This year has been a wild ride for many businesses. Some have encountered unprecedented challenges, while others have seen remarkable growth. Telemedicine is one of them.
This is due to the rapidly changing health climate, with patients being encouraged not to visit physical medical practices, in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These issues increased public awareness of telemedicine and provided a valuable alternative for people who need healthcare.
Some experts suggest social distancing practices will extend as far into the future as 2022, so it seems that telemedicine is likely here to stay. Aside from the obvious benefits, like avoiding germ-filled waiting rooms, there are many advantages to delivering health services this way.
For example, people with mental health conditions may be more comfortable at home. Practitioners can work remotely, opening access to services for people living out of state or in rural or remote areas. It’s good for business, too – less physical space is required, which means practices can save on overheads such as rent.
How can you serve as many patients as possible during this time?
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What patients will telemedicine help?
The vital first step in any successful marketing campaign is identifying your target audience. If you don’t know who you’re aiming your product or service at, you simply can’t market it effectively. Knowing who your service is aimed at will alter how you’ll market it – we’ll discuss that later.
For example, if your mental health practice wants to reach environmentally-minded millennials, you might point out that it reduces travel, thereby reducing vehicle emissions. However, if you’re targeting those with young families, it may be more effective to mention how much less hassle it is to have an appointment in your own home, rather than convincing children to go to a physical address.
This is important when marketing mental health, as varying demographics have different rates of common mental health issues. For example, depression rates are higher among younger people.
There are a few questions you can ask yourself, to determine who exactly your target market is:
- What is their demographic? Think about age, income, location. All of these affect people’s relationships with their medical practice.
- Where are they located? In rural areas people may have less access to a doctor, while in busy cities people may want to avoid the hassle of taking the metro.
- What time of day do people want appointments? Telemedicine can be a great way of extending your hours by using a remote office in another time zone, allowing people to have an appointment before or after work, rather than taking time off.
How will telemedicine solve their problem?
Every successful marketing campaign helps people solve a problem. Sore neck? See a chiropractor. Bleeding gums? See a dentist. Fuzzy vision? See an optometrist.
What do people need most from you? Your telemedicine service will be most successful if you know what the needs of your target market are so that you can not only design it around what will work best for them but also leverage those needs to show how it can benefit people.
Knowing why people are using your service allows you to base your marketing campaign on those factors. Think of your customers like a cat (bear with us for a second here). The metaphor goes like this: when trying to entice a cat, don’t chase it, it will just run away. Instead, have what the cat wants, and it will happily come to you! You can read more about that here.
In this metaphor, the cat represents your patients if you want to get more patients to use your mental health practices telemedicine service you need to show that it adds value to their lives.
Make telemedicine services easy to access
All health services require trust. Patients need to be comfortable with you. When it comes to a telemedicine environment, this means your services need to be easy to find and use. In practice, this means making it as easy as possible for your pre-existing patients to sign up for the online service. You could even go one step further and make this an automatic process!
If you make telemedicine easy, people will be more likely to use it.
Of course, this needs to extend to new patients. Make sure your marketing shows how fast it is to sign-up! If your ads take people directly to a quick sign-up process, or if you provide an easy sign-up in your physical practice, or from your website homepage, you’ll get more conversions.
This is another vital aspect of marketing a service for those in need of urgent support – for example, regarding their mental health. Issues such as depression can make people less willing to go out, so making your service easy to reach will help those who need it.
Integrate telemedicine in your marketing
This step may seem obvious, but it can really make the difference to a successful marketing campaign. Using social media is a great way of getting the word out, because it’s both cheap and effective!
It is important to remember that different platforms tend to be used by different demographics. This can be a great advantage as it allows you to better target your service. For example, Facebook tends to be used by older users, while Instagram tends to have more of a millennial user-base.
Using the mental health example we listed earlier, research shows that it’s having a significant effect on young people. If you’re aiming to reach those people, and let them know that you can now support them with telemedicine services, then Facebook may be less effective than Instagram. You can read more about optimizing your social media here.
Another useful online tool which is really gaining prominence is Google My Business. This allows you to claim your Google Maps listing and allows you to post in the Business box that appears in people’s search results. Modern customers tend to know what they’re looking for, so if you want to learn more about how Google My Business works, check out our blog here.
You’ve probably already got a website and patients are already using it to find your contact details or make online appointments. This makes it the perfect place to convert some of those people to your telemedicine service. This can be a highly effective way of improving take-up.
Hire a marketing company
If you really want to capitalize on the current surge in demand, while positioning your practice for the future, it might be better to take advantage of the expertise a professional marketing team could bring. This would allow you to get information about your telemedicine service out there as quickly as possible, in a way that is sure to gain results.
The team at Beacon Media + Marketing has years of experience in supporting medical practices. Let’s talk about how we can optimize your strategy and support your patients.