Even as we continue to strive to “flatten the curve,” COVID-19 will continue to shape and affect everything about our lives and how we do business. This includes medical marketing for your practice or hospital, which is why you need to prepare for the “new normal.”
As hospitals are open for elective procedures, you’ll find that your own practice policies may be changing. In order to adjust, you need to be sure your message is being broadcast clearly and efficiently.
Marketing During the “New Normal”
There are a few things you want to keep in mind when you’re marketing to your current and potential patients during this time. Consider the following points:
Patients May Be Hesitant to Return to Your Physical Building
According to a Washington Post article, fears over catching COVID-19 kept many away from emergency rooms—including those who were showing symptoms of heart attacks or strokes.
Even as the curve flattens, your patients may likely still be carrying a bit of that fear going forward. They want to be assured that they won’t catch COVID-19 during a visit to your practice. The key is to provide specifics.
“When you’re assuring patients of their safety, it’s important to outline concrete details in your communication,” said Dawn Wilson, content writer for Proclaim Interactive. “Simply saying ‘we have protocols in place’ is not enough. Mention those details, whether you’re offering telemedicine, drive-thru testing, or regularly disinfecting the lobby.”
“These key elements will strengthen the trust of your patients—and potential patients.”
Stories Will Resonate Strongly
Perhaps now more than ever, people are appreciative of health care workers. Who can forget the stunning videos of people cheering from their balconies for medical workers as they went to work during a shift change?
Let your patients know about the heroes who work for you. Tell their stories. For example, you may wish to do a video or blog post featuring one of your health care workers and having them explain why they got into the medical profession and what inspires them as they do their job.
The key is creating relationships, which will be vital to your medical marketing going forward.
Be Careful of the Pictures You Publish in Your Medical Marketing
While restrictions are starting to relax, it’s a bit too soon to show people in close proximity. This is not the time for large group photos or pictures that don’t display social distancing.
This doesn’t mean you have to change every image on your website, but you may wish to re-examine the ones that have the most prominence and change them if needed.
Make sure these images reinforce your current climate. For example, if you require patients to wear masks before entering your practice, don’t produce marketing materials featuring patients without them or people in groups that aren’t social distancing.
As restrictions relax, you may wish to return to your regular pictures.
Don’t Put Scary Images Out There
Everyone has seen the picture of the COVID-19 virus with its ominous red spikes.
Let’s face it. The COVID-19 virus even looks frightening.
And people have had enough of that image.
So don’t use it.
Instead, why not use an image of a patient leaving your hospital who has recovered from the virus? Why not use encouraging images of health care workers?
The bottom line is there is enough fear and trepidation out there. Try to use a message of reassurance.
Make Sure Your Patients Can Find the Information They Need Easily in Your Medical Marketing
Are you only seeing patients for emergent conditions?
Are you still encouraging the use of telemedicine?
Will telemedicine appointments be available after the curve has flattened?
Your patients have these questions, so make sure the answers can be easily found on your website.
If the situation changes, make sure to adjust your messaging in a timely fashion.
Focus on Building Relationships, Not the Bottom Line
Now is not the time for a “hard sell” in your call to action. State that patients can schedule appointments, but it’s not time to extol your many awards or accomplishments.
You may wish to encourage those with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, that they can safely come to your practice.
Promote Your Telemedicine Services
While telemedicine has been around long before the COVID-19 pandemic, this crisis has prompted unprecedented use of the technology. Some organizations report that the use of telemedicine has increased by more than 500 percent.
Even after a COVID-19 vaccination is introduced, telemedicine will still be a vital part of our medical landscape.
Following are some tips that can help you when you’re marketing your telemedicine services:
- Show photos of the screen to demonstrate the interface. This is much more effective than trying to provide a long description.
- When showing pictures of the technology, don’t use a “stock photo doctor” on the screen. Whenever possible, use faces from your own practice.
- Provide assurance that the technology is easy to use.
- While it’s impossible to make a blanket statement, most insurance companies are covering the cost of telemedicine visits. You may wish to encourage patients to talk to their insurance representative to get the whole picture.
Let Us Be Your Medical Marketing Partner
Our health care workers were heroes long before the pandemic. Sadly, it sometimes takes a tragedy to make the world realize how important these frontline workers are to our health and well-being.
We’ve worked with multi-physician practices and hospitals, and we consider it a privilege to get to know these amazing men and women.
Would you like to learn more about Proclaim and how we can help you make your marketing better? Just contact us.