People tend to seek healthcare when they become sick. But wouldn’t you love it if more people sought your help to stay well?
Government statistics paint a depressing picture of the nation’s health, showing that:
- 1 in 7 adults smoke daily
- 1 in 4 children and 2 in 3 adults are overweight or obese
- more than half of adults and 2 in 3 children don’t meet the physical activity guidelines
- most people don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables and eat too much discretionary food.
Such lifestyle choices increase the risk of developing many chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer. Yet, there’s so much that could be done to prevent the development of debilitating, life-limiting conditions.
You can offer screening tests and discuss the results.
You can prescribe medications to reduce risk.
You can support lifestyle changes regarding smoking, nutrition, alcohol and physical activity.
But how do you get the patient to come and see you in the first place? By marketing your preventive services.
Marketing preventive healthcare
Many patients are likely either unaware or only partially aware of the many ways in which their GP or local allied health practice can help them stay well.
A 2011 MJA study of 85 Melburnians reported that,
Participants felt ignorant about what prevention they needed to undertake and when. They wanted to be better informed so that they could take action. Receiving reminders or letters of invitation from their GP prompted action, particularly if these targeted their age or life-stage. Many were also unaware of preventive activities that qualified for Medicare rebates (eg the 45–49-year-old health assessment), with very few participants being offered this or similar services by their GP.
Marketing helps you reach those people and prompt them to take preventive action.
Add a page on preventive care to your website
Your website probably lists the key services you provide such as pregnancy care, immunisations or type 2 diabetes management.
Does it list your preventive services?
If not, create a page. This will help you attract patients who are keen to be proactive about their health. It also gives you something to promote through your social media pages or ads.
Ensure your page explains:
- Why preventive care is so important
- What preventive services you offer
- Who’s eligible
- How to book – give a clear call to action like ‘Book now’ with a link to your online booking system or phone number.
Remember to ensure your marketing is AHPRA compliant.
Distribute some flyers in your local area
Your patients probably live or work locally, meaning you could distribute some flyers about your preventive services to local homes.
You could also partner with local businesses, encouraging them to promote your preventive care – after all, proactive healthcare helps ensure people are able to turn up to work and perform at their best.
Pick the right time
There are certain times when people think more about their health, such as after a milestone birthday or when making New Year’s Resolutions.
If you’re a GP, for example, you could interrogate your practice database to find patients about to turn 45 or 75. Then you could send them an email wishing them ‘Happy Birthday’, encouraging them to prioritise their health and letting them know that they’re now eligible for a Medicare-funded health check. Add a link to your online booking system and you’ll probably secure some bookings.
Another option would be to promote your services in January and February to take advantage of people’s good intentions at the start of the New Year. It’s an ideal time to advertise your preventive healthcare services such as exercise physiology, smoking cessation or weight management. Digital marketing tools allow you to narrow down your audience to target the people most likely to be interested in your services.
Of course, don’t forget to make the most of opportunities when your patient has come to see you because they’re sick or injured. Advertise your preventive services and include a QR code for your patient to scan – that has the added benefit of giving you some data about them which you can use for other marketing efforts.
Explain what’s on offer
Describe your preventive service so your patient knows what to expect and starts to see the value you’re offering.
The 45-49 year-old health check, for example, can involve:
- Questions about health and family history
- A physical examination
- Blood tests
- Lifestyle advice and strategies to achieve behaviour change.
What you’re really offering, though, is far more than that.
You’re offering a way to prevent debilitating disease or identify its early signs so your patient can act quickly. You’re promoting quality of life and longevity. You’re protecting your patient’s hopes and dreams like enjoying adventures, ticking things off the bucket list or seeing the grandchildren grow up.
Make it easy to act
Good intentions often fall at the first hurdle. Try to remove obstacles from your patient’s path so that nothing knocks them off course.
For example, most 45-49-year-olds are in the workforce. They’re more likely to fit in a preventive healthcare check if they’re able to come outside business hours. Extending your opening hours may make it easier for them to come along. A reminder SMS makes them more likely to remember to turn up!
Ensure ongoing support for lifestyle change
Most people know they need to eat healthier food and be more active. But it’s hard to break old habits. Motivational interviewing techniques can help you unlock people’s own drive and resources for change.
But ongoing support is undoubtedly needed. That can be achieved in many ways, such as:
- Developing a chronic disease management plan to ensure secondary prevention for patients with known conditions
- Referring at-risk patients to a dietitian, exercise physiologist or smoking cessation service
- Harnessing the skills of a practice nurse who can provide ongoing support as patients seek to make lifestyle changes.
How can Splice Marketing help?
Splice Marketing offers healthcare-focused growth marketing expertise you won’t find anywhere else.
- Driven by data
- Focused on results
- Adept at complaint yet creative marketing.
Our team of specialised healthcare marketers has helped hundreds of healthcare professionals to navigate the digital landscape and achieve incredible growth results. All while staying on the right side of the law.We’d love to help you too.
Book your free consultation today.