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#54: 3 Healthcare Marketing Strategies To Deal With Coronavirus Threat

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Information Explored in this Podcast:

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  • Take action and look for opportunities. [2:11]
  • Have a solid online lead generation campaign. [5:14]
  • Diversify your patient base & reach more audience than your local areas. [11:01]

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Huyen

In the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, businesses are facing new pressures from quarantine restrictions, travel bans, event cancellations, and so on.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is negatively impacting the world’s economy. There’s been a lot of uncertainty and misinformation surrounding the outbreak, which has reflected in changing public behaviour with respect to items like toilet paper going out of stock.

Given the reduction in travel, mass gatherings, and the need for more information, media consumption at home will likely increase, with online content consumption will gain a fair share; the question I have is… have you prepared your online presence for this sort of event yet?

We have compiled a list of 3 strategies to help you better prepare to deal with similar Coronavirus threats in 2020 and onwards.

Podcast Intro

Steve

Welcome to our OMD podcast show, I am Steven Tait and my co-host from the intro is Huyen Truong.

The Coronavirus (Covid 19) outbreak is not a fun situation. During these times’ of crisis, we usually see 3 groups of people emerge; the first ones are those that become scared, panic, and begin behaving more nervously, like chasing down the toilet paper.

The second group of people are taking things a little easier, more practically, not taking any major actions and using the latest information to inform their decision-making process.

The 3rd group of people are those who are consuming far less news and aren’t engaging in negative talk. They’re taking ACTION and looking for opportunities.

They get refocused, analyse the situation and think about strategies to deal with similar situations in the future and how to take action fast to avoid any disruptions to their lives.

As practice managers or business owners, it is during these difficult times when the economy is slowing down, when it can be a perfect time to self-analyse how your business is dealing with current situation and outline an action plan for how to handle similar situations in the future to move forward more nimbly.

Huyen

Recently, I met with a potential client, who expressed great disappointment over the last-minute cancellation of major medical conference in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Months of preparation and tens of thousands of dollars were lost as the restrictions and concern for public health led to the last-minute cancellation decision. The frustrated practice manager said his company had already been notified that another larger show, in which they had planned to shine, had also been postponed for the time being.

Considering that some businesses allocate a large chunk of their budgets to trade shows or local events, even a moderate change can be difficult to their operations.  This leads us to our first suggestion, that if you are still on the fence about investing more in online marketing… don’t be. Dive in.

Steve

Research conducted in 2018 by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research indicated that marketers who participate in industry events allocated nearly 40 percent of their budgets to exhibitions and industry shows, which was almost five times more than the 8% spent on online marketing.

Even if only a small fraction of the events’ budgets is shifted to online marketing, it would translate into a massive growth in web marketing.

Huyen

This is not 2008

I can still remember what happened during the financial crisis of 2008, at that time I was actually doing my MBA in the US and it couldn’t be any worse time to graduate and come back to the job market during that time.

Back then, I remember most businesses decided to play it safe and cut their marketing budgets.

However, I was happy to hear that a few quick-thinking companies had already adopted a new strategy of shifting some of those funds allocated to offline marketing to double their investment in online marketing.

Steve

On reflection, such a move makes perfect sense.

Since then the digital landscape has exploded, but the early adopters were still best positioned to take advantage of these changes.  And now the digital marketing space is fundamental for reaching new audiences.  While business activity might be slowing down, online activity is going up.  Which leads us to our next point… Huyen….

Huyen

Our second strategy is to have a solid online lead generation campaign.

If you have been relying on offline in-person lead generation activities such as local events and conferences, now is the time to rethink that strategy and shift focus to online activities.  We believe online marketing is the future and that has held true for many years so far, with no real end in sight.

Strengthen your online web presence and build online lead generation tools so that prospects don’t have to come in for a face-to-face consultation, but rather think about adding online conferencing tool and webinars.

If you dedicate resources on creating new content for your website (ebooks, videos, webinars, podcasts, online courses, etc…) you can attract and build-up your own contact database. And then during medical emergency situations like this, you can still keep your engagement with these prospects during these times by hosting webinars instead of local events.  You are also well positioned to attract more attendees via social media advertising, as more people will be spending more time online instead.

Speaking of webinars, we have the perfect online course for you to learn how to generate new patient enquiries using an automated webinar sales funnel process.

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Steve

Welcome back to our show, and speaking of taking action during moments of crisis, leaders of major healthcare related organisations have already taken quick responsive action.

With a Coronavirus diagnosis requiring immediate isolation, and some citizens already adopting self isolation practices, it is widely expected that patient demand for remote consultations and online health services will increase. NHS Digital CEO Sarah Wilkinson told peers that demand on the UK’s 111 (urgent medical help) and 111 online services was at peak demand as a result of the Coronavirus.

Tom Sullivan, president of the medical education and communications firm Rockpointe Corp said “That’s why we’re doing live webinars and then creating them into courses,”.

“If we’re doing [webinars] on a regular basis, we’re at least keeping abreast of what’s happening.” Alibaba has revealed that its Ali Health app, hosting over 1,000 doctors, received over 3,000 consultation requests per hour.

Meanwhile, Tencent’s Wedoctor (a web-based service offers users appointment booking, medical education, online diagnosis, and consultations with live doctors across several medical specialties directly through the platform), shared that the thousands of doctors on its platforms had up to 1.5 million consultation services by the end of February.

It doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you have a mobile phone and a signal, you can have a face-to-face medical consultation with their doctors.

Huyen

Hopefully the government will support e-consultations by allowing patients to use their national medical insurance to cover online healthcare services bills in the future. Such services would definitely revolutionize healthcare and the online service markets in the long-term.

I remember a few months ago we suggested setting up video consultations online for a GP practice in Sydney, and it couldn’t be a better time for them to consult patients online, helping to give the advice and information prospects need, while keeping the public safe against unnecessary travel into the office. And all the bookings and payments can be made online without having the patients to come into the practice.

Steve

Moving on to our final strategy here…

Diversify your patient base & reach more audience than your local areas.  I talked to one of our clients recently about the increased regulation from the government on the healthcare sector, that has been creating additional stresses and hassles for him and his practice. We discussed how we can promote his skills nationally and internationally, and build his presence outside of Australia so he can be consulting patients in Europe where he would like to be partially based in. This would diversify his patient pool and not relying on any one local patient source.

Even for some surgeons that we’ve talked to who want to attract patients from out of town, from areas that have less competition and people have need. We discussed how to facilitate an online consultation and booking so patients can have initial consultations with them online first.

Huyen

You can think bigger than your local city where you are practising, you can actually build an online presence in other cities and even other countries to help build your community. A client of ours, who is a surgeon, is building his patient network Australia wide without having all the hassles of managing different staff and offices.

If you believe that you have a special skill that can be marketed and delivered outside your local area, think outside the box, and start promoting it now, there is no better way to do it than via online marketing.

Steve

If you need help finding the right online solution for your practice, please let us know, we’ll look at the current status of your online presence and can help find you the best compatible solution for your practice.

If you have enjoyed our show, we’d love it if you could provide us with a positive rating on itunes and Sticher, it would mean a lot to us and motivates us to keep this show going providing great content for upcoming podcasts.

Thanks for tuning in today and we look forward to speaking to you in the next episode.

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