
Now, as is the case with virtually every business out there, your practice is being affected by the coronavirus situation. And this will likely affect your digital marketing numbers. Accordingly, tracking them closely will enable you to better make adjustments with your messaging and allow you to plan for the future.
10. Stay Current with the Latest Developments
Remember, you are a trusted medical professional who provides valuable services for your patients. They will turn to you for guidance and help in making sense of the whole situation. You can best serve them by staying updated by reputable sources. Instead of relying on biased news outlets (regardless as to the bias), see what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization (etc.) are saying.
We understand that marketing probably isn’t the first thing on your mind right now. Frankly, it’d be a little weird if that were the case. That said, it is still extremely important – to the point it absolutely is more imperative to your success than it ever has been before.
As you’ve undoubtedly seen, the economy starts to suffer when society is scared and panicking. By marketing effectively, you are taking your livelihood into your own hands. Following these pointers will go a long way towards helping reduce the impact of COVID-19 on your practice and positioning you for success when everything returns to normal.
Marketing—which is a matter of establishing (and maintaining) a conversation and relationship with your perfect patients—allows you to provide value to your patients during times like these and reminds them to stay calm.
(And with digital marketing being the ultimate form of “social distancing,” this is an especially valuable tool you should be using right now!)
If there’s anything VMD Services can do to help you, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Even if you simply have some questions or would like additional advice, we’re ALWAYS here for you when you need us.
We hope you and yours stay healthy and safe!
Fill your waiting room with the kinds of patients you want to treat.