Operating a successful healthcare business is more challenging today than ever before. Healthcare worker shortages, ongoing inflation-related worries, and finding ways to acquire new patients while delivering an outstanding experience to current patients are just some of the things these facilities must face.
However, it’s not all dark. McKinsey and Co. highlight that the commercial, Medicare Advantage, physician offices, HST, and specialty pharmacy segments will experience the most significant growth, with an estimated 6% increase through 2026. The challenge, of course, is ensuring that your healthcare facility can see the same rate of growth.
Today, healthcare facilities face four significant challenges when it comes to achieving and maintaining growth. In the following post, we’ll explore those four areas and highlight critical solutions.
1. New Patient Acquisition
According to eMarketer, healthcare facilities increased their advertising spending by over 11% in 2022 and 2023 promises more of the same. Most of those ads are designed to expose the clinic or facility to new patients. However, the cost of generating healthcare leads is more than ever before ($286 per lead, according to HubSpot). That means it’s more important than ever to use the most effective methods available to generate interest and drive engagement with leads. It also means understanding how new patients find healthcare providers today.
For most people, the quest for a healthcare provider begins with one of three sources – a recommendation from another medical professional, a recommendation from a friend or family member, or a Google search. Because 7% of all Internet searches are health-related, and that search drives three times more visitors to hospitals than non-search methods, it pays to invest in search-based advertising methods. To put that in perspective, Google receives around 1 billion health-related questions per day or 70,000 per minute.
What do those include, though? On-page and off-page SEO for your facility’s website top the list, but don’t neglect content marketing, analytics, and voice search optimization.
2. Appointment Setting and Confirmation
One of the most important pain points for patients, both new and established, is the ease with which they can set appointments and then confirm those appointments. Of course, these are also major issues for healthcare facilities. If you’re unable to accurately set and then confirm appointments, it leads to no-shows that can affect profitability and scheduling gaps.
Of course, setting and confirming appointments can be time-consuming. What’s a time-starved practice to do? Do you need to add one more task for your already-overloaded administrative team to handle?
This is where modern technology can help. Automation allows your patients to set their appointments, which dovetails with modern patient preferences. With today’s tools, you can easily connect your calendar to your website and allow patients to choose the date and time that work best for them.
In addition, automation makes appointment confirmations a cinch. You can choose to confirm via a phone call, an email, or even an SMS text message. That helps reduce the number of no-shows your facility experiences while boosting patient satisfaction and alleviating the burden on your team.
3. Local Marketing and Visibility
We mentioned online visibility. After all, 77% of people use search engines to begin their journey. However, not all online visibility is created equal. There’s a big difference between marketing a global retail brand and boosting visibility for a local healthcare facility.
You need to focus your SEO efforts on enhancing local visibility. How do you do that? local citations, local SEO, and claiming your Google Business Profile (previously Google My Business) are good places to start. You can add other elements to that, including having your facility listed with medical/healthcare facility list providers in your area.
Reviews from local patients are also important drivers of local visibility. Google loves to surface these in search engine results because they often speak to search intent (the reason someone’s searching for the treatments you offer), as well as acting as social proof.
Ensuring that your facility is visible to local searchers is critical. Most consumers do not want to drive long distances to see a healthcare provider, so ensuring that you’re marketing well to people in your immediate area is important.
4. Office Location, Mapping, and Contact Info
When a potential patient searches for a treatment that you offer within their area, you want your facility to be front and center in the Google search results. Ensuring that your website is optimized for those keywords is essential, but you also need to understand the importance that Google places on things like location, mapping, and contact information on your website. It’s about so much more than just targeting the right keywords!
In search optimization, this is called NAP, or name, address, and phone number. It’s crucial to ensure that Google lists your facility’s name correctly and that your address is accurate. You should also have your primary phone number listed, as well as any other pertinent contact information.
Where does this information need to be displayed? It should be on your website, preferably in the footer and on the contact page. You also need to include it in your Google Business Profile. We also recommend including a local map (Google Maps is the simplest and it integrates with most websites and within your Google Business Profile).
It’s worth running a search to determine if there are similarly named facilities within your geographic area, as well, so that you can take steps to improve your information’s accuracy.
Ultimately, building online visibility requires a combination of standard and local SEO. It’s about more than your branded website – make sure you use the tools that Google offers, too. You also need to empower your patients with automated appointment setting and confirmation technology, while enhancing your reach and relevance with new prospective patients.
If you’re ready to enhance your marketing and build a stronger digital presence, get in touch with us at [email protected]. You can also reach us at 408-200-2211. We’d be happy to discuss building your customer base, the value of automation technology, and how we can enhance your findability within local search results.