Best Practices in Urgent Care Marketing
Your urgent care center probably delivers excellent service with compassionate, experienced, and highly qualified providers in a personalized and considerably convenient environment. Still, how much business are you losing to your competitors because your prospective patients aren’t aware of you?
The fact that there’ll never be a shortage of patients who need urgent care may lead you to believe that investing in marketing would be a waste of money but, to drive success, urgent care centers depend on consistent walk-in patients. In reality, you may employ world-class professionals, have the best equipment, provide cutting-edge services, and not have enough patients to serve because they simply don’t know about you.
Aside from providing high-quality medical services, urgent care marketing is one of the most important pieces of growing your urgent care business. It allows your community to learn about you and connect with you when they need you while using their preferred platforms and devices.
Urgent care marketing helps you strengthen your visibility, connect with the patients who are in need of help, and increase visits — all crucial to the long-term growth of your organization.
Why Is Urgent Care Marketing Essential?
Medical emergencies often happen unexpectedly and at the worst times, which means patients will immediately search for the nearest urgent care center and spend less time exploring various providers. To attract them, you must appear where prospective patients are looking for information – at the top of Google’s local search listing.
As they go for convenience and speed, showing up in the ideal search position is critical for patient acquisition. Ranking in Google’s local three-pack allows you to appear at the top of results, increasing the chance a patient will choose you.
And if urgent care marketing still seems non-essential to you, let us remind you how fiercely competitive the urgent care industry tends to be. According to Statista, the number of urgent care facilities increased from 6,400 in 2014 to 8,100 in 2018, and there aren’t any signs of slowing down.
So, how do you distinguish your urgent care center from all the others in such a competitive environment?
To face these challenges, be successful, and attract patients, urgent care centers today need a strong online presence and a comprehensive marketing strategy.
The key steps that will bring patients to you and help you keep them are:
- Optimizing your local search,
- Building patient reviews,
- Maintaining a reputable online presence,
- Knowing and reaching the specific patient demographic you want to treat, and
- Creating a user-friendly website.
Let’s explore urgent care marketing strategies you can use to maximize your online presence, communicate your availability, and create easy ways to attract patients.
Focus on Local Search
Urgent care patients are often impatient, irritated, and scared and need help right away. They don’t have the luxury of driving an extra fifteen minutes for a different provider and unlike many other healthcare services, the urgent care market is much smaller. In case they don’t already know where to go, most users will simply search for “urgent care near me” on Google and go to the nearest one. And the fact that “near me” searches for healthcare services have doubled since 2015 emphasizes the importance of optimizing for local search.
Here are some of the local search marketing tactics you can employ:
Optimize Your Google Business Profile (GBP)
- A well-optimized GBP will allow you to show up on local searches and be listed on Google Maps — make sure to provide the exact location so as not to confuse the patients in their time of urgent need for care.
- Optimized basic information such as working hours and phone numbers will immediately let them know of your availability and allow them to contact you instantly if needed.
- Even if they don’t have time to read and analyze reviews, a well-kept profile will inform them of your average rating at a glance and reassure them that they’ll be in good hands.
Continually Assess Online Reputation and Business Listings
- Your urgent care center is going to appear side-by-side with your local competitors and it’s highly likely that the location with a high volume of positive reviews, with relatively few negative ones, will prevail.
- Check regularly to make sure information about your practice center is up-to-date and optimized for local three-pack searches. Ensure local listings on other sites, like Healthgrades or Yelp, are accurate and consistent.
- Establish a strong presence on review-focused platforms as well as social platforms, and then continually check each to assess sentiment and address any issues patients may have brought up.
- Track your every campaign to gain valuable insights into how your urgent care center can improve both patient service and urgent care marketing strategy. Call trackers help you determine how people are finding you and what it takes to convert a person to a patient, allowing you to use this information to adapt the way you position and market your urgent care center.
Use Paid Advertising
Paid advertising allows you to target specific search queries that are most likely to attract patients in need to your urgent care center.
Maintaining a set of ads for search phrases such as “urgent care near me”, “urgent care specialist”, or “ER open now” will ensure that you always rank on top and help make you the first choice. It’s also important to optimize other advertising parameters. For example, you’d want to show this ad to people within a driving distance acceptable to patients in urgent need of care.
To further strengthen your advertising efforts, include predictive analytics in your strategy. Predictive analytics involves using clues in search data to predict the care potential patients may need, so you can strategically place both online and offline ads to direct them toward your practice.
Work on Your Reputation Management
You might think that patients in need of urgent care won’t have time to read reviews, and you’re right, but seeing a poor average ranking (such as anything below 3.5) might inspire them to take a short detour to your competitors. This is why reputation management is essential to your growth.
Patients seeking urgent care are highly sensitive which makes them more skeptical when researching providers. Even though it’s an urgent situation, they’re more likely to leave a negative review or complain over the slightest discomfort. Therefore, reputation management is one of the most critical pieces in your urgent care marketing strategy.
Effective reputation management is about being proactive, not just reactive, so start building your reputation by gathering reviews from existing patients. Since urgent care providers must focus on providing treatment first, the easiest way to request more reviews is through an automated review platform that sends out review requests after patients visit your office.
To differentiate yourself from your competitors, you need to encourage happy patients to leave reviews and quickly address any negative experiences they may have had. Therefore, make sure to respond to negative reviews as soon as possible.
Be Active on Social Media
It’s estimated that 57.6 percent of the world’s population uses or interacts with social media platforms. Like any other business, urgent care centers can use social media to reach and stay connected to new and existing patients.
Likewise, as part of your urgent care marketing, social media advertising lets you target your audience in a variety of ways. You can easily target certain demographic groups, geographic locations, and even personal interests. This lets you get your message out to the right people instead of just randomly sharing it with everyone.
A trustworthy online presence represents a contemporary form of word-of-mouth. Building awareness on relevant platforms and creating a memorable social media presence might help people remember and choose you if they ever need urgent care.
Don’t Forget Your Website
Seems pretty basic, right? But how many websites have you visited once and never again?
Your urgent care is judged by its online presence as much as by its physical appearance. With a well-optimized website, you build a patient’s confidence in your provider’s abilities and reinforce a positive, supportive, and uninterrupted patient experience. To achieve this, it’s vital that your website be eye-catching, well laid out, and easy to navigate.
Though your target audience might not spend as much time researching your facility as they would in another situation, a well-optimized website is an investment that won’t come back to haunt you, whereas having a bad website or not having one at all might hurt your efforts to grow.
Urgent Care Marketing Based on Immediacy and Convenience
With the evolution and expansion of digital channels, patients have more options than ever, and that includes finding and selecting an urgent care provider. This also makes it clear that a sound urgent care marketing strategy is essential for your success. While there will always be people in need of urgent care services, getting them to your clinic and turning them into loyal patients requires a dedicated approach.
Urgent care marketing is about offering help to patients in desperate need of fast but quality healthcare solutions. Their unique vulnerability and sensitivity mean that you must invest heavily in local SEO and reputation management. However, other elements of urgent care marketing are equally important — positive reviews help you build trust, fine-tuned targeting gets your message to those who are most likely to come through your doors, and an optimized website can boost your rankings and trustworthiness.
We know how complex it can be to navigate healthcare marketing, and our mission is to simplify it as much as possible. SocialClimb’s healthcare marketing management platform allows you to streamline your marketing efforts and manage every aspect of your strategy intuitively. Powered by data segmentation and automated processes, it enables you to reach high-value patients while remaining fully HIPAA compliant. From reputation management to highly targeted advertising, you can manage it all in one place, while relying on built-in templates and workflows that ensure strong performance at minimum time investment.