Despite the fact that human interaction hasn’t been the main focus over the past year or so, developing a personal connection remains something important for most people, especially when it comes to healthcare. Because you can’t necessarily gauge personal connections within analytics, it’s important to use some statistics, like overall engagement, to your advantage. Here are a few reasons engagement is so important and what exactly it means in relation to your practice and patients.
What Is Engagement?
A good place to start is defining what exactly engagement is for marketing purposes. The easiest way to describe it is by outlining two types of ads and how a customer might interact with both:
- Ad A is a basic business ad that just shows your practice and states your hours of operation.
- Ad B is a targeted ad towards parents that shows your practice and offers up hours of operation for flu shots, a way to book an appointment, and a quick statistic about the spread of the flu this year.
While both ads could be successful, you’ll find that Ad B will most likely outperform Ad A because it’s focused and is offering up a “personalized” experience to the user. This is due to the fact that the ad is, in multiple ways, very engaging. It is intended to elicit a response from the user whether that be via reading the statistic, sharing the ad, or booking an appointment, while the first ad just intends to show information.
Why Is Engagement Important?
So, if both ads could perform well, why’s engagement important? The simple answer is at the end of the day, you’re marketing to people, and people want to be engaged, otherwise they lose interest.
Think about a new show that you just started because a friend told you that it was great. The first episode somewhat catches your interest, but you decide to power through and give it a chance to really grab you. After episode 2, the feeling still isn’t quite there, so you abandon ship and move on. Not only have you not been engaged by the show, but it’s unlikely that you’ll trust that friend again since that recommendation wasn’t so stellar. What a double whammy.
Engagement is a way to keep people coming back for more, which is essentially what you want in most cases for healthcare. If you’re an OBGYN or primary care specialist, this is a way for you to keep a patient for the duration of their life, and potentially build up referrals for other family members. In the world of marketing, there are ample ways to create engagement quickly, but a lot of the importance rides on the ability to keep that engagement going for the long term.
How to Create Engagement
“FREE FREE FREE!” Most people see this as the easiest way to build engagement because it basically forces people to find out what is free at your business and do what it takes to get the free product or service. While, yes, this is an quick and easy win, you’re not going to be able to offer free products forever. Here are some tips:
Ask For Feedback or Opinions
As always, being in healthcare makes things a little bit more interesting, and that’s often the case when asking for feedback or opinions from patients. You don’t necessarily want to open the floodgates (or create a HIPAA conundrum by asking too many questions), but you certainly can find ways to seek out your patients’ thoughts on what they’d like to learn more about, or ask what they think about your office or staff. For example, doing a newsletter or creating a Facebook post asking people to send in information about topics they’d like to learn more about will get them engaged with your practice as they’ll have to respond. Then, you can use this data to develop a solid game plan for social media or blogging purposes, or even just for creating new content on the site.
Run Targeted Ads
Again, you’ll need to err on the side of caution here, or do quite a lot of research, as you’ll want to stay fully compliant with your ad campaigns. However, if you’re able to develop a campaign that can be compliant and target your audience, this is a perfect way to build some engagement. For example, let’s say you run a campaign attempting to push uterine fibroid treatment. If you open that campaign up and target everyone as opposed to targeting specifically women, you’re probably going to a) lose money, and b) lose tons of potential engagement. Make sure to focus on demographic research and then target those that you know will fully engage.
Ask How They Found You
This may seem like an extra step on your side, but it can actually be very helpful in multiple ways.
First, if you make a post or place something on your site that says “mention that you found us here” or something similar, you’re inviting the patient to talk to you or your staff. In a nutshell, you’re asking them to engage with you.
Second, for tracking purposes, it makes your life much easier. If you happen to find out that they found you through a certain marketing avenue, it allows you to not have to continuously funnel through analytics. In fact, you’ll quickly and easily know what’s working and what isn’t.
Build Online Forms
This one should be a no brainer, but make sure that you have HIPAA compliant forms on your website! Even though you don’t think about it, this is both engagement and user experience, and can benefit you in many ways. While you should absolutely have your appointment request form able to be filled out online, you should also think about just converting all forms. Your patients will then have to engage with your site (giving you conversions) and it’ll be far easier on your staff and the patient.
If you’re looking to find out more about making your practice’s marketing more engaging, look no further than Practis! We’ll help you figure out some great ideas to get your patients engaged and converting, which ultimately helps your practice thrive. Contact us today to learn more!