Thus, the purchasing process of the ideal consumer of a clinic will always be conditioned by more or less complex needs related to health (physical or mental) or to their appearance. be conditioned by more or less complex needs related to health (physical or mental) or appearance.. And based on those needs, during their buying cycle, they will require specific information (content) that your clinic could provide.
For this reason, in digital marketing the consumer’s buying cycle is essential to define strategies adequate. Strategies mainly related to content which lead, in the case of clinics, to more appointments and clients. Think that if there is something that these users avidly search for on the Internet, it is information to solve their doubts and evaluate their options.
But only if you really understand what their buying cycle or customer’s journey is like, you can optimize the conversions of your marketing funnel, the step from simple visits on your website to final customers.. That is, optimize the actions that lead you to get leads (sales opportunities) that contact your clinic.
And, how is your customer’s journey?
Your ideal consumer is someone who has some kind of problem or need related to their health or aesthetics. A consumer who, before making a final decision, will conduct some type of research on the web. And it is this online research and how it is developed that helps us in marketing to decide which online strategies are the most appropriate at different times.
The customer’s journey, is traditionally divided into three stagesThe steps a user would go through before making a decision: exploration, consideration and decision. These phases are the main ones, obviously, because they work for all sectors. However, for clinics we must include other stages, because the traditional ones are only the ones that lead the user on your clinic’s website to become a first appointment.
In online marketing, the discovery stage and the next stage, the exploration stage, are the same. But in this case you should keep in mind several points:
- On the one hand, your potential patient may have discovered a problem by his or her own means because he or she feels a specific discomfort, which may be easily perceptible.
- You may also have been diagnosed with some type of illness at some other clinic or public medical center, so you have knowledge of what type of problem you are dealing with.
- Or after some time of deliberation, you may have decided to look for a center where you can be treated for an illness or disorder that seriously affects your lifestyle.
- Or it may be a person who decides to undergo some type of treatment that affects his or her physique to improve his or her self-esteem.
As you can see, the discovery stage of one patient and another may be different and each clinic should keep in mind what this phase may be like for their ideal patient.
But why is this stage essential? If you think about it, in this phase, the person detects or assimilates that he/she has a health problem (physical or mental), or does not feel comfortable with some aspect of his/her physique, etc. This is where you are coming from and how you will look for information in the next stages will depend on where you are in this one.
What strategies work?
At this stage, your clinic’s best ally is advertising such as Facebook Ads or AdWords. Unfortunately, there is little more that can be done at the marketing level, but advertising is a good option to raise awareness of common problems among different targets or to dazzle with attractive offers.
To run a Facebook Ads or AdWords campaign at this stage, you will need to rely on the information you have about your current customers to perform a more detailed segmentation. Ask them what they would have liked to know before they started looking for information, any clues that will help you.
The exploration stage is the one that triggers the traditional customer’s journey of a potential patient. In this phase, it is important to keep in mind the origin of the problem of your clinic’s typical client. In this way, you can find out how he will start his search, what doubts he will have, what queries he will make at the beginning on the Internet, i.e. how he will start to document himself.
Depending on the services offered by your clinic, you should work on a type of content that helps your potential patient to understand what their problem is, based on the symptoms or the perception they have of their ailment. The trick is to satisfy your need for information when you are exploring, when you are educating yourself.
What strategies work?
- It is necessary to start with a positioning strategy, with a selection of keywords (terms or keywords) that identify how these users are going to search the net.
- At this stage it is essential to create a blog and a content plan that allows you to generate information and publish regularly based on your keyword selection.
- If you generate information of value to your potential patients, it should not be limited to a blog. You have to promote your content both in your social networks as well as in the media of your sector.
- And opt for AdWords and Facebook Ads campaigns if you have the budget.
These strategies should help you get more traffic to your website. A qualified traffic if you are based on the needs of your potential patients. Think that these are people who are looking for information, valuable content with which they can feel more informed and that will allow them to move forward in their buying cycle.
Two things can happen at this stage:
- The first is that if they are oversaturated with information in the first stage and have more doubts than before, they should contact the clinic directly. So there would be a great leap of faith with the clinic that provided the best information.
- Or, secondly, based on the content that has been consumed, the visitor to your website decides to browse more, find out what kind of services you offer and compare you with your competitors.
What actions can you take?
First of all, your goal in this phase is to gain the trust of your potential customer. This is essential for him when it comes to making a decision. For this reason, based on your content strategy there are several actions you can take to offer something in return.
- Either through the call-to-action on your blog or through modal windows on your website, or with the free first date’ buttons you have to be able to get the contact information of your visitors. To do so, you can offer more qualified content, focused on offering solutions, such as ebooks or virtual tests or some kind of no-obligation telephone consultation to solve any doubts.
- In this case your website, but not your blog, must also follow a strategy of positioning and must include, in addition to content of your services, real testimonials that can help your potential clients to consider what is the to consider what is the solution to their problem, or rather, which clinic can solve it.
On the one hand, when the offer is attractive, both in terms of content and the lack of commitment involved in a free first appointment, the conversion rate (the number of visits that convert into leads) can be high. But there is a downside: the customer is not 100% insured.
On the other hand, when you have a public pricing policy or do not offer a free first consultation you must offer another type of value. Because, in this case, the price assessment and the comparison with the competition will be higher.
So what can you do to speed up the decision?
- In both cases, you should assess what kind of offers attract the attention of your potential patients and analyze how your content works: what strategies need to be improved and what actions you can take in the previous phases to gain the trust of your contacts.
- In the latter case, you can also send your recent contacts information of interest to them according to an email marketing strategy. This information can help them assess the effectiveness of the treatments and services you offer and help them make a decision.
As mentioned above, those clinics that offer a free first consultation or visit tend to have a high conversion rate. But does this conversion rate secure the customer? The truth is that in this phase there are offline and online components to take into account:
- The offline components The type of service and the impression that the potential patient has at the first consultation depend basically on the type of service and the impression that the potential patient has at the first consultation. It is a personal component. So, what can you do in this case? Train your consultants in sales techniques. Think that to “win” your patient is closely related to gaining trust and making this potential patient feel confident during the first appointment. The approach of some physicians can be frightening to some potential clients, and that’s the last thing you want.
- The online component is based on service and follow-up. Here the type of information you can send to this potential patient who is still deciding whether to pursue treatment is vital. And your advantage is that you already know him and you know exactly what he may need to finally become your customer. In those cases where the last conversion is complex, a email with valuable content can make all the difference.
6. Follow up
The life-time value of your patients, depending on the type of clinic you manage, may vary. That is, depending on the type of clinic and treatment you have offered, your client may decide to trust your brand and continue using your services. You can gain their loyalty.
What actions work?
- Reminders of revisions via email, sms and other forms of messaging.
- Maintenance emails to remind the patient how to proceed.
- Emails with related content that may be equally interesting.
In general, based on your content strategy, email marketing is the easiest way thanks to its automation possibilities, as this way your clinic would make sure to be present in your client’s mind once he/she has gone through a treatment. In addition, if the quality of the intervention and patient satisfaction is optimal, the patient can become a great promoter, for which a social networking strategy could be very useful.