Will medical tourism die? Will wellness tourism collapse? Prolonging of the pandemic has given rise to these obvious questions. A majority of experts believe the Covid-19 impact will last till 2022. It would not be wise to put marketing activities on hold for that long. Neither can you go too slowly else it will erode your brand. Hard times do not call for stalling essential activities but one has to do it focusing on viability. Let us have a look at 7 key viable marketing strategies at the end of the write up that will help you to sustain your business in difficult times.
Medical and wellness tourism market will not only survive but thrive
The demand for healthcare and wellness is at all-time high. Patients are having a tough time getting the required care and support in chronic disease management, cancer treatments, organ transplantation and other critical conditions. Common sufferings are very much there, and people are eager to travel on first opportunity.
It would be wise to accept that such pandemic like crises will be a part of our lives. The world would see different forms of health emergencies in the future. Stopping marketing means going out of the customers’ sight. Billion-dollar business awaits medical and wellness tourism that will pick up as travel restrictions get eased worldwide. It is the time when stakeholders need to take a viable approach to marketing activities. In the muted market, you have the golden opportunity to make your presence felt.
Create lean marketing strategies – simple, efficient and result-oriented ensuring some ROI
Given the poor conversion rates in challenging times, traditional marketing strategies will not work well for your business. The need is for viable and lean marketing strategies that will prevent overspending and at the same time ensure a certain ROI.
Overspending in marketing may lead to increased pricing of medical tourism packages and related healthcare services, which ultimately gets passed on to the patients creating an unnecessary burden. With the lean approach, you could get a better reach to customers and have an edge over others. This will prevent wastage of resources and make your business sustainable.
Tips to build sustainable medical and wellness tourism marketing approach
Think of different approaches to reach out to your customers. What attributes will attract your customers in such difficult times? How to communicate with them? What you need to do extra to bring customers to you? Here are some useful tips.
In tough times, empathy matters
Let your brand speak of empathy by delivering the content that cares. People value care more than anything else. Offer services that show your empathy. It could be allowing rescheduling of services without any charge or offering some services at a much lower rate.
With this attitude, you display your empathy that you understand your customers’ difficulties and are willing to help them free of cost. This would go a long way in enhancing your brand image – a brand that cares.
Leverage on low-cost paid Ads
You may feel apprehensive in going for paid Ad campaigns to check your expenses but in crisis, these can give unexpected results. When most of the huge marketing spend gets cut down, low-cost paid Ads give the best returns.
By paying just about 25% of the normal rates in Ads, you can get an incredible boost in CTRs (click-through rates), impressions and user connection rates (where users mainly connect with websites). With one-fourth of your usual spending, you ensure bigger returns.
Grow your networking and B2B engagement
Regardless of hi-tech solutions that you use for your marketing, people to people interaction still matters most. Interpersonal networking should be on the top of your to-do list. Direct face-to-face interaction is no doubt a great option but various online platforms can fetch you more advantage because its reach has no limit.
Register your business in authentic and reputed platforms to enhance your engagement with colleagues, stakeholders, business leaders and customers. Join discussion forums, events and conventions online for knowledge and information-sharing. You not only get in touch with potential customers but also extend your reach for greater B2B partnerships.
Work on experience marketing to build awareness
Offer something to make your customers reach out to you. It could be a free consultation or any service that will not cost you much but could be of help to your customers and enhance your brand image. Invite influencers and experts to visit your facility, website or even social media profile.
Ask them post reviews or to do some activities based on mutual cooperation and understanding. The more you engage in these activities more you build awareness. People have become net dependent for anything and this gives you the opportunity to grab their attention.
Build your web traffic
Create quality informative content that will add value to your audience. Launch online coaching and tutorials in accordance with your business theme to draw traffic to your website. As people are looking for more knowledge-based information either to upskill or fulfill any specific purpose, your online offering will drive in more traffic. Virtual wellness coaching, fitness classes and health consultations are thriving right now many of which are either free or darn cheap.
7 P’s of viable marketing strategies
People, partnership and participation (3P)
Participate more in conferences and exchange knowledge and information with people. It is not about only tech solutions, social media or visual graphics but strategic partnerships with people. LinkedIn is a great way to connect with people and build partnerships. Get connected with 2nd or 3rd connections who you think will help in your business.
Product and offerings
Hard times call for fine-tuning your offerings to add convenience to your customers. Flexible appointment schedules, scope for rescheduling, offering remote consultations or offering special insurances are some add-ons that would help your customers more. For example, many destinations are offering Covid-19 insurance coverage to medical tourists in case they get infected while undergoing treatments in a foreign country.
Based on your audience profile, release valuable information on your website like updated treatment guidelines, safety protocols and other upgraded offerings to build awareness in your target customers. Let your customers know of innovative efforts that you are putting in to tackle crisis situations so as to give them full protection.
Price offering -Niche
Rework on your pricing that would not only be competitive but generate more value than profit. This will not only help your business to survive but also help your partners and customers tide over difficult situations.
Process and Customer experience
Patients are always in stress that multiplies in difficult times. In such situations, simplifying processes improve customer experience. In medical and wellness tourism, documentation regarding travel and newer health and safety protocols could be cumbersome for your customers. Walk extra miles to ease out these processes like by offering amazing free concierge services, welcome kit, translator services, etc. that will make the entire journey of the patient pleasant and delightful.
Place and penetration – Target marketing
For few years, medical tourism is showing regional growth with patient travel mostly restricted to surrounding destinations. Patients from the US and Canada flew to Latin America while those from middle-east were happy visiting the GCC region and other Arab countries for their healthcare needs.
Medical tourism is 80% regional. In crisis situations, we need to look at the practical side of it – the feasibility. Which countries are allowing whom? If your country is welcoming medical tourists, make a note from which countries tourists are allowed. It may not be the neighboring countries from where you usually get more customers. You may have to target some far flung market and create penetration strategies.
You cannot think of a thriving medical and wellness tourism business without active promotion. The focus should be on low-cost high-display marketing to create a massive outreach. Think of investing in low-priced high-converting search advertisements.
It is important to showcase your performance not only the offerings. Build a robust collection of your customer reviews and testimonials and make it prominently visible on your website to catch the customers’ attention. Upload high-quality images and videos of your achievements, award-winning ceremonies and also of partners and team members giving due credit to their contribution.
Let your audience take a virtual tour to your facility. Video interviews with your customers and health and wellness experts make your performance convincing as well as appealing. Talk about your performance and experiences in various case studies highlighting the steps and procedures that led you to great outcomes.
Crises will come and go. The key to successful marketing in hard times is to identify viable strategies. Use your intuition and expertise to generate newer demands or create innovative solutions that would successfully meet the indispensable requirements of your customers.