The healthcare market has changed. Gone are the days when practitioners could just exist and patients would come by their doorstep. In modern healthcare, patients want to take the reins in their healthcare journey; thus, having a strong healthcare brand is more important than ever.
With the massive shift towards a patient-centric industry, consumers want providers that align with their values, needs, and expectations. A strong healthcare brand not only differentiates your practice from a sea of “me toos,” but also fosters trust and emotional connection, potentially turning loyal patients into brand advocates.
Below are some proven marketing insights that will guide you in building a robust healthcare brand.
Why is Healthcare Branding Important?
Below are the top reasons your organization should focus on building a solid brand.
- Trust and credibility: When decisions can directly impact one’s health and well-being, trust is paramount. A strong brand can instill confidence in patients, ensuring they receive care from a trustworthy provider.
- Differentiation: The healthcare market is saturated with dozens of competing services in your area alone. A distinct brand helps you stand out from the competition.
- Patient loyalty: A positive healthcare brand experience may foster loyalty in patients. This makes them likely to return for future care and even recommend your services to others. Loyal patients can become invaluable brand ambassadors and will recommend your services to family, friends, coworkers, etc., via word-of-mouth.
- Emotional connection: Beyond the clinical aspects of healthcare, branding can help you form a dynamic relationship with patients. This connection can be based on shared values, community involvement, or simply the quality of care provided.
- Informed decision-making: A well-established brand communicates what patients can expect, helping them make informed decisions about their healthcare. This transparency can lead to higher satisfaction rates and better patient outcomes.
How to Build a Strong Healthcare Brand?
Regardless of where you stand in your developmental phase, prioritizing healthcare branding remains crucial throughout your organization’s evolution. Below are some proven guidelines for crafting a dynamic healthcare branding approach:
Develop a Brand Identity
A strong brand identity starts with deeply understanding your organization’s mission, values, and unique qualities. How do you want to be perceived by your patients (i.e., brand voice)? What helps you stand out from the competition? What are your unique selling propositions (USPs)? Apart from operating within your brand identity, how will you implement your brand’s value towards the patients? Having a strong brand means you should be able to provide a unified patient experience and create a positive response.
Take, for example, the Mayo Clinic’s brand identity revolves around a patient-centric approach. As their brand promise goes, “Solving the most serious and complex medical challenges — one patient at a time.” This core value shapes every aspect of the brand, from patient care to marketing materials. This strong branding isn’t just easy to grasp but also resonates with patients.
Determine and Understand Your Target Audience
Developing a strong healthcare brand without a deep understanding of your target audience is practically impossible. If you don’t know your target audience, you won’t know their needs and preferences, resulting in poor communication, misaligned services, and reduced brand loyalty.
Conversely, by having a pulse on your target audience’s unique needs and preferences, your practice can offer services more aligned with patient expectations. This also extends to your marketing efforts since you can craft more personalized and impactful messaging that resonates with your target patients. Understanding a target audience often involves:
- Demographic analysis
- Psychographic analysis
- Feedback and surveys
- Competitor analysis
- Patient journey mapping
For example, a pediatric clinic might survey local parents to grasp their preferences and concerns better when selecting a pediatrician. The clinic can tailor its services and address care gaps by gathering feedback on preferred modes of communication and current services.
Leverage Digital Marketing Tools
Did you know that 77% of patients use search engines as a first step in finding a new physician? Or that 90% of potential patients will read online reviews before booking their first appointment? In today’s digital age, leveraging digital marketing tools is a must for developing a robust healthcare brand. Below are some ways to build a healthcare brand using digital tools:
Website Development and Design
More than 90% of a visitor’s impression relates to your healthcare website’s design. If a patient doesn’t like your website, there’s a good chance they’re going to a competitor’s website instead. As such, you should create a user-friendly, mobile-responsive website that serves as the digital face of the healthcare brand.
Publishing high-quality content is one of the best ways to position your practice as an authority and a trustworthy resource. Thus, create and share valuable content such as blog posts, e-books, and videos that address common patient concerns, provide health tips, or explain medical procedures.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When patients in your geographical area search for a term like “best orthopedic doctor near me,” you’ll want your clinic to appear at the top of the search results. This is where SEO comes in. Contrary to popular belief, SEO is still a top-notch strategy for building a healthcare brand. SEO boosts your visibility and brand awareness by helping your website rank higher on the search engine results page (SERPs).
Online Reviews and Reputation Management
As mentioned, potential patients will look up reviews of your practice before picking up the phone. Many individuals rely on reviews to gauge a brand’s credibility and trustworthiness. Positive feedback can bolster a brand’s reputation, driving patient loyalty and referrals, while negative reviews can significantly hurt your online reputation.
Having said that, encourage satisfied patients to leave positive reviews on platforms like Google Business Profile (GBP) and Yelp. When negative reviews pop up, address them immediately and offer a solution.
Branding is Just the Start
Branding goes beyond designing a pretty logo or producing flashy commercials. It’s about creating a unified patient experience that resonates with your target patients and inspires trust and brand loyalty.
If you need help building a strong healthcare brand, Cardinal Healthcare Marketing Agency is your partner in navigating the digital landscape with precision and expertise.