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Balance your Patient Mix for Your Federally Qualified Health Center

Federally Qualified Health Centers represent an American ideal: affordable and accessible healthcare for everyone. They provide preventative and primary medical care, mental health support, hospital and specialty treatment, and the services necessary to sustain a healthy community. 

Despite these facilities serving nearly 30 million people across the country, there’s little known about their purpose, impact, and accessibility—especially when forced to compete with state-of-the-art hospitals, massive medical groups, and significant health systems.

To spread the word about your own FQHC, better serve your community, and rise above the competition, you need to step up your marketing game. The right FQHC marketing plan will drive new patients to your health center, improve your online brand, and result in higher revenue, easier patient acquisition, and greater employee recruitment. 

The easiest place to start is your online reputation, ensuring it matches the care patients can expect from your facility.

Boost Your Reputation

Update Your Google Business Profile

Since 93% of all internet searches are performed on Google, it’s imperative that the Google Business Profile (GBP) for your providers and FQHC location are accurate, attractive, and highly rated. Optimized GBPs for your location and individual providers enhance visibility and increase the likelihood of appearing at the top of relevant search results. Considering more than half of all clicks go to the top three results, optimization should be a top priority, along with increasing your star rating and number of reviews.

Request & Respond to Reviews

Since the average consumer reads 10 reviews before they feel they’re able to trust a business, facility and provider ratings carry a lot of weight when it comes to making a decision, especially to those seeking something as personal as healthcare. When the reputations of facilities or providers are reduced to outdated and sporadic reviews that are largely negative, online traffic—and ultimately, patient acquisition—suffers.

Implementing review automation tools can rescue a negative reputation by making it easier for happy patients to leave reviews. Patients are three times more likely to leave reviews when they’ve had bad experiences, so it’s important to keep the positive reviews coming to offset the negative. By sending text and email invitations that remind patients to leave reviews, you can increase your positive reviews and enhance your overall rating. 

Whether positive or negative, it’s just as important to respond to reviews soon after they’re posted. Leaving a response demonstrates you care about your patients’ experiences and helps drive positive growth.

Send Patient Surveys

While patients often provide critical feedback in online reviews, you may not want those comments publicly available, especially since they could negatively impact the online reputation you’re working so hard to improve.

Patient surveys provide organizations with an easy way to acquire feedback and identify where the patient experience can be improved at your FQHC. Additionally, you can use these surveys to learn what your organization does well and what matters most to your patients. 

These insights can then be used to inform your marketing strategy and show potential patients that you offer the very best care in the area. As you continue to improve the patient experience, you’ll naturally increase the positive reviews your locations and providers receive.

Level Up Your Website

With 77% of prospective patients turning to online research before making an appointment, it’s crucial your FQHC’s website is accurate and easy to navigate. And if your website hasn’t been updated in a while, it may be time to perform an audit.

Make It Easy to Use

Can patients access your website from mobile devices? Do they have access to a patient portal? Is it easy for them to find their test results, prescriptions, medical history, and other details? If they need to pay a bill, can they do that online? 

Patients prefer websites that allow them to easily perform these actions. Inconvenient online experiences could be contributing to downward trends in patient retention. With some changes, you can improve this part of the patient experience with your organization.

Start by ensuring that the appearance of your website is modern and compatible with mobile devices. Provide your patients with a user-friendly way to communicate with providers and access their personal medical information.

If a patient can easily interact with your FQHC, they’ll be more likely to return in the future. When patients can connect with your website without hassle, you show them you’re constantly improving—making it easier for them to choose you for their care.

Make It Clear 

Once the visual components of your website have been updated, start reviewing your patient resources for accuracy. Have you ever called or visited a business during the hours listed online, only to find that it’s closed? It’s an incredibly frustrating experience anyway, but more so when it involves healthcare!

Ensure your facility’s address, hours, and contact information are clearly displayed in a prominent location, ideally on the home page. Clearly outline the services patients can expect to receive there, as well as the providers who can deliver that care.

You’ll also want to verify that the messaging across your website aligns with your FQHC’s brand and services. From there, you may want to consider updating any educational content on your website to match the latest recommendations from your excellent providers.

Make It Easy to Find 

Employing search engine optimization (SEO) best practices can help your FQHC appear at the top of relevant search results on Google. 

What is SEO? It’s improving your website in ways that make it easier to find in an online search. We’ve covered a few tactics that can help, but others include:

  • Eliminating duplicate content from your website
  • Adding relevant keywords to your web pages
  • Running your website at optimal speed

 Making these changes will bring an increase in traffic to your website, especially when paired with an excellent online reputation.

 Virtually Connect with Your Community

 Social Media

No matter where you go, people want to be informed, validated, and entertained—all of which can be accomplished through social media.

 Beyond establishing your FQHC as an authority, building an online presence allows your facility to reach millions of people and connect with your existing community of patients. You can discuss issues, share local news and events, post health tips and resources, and share informative or testimonial videos. There’s no limit to the ways you can engage your audience on social media!

 But when it comes to social media, the more is not the merrier. Pick the platforms that work for your FQHC’s audience, then focus on creating quality content for those spaces. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are great places to start!

 Steady Flow of Content

Consistency truly is key with content creation. Regularly producing relevant, high-quality content will give your FQHC an edge over the competition.

 Whether it’s through your website, blog, or social media, publishing your own content allows your FQHC marketing to connect with current and potential patients in more meaningful ways. Plus, it offers your organization an opportunity to pave the way toward healthcare thought leadership.

 Creating great content on a consistent basis brings attention to your business and over time, that attention will convert people into patients.

Targeted Advertising and Reporting

Search Ads

Implementing SEO best practices is an absolute necessity, but it’s important to remember that improvements are often incremental and can take time to bring about results. If you’d like to take a more proactive approach for faster results, pay-per-click (PPC) search ads are a great tool to employ.

Search ads are often found at the top of search results, which means these ads receive a lot of attention. In fact, 54% of clicks go to the top three search results, which often include these ads. The best part? Nothing comes out of your marketing budget until these ads are clicked on. 

So, how do you get started? The easiest way is to make your brand name a search keyword. When prospective patients search your brand online, the search keyword triggers your ad to appear at the top of the search results. Since your brand is unique, these ads are usually very affordable and can accommodate even the smallest marketing budgets. 

Once your branded search ads are running, you can pick additional sets of search keywords to include terms that are relevant to your organization and the services you provide. When someone in your community uses those keywords in a relevant online search, your organization is likely to appear at the top of search results. This added visibility makes it easier for prospective patients to choose you for their care.

Ultimately, if you’re not appearing at the top of relevant search results, you won’t be seen as frequently as those who are—which could include your competitors. The easiest way to prevent this is by having a great online presence, a solid reputation, and proactive marketing.

Predictive Targeting

Yes, you can predict behavior while complying with HIPAA! Predictive targeting tools use non-medical data to help you identify people who may need your facility’s services.

People leave a data trail, or “digital footprint,” wherever they go online. Predictive targeting tools use this data to create profiles of people who aren’t patients yet, but who may need treatment you offer in the future. Here’s an example to explain how it works: 

Jenny, Paul, and Debbie are patients at your facility and each of them has received the same treatment. You’d like to market to other people in your area who are likely to need that same type of treatment. You decide to use HIPAA-compliant predictive targeting tools that help you identify information about these three patients that isn’t considered Protected Health Information, or PHI. 

These predictive targeting tools use hundreds of publicly available data points to build what are called “lookalike models.” Essentially, these models “look like” your patients who ended up needing a specific type of care. Once these models have been created, they can be used with your marketing tactics to target people who fit the criteria.

If there are specific treatments that produce higher revenue for your facility, it may make sense to target individuals who need that type of care.

Data ​​Reporting

From tight budgets to limited staff and time, it can be difficult to make FQHC marketing a priority. To ensure you’re getting the results you want, you need data that demonstrates which marketing campaigns are working—and which aren’t.

You also need to understand where new patients come from but clicks and impressions can only get you so far. A platform that makes use of inbound call tracking—while remaining HIPAA compliant—and fully integrates with your EHR system is the solution you should be looking for.

With SocialClimb, you won’t be left wondering which campaigns are accomplishing the objectives of your FQHC marketing. SocialClimb makes it possible to do FQHC marketing without increasing headcount and extending your already restricted resources.

Our platform offers you complete control over your own marketing campaigns and access to all the data you need to make informed marketing decisions. With thorough but digestible reports, your marketing data is instantly aggregated and summarized so you know where to take action.

Whether you need help managing digital ads, tracking marketing efficiency, or improving your online reputation, SocialClimb’s Healthcare Marketing Platform makes it easy to raise your healthcare marketing to today’s standards. Contact us to find out how we can support your FQHC marketing plan!

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