The web plays a huge role in the way patients receive healthcare information today. Take a moment to think about your last health-related search. You most likely started with Google, searched your symptoms or questions, read a few articles, and developed a self-diagnosis that either caused you to alleviate your worries, run to the drugstore, or call your doctor. Regardless, you were able to answer your questions within minutes, a process that used to take days (or even weeks) a decade ago.
This process that patients take before deciding on a healthcare practice is better known as the patient journey. Understanding the path your patients take to get into your waiting room is vital to increasing patient volume today. Allow your practice to become a part of this journey by creating content that targets prospects at each stage. To paint a better picture, we mapped out each stage of the patient journey to help you build out a healthcare marketing strategy that brings more patients to your practice.
Stage 1: Awareness
In the awareness stage, patients are beginning to realize they have a problem or need to schedule a routine exam. Whether they are catching a cold, experiencing chronic symptoms, or simply nearing their yearly check-up appointment time, they are in a position to discover a solution for their problem. And while you may have the best solution for them, they may not know your practice exists.
In order to make prospective patients aware of your practice and the solutions you provide, you need to target your content around the symptoms and questions they are searching for. It’s an opportunity for them to learn more about their problem, not to learn about your solutions. Take time to educate your prospective patients in this stage.
Create educational content in the awareness stage that your patients can find in their online searches. Tools like whitepapers, reports, toolkits, and blog posts serve as excellent educational resources for patients, and establish your practice as a thought leader in this area. Once a patient finds and reads your educational content, you have placed your practice into the running of possible solutions in the following patient journey stages.
Stage 2: Consideration
Patients in the consideration stage of their journey have now put a name to their problem or opportunity. Their online searches consist of finding potential ways to solve their problems, and the healthcare practices that provide a solution. They are looking for content that provides them with information on all possible solutions so that they can make the most informed decision.
In this stage, provide prospective patients with content that educates them on your procedures. For instance, writing a blog post titled “LASIK Eye Surgery: Because You’re Sick and Tired of Wearing Glasses” is a great content piece for patients who are aware of their problems with contacts or glasses and are considering alternative solutions. Providing this blog post on your website will draw prospective patients in that are considering probable solutions, and narrowing down their options in the final stage of their patient journey.
Stage 3: Decision
The decision-making stage is where most patients are ready to pick up the phone or fill out an online form to schedule an appointment. They have done their research, learned about different solutions, and believe they are educated enough on their problem or opportunity to make an informed decision.
In this stage, create content that entices your prospective patients to take action on your offers. Consultations, demos, and procedure guides are among the many options to promote your practice. Your prospective patients already know what they want. Provide them with the resources they need to make a decision and take action on the solutions you provide.
The patient journey has taught us that a majority of their decision-making process occurs before they even walk through the door of your hospital or clinic. Patients are more educated on healthcare procedures today than ever before. Allow your practice to provide them with the educational content they need to move them along this process and ultimately choose your Healthcare Brand.
Learn more about developing content that will increase patient volume for your healthcare practice by downloading our free eBook, Tools of the Trade: 7 Fundamentals to an Effective Inbound Marketing Campaign.
Build your effective content strategy around the educated patient. Let's touch base and I will put the Hult Team’s experience to work for you. You can contact me at 309-673-8191 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and together, we can create a better focus on your Healthcare Brand.