The Importance of Word of Mouth Marketing in Healthcare

Word of mouth marketing drives $6 trillion of annual customer spending and is estimated to account for 13% of customer sales. Basically, it can make or break your healthcare business.

Word of mouth marketing in Healthcare is, at its heart, using happy patients to promote your practice. Word of mouth marketing is to provide patients with such an incredible experience that they can’t help but share your services with everyone that they know.

The Advantage of Word of Mouth Marketing

in the Healthcare Industry:

1. You can get more patients while spending less on paid ads

As unbelievable as that sounds it's incredibly true. Word of mouth marketing, when done correctly can almost eliminate the need to run as many paid ads.

How is that even possible?

Well if your patients had an incredible experience, chances are they will share stories of their experience online and that is more valuable than any paid ad. Just one recommendation can have far greater impact than paid ads. Many best practices and marketing experts encourage organic word of mouth marketing.

Word of mouth marketing in healthcare is becoming an increasingly essential part of your brand’s medical marketing strategy. Paid ads through social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have become significantly more competitive, which is putting increasing pressure on your gross margins (when considering patient acquisition costs).

Consider cutting those costs by focusing your social media marketing efforts on alternative medical marketing tactics like word of mouth marketing. HubSpot shows that 75% of people don’t believe adverts, yet 90% trust suggestions from family and friends and 70% trust customer reviews. In other words: People trust friends, family (and even strangers) more than they trust ads.

2. You can increase loyalty & trust in your brand

Patients gained from word of mouth marketing convert better because they already have a level of trust and confidence in your medical practice that has transferred to them from the person who recommended you in the first place.

Patients who arrive from other marketing channels, might know nothing about your medical practice and have to be convinced first. Their levels of ‘trust’ are lower and conversions are usually lower too. It can cost five times more to acquire a new patient than keep a current one.

A positive word of mouth advertising and marketing strategy keeps patients coming back. Suddenly you realize that you are increasingly attracting more patients who are all loyal to your medical brand.

Ideas For Building a Word of Mouth Marketing Strategy

Creating an epic experience for your patients is sometimes enough to get some of them talking about you and referring others. You need to move away from hoping that your patients tell their friends and family about you, to creating specific strategies that actively encourage them to refer you. Here are some ideas to help you build a word of mouth marketing strategy that works:

1. Set up word of mouth marketing triggers

A word of mouth trigger is the thing that makes your practice stand out from other practices in the healthcare industry. This means giving your patients something that is so memorable they have to share it with someone else.

Another technique is to try using visual triggers by creating an impactful visual experience that patients just want to take photos of, repost online or share with others -- for instance, jaw-dropping before and after results.

2. Encourage User Generated Content.

Content created by your patients and your followers can be much more powerful, engaging and shareable than your usual company updates and photos. According to Adweek, 85% of users find visual user generated content more influential than brand photos or videos. Consider having a two-way conversation with your audience to encourage them to start talking about your medical practice on social media while endorsing and referring you to their friends and followers. If you're finding it difficult to increase engagement this way, try offering discounts for post shares or run a social media competition with your own custom hashtag.

3. Ask for Ratings and Reviews

88% of patient's trust online reviews written by other patients as much as they trust recommendations from people that they know and trust. And 74% of patients identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions. The goal is to use their feedback to convince others to buy.

  • 94% of healthcare patients use online reviews to evaluate providers. (Software Advice).

  • It only takes 1-6 online reviews for potential patients to form an opinion about your practice. A single bad review can deter numerous prospective patients (RevLocal).

So feedback and word of mouth from your current patients is crucial. That means asking and displaying honest reviews of your patient's experience in as many places as possible – your website, business listings and social media posts.

4. Create Referral Campaigns

Offer strategic referral rewards to motivate happy patients into referring others to your medical practice.

Your biggest fan and greatest promoter is a satisfied and happy patient. So make sure to create referral campaigns that will keep your patients coming back for more by rewarding them for achieving specific milestones.

Here are some ideas for referral rewards:

  • A gift card for referring friends

  • Friend & family discounts

5. Offer Great Products & Services

It’s impossible to create a positive experience if what you sell just isn’t worth talking about. Creating a powerful personal experience around a high quality service can lead to all sorts of publicity both online and offline. The reverse is true as well.

If you treat patients poorly or offer ineffective services, people will know and tell others to avoid making the same mistake that they did. Plus, with social media, they can influence not only their friends but also friends of friends and others as well.

The success of a word-of-mouth marketing strategy relies, ultimately, on having a great product or service and an incredible brand that people can get behind and want to support. Make sure that you’re already creating a great patient experience. Patients can walk away from brands over just one poor experience, it’s more important than ever to create that amazing experience and to get all of your team members on board so that you are all on the same page.

Word of mouth marketing means your medical practice is being recommended in the most trustworthy context possible and potential patients are much more likely to trust your practice by making purchases with you.

If you need help developing a solid word of mouth marketing strategy for your medical practice, book your Free Consultation here.


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