With two months left in the year, many healthcare professionals are looking at their numbers and making every effort count. It is an opportune time to look at the year in review and make critical decisions about how to finish the year strong.
However, it is an even better time to get your bearings, learn what worked, see what was successful vs. what was not, and specific goals that were achieved. The 4th quarter is a good time to look at annual goals and your marketing strategy from the previous year. There are a few questions you can ask yourself:
- Are we on track to achieve our measurable goals?
- How can we level up our goals for the future?
- If we are behind on our goals, what can be done to narrow the gap?
The most important thing to do and to ask yourself is how are we going to position ourselves for the 1st quarter of next year and beyond?
The 4th quarter can be a springboard to create a well thought-out, diversified strategy for the new year, and what your quarterly and annual goals will look like.
Healthcare Marketing Strategies for the 4th Quarter
Instead of cramming new tasks and projects into the last few weeks of the current year, use Q4 to plan ahead and make comprehensive marketing plans for the new year. Break down the year quarterly and create achievable, measurable goals for your practice.
Here are things to consider when planning for the new year’s healthcare marketing strategies and goals:
1. Prospective Patient Education
Patient education is an excellent way to nurture current patients and warm up potential patients to become patients in the new year. Many people are not looking to find a new physician during the holiday season, and many physicians are booked through the year. What this means is that instead of trying to focus on practice growth, shift your attention to education.
Offering customized educational resources to your patient is an excellent way to keep your current patients engaged and let potential patients the value you can offer them. There is a growing need for education because the population is on average older than ever before. Procedures that once required a hospital stay are now outpatient procedures with a lot of care being provided at home.
Most importantly, patients have high expectations for their physicians and healthcare providers to be incredibly transparent. Educating patients on the service you offer, insurance plans, and any other information critical to your practice should be shared and visible online for anyone to find.
2. Audit Your Measurement Capabilities
This is not as daunting as it sounds. Essentially, as you make your plan for the new year and start planning multi-channel marketing strategies, establish baseline for investment and ROI goals. Have a plan to measure the cost per new patient acquired and cost to generate patient leads. Plan ahead and make a budget that is smart, attainable, quantified, and time-bound.
If we predict the average annual revenue per patient is $2,500, then simple math can help determine a budget for lead generation. Say the goal is 10 new patients a month. Then estimate how many people who request an appointment will schedule an initial appointment – approximately 15% of leads convert to actual patients. This means your practice will need to generate 67 new leads a month.
However, we have to assume that not everyone who sees the ad will call to make an appointment. In the healthcare industry, the average is just over 3%. This means you’d need a total of 2,234 people who need to see relevant ads for just 10 new patients a month. Two common lead generation tactics are through Google ads and Facebook ads. These two platforms allow you to set a budget and forecast the amount you will need to spend on keywords and/or audience interests for advertising. The amount of ad spend depends on the level of competition for your keywords and geographic location for your target audience. And this is how you can determine your ROI.
3. Be Where Your Patients Are
When running ads, planning out a strategy, and making plans for growing your practice in the new year, there is only one thing you really need to know: Where Your Patients Are. Advertising and promoting your practice will only go so far. Researching where your patients are looking for doctors, where they find information regarding healthcare, and knowing what sites they are looking on will help you determine how you can best spend your advertising budget.
On average, it can take a person between 5-8 views on an ad or service before they actively call or click to make an appointment. Your ad needs to be visible on sites where your target audience is – social media, health sites, Google, etc.
In the last 3 months, Healthgrades received over 60 million views from patients looking for physicians. In the same 3 months, WebMD had over 391 million views, ranking number one in searches for health conditions.
Not only are ads incredibly important, but having accurate, optimized local listings are crucial. Sites such as Google My Business, WebMD, Healthgrades, and Vitals will get your practice in front of thousands of potential patients. List services, hours, contact information, and have images of your practice and doctors online. This will help patients trust your practice and ultimately, decide to make an appointment.
During the 4th Quarter, regardless of the previous year’s success or shortcomings, a cohesive strategy for the new year can be created. The more planned and organized it is, the more likely you and your team will be set up for success. Lead generation, optimized local listings, and greater organic and paid traffic are all critical parts of a successful marketing strategy.
Valet Health specializes in ROI-driven growth campaigns, tracking, and patient attribution across a variety of channels. Get in touch with our team today to discuss your Q4 healthcare marketing strategies and tactics for the upcoming new year!