When patients are satisfied, they talk about their experiences with a hospital, physician, dentist or any other healthcare provider through various online channels, and their opinions can resonate. This new form of "word-of-mouth" marketing can be better-described as "customer advocacy." Businesses operating today have discovered this marketing key — that the only sure path to sustained organic growth is to have happy and satisfied customers who narrate their experiences to friends, family and colleagues. When customers become strong advocates for your products/services, they will convince many others to go your way.
Healthcare services and its consumers, i.e. the patients, are no different. Your patients are the new-age digital health decision makers. In the internet era, they have multichannel access to information related to health and the power to make their decisions; whether it's a healthcare provider or referring a physician to family and friends. By converting your satisfied patients to be your brand advocates, you can capitalize and use their voice as an effective marketing strategy to reach out to many other potential patients.
Many healthcare companies and hospitals have started recognizing the positive effects of customer advocacy. To make the most out of this potential marketing channel, there is an essential need to strategize marketing plans with a more patient-centric focus.
How can physicians strategize and create powerful advocates?
Create content that people will fall in love with
Focus on producing only the most high-quality and relevant content. A key component of digital healthcare marketing is to create impactful physician-patient communications that inform, influence, and motivate patients to make better health decisions. It is one of the most important aspects of your online presence, and for that reason, it has to be good.
Regularly post articles, messages, tips and blogs to educate your patients and schedule them to be posted on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or in emails. This helps in establishing a sense of trust and credibility about your practice among all patients and other readers who can be potential patients in the future. You can be in touch with your patients even if they aren’t visiting you. High-quality, easily shared content helps build loyalty along with a positive reputation, and these can be the determining factors in the growth of your practice.
Be a faithful representative of your patients’ interests. While interacting with them, make sure that you always provide information that is scientifically correct, unbiased, and useful. Once people know that they can affirmatively rely on the health information you share, it will help develop a sense of trust and credibility. Developing any serious medical condition is always a sensitive matter for a person. When patients benefit from your consultation or from any information you share on various online channels, they will definitely reciprocate it with trust and share it with their family and friends.
Use patient-created content
Encourage satisfied patients to spread the word by sharing their personal experiences with your brand. When customer advocates generate content, it is digital gold. The content can be in the form of customer reviews, videos, uplifting stories and testimonials for brand reputation or any other social media posts. Use this treasure and syndicate such content to your Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+ and your practice website.
Offer excellent services
It’s simple: An exceptional patient experience that can turn a patient into customer advocates. So make sure that you provide your patients with the best healthcare services and always be available for communication. Transparency in services and an open-minded approach for improvement are decisive factors that can turn patients into your advocates. Remember, customer advocacy is the pinnacle of a pyramid with the base of best services and patient satisfaction.
Having your patients become cheerleaders for your brand is the mecca of marketing. These advocates will not only help create a positive online reputation for you, but they communicate in a way far more powerful than any content your brand can create.
Manish Chauhan is Digital Marketing Manager at myPracticeReputation which is an easy-to-use reputation management solution for physicians to help monitor, protect and promote their medical practices at all times in the simplest way possible.