Our lives have changed rapidly over the last few months. News changes minute by minute, schools are evolving into virtual classrooms, hospitals and doctors have turned to virtual health, and brick-and-mortar offices have closed to stop the spread of COVID-19. In the meantime, many private practice medical clinics are wondering how they are going to keep their client pipeline healthy if no one can, or wants to, venture outside of their homes.
The pandemic is rattling the world and businesses, including medical practices. As patients navigate this uncharted territory, medical practices need to respond with sensitivity and empathy. Hospitals and health systems have been adjusting their messaging to patients and the public as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.
Virtual Health Roundtable: Marketing Successfully Through COVID-19 & Beyond
CoachCare’s CEO, Andrew Zengilowski, sat down with other marketing professionals including Steve Bellach, Dr. Charles Webb and Mark Montini to discuss how to market your clinic during a crisis like COVID-19. In this virtual roundtable discussion, they talk about the impact of COVID-19 on consumer and patient behavior, and how your marketing strategy should evolve to stay ahead.
The changes we are seeing in the market of going virtual will most likely be permanent. Businesses have been changing and adjusting to survive in this current environment, and clinics are doing the same. Many patients have found even more convenience in going virtual and are comfortable with this delivery of services. Not only that, but clinics have found that they can increase their capacity without needed additional room or real estate.
In times like these, businesses must adjust their messaging to show support and empathy to their patients. You cannot come off tone deaf and try to sell your product or service to the majority. Dr. Charles Webb mentions that, “Change the messaging from selling to being of service. The population has so many questions right now, and they are looking for helpful information. If you can be of value to them now, they will come back to you later on.”
In terms of providing helpful information as a service, webinars are through the roof. Market these informative webinars to your patients and provide them with training and coaching services. While everyone is sitting at home, people are paying more attention to what you have to say. Therefore, you are retaining more attendees for the same dollars spent.
Dr. Charles Webb goes on to explain that during a crisis, people will try to gain control. COVID-19 has been a wakeup call for many people to take care of their health. Messaging should not be able something you are trying to sell. People need more than hope and prayers, they need something that will help them.
The difficulty in getting new customers is one problem that impacts almost every business right now. Still, smart clinicians are adjusting their strategies to stay ahead of the competition, stay open and, above all else, be helpful to people in need. People may not be able to come into the clinic to see you, but that doesn’t mean their pain has gone away.
What is your marketing strategy?
The core of this healthcare marketing strategy is a three-pronged approach to educate patients about the COVID-19, identify infected patients and treat them appropriately.
1. Educate: Stay in touch with all your patients. Help them stay healthy by sharing best practices and addressing any misconceptions they have.
2. Identify: In case some of your patients are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, it is essential to determine if the illness is regular flu or COVID-19.
3. Treat: Once you have identified positive cases of COVID-19, triage them appropriately and make sure they receive care as soon as possible.
It is extremely important to make sure existing patients are aware of changes to process and procedure — especially those who may be at high-risk. Many providers are asking patients to wait in their car outside the practice or shutting down certain entrances. Be extremely clear in explaining your healthcare practice’s commitment to their health and safety — which includes being clear about when patients should not come to your office. Many healthcare practices are discouraging patients with cold and flu symptoms from coming into the office and instead opting for telehealth visits. If that’s the case for your office, be vigilant in sharing that message. If you are encouraging patients to call ahead before coming in if they have COVID-19 symptoms, be sure to post that message on your website, social media, in digital ads and on local listings.
How to Market Your Virtual Health Services
There are various ways you can reach your patients virtually during this time. Digital marketing is a great way to provide thought leadership and reach new patients.
1. Webinars: Webinars are a great way to generate new leads, support current customers, and boost SEO. Most platforms let you stream live, share your screen, and even provide a Q & A section to interact with attendees. Once the live webinar is over, the lead collection doesn’t stop. Recorded webinars should be shared on social media, email campaigns, and even on your website behind a gated form to collect viewer information for follow up.
2. Blog posts: Blogs offer an ideal platform in which medical professionals and marketers can research an important topic and provide helpful information to their patients. Right now, people are looking for answers, and they need to know you’re still available to offer them solutions. Posting blog content is a great way to earn credibility and trust with your community and future clients. It also boosts your organic listings on search engines.
3. Social Media: Social media is a great tool to distribute content, connect with the community, and keep your brand strong. It’s also a great channel from which to share timely information about your clinic related to COVID-19.
Now is a critical time to examine your marketing channels and make sure your messaging is right. If you do not take advantage of it, it will hurt you. If you do take advantage of it, your virtual health clinic could benefit and gain over the long-term.
CoachCare powers clinics with a virtual health and remote patient monitoring platform that reflects your unique workflow and protocol. Remote patient monitoring insurance features drive significant additional revenue while lowering the overall cost of care. Contact us to learn more.