How should medical practice marketing change during a global pandemic? This article will share tips on how to improve the patient experience during COVID-19, what adjustments should be made to messaging on social media and your website, and outline ways to use marketing to engage your patients and employees.
Medical practices, like most businesses, are struggling to hone their efforts to attract patients during an ever-changing and uncertain time. It’s left many doctors and practice managers wondering what to expect in the coming months. Some of the questions we hear every day include:
- How has marketing shifted during COVID-19?
- What have we learned from working with practices nationwide
- What should practices do now to change their marketing strategies to improve their bottom line?
Insight Marketing Group President Jennifer Thompson was recently featured on the MGMA Podcast to share many of the strategies for marketing your practice in today’s COVID-19 environment featured in this article.
How Has Marketing Changed During COVID-19?
Your efforts to communicate with patients is now more important than ever. This includes current patients and their families but also future and potential patients. While many practices suffered financially as elective procedures stalled, the pandemic also brought opportunities to build new patient relationships. Your practice can achieve this by becoming the trusted advisor to the community, a stable resource in a time of great uncertainty. We use marketing to build these relationships and ultimately, improve your bottom line.
Marketing is a two-pronged effort now. There is the crisis communication part of marketing, that requires practices to use their website as a way to share information on lockdown, quarantine, and social distancing protocols. But we should also use this crisis as an opportunity to build stronger bonds and trust with our communities and the patients we serve.
Marketing your medical practice during COVID-19 must evolve into a priority. Even before COVID-19, marketing was playing an increasingly important role in patient communications. But what measures do practices need to tackle now to increase crisis communications while building patient relationships?
Patient Messaging During COVID-19
Some of the challenge practices face today include staying current in their marketing responses during a time of fluidity, where strategies can be thrown out in an instant. We’re seeing more experimentation as standard strategies are discarded. One big change is that websites and social media evolved into the lifeblood of patient communication for most practices. New protocols, new regulations, and our evolving response to the pandemic are all communicated faster on social media and practice websites. These marketing tools are more critical because patients are hungry for information and, as a result, they’re paying more attention to these resources.
The most successful practices during this time can leverage their existing social media influence to engage their audiences. But even practices that are just beginning their social media activities are reaping the benefits of these communication vehicles to educate and inform patients in the following ways:
- Regulatory Information
- What are the latest mandated mask and social distancing requirements?
- Health Advice
- How can patients stay safer with hand washing, social distancing, and mask-wearing?
- Patient Experience
- What will the patient experience with your practice be like during the COVID-19 crisis?
Marketing messages using your website and social media should incorporate these three areas, although strategies and tactics will change. The messaging should focus on how do we prepare our patients for our new practice reality in the COVID environment?
For example, telemedicine is an old tool that has suddenly become a necessity for the majority of practices. But will your older patients adapt well to this change? Or, do your patients understand their car may be their waiting room experience? You can use marketing to help transition patients to help them understand and accept these new experiences as part of the new normal.