Oct 06, 2023



Why Health Systems Should Balance Brand Building and Patient Acquisition

When it comes to brand building and patient acquisition, why not leverage both in your marketing strategy? Here’s why blending the two approaches can provide short- and long-term benefits to your health system.

Integrating brand building and patient acquisition isn’t a matter of choosing one over the other. It is essential to incorporate both activities in your marketing plan. Rather than being an “either-or” choice, brand building and patient acquisition work hand-in-hand, strengthening and enhancing each other’s effects. Think of it this way: As you craft your brand, you inevitably draw in customers. Meanwhile, every effort to acquire patients contributes to the recognition of your brand.

But how can you balance these two seemingly competing strategies, especially when budgetary constraints and shifting priorities may put you under pressure to invest in only one approach?

Brand Building and Patient Acquisition: Achieving the Perfect Blend

While brand building and patient acquisition are interconnected, each strategy has unique objectives.

Crafting Your Health System Identity with Brand Building

Brand building is like giving your health system brand a personality—you’re introducing your brand to your target audience in a way that truly resonates with them. By promoting products and services, engaging with potential consumers through digital tactics, building visibility in your community, and promoting your high standard of quality care, you can ensure your brand remains top of mind when consumers need care, whether it’s now or sometime in the future. 

According to the Healthgrades Healthcare Marketers Survey, 78% of respondents said they are prioritizing brand building. You’ll need to do the same to stand out from the competition. But a strong brand doesn’t just distinguish you from competitors—it also puts your health system into a consumer’s consideration set, so they think of your brand first when a healthcare need arises. By having a distinct brand, your health system can experience better customer loyalty, repeat engagements, and positive word-of-mouth referrals. However, a word of caution: Brand awareness alone isn’t sufficient. If a patient knows about your brand but cannot find a doctor with availability or easily make an appointment, you might still lose the opportunity to acquire that new patient.

Finding a way to measure the results of your brand-building strategy can be tricky. Even so, you can consider measuring your health system’s Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), which goes beyond initial new patient conversions and focuses instead on a patient’s ongoing relationship with your health system. Notably, the CLV metric can be broadened to encompass a patient’s family and household.

Whatever your marketing goals are, investing in brand building can help you become a household name for healthcare, earn consumer trust, and highlight your expertise. Although it’s challenging to put a number on brand value, it’s the cornerstone of an effective long-term marketing strategy. Healthgrades, the leading platform connecting patients and doctors, amplifies this by generating impressions for your brand among our qualified audience, thus catapulting your online brand visibility.

Prioritize Patient Acquisition to Generate More Appointments

A strong patient acquisition strategy is the driving force that allows hospitals to achieve annual revenue targets, offer new services, address community health needs more effectively, and build a base of loyal consumers. With patient acquisition, hospitals employ various marketing and outreach tactics to encourage conversion among potential patients.

Although general care often serves as the gateway to your brand, attracting commercially insured patients to key service lines can amplify the margins. For example, you can engage with a diverse mix of qualified patients on Healthgrades, the nation’s largest platform for doctor-patient connections. Promoting your health system brand with patients actively involved in their care can ensure optimal returns on marketing investments. A diverse marketing approach also provides ample opportunities for patient conversion, allowing your brand to accomplish short-term goals with immediate, tangible, and measurable results.

Healthgrades can be your partner to attract and retain patients, driving volume, loyalty, and “new-to-service-line” patients. Whether through a compelling online presence, contextually relevant ads, or leveraging platforms like Healthgrades, the key to patient acquisition lies in consistent, authentic, and compelling brand building.

Boosting Patient Acquisition Through Brand Building and Awareness

When patients think of healthcare, where does your brand stand? Ideally, it’s at the top of their list. By incorporating both brand building and patient acquisition into your marketing strategy, your health system can establish a strong brand presence, gain visibility, and ensure that when patients have a choice, they think of you first

So, how can your health system seamlessly meld together these two strategies for optimal results? We recommend the following:

  1. Cultivate a Robust Online Presence. In today’s digital age, an online presence is paramount and serves as your brand’s digital front door. But beyond just being online, ensure your brand is cohesive and consistent across all platforms. From your website to your social media profiles, consistency reinforces brand recognition.
  2. Place Contextually Relevant Ads. The right advertisement to the right audience at the right time can do wonders. Ensure your ads resonate with the viewer’s current needs or interests by placing them alongside relevant content and web pages.
  3. Combine Paid and Organic Advertising: While paid ads give you the visibility you need, organic reach solidifies trust. A balanced combination ensures you reach a broad audience while building credibility.
  4. Online Reviews Matter. In healthcare, trust is everything. Encourage satisfied patients to leave positive reviews—and address unfavorable ones to resolve outstanding concerns. These testimonials serve as peer recommendations, often holding more weight than any advertisement. After all, 90% of patients check online reviews before choosing a doctor.
  5. Humanize Your Brand. Beyond services and treatments, show the world the people behind your brand. Share stories, showcase your team, and let patients know they’re not just choosing a facility—they’re choosing a group of dedicated professionals.
  6. Stay Updated with Market Research: The healthcare industry is evolving, and so are patient needs and preferences. Remain agile in the face of a shifting industry by keeping up with upcoming healthcare trends and changes in consumer behavior. Understanding the state of the healthcare market keeps your patient acquisition strategy relevant and timely, so you’re always ready to engage prospects as their needs and habits change.

This unified approach ensures that every touchpoint, be it an ad, a review, or a social media post, consistently tells your brand story and value proposition. When done right, it’s a powerful tool to draw patients in and, more importantly, keep them coming back.

Healthgrades: Where Brand Building and Patient Acquisition Intersect

Healthgrades helps your brand not only increase brand awareness among healthcare shoppers but also turn those shoppers into new patients. Our site provides a valuable digital connection, linking healthcare systems to highly-qualified, commercially insured patients. As the premier platform for doctor discovery, our goal is to ensure patients find the right care at the right place at the right time.

We prioritize your online presence by incorporating pronounced branding and compelling calls to action so your brand and doctors stand out on our physician search results pages. Beyond just visibility, we aim to give you an edge through our competitive intercept feature, which presents your brand and medical staff as alternatives directly on your competitors’ profiles—bringing more appointment opportunities to your health system.

If a prospective patient lands on the profile of a physician within your health system who is not currently accepting new patients, they will be shown available alternatives within the same practice. This feature keeps consumers within your health system while resolving capacity issues—thus ultimately allowing patients to appoint. 
Additionally, we extend your brand across a vast syndication network for added reach, collaborating with partner sites to create a seamless and cohesive user experience. We also streamline the conversion process by embedding your health system’s online appointment scheduling (OAS) onto doctor profiles, so patients can effortlessly access your care. The best part? We guarantee conversions for every program.

Connect with us today to start seeing real results for your health system brand.