Becoming a pediatric marketing pro
While most health systems and urgent care clinics are owned by larger entities with in-house marketing teams, private pediatric groups generally have to build their marketing programs from the ground up. Owning a pediatric practice and thriving in today’s landscape isn’t easy, even when you provide great care and have amazing staff. Being a pediatric marketing pro can help you build a reputable brand in your community, while attracting and retaining patients at the same time. Every practice has different marketing requirements in order to succeed, but there are a few basics that if mastered will set you apart from the competition.
Online listings & reputation management
A pediatric practice by definition is a small and local business. In this day and age you have to take your online strategy seriously, because your patients certainly do. At a minimum, every practice should set up a business profile on google so you become relevant when people are searching for a “pediatrician near me”, or using equivalent search terms. Consumers and patients live online and base decisions on reviews and ratings. If someone is looking for a pediatric practice and there are three close by, two with 3.5 stars and one with 4.9 stars, they are going to gravitate towards the higher rating. One way to beef up ratings and reviews is to create an internal survey parents can complete after a visit. Ask your happiest patients to go on your google listing and write a review. Thank everyone profusely, and even incentivize people with a gift card when appropriate. Having great visibility and reviews on google will help you stand out from the crowd and will promote further website exploration.
Build a modern, millennial friendly website
Let’s face it, millennials grew up during the tech boom, and are very savvy when it comes to devices, digital platforms and online content. Today over 50% of new babies each year in the US are born to millennial mothers. That means they are now your largest customer. Not having a website, or having one that looks like it was built in 1999 just isn’t going to fly anymore. You need to be able to captivate your audience, and tell your practice story in a modern format. Consumers value authenticity and personality when evaluating a business, and the same is true for medical practices. Having a site that is easy to navigate, engaging, and humanizes the team will make a big difference. Existing patients also rely on integrated technology in order to make appointments, communicate and access relevant information. Parents will value websites with a good user experience, which will translate to high satisfaction and retention.
Create a content marketing plan you can execute
A great way to keep patients and families engaged is to develop relevant and useful content, and push it out to channels they are most active in. A great example would be putting together a monthly eNewsletter for your practice, and even one off communications. Mail Chimp is a great free tool a lot of practices use to get started. It’s a great way to mix important operational messages with educational pieces, fun stories and contests. It can be something they expect and look forward to each month.
Social media, specifically Facebook is also a great channel to engage your patients. Millennials are on Facebook every day, posting photos of their family, and reading interesting content. If you have an optimized business page and actively post, follows and likes will come. Comments and direct messages are often a good way to get feedback. More importantly, a well constructed content marketing plans should help reduce the number of phone calls and administrative work, because patients will be able to get questions answered through automation.
Finding, hiring and managing the right creative resources
When you are first starting out, it’s easy to bootstrap your marketing programs. Social media and email communications are a great way to get your feet wet and learn; but what about building or rebuilding a modern practice website or other complex initiatives? Marketing agencies are expensive and generally hard to for a small business to manage. Freelancers can be a great option, but they are often hard to find and retain. Many practices are looking for something fast, inexpensive and reliable, with experts that know how to overcome pediatric marketing challenges.