Using traditional marketing techniques for healthcare is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. The SELL SELL SELL method is the way of big box retailers and car dealerships, but it is NOT the way of healthcare marketing.

Headspace vs. heart space

The biggest difference between traditional marketing and healthcare marketing is the way we connect with our clients. We know that most people who are searching for health information online are anxious about either their own health or the health of a loved one. When you’re connecting to people in this state of mind, it is very different than offering a great deal on car tires. Our approach must always come from the heart.

Trust is key

One way to work from the heart space and really make connections is building (and keeping) trust. Much like doctors need to have a comforting bedside manner, healthcare marketers must have a warm touch, plenty respect for their patients’ emotional states, and the air of a friendly authority. Flip or fly-by-night campaigns will not land well with folks who need care and comfort. And, the fastest way to lose the trust of a patient is if they feel like you’re trying to take advantage their worries in order to make a profit!

Effective strategies

The best healthcare marketing strategies will highlight the effectiveness and safety of your services, and that you as a healthcare provider are adequately trained and credentialed to help. Most importantly they should feel you understand where they are coming from and you care about their wellbeing and want to help them live a healthy, whole, and happy life.

Going social

One way to provide these services while also gaining visibility is with social marketing–a term that is easiest applied with social media because of their compatibility, but social marketing on its own refers to campaigns with behavioral goals rather than sales goals. A couple excellent examples of social marketing are the 5-a-Day fruits and vegetables campaign that began with the World Health Organization, or many successful decades of anti-smoking campaigns.

On a smaller, community-oriented scale, you could use social marketing with newsletters and campaigns designed to provide helpful information about the latest news in health care, combined with seasonal prevention and wellness tips. Using these social channels to position yourself as a trusted resource for in-demand health information, you can then let clients know what services are available in their community or at the touch of a button online.

Embrace innovation & technology

Newness has always held a vital place in marketing, and in the healthcare industry it’s especially important. Your patients are counting on you to provide the latest information on medicine and wellness. Take a moment to consider the evolution of WebMD and how the Internet has become the first place people turn for health information. Is your marketing strategy ready to stay current and available with the valuable, up-to-the minute information they seek?

The best part of healthcare marketing

There are many challenges to maintaining the necessary balance of a warm, yet authoritative voice in health care marketing, but with a thoughtful approach it’s so rewarding. The goal is to be successful not through selling products, but through building trust and becoming a resource. A person faced with a healthcare crisis is looking for the best possible care, and as a marketer you have the privilege of connecting them with the experts and knowledge they need.