The last three months were a rollercoaster! I have joined a healthcare organization with a strong backbone and tradition. While working for this organization, I have realized two things;
- We strongly underestimate the dedication of people in this industry.
- Healthcare professionals strongly underestimate the power of digital.
I have set out on a mission to understand the backbone of healthcare marketing and how it affects the current healthcare industry. Upon completion of this research, I was for lack of a better word, shocked.
Healthcare sector is by far one of the most underdeveloped segments of the North American market in terms of digital marketing utilization. (I am not talking about giant hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and plastic surgery clinics, I am talking about independent healthcare professionals)
Why is that? While conducting a survey, it came to my attention that majority of independent healthcare providers feel that paying for marketing would damage their reputation as a reputable healthcare providers. (Health is Not For sale!)
But here is the catch, quality healthcare providers do not market their services thus making a search for professional that much harder. It all comes down to a good old-fashioned referral system.
Some may argue that health care providers do not need more business, while that may be true for medical professionals, it is by far a false claim when it comes to alternative health providers.
What is the alternative or supplementary medicine you may ask, well; Acupuncture therapists, massage therapists, Chinese medicine specialists, etc.?
The basic definition to this term is: “Treatments that are used instead of standard treatments. Standard treatments are based on the results of scientific research and are currently accepted and widely used. Less research has been done for most types of alternative medicine. Alternative medicine may include special diets, megadose vitamins, herbal preparations, special teas, and magnet therapy. ” – by NCI
Now that we are looking at the trend, what is the exact loss?
While most alternative health practitioners also rely on word of mouth, some services are still being listed on Yelp, Google business and Facebook, however, no content is available for those that wish to learn more about the practice. Many questions on social media channels remain unanswered or ignored.
It is estimated that over 5+/10 queries on any form of a digital social platform is ignored.
What can be done?
- Understand that healthcare, like any other industry, is a business. And although the quality of service is essential, clients that do choose to entrust you with their health like to be informed and in the known. Marketing is not limited to promoting your product and service. Marketing also serves as a branding tool that can tell your clients about what you stand for and what is unique about your practice. It serves as a gateway to develop trust and understanding.
- Time is a problem for many business owners, and it is especially a challenge when it comes to healthcare providers. That being said the ROI is what counts. And investing time into marketing will undoubtedly yield a more significant return.
In conclusion, know that there are always alternatives. Marketing agencies are there to help if the burden becomes unbearable. After all, we all have something that we are good at.