Depending on whom you ask, you will get different definitions around the word “marketing”. To Merriam Webster, marketing is “the the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.” Your 13-year old nieces and nephews may be more familiar with marketing in the form of branded content being pushed towards them on social media. To your website team, it may be all about SEO. While these definitions and executions are all extremely impactful, it can be overwhelming to figure out how to prioritize your team’s resources.
Let’s start with things you can add to your urgent care clinic’s business plan to increase its web presence and community engagement. There are five marketing tactics that will specifically help your clinic increase web traffic, community engagement, and all around profit.
1. Build a Good Website
Your patients are finding healthcare providers online. That’s a given. In fact, Solv’s consumer research shows a 77% preference for online booking among patients. Your website will be the first impression that your potential patients have of you. You don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars building a brand new website but you should make sure that what you build is modern, easy to navigate, and features great content.
Follow the checklist below to make sure that you have addressed these non-negotiable website features:
- Patients can easily find my clinic’s location
- Patients can easily find my clinic’s hours
- My contact information is clear, available, and correct
- The services we do and do not provide are clear
- The insurance and payment types we accept are clear
2. Make Sure People Can Find Your Website
Once you build or update your website, you will need to also be thinking about how you will navigate consumers to your content and site. In order for people to find you easily, you need to be ranked on Google. Don’t worry about getting ranked for every term. Instead, focus on the simple, intuitive keywords that patients will search. For example, imagine you needed an appointment, what would you search? (*Hint*: e.g. urgent care in “[city]”, “[city]” walk-in clinic, etc.).
Assuming your website was built with searches in mind and you follow a basic checklist for getting found in local searches, you’ll see your clinic climb in the rankings. Remember, it does take time, tinkering, and persistence across your website, content, social media, and directory sites.
3. Use Online Local Directory Sites
Yes, there are dozens of sites like Yelp and YellowPages out there. There are even a handful that focus specifically on finding and sending people to an urgent care near them. You may not think you need these sites, but the reality of the matter is that your patients use these sites. There is a simple understanding in marketing: go where your customers live and don’t wait for them to find you. Intelligently participating in local directory sites means that all the information they have on you (and, yes, they have information on you) is accurate and represents your practice well. Of course, you can amplify your participation through paid advertising, on-site and off-site promotion, enhanced listings, etc. But cover the basics first, and go from there. You’ll probably even get a heavily valued inbound link to your website!
Check to see if you already have a business page on Solv and make sure that your information is correct and a high resolution image is associated with your clinic locations. Check for your location here.
4. Engage in Social Media
Social media is an umbrella term for what used to be referred to as “public relations.” Today it is social media, blogger outreach, influencer relations, community education and awareness, and much more.
Simply put, public relations comes into play anytime you are engaging with the public or with people who have access to large numbers of people. Social media gives you an opportunity to tell your story in a way that is memorable and relatable to the patients who are choosing your clinics over a myriad of alternative and seemingly similar options.
What kind of things could you talk to your prospective patients about?
- Your usual wait time
- A feature about a staff member
- That you are having a flu shot promotion
5. Network With Other Business
Urgent care centers are local businesses, and local businesses network together. They do so at chamber of commerce events, grand openings, and many other organized and unconventional forums. You need to be active in these. Maybe you have a business development person to handle these, but most often it is going to be the physician entrepreneur that takes on these activities. Consider going door-to-door to local businesses, as well. Bring brochures, magnets, first aid kits, break-room posters, or any other durable, branded items that articulate who you are, why you exist and how to contact and visit you. With any luck, this networking will result in not only employers directing their employees to you for urgent care, occupational medicine, and workers’ comp, but it may also result in a few on-site flu shot sessions or health screenings for their employees.
These are just a sampling of the highly effective marketing strategies for urgent care clinics.