Top Tips & Tactics for Marketing your Behavioral Health Services
Behavioral health services are in high demand, while the market seems to get increasingly competitive for companies offering behavioral health services and mental health care. To engage and convert more health consumers for your organization, effective healthcare marketing strategies are a must if you want to stand out among your competition and achieve your revenue growth goals.
This article explores several key tips and tactics to help you acquire more patients for your behavioral health organization and mental health services.
Preparation is key - Laying the groundwork for successful healthcare marketing
Before you launch any marketing campaign, be sure you've prepared and researched adequately to optimize the success rate and ROI of your efforts.
Make sure to research your target market to confirm that you understand your audience fully, so that you can design your marketing campaigns and messaging around your audience.
Have you defined your organization's brand messaging? Your marketing campaigns will be more effective if your branding and messaging are consistent, clear, and concise. This will enable you to stand out among the competition and acquire top of mind awareness within your target audience of health consumers.
Be sure that you've also confirmed your brand identity and value proposition, so that all of your marketing efforts are geared towards your brand identity.
Lastly, have you determined the ultimate goal(s) of your marketing efforts? Be sure to have a strategic marketing plan outlined and agreed upon by stakeholders and marketing team members.
Set clearly outlined, specific goals with measurable KPIs and metrics to track. Assign an appropriate budget and resources to be spent on any given campaign. Determine what results will need to occur in order for you to consider the campaign to be a success. These are all questions that must be answered, and plans that must be confirmed, prior to launching a healthcare marketing campaign, so that you can accurately gauge ROI of your marketing efforts.
5 Top Healthcare Marketing Tactics for Behavioral Health
Once you've properly outlined and budgeted the marketing goals you need to achieve, you're now ready to consider how best to get your messaging out to the right health consumers and acquire more patients for your organization. There are many channels and methods for healthcare marketing, and below we outline a few of the top ones for marketing behavioral health services today. This is not an exhaustive list, but these are a few of the most important and effective healthcare marketing methods, in our experience and perspective.
Digital marketing offers a variety of effective ways to reach your target audience online. Digital marketing includes several assets and channels such as your website, social media, and marketing emails.
Banner ads and programmatic advertising are a few other ways to utilize digital marketing to grow your reach and convert more health consumers.
For any digital marketing campaigns (social media ads, marketing emails, etc) make sure you have a dedicated landing page that is functional and contains clear, relevant, accurate information. (It's important not to send health consumers to your homepage or "contact us" page.)
While one of the benefits of digital marketing includes its interactivity and trackability, healthcare organizations must proceed with caution in this area, due to government regulations (via HHS/OCR) that cover the sharing of PHI (personal health information) as it relates to HIPAA privacy and security.
That's why it's crucial to partner with healthcare marketing experts who can help you navigate the new regulations to help ensure compliance regarding any tracking codes, etc.
The new digital marketing regulations for healthcare companies are particularly important for behavioral health organizations and providers such as addiction and recovery centers. There are specific limits as to the ages you can target (18+) as well as the verbiage and imagery utilized in behavioral health marketing campaigns. Additionally, there are limits on the substances that may be promoted via digital marketing - certain products and supplements are prohibited form promotion on some platforms, including Google.
Radio and television advertising are an integral part of a multifaceted healthcare marketing plan, in order to reach the most potential health consumers wherever they consume media. Radio and television offer access to audiences that may be unreachable via other avenues, as well as offering dynamic, and engaging ways to get your messaging across. If you were to forego traditional advertising, you could be leaving a huge segment of your target audience untapped, thereby losing countless potential patients to competing services who are advertising on radio and TV.
A content marketing strategy should drive your messaging for owned and paid media, and include a variety of types of content such as your evergreen website content, news/blog articles, social media, whitepapers, case studies, and more. For behavioral health, it's essential for your content strategy to include personalized, patient-centric content.
How do you personalize content? This goes back to knowing your audience, based on the research and preparation you conducted before launching marketing efforts. Additionally, you can build content around some of the most common questions potential health consumers and patients may have at various steps along their buying journey. Many behavioral health patients will do a lot of reading and research online prior to requesting an appointment, due to the shame and stigma that is (wrongfully) associated with getting help for mental health. Therefore, you must be sure to address their questions and concerns via your content strategy to help move potential patients to the next step(s) of the process towards ultimately setting an appointment and/or engaging your services.
Also, be sure your content strategy also includes User generated content, such as online reviews, patient communities, etc. This adds credibility to your branding and messaging by having third parties confirm the quality of your services.
Promoting telehealth services is an important strategy to include in your healthcare marketing plan, because telehealth is in such high demand. Also, if your providers are licensed in other states, telehealth can expand your reach and significantly grow your audience of prospective health consumers.
Networking & Referrals
Don't forget to leverage relationships with your peers to help acquire more patients for your organization. Be sure to continually maintain positive relationships with other physicians, to strengthen referral patterns. Work with doctors who offer services that are complementary to yours to help form new referral patterns that are mutually beneficial. Another great way to do this is by joining and actively participating in professional associations and attending conferences for more networking and referral success!
Measure Marketing ROI
This is where those goals, metrics, and KPIs you set will come in handy. By measuring and tracking your pre-determined KPIs, stats and metrics along the way, you can confirm the success rate of each campaign. Additionally, you can see what is working, and what is not working, so that you can make any necessary adjustments or revisions along the way to improve performance of your marketing efforts.
Ultimately you should be obtaining more leads and converting more of those leads into active clients, resulting in revenue growth. If this is not happening, or if your ROI goals are not being met, then your team needs to go back to the drawing board to regroup and revamp. However, if you prepared properly on the front end, and utilized a comprehensive omnichannel marketing strategy, you should find that your healthcare marketing efforts are achieving the desired results.
In summary, a healthcare marketing strategy is extremely labor intensive. Effective, successful healthcare marketing requires a great deal of expertise, planning, preparation, strategy, monitoring, and ongoing attention to detail. There is no one single "Easy Button" that will achieve all of your revenue growth goals. Your healthcare marketing plan must include a variety of platforms, media, and campaigns to be as successful as you need it to be.
When marketing behavioral health services, the importance of regulatory compliance cannot be overstated - it's critical to avoid liability by following the OCR/HHS regulations, AND the rules and guidelines of each media platform that you utilize for healthcare marketing. That's why it's highly recommended to partner with a firm that is knowledgeable and extensively experienced in healthcare marketing, if possible.