Guide to Medical Tourism Marketing – News, Update, Trends, Research and Social Media Marketing by Dr Prem

viable medical and wellness tourism marketing in hard times

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 , as well as hows and whys of social media marketing.

In this medical tourism marketing guide you will read about:

Guide to Medical Tourism Marketing – News, Update, Trends, Research and Social Media Marketing by Dr Prem

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.

Mindful business is the future of Medical and wellness tourism

Covid-19 pandemic

True, the Covid-19 pandemic has left us devastated, but at the same time it has given us an opportunity to build mindful business for enhanced sustainability. Few years before, we have seen crazy spending in marketing by hospitals and medical tourism companies, associations, governments, tourism boards without any fixed returns in the sight. This approach has to change forever.

Mindful business – the cornerstone of all approaches

The time has come to approach business strategies differently for sustainability and efficiency. Before learning tips to build sustainable medical and wellness tourism marketing, we need to take the mindful approach as it sets the base of everything.

It is all about being aware

draw in clients

What kind of business you are into? What are the market trends? Who are your customers? What are their needs? What are they actually looking for? How well do you understand their needs?What are you going to contribute?  It is also about being aware of what impact your business will have in the future.

You need to have very specific and clear-cut answers to these questions. Unless you take the mindful approach, you will just scratch the surface, and it will not support your medical tourism and wellness tourism business sustainability. Understand, these two markets have become extremely volatile and dynamic since it is largely dependent on global travel.

There is a need to create a better service flow in global healthcare, wellness, and tourism through meaningful collaborations where every stakeholder has a bit to play. An organized mechanism will help the distressed patient get the best solution. Here mindful business approach comes into play.

What do Mindful Medical Tourism Business strategies look like? Check the following:

Build insights into your offerings

Keenly study the changing market. Are your offerings relevant? What are the emerging trends? Do some addition and elimination in your offerings. Keep a close watch on regular dealings.

Know Your Customer Market

Customer Market

You may not have the same customer market given the persisting restrictions. Be mindful to explore new markets without losing sight of the existing ones.

Identify the patient’s pain points

Have an eye for detail to rightly identify the patient’s pain points that others do not. Map a hassle-free patient journey with your insights. Never fail to show your care for patients.

Be mindful of your contribution

patient consulting

How will your business help in solving the patient’s problems? Do your offerings match their needs? Think deep about the ways you can add more convenience to patients in all respects.

Maintain transparency and quality-driven practices

Be more aware of your practices – how to improve them? Delve deep to remove all cloudy factors that could build distrust.

Shoulder the responsibility of patient’s well-being

Doctor takes care of patient

Be a keen observant of patient’s well-being factors and create solutions accordingly. Pay more attention to their unsaid needs that may not be related to treatments.

Take your competitors as partners

The biggest benefit of mindfulness is to spot opportunities in threats. Devise ways to forge strategic partnerships with competitors, a win-win situation for both.

Focus on lean practices

business going right

More mindful you are better you are at checking resource wastage. Be it in regular operations, marketing, or any other activity, be mindful about efficiency and viability. Is every activity in your business going right?

Promote mindful leadership

Mindfulness trickles down from the top. Leaders set precedence in mindful business that shows a positive reflection on organization culture, policies, and earnings.

Mindfulness in business helps you get a broader view as you realize different perspectives. This sets the sustainable foundation to withstand any storm.

How marketing can help grow medical tourism

medical tourism marketing

The medical and healthcare industry is undergoing a rapid change. The business of medical tourism is flourishing enormously all over the world and has proven to be highly beneficial for patients who fail to seek healthcare because of expensive or improper healthcare and medical services. Marketing is an effective phenomenon in all fields including the medical domain and it is gradually becoming inevitable and necessary for medical and healthcare industry.

Why marketing has become inevitable for medical tourism

The medical tourism marketing is growing in leaps and bounds and is highly crucial due to reasons untold, such as medical tourism awareness, consumerism of medical industry, rise of private players, entry of corporate sector in hospital management and increasing expectations of patients. Thus, a well-developed organized marketing strategy is necessary for achieving investment objectives and improving medical tourism business.

The Big Shift

Effective marketing in medical tourism

Effective marketing can work wonders for medical tourism companies and hospitals in standing out, increasing patient volume and above all boosting image. Marketing is indeed a hectic task and when marketing medical clinics and physician practices, it adds up to the challenge. With time, marketing strategies have also undergone a sea change and similarly the advertising techniques as well. Communication is akin to oxygen, the lack of which will let one’s practice to die.

Marketing strategies in medical tourism

Marketing

Marketing strategies in medical tourism

It is a process of communicating the value of a product or service to clients, for selling that particular product and service. It engages the application of standard marketing knowledge in combination with scientific theories and strategies, which majorly focus on health promotion and protection.

Healthcare marketing

It is a new approach to public health, which applies traditional marketing principles beside science-based strategies for prevention, health promotion and health protection. Healthcare marketing makes the newest advancements in the medicine industry extensively known and available to people at large. This might comprise new insurance schemes, improved and advanced medicines and better medical facilities.

Overseas travel for health reasons is a $40 billion market and growing more than 15%, a year throws up huge opportunities for anyone smart enough to tap it. Healthcare tourism offers cost effective medical services for the person who are not able to afford these services in their home country because of its high cost and many other reasons. Countries that are actively promoting healthcare tourism include Singapore, Malaysia, India, Thailand, and Hungary. These are also emerging as great medical tourism destinations.

People have to pay more for healthcare and social media represents an opportunity that can be used favorably to meet healthcare needs of the patients. When you have forced market resources and you have to have a continuous presence in the market place to move healthcare consumer’s attitudes, preferences and choices.

Healthcare marketing is the best way to attract and enhance population to opt for medical tourism. Healthcare marketing needs to keep up with times and changes as overall healthcare. The business of healthcare is discussed in market terms where patients are known as consumers and healthcare facilities are businesses that provide a service. Therefore, it is the duty of medical facility to provide proper facility to their customers in order to make their brand image and meet customer’s needs.

Marketing in medical tourism

doctors training session

Most medical tourism advertisements stress on advantageous factors, such as reliability, technology, quality of healthcare and overseas training. The major factor of an increasingly consumer-driven era of healthcare is a push towards different methods of cost transparency.

Many health insurance companies are working to make medical tourism affordable by making different policies and providing an estimated cost for healthcare services to their clients who enroll for the health plan. Marketing strategies also includes competition in the price and there are many hospitals in the same place in a particular destination or area, which offers different price for the same treatment, as medical tourism facilitator companies refer the ones which are most affordable.

On the other hand, some marketing strategies are unethical too. For the sake of some personal benefits, some medical fraternities go hand in hand with the medical marketing companies.

Doctors usually implant an expensive device, which the patient may have spent less if the doctors used and inexpensive implant with the same benefits. This is unethical as well as dangerous for the patient undergoing surgery under general anesthesia with a very high chance of catching infections.

Many strategies range from hospital decors and displays, facilities for customers, to the countless inventive services provided to attract the customers. The organizations sensitively plan their options because they know that only fulfilling the primary economic transaction is not enough.

To entice more customers, it is vital to give them an environment that takes proper care and in turn, fulfills all their basic needs regarding expediency, safety, information, entertainment and soothe.

Create lean marketing strategies – simple, efficient and result-oriented ensuring some ROI

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

make customers happy

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

click-through rates

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

B2B partnerships

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

Communication in social media

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

Virtual wellness coaching

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

7 P’s of viable marketing strategies

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Promotion

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.

  1. Performance Showcase

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. These videos will help medical tourism facilitator companies to promote your business.

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.

Promotional tools to aid medical tourism marketing

With more and more countries and providers around the world joining the medical tourism market, it has become quite difficult for relatively new companies to carve a niche for themselves in the highly competitive market. However, with the right promotional tools, it would be easy for these companies to rise above established players and get the recognition they need to grow. Accordingly, here are some promotional tools that would aid companies with medical tourism marketing.

Health and Wellness Affiliations

Contact local health and wellness facilities in the area and collaborate with them to market. Search for holiday retreats in your destination and ways in which you can join hands with them to send over your clients. Collaborate with other local businesses in the area and help each other grow as well. As the affiliations and collaborations increase, your name would automatically pop up in the marketplace.

Adverts

adverts about your medical tourism

Traditional form of advertising never fails. Place adverts about your medical tourism products and services on newspapers. Contact publications to have these adverts placed on medical journals, brochures and even in flight magazines. This would surely help medical tourists take notice of your company.

Media Publicity

Getting the attention of media is also a win-win situation for your medical tourism company. Arrange press conferences to let the media know about your products and services. Use the media to highlight the pros of choosing your medical tourism companies. Arrange medical tourism camps to educate the public as well as get media attention. This would surely let you rise to the top quickly.

Presentations

 Physical presentation on medical tourism

Physical presentations would be helpful in attracting more medical tourists to your company. You can conduct a class on medical tourism in a nearby adult education center or visit the local gym to educate potential clients about health and wellness travel. In addition to understanding the basic tastes of different clients, you would be spreading the word about your medical tourism company to many.

Online Brand Building

Maintain a strong online presence by engaging in social media marketing. Use these social media networks to paste blogs about medical tourism, adverts about your products, services, and even promotional offers you may come up with from time to time. Create and maintain an appealing website that would attract medical tourists who rely on information they find on the WWW to make their choices.

These marketing tools would help you promote your medical tourism business to the world. Make sure you use them to your advantage and maintain your reputation in order to succeed in the market.

Boosting medical tourism through native and digital marketing

digital marketing

Embedded within the umbrella term, digital marketing, is native marketing. Native marketing can be said to be a form of paid media wherein the ad experiences is in line with the natural form and function of user experience. Let us look the benefits native marketing can reap when tied in to digital marketing to boost medical tourism.

Capture the attention of potential customers

In general, marketing efforts are geared towards gaining the attention of potential consumers, with the hope of converting them into sales. Incorporating native marketing in other digital marketing efforts will raise the attention of the target audience. This is primarily because native advertising allows for greater visibility, reaping greater engagement with the target audience.

Usually, people tend to merely glance over ads when browsing sites. Native marketing effort that works on integrating content into the existing publishing layout breaks away from this ad-blindness, encouraging people to take notice. As such, when the ads get noticed, there is greater level of audience engagement. This in turn, helps boost the number of medical tourists to a country.

Expanded reach

brand name

Traditional digital marketing mainly makes of use of websites, blogs, email, retail and print or other offline channels to build brand name and spread the word to people about a product or service being offered. The channels used are owned by the company itself. For instance, the website would be hosted by the company itself and is its online home base. Such content marketing is non-promotional and works on providing factual information alone.

When native marketing is added in to digital marketing, there is a broader reach. Native marketing taps on the use of social media and other third party online and offline media channels. This way, the audience base can be expanded and companies can leverage on existing audience and throw in some promotional content.

Innovative ads

On traditional digital marketing channels, there is only so much that can be done. However, when it is combined with native marketing, the scope is widened. Native advertising allows for greater scope to great a well-rounded ad related to the company’s product launch or brand name.

Such ads can be placed on channels that are rich in informative content. Native marketing allows companies to be innovative to create ads that would appeal to consumers, with the hope of increasing the number of medical tourists.

In order to boost the number of medical tourists, businesses would greatly benefit if they incorporated native marketing into digital marketing strategies.

Medical tourism – Target marketing minimizing efforts with maximum impact

 

Medical tourism is a multi billion industry with a high growth potential being driven by globalization and mounting health care expenses in the developed countries. Over thirty countries in Asia, Africa and Europe are providing services to millions of international medical tourists every year. Thailand, Singapore, India, Malaysia and Philippines are the prime destinations in the medical tourism market. Thailand is a much sought after destination for European medical tourists for cosmetic surgery whereas India and Singapore are famous for complex procedures. While India has emerged as a low-cost super health care provider destination, Singapore has an edge over its competitors in technological knowhow and the best infrastructure in medical treatment.

The recent global economic slump has resulted in a fall in the number of medical tourist visits to Singapore and its other Asian counterparts so far as medical tourism is concerned. The drop in visit graph had been particular with the Indonesian patients. However, this void has been compensated by tourists from Vietnam and Middle Eastern countries. The private healthcare market in Singapore could face a slower growth rate owing to this decline in tourist visits.

Thailand, on the other hand, had witnessed a spurt in its healthcare industry due to a rapid rise in tourist visits. It is way ahead of its Asian competitors partly owing to its low-cost scenario and partly due to other attractions like sea beaches and tourist spots to keep the patients occupied. Expenses on medical treatment in Thailand are about one-fifth of that in the US.

Of late, India has emerged as a popular destination for high quality and low cost treatment for orthopedic and cardiovascular diseases. The late starters like Korea and Taiwan are not far behind. These countries have been giving lots of efforts to bring about exemplary development in their respective fields of healthcare.

Target marketing in medical tourism

The market that is targeted is the driving factor for bringing in growth in medical tourism sector of a country. The country should be able to identify the customers. Secondly, whether the customers are aware that a country has to offer high quality medical products and services at competitive prices is a million dollar question. The country must make its presence felt before the right kind of customers instead of wasting time, money and resources advertising its potential to an area where there aren’t any prospective customers at all. It is like a fisherman at the seashore with his fishing line hoping the entire population of fishes present in the ocean would visit him. This is a hopelessly wrong notion and probably most of the ocean wouldn’t even know that someone is sitting by the beach waiting for them. The trick is to identify the location where you can find your customers and then advertise your products.

How target marketing minimizes efforts with maximum impact?

In medical tourism, target marketing has been the watchword as revealed by the recent trend.

  • Clear establishment of targets and segmentation of customers would save service providers from unnecessary spadework finding ways to showcase your products.
  • Assigning an objective to each segment would provide ways to gauge marketing achievement so that only feasible marketing strategies are employed and fruitless ones are dropped.
  • Selection of the right partners would help reach targets making substantial progress without spending much. Information, which is a valuable resource can be shared and used to the maximum vantage point.
  • Target marketing also helps in proper combination of strategies for maximizing brand impact.

A medical tourism expert can help you gain clarity on medical tourism business strategies.

Tips to implement

For implantation of steps for target marketing, the following pointers should be kept in view:

  • Defining the audience whom you want to reach out is crucial to the success of brand building.
  • While identifying your customers, try implementation of a scheme defining the target audience which can be on the basis of:
    Geography: Countrywide location
    Demographic: Sex and age.
    3. Physiographic: Preference for healthcare services.
    4. Behavior: Attitude towards a specific type of medical treatment.
    5. Customer information and where to get it from.

What is wrong with the existing strategy?

One big mistake that often a medical tourism provider makes is to target too big a market. The objective would be to keep your eyes over the appropriate market segment, which is important as leaving the seashore and getting into the ocean depth to be noticed by a specific population segment of fishes or the potential customers. So being able to reach out to a particular section of customers with the right marketing tools is far more effective than wasting your effort on the entire global population of medical patients. You will be simply lost in the ocean.

How social media can play an important role in promoting medical tourism?

People are more likely to believe in shared experiences and two-way interaction mode of social media rightly serves this purpose. Potential medical travelers can not only do the necessary information-gathering search regarding destination and clinic selection but are also likely to share their experiences.

How social media can play an important role in promoting medical tourism?

The Pew National Survey 2014 found that nearly 72% of Americans search for health information online. 1 out of 4 of them read other’s experiences of similar conditions shared online. Today, when much emphasis is on patient-experience, one can easily imagine the impact of social media in promoting medical tourism.

A few years back, a couple from London took to social media in choosing a hospital in India for eye treatment. Much to their pleasure, they could make substantial savings and were satisfied with the quality of service. On top of that, they managed a two-week vacation in Goa from the savings.

This proves to what extent social media can be useful in medical tourism promotion. Leading destinations and healthcare brands are focusing on creating authentic digital properties for information dissemination leveraging social media platforms.

Google search doesn’t always provide the right answer

If you watch Google search trends, 1 out of every 20 searches is related to health. Nearly 85% of doctors have the opinion patients are widely misled by Google search results. Potential customers always look for authentic information to address their issues.

Social media – The vital tool in digital marketing of medical tourism

Most of the medical tourism agencies as well as international patient departments around the world rely on the business they get from websites, social media and other internet related activities. Recent studies have revealed that more and more medical tourists are making informed decisions based on the information they get on products and services via the internet.

Apart from building social relationships, social media help in:

  • Building an online reputation
  • Measuring and comparing service quality through experiences shared
  • Acquiring new customers/patients
  • Maintaining continuity in communication through one-to-one interaction
  • Building trust and reliability
  • Enhancing brand value

Let us observe the following facts and figures:

  • 72% of all internet users are now active on social media
  • 18-29 year olds have 89% usage
  • 60% of 50-60 year old are active on social media
  • In the 65 plus bracket, 43% are using social media
  • Time spent on Facebook per hour by country. The USA leads the trend spending 16 min per hour followed by Aussies 14 min per hour and Brits 13 min per hour.
  • 71% of users access social media from mobile phone

With the increasing number of internet and social media users, medical tourism companies can start relying on these platforms to boost their business prospects. These companies would create profiles on these social media platforms and advertise their business. They would attract more medical tourists via promotions and offers displayed on these social profiles.

Social media platforms would also enable medical tourism businesses to cater to a wider target audience. For instance, a medical tourism provider in India would now be able to attract customers from far away from the US and the UK by advertising its services via social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Individuals are also increasingly becoming more social media friendly and tend to share their personal opinions and experiences about companies they like (medical tourism providers in this case). More and more medical tourists tend to focus on this information rather than details obtained by directly contacting the provider.

Studies reveal that social media content influences medical tourists, who tend to make decisions based on the information they obtain from these networking sites. Therefore, a positive word via social media would do great for the medical tourism business.

The practice of medical tourism depends on successfully informing potential patients about the procedure options, quality of healthcare facility, traveling and lodging arrangements, tourism opportunities and the destination country.

The promotion of medical tourism sector includes a wide range of marketing materials, such as flyers, booklets and websites. Social media involves Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, press release etc.

Facebook

Needless to mention of its enormous popularity. An energetic ad campaign on Facebook has the potential to reach millions of people.

  • There are now over 1.15 billion Facebook users
  • One million webpages are accessed using the “Log in with Facebook” feature
  • 23% of Facebook users log in at least 5 times a day.
  • 47% of Americans say Facebook is their #1 influencer of purchases
  • 70%of marketers used Facebook to gain new customers

Businesses can create their page where they can register relevant points of their services and products that could turn a viewer in their favor. It must include all possible contact details, such as name, website address, phone and fax numbers and location.

Using Facebook to connect with potential Medical Tourists

The medical tourism industry has much to benefit from the use of social media because of the influence it has on people today. Social media channels like Facebook can prove to be an effective online promotional strategy to bring in more medical tourists.

Facebook as an online promotion channel allows two-way communication between medical practitioners and patients, allowing for the building of healthy relationships. Let us learn below how Facebook can be used to create an influx of medical tourists.

Spread the Word about Your Facebook Presence

Before you can think about using Facebook to increase the amount of sales and traffic, you will need to send the word out that your business exists on Facebook. Billions of people around the world use Facebook today and it can be said to be the number one social media site today. As a business, you would probably already have a website.

As such, you could leverage the existing traffic to your website by adding your Facebook icon on it. This would allow prospective customers to click on the icon and be led to your Facebook page. Subsequently, they will be able to share your page to friends and family who might be interested.

Craft Facebook Ads Carefully

One way of potentially bringing in more medical tourists would be through advertising. The same can be done through Facebook. It is not sufficient that the ads on Facebook are pretty. Instead, they should be able to educate potential patients on why they should choose that particular medical company for their health needs.

When the sales funnel in the form of a cleverly crafted Facebook ad is informative without looking like a hard sell, potential customers are more inclined to take notice. This means the possibility of increasing sales volume is enhanced.

Add in Images

As with any social media channel, pure text alone will be bore a reader. Visual images always enhance the reading pleasure and aids in retaining interest. In adding images, ensure that they are relevant and directed to the target group. The images can, for instance, explain the procedures related to certain aspects of seeking medical help in the country in question.

Twitter

  • There are now over 550 million registered Twitter users
  • 215 million monthly active users
  • 34% of marketers use Twitter to successfully generate leads
  • Twitter was the fastest-growing network with a 44% growth from 2012-13

Advertisement campaigns took to twitter like fish to water because here you can directly interact with your clients and will come to know about their needs. They could tell what they wanted to tell in a handful of words without any intention to bore the reader. A simple re-tweet is required for the message to reach many people. Similar to Facebook, you can conduct contests and competitions on Twitter.

Enhance Social Media Marketing Strategies through Twitter Chat

Social Media Marketing or SMM is the means of garnering website traffic and visibility through the use of social media platforms. You could effectively use Twitter chat to market your business. Twitter chats are a great means of connecting with prospective customers, thereby increasing recognition and visibility for the business. Presented here are some ways to create a killer twitter chat that would help in your SMM strategy to improve your business.

Define rationale

The first thing to consider before hosting a Twitter for SMM purposes would be to establish a clear objective of the chat. It is important to identify a clear topic that would appeal to the target audience. The chat has to add some value to attract users. Once there is a community hooked on to your chat group, new information will constantly be added, therefore rendering more attention to your business.

Select hashtag wisely

Hashtags are popular on social media channels. Likewise in Twitter, the selection of appropriate hashtags is crucial when attempting to start a Twitter chat. This hashtag is almost like a call-out to view your company’s offerings. The hashtag should be relevant to the brand being promoted and may contain the company’s name.

For prospective customers to retain the information, make sure that the tags are short and sweet. Do your due research to ensure that the hashtag you choose is not already in use. This can be checked on platforms like likehashtagify.me and Twitter. There could be legal implications as well as brand confusion should an existing hashtag be used.

Effective Questions

Twitter chats, mostly, are in the question and answer format. As such, the questions which are composed should be engaging enough to warrant participation from the users. When people are engaged in the questions in a chat, a meaningful discussion can arise from it. As such, you will be in a position to lead the discussion in the way you want it to. As a general rule of thumb, about 8 questions should be sufficient to allow meaningful discussions between participants.

Pinterest

Pinterest may not be as common as Facebook or Twitter but it is a little different and more stylish. Users are offered with a pin board upon which they can “pin” the photos of their interest and give a lead link to pages outside Pinterest. Many businesses stress more on pictures and also fill some bland text messages in the false belief that pictures speak a thousand words.

Instagram

Instagram has its aim focused firmly on photos and the visitors are here mainly to have a glance at photos. That increases the responsibility of the advertiser. He needs to share as eye-catchy photos as possible.

Doc Vegas Instagram handle gaining huge viewership

The role of social media in attracting medical travelers in Las Vegas recently became the news headlines.  Dr. Chris Khorsandi, a prominent plastic surgeon took to storytelling via Doc Vegas Instagram handle. With over 175,000 followers on Instagram, Dr. Khorsandi’s posts are viewed by thousands of visitors regularly.

He has been successful in creating the bridge between him and the prospective clients by giving them an unprecedented access into the details of plastic surgery. This has contributed significantly to reframing views and opinions related to plastic surgery and recent advancements. It is changing the client’s perceptions widely inspiring them to go for such treatments that they might be considering since long.

The aim is to narrate authentic experiences based on prospective clients’ personality. A large fraction of Doc Vegas visitors fall in the age group of 20-40 years. None are looking print ads as everybody’s attention is glued to smartphones and social media.

YouTube

Viewing a video online site is something not as complex as opening a Facebook or Twitter page and perusing through the maze therein. You do not have to register yourself to view a video of your choice.  This is what works speculate for sites like YouTube.

Personalized social media will provide a dose of reach: How to do it effectively?

Personalization is the success ‘mantra’ of the medical tourism business. Everybody needs undivided attention to satisfy his/her requirements. Social media help in simplifying this approach.

  • Physician online reviews combined with personal reviews will drive the growth of clinics, hospitals and centers of excellence.
  • Curated videos in social media can be useful to dispense information just like Docvegas handle in Instagram
  • Create opportunities for Live Interaction with doctors
  • Being a good listener in social media is important to build brand reputation
  • How well and how fast are you interacting with your potential clients? Do they have to wait for long to get your response?

More you pay attention to the ‘personalization’ factor, more is your fan following and viewership of your potential customers/clients.

15 Effective social media marketing strategies:

After a thorough study of different social media platforms, the following marketing strategies will help you get the best from it:

1.    Be a good listener
Focus on engagement more than audience volume:

A big audience is a great thing for business. But if most of them are not genuinely interested in your service and products, can you gain anything from them? It can be more of a distraction hindering you from actual customers and prospects. Therefore, the focus should be both on growth and engagement.

2.    Create a social media team:

Build a team with profound knowledge and experience in digital marketing, brand management, public relations and customer service. Just building a good website will not suffice, there should be skilled professionals smart in handling sensitive issues and strategy-making as and when required.

3.    Build an online personality:

Many organizations seem to maintain a somewhat passive approach to communication. This is uninspiring for the audience. As a medical tourism company, you need to strategize social media platforms to set up direct interaction with potential customers by displaying your humane personality. Respond to queries and reviews very often.

4.    Educate your target audience:

People extract a lot of information from social media space. You have a great opportunity to build your credibility by educating the audience online. Brainstorm ideas to create fitness awareness by sharing knowledgeable. Invite physicians to share their opinions and ideas. This will also support preventative healthcare initiatives and you earn huge audience support.

5.    Provide unique content not found elsewhere:

Social media offer endless opportunities to display your creativity. Be more creative in your content while sharing important and relevant information. Apart from written content, create video tutorials or demos which are more convincing. Infographics say a lot in a few words. Get more of such interesting stuff.

6.    Be a good listener and smart in responding:

To facilitate effective two-way communication between you and your audience, the above two traits are important. It improves credibility enhancing your brand value. Make sure you address customer grievances smartly. Just by removing a negative comment from the public eye reduces your image; it can be done in a subtle manner.

7.    Create viral content to appeal communities online:

Who doesn’t want to prevent hypertension, diabetes, cancer or fight obesity? Reach out to communities with viral posts showing that you are actively involved in supporting a cause. This can fast rocket your popularity and catch the attention of a wider audience.

8.    Apply surveys and contests to drive engagement:

Your audience is likely to stay passive unless there are some efforts from your side to make them engage. Just by following and giving likes won’t serve your purpose. Encourage them to participate in surveys. Arranging interesting online contests can also drive your audience to engage with you fruitfully.

9.    Facilitate collaboration with physicians online:

Collaboration with physicians through social media can have a long-lasting impact. Physicians can work and communicate effectively aligning with the organization’s culture and objectives. Apart from knowledge sharing, it builds the willingness in teamwork which ultimately is beneficial for the organization and patients.

10. Aim for more personalized content:

What your target consumers are searching online? Develop a sophisticated content management system (CMS) to create seamless and personalized content based on local health problems and your audience education initiatives. Always aim for short, targeted and easily readable/understandable content.

11. Be a smart storyteller:

Let your audience relate with to content that you create. They will have the feeling that your brand has exactly what they need. Never overdo in storytelling or exaggerate. Create new ones that are authentic and justifiable fitting your audience choices.

12. Focus on relationship building and customer loyalty:

Relationship building through social media is a great way to maintain your business growth. Make your satisfied customers say about you which will also help in expanding your customer base.

13. Select your brand ambassador from loyal customers

Satisfied patients returning to you for more services can greatly enhance your brand image. Their experiences shared online through social media will inspire more customers.

14. Create relevant online Ads

It is a no-brainer that running ads online is a good way to reach your customers. Ads should be created to raise brand awareness of your organization. These should be well-crafted with words and images and most importantly relevant!

15. Create different content for different channels

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube, Pinterest, Watsapp etc. the list is endless. But here too one should avoid the one-content-fit-for-all approach. Different channels have different types of audience. Therefore, your content should vary accordingly. Select the right channels, all of them may not serve your purpose.

The potential downside

Medical tourists who use the internet to get information on specific medical tourism providers are no longer tolerant of any issues that they may face while surfing these websites. They tend to move on to the next potential website or provider when faced with a problem. Worst, dissatisfied medical tourists tend to publish their dissatisfaction on social media websites, thereby tarnishing the image of the specific medical tourism provider in question. In some cases, the providers are left with little or no chance to explain their side of the story.

These factors indicate how social media is shaping up to be an important tool in determining the success of a medical tourism business.Medical tourism providers would therefore, have to be increasingly wary of how they handle their online profiles and websites. In addition to this, they would also need to be extra cautious about handling their clients to avoid negative publicity on social media.

The decision for medical tourism should not be based entirely on social media stories, glossy pics, smart captions and attention-grabbing videos. Medical tourists need to do a lot of homework.  It is not always wise to pick a doctor from social media. Training and experience of physicians, board certification and accreditation matter. Hiring a medical tourism expert might turn things around for a medical tourism healthcare facility.

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