In 2020, we were hit with a one-two punch of a pandemic and an economic recession. As a result, consumers postponed or canceled elective procedures they’d scheduled at hospitals and practices across the country. While providers in some locations were able later in the year to resume hosting live educational seminars for prospective patients, others didn’t have that option.
As the year draws to a close, the end of the pandemic is in sight. A COVID-19 vaccine was just authorized and the first doses administered to front-line medical professionals. And the Food & Drug Administration is about to authorize a vaccine from a second manufacturer.
To say this is a positive development would be an understatement. But don’t expect everything to return to the way it was before the coronavirus upended our personal and business lives. Some of the changes we’ve experienced are permanent. With that in mind, here are three ways elective care providers can position themselves to start strong and attract patients in 2021.
1. Accept consumer behavior has changed
The shutdowns and restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19 forced Americans to pivot to digital technology. Many consumers – including older adults – have found online shopping and transactions easier than storefront transactions and face-to-face meetings.
If you’re a physician who has yet to embrace virtual tools such as telehealth appointments, now is the time. You have current and prospective patients open to – or even expecting – this option. If you don’t offer it, you may lose them to competitors who do.
2. Attract patients by emphasizing your practice is safe
Patients will remain wary about visiting your physical locations. Therefore, it’s critical that you are open and transparent with them. According to Forrester, over half of American adults online want to deal with companies that demonstrate they are protecting their customers against COVID-19. Ensure that they know they can visit your practice and undergo treatment safely. This is twice as important for prospective patients.
While the Food and Drug Administration just approved a COVID-19 vaccine, it will take months for millions of Americans to be inoculated. As a result, you and your staff will need to observe safety protocols for the foreseeable future. To attract patients, take the time to emphasize the steps you’re taking and procedures you’re following in the following places:
- physical locations
- business website
- marketing materials
- patient emails
- telephone on-hold messaging
3. Budget for digital advertising and hyper-targeting of audiences
The coronavirus has impacted your practice, and you’re anxious to bring in as many new patients as possible. However, you need to be strategic with your promotions and use your marketing dollars wisely.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the need to find qualified prospects. You still have to hyper-target your audience to identify individuals who are ready and financially able to pursue the type of care you provide.
If you’ve chosen direct mail exclusively to market your services, don’t give it up, but consider adding digital advertising to the mix.
Attract patients through hybrid marketing campaigns
Over the past nine months, our experience is that campaigns combining direct mail and digital advertising are more successful than those using just one or the other.
Quite a few elective care physicians now offer a combination live seminar and webinar. They’re also seeing success with webinars that include dinner delivery to attendees.
LeadingResponse knows your industry inside and out. Learn more about how we can help you effectively market your practice to prospective and existing patients and build your caseload.