As more consumers learn the benefits of visiting an urgent care center (UCC) over a traditional emergency room, more centers pop up in a local area. It doesn’t matter if your center has the latest equipment and most experienced staff. To stop patient volume going to the center across the street, UCCs must market themselves effectively.
The trick is to not mistake marketing with advertising. Your ads are part of your overall marketing plan, but that plan needs to be a systematic approach that positions your UCC to meet consumer needs when they arise.
The following are some marketing strategies that will help urgent care centers increase patient visits.
- Know Your Audience
A UCC will be successful only when it can meet the needs of the consumer better than the center down the street. To do this, you’ll need to identify your target group of patients and do some research to understand exactly what their needs are and how you can best meet them.
For instance, many consumers are busy and don’t have the patience or ability to wait for an appointment with their own doctor or wait in an ER for 3 hours because their throat hurts. Your center can meet these needs because you offer appointment scheduling online, less than 15-minute wait times and you are open weekends and evening.
Get your marketing team together and start a brainstorming session that will:
- Identify your target market.
- Define the value you deliver to that market.
- Determine how to differentiate your center from the competition.
- Create a marketing plan that communicates these benefits and unique advantages effectively.
- Educate Staff
Once you have determined your target demographic and what needs they have, educate your staff so they can deliver the best solutions. Because urgent care is a service, your product is your people. And your people need to meet and even exceed consumer expectations. The UCC that meets patient needs consistently wins.
- Research Your Competition
It’s not just other UCCs that you are competing against; it’s every basic healthcare option available to consumers. This includes primary care physicians in the area, after-hours pediatricians, hospital ERs, and retail minute clinics. Once you know all of the options available to your market you can tailor your service and then create marketing messages that will bring more patients through the door.
- Leverage Paid Advertising Channels
Before working with Media Space Solutions, many of our urgent care clients admitted they had initially relied on word-of-mouth advertising. And while you want your market to talk up your brand to their friends and family, understand that word-of- mouth advertising takes a long time to bring in results.
If your center is new, you’ll want to leverage paid advertising channels to get your brand and message in front of your local audience. Newspapers, radio and billboards can all play a critical role in communicating your value to your market.
Keep in mind, to stay top of mind, you’ll need to be consistent with your paid advertising. A consumer may be aware of your care center but may have no use of it for several months or longer. To succeed, be sure to advertise during peak seasons and spread your budget across multiple media to maximize reach.
- Work with a Media Buyer
You specialize in caring for patients, not market research, channel selection and rate negotiations. Working with a media buyer means working with someone who can do everything I just mentioned for you and more.
Media buyers eat, breathe and sleep data. They know how to conduct market research to ensure messaging and channel selection delivers results. And, because they place multiple buys with publishers they’ve built relationships with, they can get huge discounts for their clients.
This adds up to not only big savings for you, but also peace of mind.
If you’re an urgent care center that needs to get more feet in the door and you’d like to work with someone who can take the marketing off your plate, get in touch with us. We help healthcare organizations increase patient volume and revenue.